AARs (After Action Reviews) GORUCK GORUCK Heavy GORUCK HTL GORUCK Light GORUCK Tough

GORUCK Independence Day HTL 2019 AAR by Way of the Blade

All Day Ruckoff Notes

This AAR was written by Zechariah Rogers aka Way of the Blade who has an awesome Instagram account. He’s one of those individuals I comply with who’s all the time understanding and galvanizing me to push myself more durable in my exercises. I was really excited when he reached out about internet hosting the AAR and took the opportunity up immediately.

1 July, 2019 Monday 0730 (Publish GORUCK HTL)

I just completed the GORUCK Independence day HTL in Philly yesterday. It was a implausible weekend with great individuals as is to be anticipated every time I do these sorts of events.



I’m always training. Whether or not it’s operating, swimming, biking, weightlifting, rucking, and so on. I’m often understanding no less than as soon as a day if not two occasions a day (sure this consists of weekends). Nevertheless, that isn’t to say that I am continually wrecking my body. There are relaxation days sprinkled in, most of my workouts are usually not excessive intensity or excessive volume, and I take heed to my physique. It’s in all probability more accurate to say that I exercise seven occasions every week on average.

The core of my program is the work that I do in my garage health club. This often takes the type of lifting with the barbell and adding in other weighted and unweighted workouts. For my ruck coaching I utilize pathfinder endure for most of my ruck specific coaching. I do not incorporate many ruck exercises since I feel that doing weighted PT is usually a nasty concept for my physique so I keep away from it every time attainable (until required by pathfinder, a GORUCK problem, and so forth.).

Moreover, I’ve partially torn ligaments in my left foot that haven’t had sufficient time to heal. This was recognized again in April, however I haven’t taken any day off from training as a result of I was signed up for the 50 Mile Star Course in DC on 19 Might and then my coaching turned to HTL prep after completing that. Truthfully, training for the HTL doesn’t change my workout schedule a lot if in any respect. I do lots of weightlifting, calisthenics, and rucking in my normal routine.

Packing listing and Clothing:

Beginning with my ruck and what was in it. I had my trusty rucker (1.0) that I’ve been utilizing in any respect my events since April of final yr. I used my GR2 at my first ever occasion in July of 2017 and I will say that the rucker is an enormous enchancment over that. Additionally, I exploit a chest strap however no hip belt. I additionally use a molle water bottle holder from Vanquest the place I put a 32 ouncesnalgene bottle. That additional 32 ouncesbottle is the place I put my nuun tablets and powder pedialyte since I don’t like putting anything but water in my hydration bladder. I additionally added a GR1 padded subject pocket to the outdoors of the rucker a couple of months in the past. This is useful since the 20L inside of the rucker can get crowded shortly. Moreover, the morale patches I wore on the rucker have been the american flag and my fortunate Delaware state flag patch which was positioned on the GR1 padded area pocket.

Inside of the GR1 padded area pocket is the place I put my medical package. Often, the package consists of some tape, medical scissors, hydration tablets, chapstick, blister package, and so on.

Inside of the rucker I have a pair of chem lights, additional batteries, additional nozzles for my water bladder, a 3L Source hydration bladder, 30 pound ruck plate, snacks, GORUCK challenge windbreaker, additional socks (often just one pair additional, perhaps two), headlamp, ID, bank card, money, cellular phone, and sun shades.

I also wore a fanny pack from Spiritus Techniques. It’s not very massive, but it is the place I’ll put some snacks, gloves, headlamp, and perhaps some medical package (it held physique blide throughout most of the HTL). This covers the whole lot that I had in my package.


For the heavy I wore the All Day Ruckoff ripstop cotton hat, a USA t-shirt from Marine Layer, GORUCK easy pants, Arcade slim adventure belt, silkies as underwear, Injini midweight mountaineering socks, and Inov-Eight Roclite 275s for footwear.

The clothing gadgets that modified from the heavy to the robust was the shirt, underwear, belt, and socks. I wore an OD green Lululemon shirt, no underwear and Inov-Eight velocity socks. Wet gadgets from the robust (resembling socks, footwear, gloves, and so on. have been put in the dryer after the heavy).

Then for the mild the only gadgets that modified from the heavy have been a Group RWB Nike Dri Match shirt, GORUCK easy shorts, a special pair of silkies, and smartwool climbing socks. General I’m very proud of how the clothing carried out during the occasions. I don’t assume I might change much aside from perhaps my choice of underwear. I had some chafing that I’ll go into detail on later on this AAR.

