Happy Thanksgiving! In our 23rd episode of the All Day Ruckoff Podcast we have two AARs with Corey Modrowski. He recently took part in a GORUCK Tough Beached and GORUCK Light Beached events over in Traverse City and recounts his experiences with those here. We hope you enjoy this episode and have a wonderful time with your friends and families!
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Brian: I’m talking with Corey Modrowski who is a fellow GRT who was able to take part in two very unique and interesting events. The first was the Traverse City Beached BETA Tough, and the second was the Traverse City Beached BETA Light. I’m really excited to be talking to him today, because these events were definitely unique for multiple reasons and I’m excited to hear what he has to say about them.
So Corey, how are you doing today?
Corey: I’m doing fantastic. Thank you for having me on, Brian.
Brian: Absolutely. It’s my pleasure. Thank you so much for reaching out, and I can’t wait to get into these events. Before we get started with them though, I would love to hear how you got involved in the GORUCK community. How did you stumble upon GORUCK as a company and what was your first event?
Corey: My first event was Detroit Light in 2015, I believe. I had heard about GORUCK — I was doing cross-fit. I was going to Glass City Crossfit here in Toledo, Ohio, and there was another GRT who is a strength and conditioning coach; Michael Yuschak. He told me, he was like, “You need to go check out this event. This is GORUCK, it’s pretty awesome.” I went online, saw the videos, saw what it’s about and I was like, “All right.”
Then the Christmas sale rolled around, I think, because this was about 2014 when he told me about it. Christmas roll is around. I looked up there and events are half off, so I signed up for the Light in Detroit. Was it July? I had signed up for the Mogadishu Mile in October, and that was a Light as well.
I think Larry and Brad were the cadre for Light, and it was interesting. I had never really been up to Detroit before, even though I live less than an hour away from it. I over-trained for it. At least I feel that way, because by the time I got done, I’m like, “Okay. I could do this. This isn’t bad.”
Really, what sold it for me was when I went to Cleveland for the Mogadishu Mile. We had Cadre Jeff Mocha Mike, and I hate to admit it, I can’t remember who the other cadre was that was along for the ride. But I think that was also the event where they made the Mogadishu Mile commercial with Jeff wearing that like skull mask, if you’ve seen it. That was an arduous event. It was blowing, raining, like 46 degrees blowing sideways at us all day long and it just totally sucked.
I remember getting down with that, and I felt like I had been doing something. My brother used to sail boats on like Lake Erie here, and he used to love to go out in October and sail his boats and he’d always yell to his friends, “10-foot waves are splashing up on deck!” He’d go, “Hey! We’re doing something.” That’s kind of how I felt after that event. Ever since then I had been sold on GORUCK. I think the first year I did two events. The second year was something like five events, and this year it’s looking like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 events now, and I just keep growing exponentially. Next year I have — I think it’s going upwards at 21 events scheduled now.
Brian: That’s incredible.
Corey: Are critically dumb on my part, maybe.
Brian: Or incredibly exciting. Yeah, time will tell. Time will tell on that decision.
Corey: Yeah. Hopefully my wife doesn’t divorce me.
Brian: That’s always the goal. That’s my goal too.
Brian: The holiday sale that year was really nice, the 50% off events, and I know I was able to talk some friends into signing up, because the prices were definitely nice. It’s exciting you got in then, because it sounds like that second event really hooked you.
Corey: Yeah, it really did. Every event since then has just been one more nail in my bank account coffin.
Brian: I feel the pain. I feel the pain too.
Corey: Ever penny I spend on one of these events though is actually worth it, because I learn a little bit more about myself and I meet such great people. I can’t say enough nice things about my Michigan GRT friends.
Brian: That’s got to be one of the best parts, is meeting people who are just also crazy enough for the same thing you did.
Corey: Absolutely. Pretty much all the Beach BETA crew was Michigan GRT, and there was already people I’ve done multiple events with. Really, the Beach BETA event was almost like a family reunion.
Brian: That’s awesome. Before we get into Beach BETA, I’ve got one more question about that Mogadishu Mile Light. When you finished it, did you need a couple of days to calm down from the sideway rain and all of the wind before you sign up for your next event, or were you pretty much good to go? You were hooked and ready to sign up?
Corey: I think I had to really digest a little bit. I remember I had a friend who — She’s a physical therapist at Cleveland Clinic and she let me crash at her place the night before the event. So I was able to go out there and do the event and I come like trudging in I think it was like five or six in the afternoon when we got done and it just looked like death warmed over. I got a warm shower and we got some B-dubs and just kind of told her about it and she just kind of looked at me like, “Why did you pay to do this?” I said, “I don’t know. Seem like something to do.” I don’t think I signed up for another event until — It’s probably closer to the next Christmas sale actually.
