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 Anna Edwards!
Q: Tell us a little about yourself to get us started.
A: Hi there! Anna Edwards, 45 year old female from a Marine Corps family. My father was a drill instructor on Parris Island. I lived in Beaufort, SC for most of my adult life. Charleston was my front yard and Hilton Head & Savannah my back yard for 30 years. I did high school in Okinawa, Japan. I’m just as close to those classmates now as we were back then. I have a desk job during the day, so I do endurance events to counter act the sitting. I currently live in Raleigh, NC but refer to the SC Lowcountry as home. I enjoy being outside whenever possible. Vitamin D makes me happy. I like spending my time in National and State parks. Waterfalls are a favorite too. Being home with my yellow lab, Lily, is nice too. Although she really thinks she’s a person.
Q: Where did your GORUCK journey start? What was your first event? What stands out from that event?
A: A fellow racer said “Selection starts tomorrow. I’m not going to get any work done.” I had no idea what Selection or GORUCK was. I thought he was referring to an internal audit! I tuned into the live coverage and I too was hooked! (And didn’t get anything done!). I got my boss hooked onto the feed also. I posted in the comments during Selection that I needed these kind of people in my life. I was doing two a days at the gym and thought I was doing pretty good. Obviously not because the people I was watching were absolute next level! A local ruck club leader saw and responded to my comment. That same Friday night I did an overnight ruck with that club and was hooked ever since! I was such an idiot though. So new to rucking. I borrowed a book bag that was so big I could’ve climbed into it. I wore my OCR shoes, the ones with the knobs on the bottom for aggressive tread. I made all the rookie mistakes! But I read everything I could find online, asked a bunch of questions of people a lot wiser, and still enjoy it. I found myself hopping on planes and driving to events just to do them and be around the people. Doing two events a weekend got to be pretty common for me with my fellow weirdos.
Q: What was your most recent event or events. What would you like to tell us about it / them?
A: Most recent event was the 50 miler Rucking World Championship in DC on 11/19/2021. My nose ran the entire time! It got down into the low 30s that night and we saw ice in the river below the greenway bridge. Being from a place that only has two seasons, Spring and Summer, I’m extra sensitive to cold. I stayed up late for days prior watching videos and practicing with my map, compass and grid square since the write up said to “be ready for anything”. Thank goodness it didn’t come into play. I tied for third with some of the most respected females in the game. I also did a 50 miler in Seattle. It was my first visit there and I loved it. I extended my stay 2x. I went all around Washington, Mt Rainer, into the Olympic National Park into Oregon and back. When I was coming back from GORUCK’s first ever HTB in Feb 2021 in Houston, Texas, I flew through Seattle back to Raleigh. I saw the mountain in Seattle during the layover and knew I was coming to visit someday. Little did I know that someday was just a few months later, with some of the same Cadre from the HTB putting on the 50 miler in Seattle (Hand and Whiskey Mike). The HTB in Houston was comical because there was snow on the ground. No power, no water, and that was before the event even started. During the event it seemed like where ever we went we were low crawling through doggie doo. Injury prevented me from participating again in Team Assessment, so Lily and I drove up and shadowed it. It was neat to see what had changed since I last did Team Assessment, like the scoring system, and what had stayed the same: a metric sh!t ton of lunges! I also shadowed Space Force in Charlotte. It was open to both males and females. Some F3 guys were using it as a benchmark for an upcoming custom event. It was fun. What I remember from that is afterwards a good number of us sitting in the parking lot of Biscuitville and First Watch chowing down. I participated in the first ever Bragg Double Heavy in Jan 2021. That gave me a new perspective on cold. I had never been that cold ever in my life. We were also gear testing what Jason referred to as “the b*tch bags”. They were 90# Ruckers. We had to wear them on our back. And our own rucks on the front. Suck was embraced those 48 hours for sure! It was interesting to see how the cadres weed out the people that don’t want to be there, mostly by getting into their heads. And people weed themselves out because of lack of training. It’s the first ever event that I had done where the back half was worse than the first half. Historically if you can survive the welcome party, the event levels out from there. Not Bragg Double Heavy! The beat downs got worse and we spent more time in the cold water the second half.
Q: Favorite Ruck?
A: My event Rucker “Mel”. It’s my battle buddy. Named after my friend Marine Corps Captain Jesse Melton III killed in Afghanistan right before his 30th birthday. He never quit, so I don’t have the right to.
