• When: 02/22/19 – 02/23/19
  • QIC: The Cadres
  • The PAX: HOU PAX: Duggar, KY, Leprechaun (Your Humble Correspondent or “YHC”), Ruby, Shots Fired!, Trojan; SA PAX: Chick, Madonna, Piston, Spurs, and Tuba.

11 F3 PAX signed upped for and showed up for the GoRuck Tough Alamo with Cadre Shredder and the HOU PAX stayed on the GoRuck Light Alamo with Shredder and Cadre Edge. 11 Tough patches were earned (even though four PAX lost their rucks) and 6 Light patches were earned. These patches will never be for sale. But you can buy a Buc-ee’s morale patch.

HOU Pax arrived Friday afternoon. YHC had a power nap. Shots Fired relaxed in the hot tub. As the the time approached, Duggar, KY, Shots Fired! and YHC took an Uber to the StartEx, arriving just after 8pm. Along the way we learned that Shots has a very marginal Uber rating despite being the same height as Duggar.

  • Conditions: Glorious! Chilly during the early morning hours and YHC was glad to have a coonskin cap. Sunny during the GRL and YHC wished he had a cowboy hat.
  • Disclaimer: GoRuck waivers signed


Our team weight was an awesome cannon made by Codi. If we had been allowed to put it down, it would have rolled but this was anticipated and the bar to push it could be used to carry it. T’Claps to Codi.

41 GRTs gathered in the evening gloom. 5-6 had the Bolts (a little intimidating) and close to half had little to no GR experience. Duggar took the initiative to have the group introduce themselves. We formed up just in time for Cadre Shredder to arrive just before 9pm in full Davy Crockett gear.

Welcome Party:

To help the GRTs deal with nervous energy Cadre was kind enough to intersperse his opening discourse with sprints for the GRTs. YHC told himself that next time instead of napping he stretch his hip flexors. Then in some order: bear crawls for time, learning to load and fire a flint lock rifle, re-enacting infantry advances, re-enacting the chaos inside the Alamo (which included burpees), chaining together sandbags and along with sandbag worms carrying them around the park.

In addition to seeing how the history of the Alamo was going to be built into the evenings exertions, we learned one very important lesson: When Cadre asks for a team leader (TL) then someone had to jump at it, or we’ll all be assuming the forward leaning rest position (i.e., plank) until Cadre thinks our ear holes are cleared out sufficiently.

The Thang, part 1:

i.e., next 11 hours or so. Actually 23 hours since I’ll cover the Light, as well.

Carry heavy stuff and people, generally a specified distance in a specified amount of time (time hack).

Here are the highlights, somewhat in order, and likely missing a few things. I’m going to leave out all the TL changes because I can’t recall how it all went down.

Short ruck.

Build ladders. T’Claps to the Eagle Scout and others who bound the steps.

Lose bathroom privileges because two people did not ask TL for permission.

Escape a ravine using ladders to get on a bridge.

Storm the “Alamo” – a playground. The steel was slippery, and the railings were about 2 inches too high for the comfort of most males’ family jewels. If GoRuck wants to make better Americans and expects GRTs to make more Americans, they should rethink this one particular movement.

Make ruck rafts out of tarps and swim the river. I loved this movement. YHC and a guy named Brian went first. We had two rucks in our raft. We made it. If a raft clearly would not float Cadre instructed the team to carry heavy stuff across the bridge. A few rafts tried but didn’t make it and rucks sank to the bottom. Amongst the victims were Duggar, Trojan, Shots Fired!, Tuba, and 2 others (Christian and a guy in a DFQ shirt). YHC is still annoyed I couldn’t find the rucks and get them to the surface. I did learn that red ants build colonies on rocks at the edge of the river.

The search was abandoned. Cadre told the six with lost rucks that HQ would handle it and he hoped they would continue. All six stayed with the group. YHC is sure that the lost rucks were a mind you-know-what rhymes with ruck. T’Claps for those that continued on and sought ways to contribute.

More rucking and time hacks. At one point, Duggar was TL and he picked me as ATL, which is either Assistant Team Leader or Assistant to the Team Leader. We had a time hack of just under 2 miles in 30 minutes with all the gear. We missed it by 10 seconds. Subsequently, KY has provided numerous helpful tips on how to improve next time.

More rucking and infantry advances.

Then build a wagon out of two barbells, four 35 lbs weights, and two pallets. Again, T’Claps to the people who put this together. After the wagon was constructed rucks and weights were put on it, an initial team was assigned to move the wagon, and five horses were nominated to carry riders. Get it? Back in the Alamo day people moved about on horses and with covered wagons.