My Why

I am a Captain in the Marines and I’m shifting this summer time. I did my first GORUCK occasion, a troublesome, in July of 2017 with Cadre Blackdog. Nonetheless one of my favourite (and toughest) GORUCK occasions. I took a break and ultimately did another occasion in April of 2018 and since then have been doing at the least one occasion per quarter since. This HTL will more than possible be my last east coast occasion for a very long time since I shall be shifting to San Diego this month (July). Consequently, I needed to do this HTL as my final main GORUCK event before I move.

I’m unsure how a lot time I’ll need to continue doing events after the transfer since we’ll not have each sets of grandparents around to assist us with watching our boys. Having the help of my spouse and household has been a huge think about why I’ve been capable of do these events and be successful. It has been aggravating at occasions to seek out the time to coach and do the occasions, however their help has been one of the prime contributing elements to my capacity to finish these occasions.

Pre HTL begin

I can’t keep in mind once I truly signed up for the occasions, but I’m pretty positive it was during the final massive sale that GORUCK did for events a number of months ago. I didn’t need to take a time off from work Friday since I had a comp day. Additionally, I didn’t need to journey very far since I solely stay about 30 minutes east of Philadelphia in Marlton, NJ. Moreover, I didn’t should get a lodge room for the weekend since my spouse has a cousin that lives in south Philly and he let me use the visitor bedroom for the weekend. This was especially useful since they only lived about 10 to 15 minutes away from the begin points of all three events.

In consequence, I used to be capable of get into Philly around 1100 on Friday and get settled in earlier than grabbing a pre heavy meal at the craftsman saloon (solely a couple blocks west of the heavy start point). In fact I ate a ridiculous burger and had an enormous milkshake for my pre funeral meal. My justification for eating like crap (sorry Cadre DS) was that the additional calories would assist maintain me alive. I earned my patch so I assume the logic works, but truthfully there were definitely higher pre heavy meals that I might have eaten.

The dialog about weight loss plan and my food regimen specifically could possibly be an entire totally different article so I will merely say that usually I rely macros for my food regimen, so actually rich meals does not agree with me as a lot as it used to before I was counting macros. I arrived at the begin level next to the liberty bell about 35 minutes prior to the start time. Even at my final HTL there isn’t much talking at the begin point. Everyone is a bit too nervous. I stated hello to some of the folks that I knew however that was about it. I used to be joyful to see familiar faces and fortunately the admin part of the heavy was relatively uneventful.

The coupons have been in Cadre Cleve’s truck a few mile from the begin level over by the Philadelphia Convention Middle, which was our first stop. We had 4 rubber water luggage that we crammed up and a further 13 sandbags. I consider all of them have been 80 pounds or extra. We solely had 23 individuals in the class so this weight was vital given the number of individuals.

Once we obtained shifting our next cease was Fairmont Water Works which is situated on the backside of the Art Museum. Nevertheless, we made a “quick” hour and a half pit cease at the fountain situated in Logan square for some good dwelling. The solar was down by the time we completed and every ruck was submerged in water for vital quantities of time. This time at the fountain mixed with the weight that the workforce was carrying can be a continuing contributing factor to the general problem and attrition price for those in search of their HTL patch.

Once we arrived at Fairmont Water Works we took some time to refill our water bladders, water luggage, and so on. We then began our 12 mile timed ruck. The route was two laps out and back on the path that runs parallel with the Schuylkill River on the north aspect. Little did I know that I might be seeing that trail lots over the weekend since we took the route throughout the robust and the mild as properly. Doing the 12 mile ruck after a big amount of time in the fountain at Logan Circle contributed to the foot points, chafing, and common misery that plagued the majority (if not all of) the class throughout the occasion and the weekend.

Cadre Cleve went on his relaxation period as we started the 12 mile timed ruck. At this level Cadre Belman was in cost. Once complete with the 12 mile ruck we started rucking again down the trail. At this level of the occasion one individual had dropped from the occasion by actually walking off without telling anyone. Thanks rather a lot for that one Anthony. We then misplaced another GRT during the movement after the 12 mile timed ruck as a heat casualty. He collapsed beneath a sand bag and whereas he was acutely aware and did not look like having a heat stroke, we referred to as 911 and he received an ambulance journey. Better to be protected than sorry with regards to warmth accidents.

Throughout the time ready for the ambulance I used to be capable of get a nap and Cadre Belman decided that the 13 sandbags we have been carrying was a bit an excessive amount of (which was accurate) and we dumped three sand luggage at that time. It cannot be understated that the overwhelming majority of the class was carrying 80+ pound sand luggage for most of this occasion. Even after dropping three sandbags ⅔ of the class was carrying a coupon at any given moment since we also had the group weight and 4 water luggage.