Brian: Yeah, but that was only a couple of months later, right?
Corey: That’s right, yeah.
Brian: That’s not too bad. Yeah, after my first event, it was one of those, “This is the craziest thing I’ve ever done. I’m never doing another one again.” Then three days later I was thinking, “When is GORUCK coming back to Seattle?” You need that cool downtime.
Corey: Yeah. I’ve done like a Warrior Dash, and afterwards I just feel kind of empty, because there’s a big buildup and the thing you get out of it the most after that’s over is you’re washing mud out of places for like three days. GORUCK, I mean, after I got done with a GORUCK I’m like, “Well, I learned something about myself.”
Brian: Absolutely. Let’s move into the Traverse City Beached BETA events. Where did the idea of these come from? GORUCK was very quiet about them. They promoted the beached, the actual beached event down in Florida quite heavily, but it wasn’t until almost the week of the Traverse City beached events that they started posting about them. Was that something custom you guys did, or was that put on my GORUCK?
Corey: As I understand it, we knew it was going to be a unique event ahead of time, at least the Michigan GRTs did. I remember, I believe it was Robert Bash was working with Big Daddy on that one. Big Daddy had promised us a pretty awesome event, and this definitely fit the bill. I remember signing up for the event. It was before — I think it was during the Christmas sale. We always keep coming back to this Christmas sale. I remember seeing Traverse City and I’m like, “Yeah, it’s like an 8-hour drive. Whatever. I’ll do it.”
Then it wasn’t until like maybe a month or two, maybe in the spring. I can’t remember exactly. I remember seeing a post on Michigan GRT page saying how the Traverse City events weren’t going to be like regular events, because I was just like, “Oh, the Tough and Light. Whatever. I’ll sign up.” Because I was like kind of bummed this year, because it seemed like Michigan wasn’t getting a lot of GORUCK events. Then, of course, for next year, Jason came through and like gave us 18 events, so I couldn’t be more happy now.
I remember seeing a post in the Michigan GRT page saying they’re being real secretive about it. They weren’t giving us all the details, but they said it was going to be something kind of like water survival. It wasn’t going to be a normal Tough ruck and a Light ruck and we kept getting little snippets of intel here and there, because it was like — I would go check that page every now and then, see if there’s any new information and then people will be like, “Hey, anything new coming up?” Then we get a little note from Big Daddy, and then nothing for a while, and then a little note here, and then a packing list here and then it just kept changing.
Brian: That’s wild. If I ever recall, correct me on the website, it was build as a zombie event? Do you remember if that was the case? I remember it didn’t say beach BETA on it.
Corey: No. It just said regular Tough and Light for the longest time. I think it was listed as a Tough and Light as the Facebook event, but definitely it wasn’t your average event.
Brian: That’s wild. What did the final packing list look like?
Corey: It was chopped down a little bit, because the people from the Florida Beach BETA, they talked about how there was a lot of gear that they didn’t end up using. Originally, we’re supposed to bring a tarp that got cut from the list. There was a couple of other things that got cut from the list and it got chopped down to being real basic. I think we had left was bungee cords, a life vest, 550 paracords, so much 550 paracords, and just little odds and ends, like a knife to cut the paracord and that kind of stuff. It was very chopped down for whatever reason it was. There was like waterproof pens and notebooks that he wanted us to bring and we’ve never ended up needing that at the end of it all.
Brian: Interesting. Yeah, I know that a lot of people were saying from the event down in Florida that they had to bring a lot of stuff that they didn’t end up using, and I know that happened with Constellation too, the first couple of Constellation events. There was just a huge packing list, and then they finally scaled it down when they started bringing it to other cities. It seems like that’s almost par for the course, but I’m glad you guys had a scaled down version.
Starting with that beached BETA Tough event, what time of day did that event start at? Was that a typical night start time on Friday?
Corey: Yeah, it was Friday night at 9:00. They wanted us to show up at some boat launch in Traverse City. I took the day off of work, because Toledo is like right up there at the state line between Ohio and Michigan. I think there was six and a half, seven hour drive, because I left at just the right time. I’ve just been dreading it the entire day, because if you talk to my Pathfinder group, they’ll tell you I do not like the cold. We had Rooney, also famous from this podcast, for Veteran’s Day in Ann Arbor, and it was like 19 degrees up there. I remember coming away from that event where we would — Heat us up and then the wind would blow and cool us down, and I ended up with like some gnarly, like skin condition afterwards from my sweat freezing in my pores. I dreaded being cold at this event and I really shouldn’t have, it turns out, because I feared all right.
Brian: That’s good to hear that you know if the start point is a boat launch, that you’re probably in for a treat.
