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 Samantha Both!
Q: Tell us a little about yourself to get us started.
A: 29. Currently living in Nevada, but hail from New Brunswick, Canada… Home to the best CrossFit gym in the world — CrossFit Moncton. Currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Sociology at the University of Nevada, Reno. Avid outdoors woman and always looking for my next adventure. When I’m not hiking or studying, I basically live in the gym. I work with a coach on CrossFit, with lots of Olympic lifting, powerlifting and some strongman style conditioning worked in. I love dogs more than people. I left my corgi Dylan in Canada and can’t wait to go see him.
Q: Where did your GORUCK journey start? What was your first event? What stands out from that event?
A: Technically, my first event wasn’t a GORUCK sanctioned event but a mock tough light run by CrossFit Moncton owner and head coach Kevin Wood — many in GORUCK nation will know him. He ran a four week ruck class and then did the events. My first GORUCK event as a July 4 TL in Portland, Maine, with Cadre Mike Rock. That event was brutal. The 300# worm was absolutely crushing us, but we kept moving. That event was earth shattering for me. I was consistency under the worm or the 80# bag and at one point just found myself lost in the deepest recesses of my mind. I’d been having some discontent in my life, mostly around my personal relationships. I was trying to come into my own as a person, and realized halfway through that event that I wasn’t happy with my relationship and needed to make some changes in my life. A year later, I was in a completely different place. I left my relationship, spent a year focusing on myself, sold my house, left my job and moved across the continent to pursue this new adventure.
Q: What was your most recent event or events. What would you like to tell us about it / them?
A: Man. The pandemic has really put a kibosh on all of my event plans. I trained for HTLs twice just to have them cancelled and trained for team assessment just to have to pull out because of the new schedule. My last event was the Pearl Harbor TL in LA. Such a fantastic event. I don’t think I’ve ever come out of any event just feeling more solid. Best part of the event, hands down, was the incredible people I met. Such a solid crew!
Q: Favorite Ruck?
A: Red 20L rucker. His name is Gratch. I actually have to retire him because he’s a bit too beat up for SCARS to fix and he’s been through the ringer. I’m currently rocking coyote Rucker named Chance.
Follow Up Question: How do you name your rucks?
Hahahah I just do. Gratch is from my favorite novel .. it’s a red creature so I thought it fitting. I have a green GR1 named Ducky because it made me think of Ducky from land of the time. My 25L is named Reynolds because I chose Canadian names for mine and my would have been team mates ruck. They were Reynolds and Reeves (Ryan Reynolds and Keanu Reeves). I named my current ruck, which I stole from Mike, Chance after my old dog and because I took a big chance moving to the states.
Q: Proudest accomplishment as a GRT?
A: Damn, that’s a tough one. Honestly, probably just trusting the process of the beatdown. You don’t go to those dark recesses in your mind for no reason. Trust where your mind takes you and you’ll come out the other side stronger and more whole.
Q: How many events have you done? What’s your favorite event or type of event? Why?
A: Honestly, haven’t been able to do that many because the travel is insanely expensive for us Canadians. Now that I’m stateside, I’ll be doing more.
Q: Why do you continue to do events? What keeps you coming back?
A: Like everyone else in this community, I like to test myself mentally and physically. For me, the events are really about the mental. The physical I can train every time. The mental is a different story. I like to see where my mind goes during the events. If you pay attention, if can illuminate some pretty incredible things and take you down fantastic paths. I’ve never been more myself, or been more in love with life, as I have been since trusting where my mind had taken me during those dark hours.
Q: How do you train for events?
A: I don’t necessarily train specifically for events. I train for life. I mostly do CrossFit, and train two to three hours a day three times a week, and then about an hour twice a week. I also do Pathfinder regularly (shoutout to group 51) and I have done several rounds of Heavy Drop Training. I like to mix my training up. I work with the best damn coach on the planet (Shane Hayes at CrossFit Moncton) and he’s always challenging me with different things.
Q: Best Rucking and / or GORUCK event advice you have gotten?
A: Don’t focus on the hurt. Focusing on it makes it more real. Push that shit out. Let your mind wander to amazing places and the physical will dissipate.
Q: Other than packing list items, what is a must have in your ruck for events?
A: I’m honestly a minimalist packer. One Larabar and some peanut M&Ms and I’m set. I’m also a sucker for Gummy Bears.
Q: A book or a few that have impacted your life? Why?
A: I’m totally gonna sound like a nerd, but it’s inked on me anyway so… The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. It’s en escape from reality and has some sage advice for life. In terms of nonfiction, Shake Hands with the Devil. It’s just an incredibly powerful story that everyone should read.
Q: What’s the best purchase under $100 you’ve made in the past 12 months.
A: Pokemon backpack.
Q: How has rucking changed or improved your life?
A: I already touched on this with my first event story, but I’ll recap here by saying rucking changed my life for the better by helping me come into my own and giving me the confidence to be my true self. I overhauled my entire life after that event. But now I’m living my best life, feeling like my best self. I’m stronger. I’m more confident. But most importantly, I’ve learned how to unlock those deep places of the mind where the real magic happens.
Q: How do you recruit new people to ruck, or do events with you?
A: Nag them incessantly until they agree and bribe them with snacks.
Q: Advice you’d give to someone before their 1st Tough?
A: Don’t be afraid of the work. Especially to the ladies … Don’t be afraid to try the heavy bags. Even if you can only carry it 50 ft, that’s still 50 ft. You’ll surprise yourself by how much you can contribute to the team. And be cheerful. Carrying heavy shit is easier with a smile on your face. It’s science! And your cheer will run off on the rest of the team.
Q: If you get overwhelmed during an event how do you refocus on the task at hand?
A: I’m a grunt worker. I just focus on what needs to be done and do it. Everything else is secondary. The team has a task and that’s what I throw my effort behind, which makes it easier to push aside any doubts, pains or unease.
Q: What’s the next event or events on your calendar?
A: Custom comms light (+++) in Reno. Nothing else scheduled except a TLHM (tough light heavy murder) in April.
Q: Any parting shots? Things the community needs to know?
A: Team Canada kicks ass.
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).