We ultimately accomplished the motion from the Schuylkill River trail to Wissahickon Valley Park. Our first stop in the park was close to Historic Rittenhouse Town the place we acquired some relaxation before Cadre Belman went on his rest interval and Cadre Cleve then took over. We then rucked to Blue Bell Park where we did a deck of playing cards. Many because of the GRTs that voted on 8 rely bodybuilders, brickyards (ruck thruster to two overhead ruck lunges), Little man in the woods, and ruck thrusters by way of the robust page. Particular because of 011, since in line with Cadre Cleve that’s where the concept for the brickyards came from. I’ve by no means been so absolutely drenched in my own sweat in my life and I did OCS in Quantico in July.

The heat at this point of the event was oppressive. We misplaced another GRT as a warmth casualty throughout the deck of cards workout which we expect took us about 2 hours to finish. Additionally, I was experiencing some critical chafing between my legs. I abandoned the silkies that I used to be sporting in favor of going commando and applied as a lot body glide to the “area” as potential. My silkies had been soaked since Logan square and there was no point to sporting them and permitting the liner of the silkies to continue rubbing my legs raw. Going commando significantly improved my condition and mitigated what might have been a really critical damage. At the danger of giving too much info I’ll merely say that manscaping prior to occasions will in all probability be my greatest guess for eliminating chafing issues since I usually should not have chafing happen throughout occasions.

Our class was now right down to 20 individuals after the deck of cards and we still had the similar quantity of coupons. We then started making our means again toward our begin point however nonetheless had a really lengthy strategy to go. We then rucked to Deke’s BBQ at the mouth of the Wissahickon bike trail and we dumped 4 of the lightest sand luggage as a reward for making our time hack. Whereas this was encouraging and boosted morale, we nonetheless had to get back on the Schuylkill River Trail and get back to the start level. We rucked down perhaps half or three quarters of the Schuylkill river trail before we lastly dumped the rest of the sand luggage which was again very encouraging. The remainder of the heavy was nonetheless very sluggish shifting since at this level we have been fairly properly spent. Allegedly, there have been about 5 miles left to finish before endex from the point where we emptied out the remainder of the sand luggage. The journey to ENDEX involved taking a workforce photograph at the statue of George Washington in front of the artwork museum, dropping off the coupons at the Aloft lodge in middle metropolis, after which finally getting to the finish point.

This last portion of the movement was sluggish shifting regardless of finally getting rid of most of the coupons aside from the water luggage, group weight, and flag. It is fascinating to note that we didn’t complete the Robbie Miller WOD during the Heavy. Apparently, that has not been written into the Heavy SOP but. We also did not do a PT check (aside from the timed 12 mile ruck). Getting patched was superior, but hectic since we completed around 1930 and needed to get to the robust begin at 2200. I can’t stress enough that the Heavy is by far the most troublesome portion of the HTL, however once it is executed the real fun begins.

Publish Heavy

I did not waste any time with congratulations or hanging out at ENDEX resulting from the constricted time-frame that we had. My first stop was to CVS to get some medical provides. I then went again to my Wife’s cousin’s house in south Philly to bathe and apply the medical provides I had bought. I used to be additionally capable of eat dinner too.

Triple Paste was the main medical provide that I needed from CVS. It is a cream for diaper rash, however works rather well on any sort of rash and was a life saver for me. I still had just a little bit of a rash from chafing during the robust however by the time the mild started I used to be again to normal for the most part and it was time for the Robust.

The Robust

I am not going to go into each element of the robust but will only highlight a couple of issues that stuck out to me.

First, the admin part did not go properly for the robust class. I used to be somewhat late which was high-quality, however the flag wound up on the floor after which all hell broke unfastened pretty shortly after that. Cadre Cleve made positive we paid for that transgression instantly. Ultimately we finished getting our gear inspected and moved on.

Second, we had pretty much the similar coupons as the heavy, but many more people who have been recent.

Third, Cadre Belman had the greatest use of the pain practice I’ve seen so far. He had us in baseball area at Fairmont park dragging the pain practice, choosing it up, and racing towards other teams. I feel having a class carry the pain practice for any stretch of time is dumb and normally ends shortly since the class can barely transfer at all for obvious causes. Nevertheless, it is troublesome and uncomfortable so I can perceive why I’ve seen the pain practice used at many events I’ve participated in.

In any other case, the robust class adopted kind of the similar path and sample as the heavy (clearly the robust class did not cover as a lot floor). We additionally did a deck of cards at the robust however with totally different movements. The movements have been 8 rely bodybuilders (as all the time), ruck swings, flutter kicks, and 4 rely overhead lunges. The robust class additionally received into the fountain at Logan sq. early in the event however as a consequence of not sporting any underwear for the complete robust (and utilizing the triple paste), my chafing did not worsen throughout the robust.