Corey: I think Cadre Dustin said it best if he would make fun of us during the event. He did this like high shrill voice, and they started off the event. They’re like, “All right. Who came here expecting not to get wet? Okay. Good. Nobody.” Dustin was just joking around, “Oh! I signed up for this event. I don’t want to get wet.” He was hilarious. I can’t say enough nice things about him. He was cool as heck.
Brian: That’s awesome. Yeah, whenever we get start points inside a beach or a lake, you kind of know you’re going to go in, but a boat launch with a special packing list event, it’s going to be something different. That’s kind of been something.
How long was it before you started to when you got in the water?
Corey: Things moved pretty quickly. We got there at the boat launch at 9:00, and it’s the usual kind of just nailing around. The Detroit people were kind of grouping together. The Highland Hopeless people were grouping together, and then there were just some kind of Brando people.
I think Bomber and Dustin and BD come rolling in and they kind of did a little safety brief right there in the boat launch parking lot and then they’re like, “Line up. Follow us.” They ended up walking us from the boat launch about two or three driveways down the road to an actual private residence.
What happened was like BD had rolled in to town, I think, in a Wednesday or Thursday, and they were just scouting out locations. The problem was they were trying to find a place where they’d access to water, but they could also build a fire so that people could warm up after being in the water.
I don’t know if the Traverse City municipal people were kind of like looking sideways at that or what, but BD had kind of reached out to the GRT community and was asking if anybody knew anybody with a house or they’re on a lake, and there’s one girl that would house it for some folks, and so she got BD in touch with them, and BD went out there and talked to him, and it was a really interesting story, because apparently the wife of the owner, her brother actually had drowned in a lake at some point. When BD was like, “Yeah, we’re going to teach a bunch of people water survival in your backyard,” and they were like, “Heck, yeah! Go ahead.”
Brian: That’s wild.
Corey: It is.
Brian: It’s always interesting to see how the GRT community can come together like that and it seems like everyone knows someone and is able to help out in some ways, so it’s great you guys found a house, and that’s a terrible tragedy for their family. That must have made them feel slightly okay that BD was teaching water survival and maybe prevent some drownings in the future.
Corey: Absolutely. We’re kind of honoring that fellow by making sure it doesn’t happen to somebody else again.
Brian: Absolutely. Let’s get into the event. How did it all start? You’re saying everyone is milling around. You guys headed over to the house. What happened from there?
Corey: They had this awesome beachfront property, big, long dock. I’m bad at judging distances, but it was pretty long. They had us lined up on the beach and they’re telling us, “All right. We’re going to do a swim assessment. You guys are going to get your swim buddy. You need to pick up a random buddy. You’re going to swim out to where BD is.” BD is like marching out into the water. If everyone’s just like, “Well, BD is in there. I guess it’s not too cold.”
He’s like standing out there far away. He’s got a flashlight he’s shining at us and like, “All right. You and your buddy got to swim out to BD, go around and come back, then you’re going to come back on the beach and then you’re going to do it again.” That was just Dustin and BD’s way of kind of seeing who’s a strong swimmer. Who’s kind of not so strong? Who they need to keep an eye on kind of thing.
Brian: Yeah. I don’t know if you can trust BD to judge the coldness of water. He just does not operate like a normal person.
Corey: A little bit better insulated than most of our GRT community, and that makes him just a monster in cold water, let alone with any water, because that dude was in it with us most of the time. If we are in the water, you bet he wasn’t too far behind.
Brian: Yeah, I’ve got a picture and I’ll post it in the show notes. The first ever HCL was in Seattle, or was kind of Seattle. It was in the mountains, and I want to say December, November or December. All the water, all the streams, it’s all glazier melt, and there’s a picture of him just face down in one of the streams to prove to everyone that it’s not as cold as they think it is, but it’s freezing water.
Corey: He’d been posting pics on Facebook all afternoon. He’d gotten like little shark thermometer when they were sticking it in the water and were just trying to get us all freaked out before the event I think.
Brian: I bet. So who from HQ was up there? Bomber Bash was up there, if I recall it correctly.
Corey: Yeah, Bomber was up there. He’s kind of doing pics and he was just kind of another set of hands. Then it was just BD and Cadre Dustin.
Brian: Very nice. You’ve done your swim assessment. How did everyone do? Was there anyone who was struggling or did everyone do a good job?
Corey: There were a few people that were not as confident in the water as other people. Me, I spent two and a half years as an aquatics physical therapist assistant, so being in the water doesn’t bother me too much. There were some people that weren’t as comfortable. We just knew. Stay close to them, help them out when we can. There’s another story about that, but we’ll wait till later in the program. I’ll tell you about one of my friends, Eric Flores.
Brian: Sounds good. What’s next with the event?