Q: Proudest accomplishment as a GRT?
A:Being out of my comfort zone, scared sh*tless but still showing up and doing what I can. I’m the poster child for imposter syndrome.
Q: How many events have you done? What’s your favorite event or type of event? Why?
A: Hmm, sorry I don’t keep track of the number of events. I don’t even have a patch board. To me it’s the memories and new experiences. My favorite events are the team events. Like Bragg. One team, one fight. It fills a hole for me left by the Corporate America world I’m in. GORUCK allows a venue to share information, to cheer each other on, to want better for ourselves and other people. Whereas Corporate America people hold their cards close, don’t divulge trade secrets, and will step on each other in order to advance themselves.
Q: Why do you continue to do events? What keeps you coming back?
A: FOMO! Events are my social circle. It’s a healthy habit. I’d rather play outdoors with my friends versus putting on a dress and hitting up a bar.
Q: How do you train for events?
A: By doing other events. I use smaller events to gear test. That why all my pictures I’m wearing the same thing lol! Cuz I know it works! REI gets all the money GORUCK doesn’t. I also did Heavy Drop training and Pathfinder/Pathfinder Compete. I’m known to drive hours to participate in a ruck club event. I also utilize the classes and facilities at my local gym (hot yoga, sauna, whirlpool).
Q: Best Rucking and / or GORUCK event advice you have gotten?
A: There are two: 1- This is where winners are made. In other words, don’t quit because it’s hard. Keep pushing through. 2- Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.
Q: Other than packing list items, what is a must have in your ruck for events?
A: Salt tabs that I get from REI in different flavors like watermelon and orange. They are like mints but are salt tabs, not like the capsules that you need to take with water. Having them in my mouth also helps me with slowing down my breathing, which brings down my heart rate so I can go longer.
Q: A book or a few that have impacted your life? Why?
A: “Endure” by Alex Hutchinson, forward by Malcolm Gladwell. I listen to it on Audible at least once a year. It explains to me what’s going on with my body during events. It’s helped me in training with things like my run. I’m able to tell myself, “Yes, these first two miles are gonna suck, but just make it past that. Because afterwards your body is going to level out, fall into a rhythm, and be fine from there on. Just get the two miles behind you.”
Q: What other hobbies do you have?
A: Using my National Parks pass. I don’t sit still well. I love Audible and podcasts while traveling or getting ready for work in the morning. Traveling to new places and experiencing new things is my favorite.
Q: What’s the best purchase under $100 you’ve made in the past 12 months.
A: A case that holds my phone, credit/debit, insurance card, park pass and money. I don’t carry a purse anymore.
Q: How has rucking changed or improved your life?
A: It’s improved my life by exposing me to a whole new world I didn’t even know existed. My gateway drug was Spartan races. Then I did their endurance side with hurricane heats. Then I found rucking, which had led me to adventure races. My physical self has become better and my circle of friends had widened.
Q: How do you recruit new people to ruck, or do events with you?
A: By telling them it’s cardio and strength training at the same time. Usually the way it goes down is them approaching me, not me approaching them. So they already have an interest. It sells itself.
Q: Best Beer to drink after a ruck?
A: A cold one with the people that you embraced the suck with. Hard times bring people together in a good way.
Q: Advice you would give to someone before their 1st Basic?
A:The three things that can take you out of any event are food, feet, and hydration. Get all three under control.
Q: Advice you’d give to someone before their 1st Tough?
A: Trust your training. It’s a team event and the people around you won’t fail you, so don’t fail them by not putting in the work.
Q: If you get overwhelmed during an event how do you refocus on the task at hand?
A: By focusing only on what’s in front of me. It’s easy to get overwhelmed if you think about all the work you have to do, and all the time left in the event. The mind controls the body. Don’t go down that rabbit hole in your mind and come off the rails.
Q: What’s the next event or events on your calendar?
A: I paid for Jedburgh in March 2022. I’m less than 5 years away from qualifying for the Senior Olympics. I’d like to train for that. In the meantime, I’d also like to get a few adventure races under my belt. In addition to exploring the tactical side of GORUCK events.
Q: Any parting shots? Things the community needs to know?
A: Memories and experiences are what’s important at the end of the day. Have good stories to tell, not stuff to show. Always choose the bigger life.
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).