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 Renee Lineberger!
Q: Tell us a little about yourself to get us started.
A: My name is Renee, but I go by Smokey. I was given this nickname by Hank in our small Pathfinder group. It was a natural fit because I love Smokey Bear and all thing related to forests. You will see Smokey on my ruck because he goes everywhere with me. I live in Colorado and love being outdoors. Our family loves to ruck through National Parks! We are trying to visit all of them, and have already visited over 30 parks. My hubby and kids helped me celebrate my 42nd birthday last year by completing a Sprint with me. I am a teacher, and I would love to set up a kid’s ruck club. I have a crusty outside like Mrs. Crabapple, but a squishy, marshmallow heart for my students. I set the bar high, but will lift up every kid!
Q: Where did your GORUCK journey start? What was your first event? What stands out from that event?
A: The first time I heard of GORUCK was from the many adventures of my cousin Angela, who is a badass that I admire. But my GORUCK journey started years later on the day I couldn’t get up the Beirstadt Trail in Rocky Mountain NP. I was so out of shape. I sent my family ahead and then I cried going up that rocky hill. I had reached the point where I couldn’t keep up with my kids. I decided a change was needed. I lost just over 30 pounds and was finally able to handle exercising. My friend Dana posted about rucking and its benefits, and with Angela’s encouragement I got going. I started with a 5 pound bag of flour wrapped in duct tape in a Camelback. It looked like a fat kilo and I was worried someone might get the wrong idea. Ha! I was instantly hooked!! I decided to train for an event. I worked hard and lost another 13 pounds. That led to CrossFit and my first meet up with fellow weirdos in Northern Colorado Ruck Club. It took 9 months to feel ready for my first rodeo.
My first event was Battling Bastards Light in San Antonio in April 2018. The Cadre were Chad and Doug W. So many moments have stuck with me. My cousin Angela was there to shadow, even with her broken wrist. It was awesome to have the support. I loved researching the stories of the Belles of Bataan. I survived the 2 hour Welcome Party and had my official GORUCK baptism in the nastiest, algae scum “pond”. I remember the SPAM, milk, run, bear crawl relay. I remember dropping a chunk of SPAM and hearing something about “not wasting anything”. I was the gal who ate dirty, dropped in an alley SPAM. But getting that first patch was absolutely worth it. I LOVED the GRTs that were there and the element of teamwork. I was in awe watching the HTL finishers doing their 8 billion lunge walks to finish their event. That was the day I realized I have found my kind of weirdos.
One month later I met my home team of weirdos with West Colfax Ruck Club, my BB Sara, and I started Pathfinder. This is my tribe, and I love our teams! They are my support and motivation, and are some of the coolest people on the planet.
Q: What was your most recent event or events. What would you like to tell us about it / them?
A: My last event was the Denver 12 Mile Star Course two weeks ago. It was my 3rd 12 miler. The first Denver event was ROUGH, but my 2nd in London was better. This event was great! We finished an hour faster than the previous events. My teammate Patty ROCKED her first event! I also loved supporting the 50 miles overnight and cheering them and the 26 milers on at endex.
Q: Favorite Ruck?
A: I love my grey 20L Rucker! It has a funny name. Ask me when you see me.
It is disgusting and covered in all manner of nastiness from many sessions of hydroburpees and water PT in the finest duck water Colorado has to offer. I should wash it some day, but maybe that will wash off the magic. 🤣
Q: Proudest accomplishment as a GRT?
A: I don’t know that I have a proudest moment. I try to work hard at events, help the team, and learn something. I am not really strong or fast, but I just keep going. Every patch earned is a momento of a helluva good time with great people.
I am always proud of our teams, and of our ruck club’s work and service to the community. I am proud of our food and school supply rucks. I am proud that we show up for each other, even when the work will be hard.
I am proud that I am still going. Injuries caused me to change direction from training for a Tough, to surviving Lights. But I love the sense of accomplishment that comes from each challenge completed and the growth that I still crave. Each new PR reminds me that I am still in the game, and ready for more.
Q: How many events have you done? What’s your favorite event or type of event? Why?
A: I have completed 12 Lights with Cadre, a bunch of virtual lights, 3 12 mile Star Courses, 2 official Sprints and several virtual, a Cloverleaf, some Scavs, and countless club challenges. I have come to learn that this is my challenge level. I have learned to embrace my badassery, even if it is at a different level than others. We all have our own edge to push, we just have to get out there and try. I am working on pushing my comfort zone to attempt a tough or 26 Miler. My friend Randy keeps encouraging me to believe in myself, and I think he’s right. Let’s see what 2022 brings.
I love events that have historic and military importance. Being at events and hearing the experiences of our brave service men and women has a deep impact on me. The significance of the event makes the work worth it, and makes the memories last.
(Authors Note – Renee rocked out NYC Light for 9/11 as well! So make that 13 lights!)
Q: Why do you continue to do events? What keeps you coming back?
A: This is an excellent question. There are days I have my doubts. I get discouraged by cancellations and some shenanigans. I have been asking myself where I will be in a year or five. Will I still be doing events? Who knows! But as long as there is a club or team, I will be around in some rucktastic capacity.
Training can get hard at times, but the feeling of accomplishment and connection to something bigger than myself is a constant driver for me. I come back for the team, and the lessons that I learn. I come back for my club, for my ride or die friends, and my workout buddy, Sara. I have made some amazing friendships along the way. I am becoming a better person. I want to continue growing and events keep that process alive.
Q: How do you train for events?