Corey: It’s probably like 10, 11:00 at night. We had done a couple of laps in the water and then it was up to us to take some tarps that they had and kind of build a wall around the fire pit they had going, because obviously when you have cold air temperature, cold water, there’s always a chance of hypothermia, so we kind of constructed a little shelter around the fire so that when BD and Dustin were teaching, we were keeping everybody warm.
Brian: That’s great. You got to say warm especially when you’re doing such a water heavy event like that. Do you recall what the water temperatures and the air temperatures were like? Was it pretty chilly or was it not so bad?
Corey: I’m not going to trust my memory a whole lot, because I’m not the best with the numbers, but I want to say the water temperature started out like at 70, and the air temperature I think at the time was closer, something like 50s. That’s when they kind of took downward dive, because BD was teaching around the fire with Dustin. They actually had a guy from the Traverse City Coast Guard come in who was also a Force Recon guy that I think Dustin and BD knew. He kind of talked to us about the dangers of the great lakes up there.
We ended up going back in the water for another little swim and when we came out, people were really starting to feel it at that point. Then we had a lot of people who being fit, don’t have a lot of body fat. Me, I don’t have that problem so much. I’m very well-insulated at that time. One of my friends actually, Scott Man, became a very good teaching point for BD on hypothermia. He told us about the different symptoms, trouble with memory, trouble with spine motor movement, shivering, cold blue lips, that sort of thing, and Scott, he has very low body fat and he was staring to hype a little bit. We got him stripped down, no shirt, still had pants on, got him close to the fire. We’re trying to keep him warm as best as we could.
As I understand it, there were about four other people that we’re having the same problem at the same time. I remember Scott getting thrown into a car with Bomber and getting the heat turned up full blast. That’s when we kind of reached a tipping point with the event where BD is sitting there with Dustin and they’re kind of like, “We got all these people, and I don’t know if we got enough eyes to keep an eye on everybody to make sure we can assure their safety.”
Right around — I think it was about midnight when BD kind of comes out and he’s like, “Hey, listen up. Your safety is the primary concern of ours right now, and right now I don’t think we can ensure it with all the people here. Here’s what we’re going to do. If you want to come back at 7 a.m., you can. If you don’t think you can swing that, if you’d rather take off, no problem. Just get with me. I’ll take down your name and we’ll make this right.”
There’s a few people that kind of split off and went to talk to BD. The rest of us were kind of like, “All right, I guess we’ll just take off.” Some of my friends, like Rob Wheeler, Bryan, they had planned on going to their camp site the next day after the Tough was don, so they couldn’t just kind of leave and go to their campsite because it wasn’t ready yet. They ended up staying at the house with BD and Dustin and Bomber and spending the night right by the fire out there on the beach.
Brian: That worked out pretty well for them. Just to recap a little bit, the event starts Friday night and just a few hours in four people are already almost going or going hypothermic. You get them warmed up and then BD kind of puts the brakes on it and says, “We’re going to take a post and we’re going to resume around 7 a.m.”
Brian: That’s wild. I don’t think I’ve ever heard an event pausing like that and restarting later.
Corey: It’s a unique event.
Brian: Sure sounds like it. I’m guessing you went back to your spot, got some sleep before coming back at 7 a.m.
Corey: We rolled out to our — We had a rental house and we went back and some of our friends were already there who were going to do the Light the next day and they’re like, “What are you guys doing back?” We’re like, “BD called it. People were hyping out. We got to take a break, so we’re just going to chill and get some sleep.”
Brian: Oh, man! That’s got to put a little bit of fear into the Light people who hadn’t been out there. They had to put a pause in the event that you’re about to go to, because people were hyping out. Good luck.
Corey: It was serious. This was a really reality shock for them.
Brian: Yeah. You get a little bit of rest and then you come back at 7 a.m. What happens from there?
Corey: It kind of really felt like nothing really changed. It was just like, “All right. Let’s get you wet and let’s keep moving on.” From there we got back in the water, started going over different medical stuff. If anybody remembers the acronym from Constellation this March, safety, massive hemorrhaging, airways, respiratory, circulatory, and then if you’re in combat, it’s head injury. If you’re not in combat, it’s hypothermia. We kind of went over, doing body checks, looking for holes and just kind of different medical assessments to do.
The whole kind of premise of this event was like if you’re on a plane and it goes down in the lake, what are you going to do to survive? You got to start triaging people and tying stuff together and finding a way to survive. The first thing to do is you got to make sure your people stay alive so that you can survive and build the team. That’s kind of where we went from there.
After the medical stuff, we went on to kind of waterproofing the rucks and also making sure they could float. We used a lot of contractor bags on this event. For your absolute stuff that you don’t want to get wet, put it in a dry bag. They showed us how you can make kind of a waterproof ruck with just a contractor bag and some duct tape and 550 paracord.
