Ruck BEAST Squad features interviews with members of the community to highlight their lives, training, gear, and insight. Hopefully as you read through this you’ll be able to take away advice that will help you train better and perform better that upcoming events. In this issue of Ruck BEAST Squad we get to hear from Mike Sweeting!
Q: Tell us a little about yourself to get us started.
A: 42, married, with 4 year old son Beck and 2 year old daughter Randie. I live in Sherrills Ford, NC. Worked in Account Management, handling large volume Distributors and OEMs for Industrial Cooling Manufacturing. I’m a bit of a keyboard monkey, I understand SAP logic on the Sales and Distribution side, and can do one helluva a V-lookup Macro. That’s not a real thing, I think?
I’ve always been an active guy, played a lot of sports growing up, mostly soccer all through school and in college. Love to camp (well Glamp) in the Uhwarrie with friends, take the kids on nature walks around the house, that kind of thing.
Q: Where did your GORUCK journey start? What was your first event? What stands out from that event?
A: November 2016, Chapel Hill Light with Cadre Dan. A good friend had done a couple custom Toughs, agreed to sign up with me, and we wrangled another and rolled out to Chapel Thrill.
What stood out was I was carrying an old school ALICE pack with bricks taped together and everyone else had these nice low profile, streamlined Rucks with plates and I looked like I was invading Poland.
We Rucked about 4 miles to a park, Cadre gave us all the US Citizenship test, you missed the question you became a sugar cookie. Dug up 5th grade Social Studies, got my questions right.
We loaded up Rucked back with logs and it kicked my butt. I was hooked. Seems trivial now, sucking so bad, but I didn’t like the feeling of being the weak link.
Q: What was your most recent event or events. What would you like to tell us about it / them?
A: Mooresville, NC Tough/Light July 4th weekend. The event was amazing, 39 GRTs Endexed the Tough, in that group were 2 Selection participants, a GRT who was doing event(s) 50 & 51. Signing her Storm Trooper Ruck was sweet for the 50th.
22 GRTs Endexed the Light. It was hot, there was some mileage, and other funny adventures.
Fun Fact: We did downward dog as a Tough Class in formation right in front of a closed YOGA studio. Sillyness occurs in the wee morning hours at these things. Supposedly they were getting social media tagged with that pic.
Cadre Dan runs great events, an excellent teacher, keeps it interesting for sure.
Q: Favorite Ruck?
A: GR1 26L Woodland Camo, Gods Plaid
Q: Proudest accomplishment as a GRT?
A: Patched first HTL in 2018 ORW at Crowders Mountain
Q: How many events have you done? What’s your favorite event or type of event? Why?
A: 27 in total, 2 HTLs, Constellation. My favorite event is the Heavy, hands down. Battle between mind and body is real, and you face your spirit animal at some point.
Q: Why do you continue to do events? What keeps you coming back?
A: I keep doing events because at each one, I’ve been uncomfortable or cold or tired or grouchy or just ready to be done. In a weird way, that is what keeps me coming back. Overcoming those experiences, and emotions, to pushing through is personal growth, and that can translate into all facets of your life. GORUCK events are easy, life is hard.
The other part is the people. I have seen some real gut checks in events, experienced a few myself, but it’s amazing to see X number of strangers gel over time and become a team. I’m thankful for that experience, it’s also connected me with my tribe. At least we’re pretty.
Q: How do you train for events?
A: I’ve done Pathfinder Endure and Advanced. Heavy Drop Training has been a good resource for SB work and WODs. Current programming with JBFitness1776. Check him out.
Q: Best Rucking and / or GORUCK event advice you have gotten?
A: Stay busy. Don’t get in your feels and go dark. Grab a coupon, team weight, share a 120# sand bag, just do something.
Q: Other than packing list items, what is a must have in your ruck for events?
A: bourbon and bacon
Q: A book or a few that have impacted your life? Why?
A: The Things They Carried, by Tim Obrien. Got a copy for Christmas from my Dad who inscribed in it, ‘The realest depiction of War I have ever read.’ He’s a Vietnam Vet, Marine. The book didn’t disappoint.
Q: What other hobbies do you have?
A: I like to cook. I make a mean chili, 3 time office champ!
Q: What’s the best purchase under $100 you’ve made in the past 12 months.
A: Ruck Wrap, so far that’s the easiest question.
Q: How has rucking changed or improved your life?
A: Rucking has been a great outlet for me. Not a cardio nut by any means, but I will say that Rucking helps running. I liked the total body workout aspect which definitely helps with two young kids who are extremely active. Rucking has given me a lot more confidence.
Q: How do you recruit new people to ruck, or do events with you?
A: We host Ruck Club events in the area and try to have at least one new person there.
I’m the RCL for LKN Ruck Club and co-RCL of F3 Nation Rucking. We host Ruck Club events and call outs and try to have at least one new person there each time. There are 5 Ruck Clubs in the area as well as F3 Nation Rucking in the Custom event arena as a resource.
Recently, I reached out to the Charlotte Marathon and asked to be the Rucking Division Ambassador for their 1/2 Marathon Ruck. Crossing into the Running sub-culture to recruit new Ruckers. Much to my surprise, a lot of the fellow Ambassadors are familiar with GORUCK. The Marathon has really embraced the Ruck Clubs with resources, media, podcasts, promotion codes etc. It’s going to be an awesome 13.1 Ruck in November.
Q: Best Beer to drink after a ruck?
Q: Advice you would give to someone before their 1st Light?
A: Have fun. Lights are fun, some can be challenging, but overall it’s a good time. Follow the pack list, and train some before the event.
Q: Advice you’d give to someone before their 1st Tough?
A: #GYMR Get Your Mind Right. It’s called Tough for a reason, so come prepared physically and mentally. Follow the pack list, and train before the event.
Q: If you get overwhelmed during an event how do you refocus on the task at hand?
A: I think about my ‘why’ which is my kids and family. I’ve got their names on my hat, helps me level set and refocus. Or I start talking about what food I’m cramming in my face after the event. Usually the left side of the Waffle House menu.
Q: What’s the next event or events on your calendar?
A: Rucking World Championship, Charlotte 9/11 TL
Q: Any parting shots? Things the community needs to know?
A: I mentioned it earlier I think, GORUCK events are easy, life is hard. I heard that at an event and it resonated. Living in that discomfort, for however long, is growth. Not being cliche’ it’s truth. I love the GRT community, a bunch of weirdos willing to do weird things, and drop in the trenches and put in the work.
If you know someone (or are someone) who would be a good fit for an upcoming episode of Ruck BEAST Squad please reach out to Derek Hill (derekhill1 AT gmail DOT com).
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