Although, I did have to ensure I utilized some physique glide to my member to keep away from some rubbing there. The robust class had some good athletes in the class and it confirmed. We did lose a couple of individuals to dropping on request and another to a wrist damage. Nevertheless, this was a fantastic class and an excellent event general. We ended by dropping off the sandbags at Cadre Cleve’s truck and then shifting to Independence hall to be patched (just like the heavy class).

Ending this robust was my fourth Heavy/Robust occasion with both Cadre Cleve and Cadre Belman (Belman solely requires three robust/heavy events to fee his patch). In consequence, I rated both of their patches. Nevertheless, Cadre Cleve does not award his patch for HTLers until the finish of the mild. Truthfully, I wouldn’t need it some other method anyhow.

Publish Robust

We completed 20 minutes early which gave me some additional time to get again to the place I was staying and shower, eat, take care of my ft, and get ready for the mild. I virtually missed the mild resulting from falling asleep on the front room flooring, however fortunately I awakened at 1230 and was capable of catch an uber and arrive a few minutes before the mild start at 1300.

The Mild

This mild was in all probability one of my favourite occasions that I’ve executed. The class was incredible and jelled collectively better than pretty much each mild class I’ve participated in. Additionally, Cadre Cleve had his spouse and two youngsters there which was actually cool to see. For me as a father of two boys I might actually relate to that and it simply jogged my memory of how necessary family is.

The light class started with a strong welcome social gathering that involved two groups switching off stations. One group did PT while the other hauled round Cadre Belman’s ache practice. We then made a movement to the Fairmont Baseball area that we visited with the robust class. Earlier than we went up the hill to the baseball area we took a brief relaxation and took some time to allow group members to speak about what America means to us.

I all the time take pleasure in hearing the stories of the numerous GRTs and this was no totally different. Once we obtained to Fairmont Park, we then did a brief competition exercise on one of the baseball diamonds that concerned every staff finishing thrusters and a bear crawl from one aspect of the diamond to the different in a comply with the chief type. We then made the motion back to the start level and acquired patched.

Publish Mild

Getting patched was a fantastic feeling as all the time. Along with the HTL patch, the HTL finishers have been additionally given a patch of George Washington’s requirements. George Washington is a hero of mine so I was geeking out to get that patch and I’m positive I’ll be sporting that patch early and sometimes from right here on.

I additionally earned Cadre Belman’s and Cadre Cleve’s patches which have been very nicely earned since this was my second HTL with them. Many of my pals from the space additionally came out to participate in the events as properly and present help. I used to be positive to grab footage with them at the end. Once the patching was carried out I went again to where I was staying in south Philly and cleaned myself up, cleaned up my mess, and drove residence to NJ to see my wife and my boys before everybody went to mattress.

Final ideas

This HTL was bittersweet for me. I used to be very glad to have the alternative to do it, however it is going to probably be one of my last HTLs if not my final for a spread of reasons. Taking a weekend away from my household to go do this sort of occasion simply doesn’t seem feasible and truthfully it’s just really arduous on the physique. I am not positive that I need to continue doing stupid stuff like this in the future. Nevertheless, the two HTLs that I have carried out have been unforgettable experiences that created robust bonds.

We began the weekend with 20 folks that have been signed up to full the HTL and only six finished it. Our ft have been wet and most of our provides have been wet throughout the overwhelming majority of the heavy. This was what contributed to most of the class dropping off after the heavy. Shoutout to the GRT that lent me some tape for my toes throughout the heavy. I don’t know what type of tape that was, however it principally turned like a second pores and skin on my ft and didn’t come off until this morning (Monday) once I needed to reduce it off with scissors. Compared to the HTL I did in NYC I feel my physique isn’t as beat up, however this HTL was harder. The weights have been extraordinarily heavy, we have been moist most of the time, and the warmth was oppressive all through (even at night time).

All these elements made for a really difficult evolution. Lastly, I want to thank God for blessing me to be able to take part in an event like this, my family for supporting me whereas I do these events, my fellow GRTs, the cadre, and GORUCK for putting on these events. I sincerely hope to participate in as many GORUCK occasions as is sensible for my family and I in the future.

Lastly, be happy to comply with my adventures on my Instagram web page @wayoftheblade and reach out to me there with any questions. I know I didn’t embrace each element in this AAR, however that is about the greatest I might do considering I’ve solely slept for about eight hours over the past three days. So please forgive me if this AAR feels somewhat haphazard in the execution. I needed to put in writing this down and get it out while my reminiscences are nonetheless recent. Thank you for studying and I hope to see you at an event sometime.