Brian: Very cool. That sounds like just a ton of useful information. Before we get too far, I meant to ask but forgot, when you showed back up at 7, what would you say the percentage was for people who had been there the night before that came back again?
Corey: Probably 80% came back I’d say.
Brian: Did the people who were hyping out a little bit, did they show up again?
Corey: My buddy Scott ended up sitting the rest of that. I can’t honestly remember on that one. I knew we’re down a few people and I think it most of the people who were really having a hard time keeping warm.
That, and then there was probably a couple of other people who just didn’t know quite what they were getting into. That’s all right. It wasn’t their night and hopefully we’ll see them again in a different event at a later date.
Brian: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. I’m sure there were a number of people who didn’t quite fully grasp what they were getting into with this event, because if you Google GORUCK Tough or GORUCK Light events, you won’t find anything like this in the AARs or the videos or the pictures. It’s probably a wakeup call to some of them.
Corey: Absolutely, because I think there was a couple of people who said this might have been their first event, which I’m like, “Oh, you guys really picked the duty on that one.”
Brian: Right. Right. That’s like when people say their first events, Bragg Heavy or something crazy like that. How did you even find out about this to sign up for it, because this is one of the hardest events.
Brian: You showed back up at 7. You learned some awesome skills. How long did the event go from there, did the Tough go?
Corey: It just kept going. It seemed like we went until roughly about two in the afternoon, 2:30, somewhere in there, before BD ended up patching us. Then he kind of — He’s like, “Who else is coming back for the light?” A lot of us raised our hands and he’s like, “Listen. You guys have been in the water for like 10 hours now. You need to go out of here. You need to go get some food, get some calories in you. Take an hour break. Come back. By that time we get done with all the admin stuff with the Light people and that kind of thing, you should be ready to rock and roll.”
Brian: That’s awesome. BD is one of my favorite cadre and that’s such a good call on his part, because I’m guessing 2 p.m. you’re finishing up the Tough. That’s about the time that the Light is supposed to be starting. You’ve just spent 10 hours in the water, and you guys have been pretty wrecked and worn over.
Corey: A lot of people were, and I’m definitely was feeling it, but I felt like I could have kept going, but that could have been bad because I could have started cramping up. It was probably a good idea to fuel up before we go back into the fire.
Brian: Yeah. Not everyone there had a previous job where they spent two and a half years doing stuff in the water.
Corey: Let me Terantino it back. Talking about my friend, Eric. I remember at one point during the Tough, that big long dock that the people had there, we were kind of doing dives off of it. Not like traditional dives, but Dustin would kind of have us do this little maneuver; look to the right, look to the left, look down, look out, cross your arms. Step off the dock.
I think him and BD had us tread water for — It’d have been a solid half hour or 45 minutes. I think it was without our rucks. I remember my one buddy, Eric, he’s a shorter dude and I could tell he was getting real tired and he was having a hard time holding his head up from the water. I remember just like grabbing his waistband of his pants and just trying to hold him up so he wasn’t getting as tired during the whole thing. There was a couple of times where maybe he got a little bit more lake water in his mouth than he needed to, but he was definitely grateful by the end of it.
Brian: Wow! 30 to 45 minutes treading water. Did they teach you how to tread water in advance of this?
Corey: Oh, yeah. We’ve done a lot of treading up to that point and he showing us how to pull a running shoes off and use those as a floatation. We had pulled our pants off and tie them a knot and fill those with air to use them for floatation. I think at that point they were trying to smoke us so that we’d not perform as optimally, because you start doing dumb things when you’re tired. That was kind of to increase the stress level and make a more memorable experience. That’s what was going on there.
Brian: Yeah. You get a special kind of tired from water work I feel like.
Corey: Oh, yeah.
Brian: I’ve done a lot of lap swimming and a decent amount of open water swimming and it’s definitely a different feeling on your body afterwards than rucking miles or running or weights or sandbag workouts or anything like that. It’s its own beast.
Corey: Absolutely. I think a lot of it comes down to breathing. If you’re not in tune with your breathing, every time you exhale, you’re going to go down on that water, and every time you inhale, you’re going to go up. You got to start taking shallow breaths and just get — I hate to de-cliche, but you got to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Brian: Absolutely. That’s a great way to describe it, because it’s pretty uncomfortable treading water for half an hour.
Corey: It is.
Brian: Before we get into the Light event, is there anything else you want to talk about from the Tough event?
Corey: That was the thing that stuck in my mind the most. There were just so much going on and it seemed like it just went by so fast since that. We just kept going from one thing to the other to the other once that 7 a.m. rolled around.