As we were leaving, someone with a watch said it was 03:40. This was later than I thought and kind of a pick-me-up.

The wagon held together. Somewhere near the bottom of the hill, though, the troops were getting sloppy. We had some kind words of encouragement and guidance, reinforced by PT, from the Cadre. This was a dark moment for YHC. I needed (or maybe just wanted?) a reprieve from the horses so had just moved back to grab a sandbag. After the motivation, I moved back up. I was feeling a little P.O.’d but the tip I learned a GrowRuck in NOLA in 2017 helped me out: focus on helping other people and forget about yourself. It worked, but it also helped that in the next movement there were owls flitting about in the trees. Very cool distraction. Somewhere in this movement TL put me on one of the flags for a bit. I didn’t like it since I felt I could carry heavier stuff but in retrospect I should have been thankful.

There were several time hacks. It gets a little hazy. That wagon made it. We developed a system where a horse would carry a rider 50 paces and then switch. When we stopped Cadre said we had carried people almost 7 miles.

We took the wagon apart, did some bear crawls for time and then set out again. Not too far into the movement, YHCs hamstrings got tight and I feared cramping so I fell to the back of the formation to get some relief from sandbags, pound electrolytes, and “enjoy” my last stash of pickle juice. I hated being in the back. I tried to encourage those around me and then pushed back to the sandbags.

I think it was during this period we stopped under an overpass and sang Deep in the Heart of Texas and the Star Spangled Banner. Cadre’s words: if you don’t think you can sing, sing louder. That’s me. I’ve added it to my evening repertoire for the kids, in addition to Sweet Child o’ Mine.

More rucking and time hacks. Before getting to the end, YHC must mention Sylvia; she’s a GRT with Bolts and >40 GR events who crushed this event and her efforts were an inspiration to many, including me.

Around 9:15 we rolled into the Alamo and were patched.

Instead of the planned nap, we went back to the river and found the sunken rucks. T’Claps to Madonna. The cold water, reportedly spring-fed so I tell myself not to feel bad about a few gulps, rejuvenated YHC and I was ready for the Light.


This is quite blurry. 70-ish participants.

Welcome Party:

The fun started with an elephant walk with rucks on. This was surprisingly painful. Thanks, Cadre Edge: I’ll be bringing that one to F3 Houston.

Link the sandbags. Get the sandbag worms. Divide into three teams and race across the baseball field and back. Then put the weights on the ground and low crawl push the weights across the field. Pick up weights and race back.

The Thang, part 2:

Take all the weights, including the team weights, and ruck to the next park. A nice little break before bear crawl and crab walk races in four teams. Burpee incentive: 0 for winning team, 10 for 2nd place, 20 for 3rd place, and 30 for last place. YHC’s team got its Ricky Bobby on so no burpees for us. Cadre Edge got 30 in.

More rucking. I think we stopped somewhere along the way. We put the weights in the back of a truck just shy of the Alamo. Then on to the Alamo for a false finish. Then back 3.5 – 4 miles to the StartEx for patching and Budweiser.

Several far more experience ruckers commented that this Light had a lot more weight than other Lights they’d done. This was my first so I have no comparison.

Naked Man Moleskin (NMM):

Training paid off. Rucking heavy, fast, and/or with a sandbag, and turkish getups for time. Plus, the occasional F3 Harvester of Sorrow beat down.

So did the toe socks, darn tough socks, MACV-1s, and Simple Pants…and no compression shorts, which were my worst mistake in the two GoRuck Custom F3 GrowRucks I’ve done.

Areas for improvement next time, divided into two categories:

  1. Will help the team – more strength work, and learn knots.
  2. Will help me – strengthen and lengthen hamstrings, lose 10 lbs.

Other tips gathered from PAX:

Chap stick

Sunscreen for day events

Contractor bag for floating rucks

If the Cadre says bring 10 tarps, bring twice as many

As TL, when calling burpees, call “down” instead of cadence and take 10 counts every 5 burpees to keep the group together

As TL, delegation is key. Get a good ATL and pick squad leaders

When organizing the group to share the weight on rucks, don’t ask for volunteers; find a way to make it happen

At the end of time hacks, TL and ATL separate duties: one focus on people, the other on gear (team weights, etc)

Don’t ever skip an opportunity to fill up your water – you don’t want to run dry and filling up empties the water bag / jerry can faster

Before the Cadre arrives, circle up and do intros to get a sense of experience levels – nicknames help to remember who is who

Don’t waste money on cheap gear – especially carabiners

Webbing is very handy to have in your ruck

Vaseline or body glide for chaffing

Last and by no means least: thanks for Cadres Shredder and Edge for pushing us.

In Spanish, El Leprechaun is The
– Leprechaun