A: I am not a hard hitter by any means, but I do put in the work. I used to do CrossFit and short distance rucking. My training became infinitely better when I discovered ruck club training and Pathfinder! I started Pathfinder during class 016 and haven’t missed a session since. My CAs Hank, Derek, and Nate have been awesome!!! I alternate between Forward and Endure. I have done Ruck Strong, but need to earn that patch! (I’ll get there someday, Lisa.) I recently started Heavy Drop Training. Bryan lays down the heat and the group keeps me motivated. I love the challenges that each program presents, so I have been doing all three for a few rounds. My best training included Forward, HDT and Life all in one cycle. High mileage, lots of workouts, and excellent challenges were earned.
I like to create 15 and 20 mile overnight challenges for our club that simulate Star Course events. We have a great time exploring Denver at night. I also like to do 12 mile timed ruck and mountain rucks. I might cuss a lot, but I love it.
Our club does all of the Tribe WODS and we do many call outs. Training together is the best. I also have an amazing Battle Buddy that motivates and supports me! Sara and I may be thousands of miles apart, but we find ways to train with each other!
I also love training with my family. Taking hikes together is the best, and I recently convinced my kids to let me carry them 0.25 miles each for training. My babies are not little anymore, and carrying my teen was an excellent challenge. My husband and I ruck together often, rucked a 14er last year (it was ROUGH and I sucked air a lot), and have started running together a little bit.
Rucking and training helps me face down some demons and keep pushing forward. I may be at a lower level than others, but I am thousands of miles (literally) ahead of where I was 5 years ago. I’ve learned that no matter where you are in your training, this community has a place for you.
Q: Best Rucking and / or GORUCK event advice you have gotten?
A: My cousin Angela gave me the best advice! It was about 30 minutes before my first event, I was so nervous I was nauseous, and had no idea what to expect. I was scared of failure and making an incredible ass out of myself. She told me to remember to take it one evolution at a time. Keep working. Eventually it will end, and I can make it.
I also learned the best advice from my teammates. It’s not about you. It’s about the team. They’ve got you, you’ve got them. You will struggle together. You will be better together. My teammates have helped me, and I have tried to help them. When I am knee deep in the suck, I look at my team and I know we are in it together. And that makes a world of difference.
Q: Other than packing list items, what is a must have in your ruck for events?
A: Smokey Bear!!!! Smokey is in my ruck at all times, in fact I have 2, one of which was gifted to me by a very talented blog writer. He gets to ride in the dry case for events, but is usually clipped on the outside handle. Smokey and I have rucked to a LOT of places.
I also have Sport Beans, Wild Zora when I can find it, or Lara Bars.
I ALWAYS carry precious cargo. From the day I was given the blessing to ruck in remembrance of two men, I have carried their picture and bio in my ruck. Captain Chris Plummer, US Army, took his last flight 05-05-05. He was my husband’s cousin, and is a much loved member of the family. G. A. Harrison, US Navy, passed a few days before Veteran’s Day 2020. His daughter is my friend. I am honored to carry them in my ruck. I think of them when things get tough, and I push on.
Q: A book or a few that have impacted your life? Why?
A: I cannot name one, there are too many!
- Island of the Blue Dolphins, Scott O’Dell: It was THE book that changed me from a struggling reader to an avid reader. It was the first book I didn’t get bored of, and the firat book I read cover to cover. I read it soany times that Mrs. Comcowich bought me.my own copy. I still have it after 32 years!
- Make Your Bed, Admiral McRaven: Simple lessons for life
- We Band of Angels: The Untold Story Of American Nurses Trapped in Bataan By The Japanese, Elizabeth Norman: I am always intrigued by women warriors, especially unsung heroes, and these women were amazing.
I could name a hundred more. I have a reading addiction.
Q: What other hobbies do you have?
A: I am a self-professed, gold medalist weed puller who dabbles in gardening, I love house renovation projects and am not afraid of power tools. I read, a lot. I started quilting to challenge my mind and finally put my sewing skills to use. I have been a Girl Scout leader for 9ish years, and love our troop. I LOVE to travel, and as soon as we have a break from school our family hits the road. I love crafting, especially scrapbooking and all things involving a glue gun. I love to eat, but hate cooking.
Q: What’s the best purchase under $100 you’ve made in the past 12 months.
A: I would say the best purchases I’ve made under $100 are GOOD sports bras, tickets to Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island, or anything that made my kids smile.
Q: How has rucking changed or improved your life?
A: I am a totally different person! You would not recognize me if you met me 5 years ago.
Q: How do you recruit new people to ruck, or do events with you?
A: The best way to get someone to join is to ask! Put it out there. Invite them to train. Encourage them. And then show up and help them get it done.
Q: Best Beer to drink after a ruck?
A: None. Beer is gross. Well, except that beer after the event with Cadre Colt when we went up Green Mountain. That ice cold Bud tasted good that day. I prefer clear liquor, mixed with something yummy. Hell, even a shot works! One of the best drinks was the pear cider after the London 12 miler
Q: Advice you would give to someone before their 1st Light?
A: Teamwork is rule number 1. Keep working. The rest will sort itself out.
Prepare by training, with a team if you can. Sort out your foot care.
Q: If you get overwhelmed during an event how do you refocus on the task at hand?
A: When I am facing demons, I remember why I am there. I am there to honor those before me and to keep their memory alive. I look at my team and I know I can give a little more for them.
Q: What’s the next event or events on your calendar?
A: My next event is the NYC 9-11 Basic
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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