Brian: Yeah. Sure sounds like it, because you only had 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. That’s what? 7 hours.
Brian: That’s not that much time, and you guys really got a lot in on there. You must have just been going, going, going.
Corey: Absolutely. We’re building rafts out of inner tubes and tying it together with a paracord. BD went over water purification, water gathering, using signal mirror. I’m sure that’s not even everything. I’m sure there’s something I’m forgetting or missing.
Brian: That’s wild. That’s awesome. Did you read any of the AARs or any of the stuff that GORUCK posted about the beached event down in Florida?
Corey: I didn’t want to read them, just because I knew it wouldn’t be the same beast. A lot of the people were worrying about sharks during that event and the Great Lakes know that there’s nothing nefarious swimming in that water unless you’re probably in Lake Eerie, and that’s just toxicology.
Brian: That’s not that funny, but that’s funny.
Corey: It is funny. Wait until I tell you about 1812 and the toxicology.
Brian: Oh boy! I’m sure that was something special.
Corey: I remember Dustin telling us about how he was — They had quite a few females on the Florida beach and he said that they were thinking about throwing like Cool-Aid in the water around them when they were doing one of the swims just to mess with them. Like red Cool-Aid.
Brian: Yup. That would have been something.
Corey: Freak some people out.
Brian: Absolutely. Especially the ones that are just far enough away that they see the red and think someone might have gotten bit, but not close enough to see what’s really going on.
Corey: Right. There was a lot of apprehension from concerns about sharks in that group. When he told us that, I think I was this close to a hernia from laughing so hard.
Brian: Yeah. The water doesn’t seem that bad anymore considering you guys have sharks.
Let’s move into the Light a little bit. It’s 2:00. You guys complete Tough. You got patched. You go and grab something to eat. The Light class shows up and they start doing the introduction stuff. You guys come back, would you say around 3:00? About an hour later?
Corey: Oh! 3:00, 3:30. Roughly somewhere in there. They were going through the admin safety stuff. They did the swim assessment that we did. Just now, they don’t have the dark. It was 2:00 in the afternoon, so they can see everything, whereas as had the uncertainty of the darkness.
Brian: Oh, yeah. That’s got to add a whole different element there. Light starts in the day, tough starts in the dark on the water. That’s something, especially for those who aren’t as accustomed so swimming.
Brian: How many people showed up for the Light would you say that hadn’t participated at all in the Tough?
Corey: Roughly I’d have to say maybe 20, 23. Somewhere in there.
Brian: That’s a decent number.
Corey: Yeah. We had a good turnout for the Light.
Brian: That sounds like it. Then how many would you say came back from the Tough to get the TL in for the weekend?
Corey: I’m trying to remember. We had a picture of them. I want to say it was — It’d have been close to 12, maybe 9. Somewhere in there.
Brian: Okay. It’s a decent size class in the 30s. that’s pretty exciting. All the introduction stuff is done and out of the way. All the people from the Tough class are back. How did the Light go compared to the Tough?
Corey: It was pretty much a spring version. I think we went back over the medical stuff again, the body checks. It was nice to review, because that happened all the way that morning. I was able to recall it and revisit it. Now, it’s kind of in there for, locked away forever. I think we went over waterproof in the rucks again, which was kind of a breeze for us, because we learned to access our rucks while in the water and tried to keep as much water out of them as possible. We’re in the water trying to keep them dry and keep the stuff out of them. When we’re on dry land and repack and re-waterproofing it, we excelled, because we just don’t have so many times and adverse conditions.
Brian: Yeah. That’s kind of nice so guys got a refresher on the safety stuff, because you’ve been up for a while and you’ve been pretty well-smoked and some of that stuff can be forgotten. That’s good you guys got that, and then it must have been pretty fun to excel at the stuff you had been practicing all morning before. It’s pretty cool.
Corey: It’s kind of nice because we kind of, in the Green Beret sense, even though we pretty much had nothing but rain at this event, we did a force multiplier. In a way, the people from the Tough got to come in and help teach the people from the Light. Whenever you teach something to somebody who’s never seen it before, it helps you reinforcement what you learned, because now you’re having an access to that knowledge and give it back to some new people that never seen it before. You start remembering stuff that didn’t realize stuff there.
Brian: Yeah, absolutely. That’s one of my favorite things about doing the Constellation events and then a couple — Or the F3 event I did as well. It was a lot of learn something and then make sure you teach it to at least one person, because it’s one thing to learn something, but it’s completely different to teach it and it definitely helps it stick in a lot better. That worked out pretty well for you guys.
Corey: Now, it’s in my top 3 events.
Brian: Awesome! It’s definitely something that was a net positive for you. Good experience.
Corey: Very more so. It let me revisit some knowledge I had from the Boy Scouts, but then I was able to build on that knowledge. Anytime I can get a refresher and I can get new knowledge, I’m all for it.
Brian: Yeah, absolutely. The Light class, how long did that last?
Corey: I want to say we went until about six in the afternoon. It was good four hours, four and a half, somewhere in there. I think we ended up being done at 6:30.
Brian: Did people who signed up for only the Light, did it seem like they had a pretty good time there?
Corey: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. BD said when he started this whole thing, he wanted us to be one tightknit team and that he definitely accomplished that.
Brian: Awesome. Are there any additional stories from the Light that you want to share? Anything else that stood out?
Corey: There’s a really good — It depends on your description of good. There is a picture of me — The people who owned that beach and that house that we’re at, they have these two huge Great Danes. My friend, Eric, who was holding up by his belt, he sat out the Light and he was just snapping pictures and shadowing and there was one point where Dustin had us kind of sprint across the beach just to get us warmed up. I remember, Lucius, a big Great Dane, he was like standing near me when I started sprinting, and he took off right next to me. Eric has got this awesome-ish picture of me getting kind of chased down by this Great Dane. It’s horrible, because like I didn’t wear a hat for this event and I hadn’t had a haircut, so like my hair is like flapping up in the wind. I got like this whole like smile on my face, but my chin is stuck, so I looked like Tommy Boy a little bit. It’s just a horrible picture of me, but it’s a horribly cool picture, because this Great Dane is with me. I’ve got my GORUCK swim trunks on and I got my Under Armor shirt and I’m just like sprinting. You see Brian signaling that the guy who is the master of Cleveland area rucking crew has big old beard and he’s like smiling staring at me getting chased down by this dog. It was a cool point, and Bomber loves to like post that anytime he sees me comment on something.
Brian: That’s awesome. If you feel comfortable with it, you should send it over, or else I’ll hit up Bomber or just go to the Tough group and find it. That’d be great to put in the show notes.
Brian: Great. Brian is an awesome guy. Huge shout out to CARC.
Corey: I can’t say enough nice things.
Brian: Hoping to meet him in person sometimes soon.
Corey: You should go down to New Orleans at 1812 Tough. That’d be a good time.
Brian: There we go. Are you going to be heading down for that?
Corey: I would love to, but I think the budget is already maxed out with the other events.
Brian: Yeah. Budget over here is probably double max at this point, but we’re almost at 2018, so I think it resets. That’s what I tell myself. It resets.
Corey: Yeah. I’ll try that one. We’ll see how it works out for me.
Brian: Sounds good. Man! These events on wild. It sounds like have really interesting twist on the GORUCK Tough and the GORUCK Light events. When you sign up for a traditional event, there’s usually some rucking involved. Was there any rucking in these events?
Corey: Most rucking we did was probably from the boat launch to the event site, which was probably no more than a quarter of a mile.
Brian: Interesting. That’s cool, that they’re able to spend so much time. It sounded like 10 hours in the water for the Tough and a number of hours in the water for the Light. I’m glad that they’re able to maximize their time use and really bring some interesting skills out.
Corey: The way I look at it is this was basically the Constellation for the water. That’s kind of how I looked at it. I know the name of it is going to be probably changing from beach to Poseidon was the last thing I heard, but to me it was just water Constellation.
Brian: That’s a great way to look at it. That’s awesome. If the beach Tough and/or the beach Light events came back to an area near you, is it something you’d sign up for again?
Corey: BD said he wanted to make it a yearly event up there. I tell you what, I would trade any of my other events, except for maybe Snowdrop, to go to that again.
Brian: Yeah. When I was Bomber Bash on, he said that Traverse City was the most beautiful town he had ever been too and it was his favorite spot.
Corey: I believe his exact words were, “It looks like a postcard y’all.”
Brian: I think that’s what he said. I’m sure that he’ll be trying to get back there too.
Corey: He wasn’t lying. It is beautiful up there. I don’t know why it took me so long to go up there and check it out.
Brian: Yeah, maybe I’ll have to make it out there next time. I do want to hit Snowdrop for next year. I’ve done some events with Rooney and I shadowed part of the Mogadishu Mile Tough out here in Seattle with him this year and he’s got something really cool going on. It’d be nice to make it out there next year.
Corey: I almost have to do it now just because Rooney was in my Pathfinder group and he was talking about it and a lot of the Detroit guys went to it and they had nothing but awesome things to say. I got to make it this year or next year I guess.
Brian: Ronney really is an awesome guy. It’s great that he spends time in the Pathfinder groups. He said that he signs up for at least one GORUCK event a year so he can always remember what it’s like to be on the other side of it. I follow him on Strava and I see the events that he does. He does live his words. It’s pretty awesome.
Before we go, is there anything else that you want to talk about with the Traverse City Beached BETA Tough or Light events?
Corey: You just got to keep in mind you’re environment. If you’re going to come out to one of these events where you’re going to be cold and wet and you’re low body fat, you might want to go grab yourself a couple of cheeseburgers, because it certainly helped me out that I had a little insulation layer.
Brian: Yeah. You definitely have to plan for it differently. I guess if there’s anyone listening who is signing up for one of these in the future, I don’t know if there are on the calendar right now, but it sounds like BD wants to bring them back. You’re going to have to train for this a little bit different than you are for a traditional Tough or Light event.
Corey: Absolutely. There’s no way you can train for the cold. Just listen to the cadre, be smart about what you’re doing and keep an eye on your buddies. If no one was keeping eye on my buddy Scott, this might not ended it so well. Just be a good teammate and things will turn out alright.
Brian: That’s great advice. Before we go, I’ve got a quick question. It’s a little off topic, but I was just wondering why are Michigan GRTs so much better than the Ohio GRTs?
Corey: Yeah, that’s a tough one right there. We’ve got a selection finisher in Detroit. Right there, Cleveland can’t boast that as far as I know. Columbus can’t boast that, Cincinnati can’t boast that. We always see each other at the same events. If there’s one Michigan event, you know everybody is going to be there. We’re a heck of a tightknit group.
Technically, I live in Ohio, but I have a super scientific map that says Toledo is just little Detroit. I consider myself a Michigan GRT. Bryan Singlyn is actually from Detroit, you can’t group him as an Ohio GRT. He’s Detroit down to his core. I don’t know about all the other ones. I would like to get down to Columbus this March and check it out, but I might have just alienated myself from the team.
Brian: Yeah, we’ll see. That’s awesome that you guys have so many groups in such a close area. We’ve got Travel Squad over in Seattle, but the closest City that GORUCK goes, brings events to from Seattle to Portland, which is about three and a half hours away, and then that’s about it. You don’t get too many different groups coming together at events. It sounds like it’s pretty interesting out there.
Corey: Yeah, we got really blessed for 2018. I cannot think whoever at HQ gave us so many events, because we’ve got Extortion 17 coming. We’ve got a 9/11 HTL. There is a Zombie Apocalypse event for Ann Arbor. We got a double Light for Cinco de Mayo. I looked at it and there’s like legit 18 different events going on in Michigan. I got one weekend every month. It’s like I’m in the National Guard almost.
From March until November, I’ve got one weekend where I’m doing either a Tough or a Light or in September I’m doing an HTL.
Brian: Is there a specific event you’re most excited for next year?
Corey: I think the 9/11 HTL, because it will be my first Heavy and it will be my first HTL. As far as I know, just about every single Michigan GRT I know is going to be showing up to this. It’s going to be a killer event.
Brian: That’s awesome. It’s been really fun to watch GORUCK’s events scheduled because they are definitely bringing a ton of new special events out. It should make for a very interesting 2018.
Corey: I definitely agree there, and I can’t wait for it, because I’m going to love every sucky moment of it.
Brian: Absolutely. Before we go, Corey, are there any shout outs you want to give or anything you want to promote?
Corey: One thing I forgot to mention is I’m the rucking coordinator for Toledo’s chapter of Team RWB. If there’s any GRTs in Northwest, Ohio that are listening, I really would like for you to reach out and find me on Facebook and come out to our weekly rucks on Saturday. That would be awesome to have some people.
Then I got a shout out to the Dirty Dozen Pathfinder group run by Hank Stamm, which is just a great group of supportive people. Another shout out to Rob Wheeler who is a new CA within Pathfinder. He’s going to be having his own group for 14 and just the Detroit GRTs, the Murder Squad. Just a great group of guys; Tom Zuck, Dean Aikens.
Brian: One of the best, best club names out there.
Corey: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Then Bryan Singlyn, man. That dude inspires me. I hope I can be half a good as GRT as him.
Brian: That’s awesome. It’s been great having you. Corey, thank you so much, man, for taking so much time out of your night to chat with me. This has been awesome, and I was really curious about the Traverse City beached BETA events and just thanks for running through them and talking about everything that happened, because it definitely sounds like they’re interesting and maybe if there are people listening who are excited about something like this, they can harass GORUCK and GORUCK would bring a couple of more of them to different locations.
Corey: It’s my pleasure, man. I’m happy to talk about it. I don’t know if we can call this a sport or not, but I love rucking and I love the GORUCK community and I can’t imagine my life without it now.
Brian: That’s awesome. I don’t know what we can call it, but I love it. I know that. Thank you so much.
Corey: Thank you.