September 24, 2018

GrowRuck 12 Reflections


On September 23rd, at approximately 0800, 52 men finished GrowRuck 12 standing in a sand volleyball pit. We started with 52 men at 1800 the night before, a few who had only just registered in the previous 24 hours. We endured 100 ruck overhead squats, sand munitions, Crab Mountain, a 3,000 pound Implement of Woe, and 13 miles under ruck. Below are some comments from the GRTs who started and finished as a team:

Meter Maid (Ryan Strain) 
Some growruck highlights for me:
1. @Lazarus taking a backwards roll down the hill on the crab walks. I know that sucked for him and @Renfro (Sam Taras) at the time, but the chuckle I got from seeing that is a big reason I made it up that hill.
2. Redemption for @Billy Blanks (Blake Mashour) for the shrimping and forward roll debacle of 2017 @ the levee. Luckily we can still call him out on the sodom and Gomorrah butt nuzzlers, or whatever that ab exercise of his is called.
3. The look on the cop’s face by the forum.
4. Beers in the parking lot.

Thanks guys!

Orange Julius (Ben Brannick) 
I just want to say I really respect and admire everyone of the men I spent last evening with. There’s not a group of guys on the planet I would rather have done this with. I am very grateful to @Mamas boy, @Shoestring (Torres) and @Boyscout. When we were doing the 100 overhead ruck squats presses I was collapsing physically and mentally. These guys rushed over to me, emptied my ruck sack and I did the last 30 or so with an empty rucker. This bought me much needed time to pull myself together physically and wrap my mind around the objective of finishing what we all had started. This patch is amazing. Love all you F3 brothers!

Soybean (Don Gale)
@Uncle Rico (Wilson Horrell) I really appreciated your words today on faith. The Crab Mountain maneuver was my lowest point. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so helpless. Zero chance I could’ve completed that without help, which came from 4 or 5 guys in different ways at different times. That was a joy and a privilege, men.

Halpert (Chris Hardwick)
Huge shoutout to @O Positive @Jonathan Hanks for being there encouraging, photographing, and videoing throughout! @Cheesesteak (Andrew Beach) uplifting lead in on “Sweet Caroline…” in the middle of the night @Billy Blanks (Blake Mashour) @Teacher’s Pet (Jeff Riddle) for appearances and support. May have missed a couple others, HC here if so. @Bruce (Christopher Grow) and @Gus (Jordan Carpenter) for organization on all events this weekend! Thanks to all you men who who’s legs and shoulders feel like Lucille the baseball bat has pounded on them all night right along side me! #SYITG #csaup

U-Rock (Mitchell Lindsey) 
As I said this morning, I did this completely stupid event because of all of the times I have quit when things got tough. I stepped of at 1800 yesterday with the mindset that I needed to be a stronger individual in order to get through hard shit. I thought just needed to stop being a quitter. Over the course of the night I realize that’s only a small portion of it. What I have been doing my whole life was just trying to see how much i could take on my own. Where I had been going wrong is it doesn’t matter how shitty the task is (Ex. crab walks/log carry) if you surround yourself with men who won’t quit and will be there for you when you need it most, it doesn’t matter what task is in front of you. It’ll get done. The more you try to take on solo, the more you will fail.

We are all getting smoked under “logs” in our lives. Don’t be afraid to stick your hand out and ask a brother for help. Love you guys!

Choker (Tom Wright)
Huge shout out to @Snookie (Aaron Lies). I was really sucking on that last movement back to startex. Every time I wanted to slow down or quit, I’d see Snookie run past on the side, going from back to front to verify the count, check the spacing, and watch for traffic at intersections. He did twice the work that the rest of us did for ~6 miles. And this is the guy who hates rucking and signed up yesterday. Thanks for pushing me, brother.

Bruce (Christopher Grow)
Super proud of @Commie (Caleb Parsons) and @Snookie (Aaron Lies) . Outstanding job! Watching y’all step up and take charge was exciting.

Snookie (Aaron Lies)
At Startex, the cadre constantly told us to think about why we were doing Growruck 12 because we needed that fire to get us through the night. My initial motivation was simply not wanting to be left out. Friday night at Carolina Watershed showed me how much Growruck Chattanooga had pulled the guys who went there together, and I didn’t want to miss out.

That was a really flimsy and selfish reason and it wasn’t enough to get me through the night. What got me through the night was you guys. Through all the PT at Tom Lee, I received loads of encouragement that kept me going. I was ready to quit on that crab-walk up the hill. I had barely gotten half way up and my arms simply couldn’t support me anymore. @Bombay (Adam Ditzig) came back for me and never left my side until I was up that hill, even when I could tell he was just as exhausted as me. By the time we were moving that log through downtown Memphis, I was there because of my brothers and I was never going to abandon them.

After we dumped the remainder of that log, I just wanted to fall in with Squad 4 (#bestsquad) and limp the rest of the way to Overton Park. I wasn’t happy when @Four Eyes told me to go see the cadre. I didn’t want to be platoon leader. I’ve always been uncomfortable with leadership jobs, and am really self-conscious about being in front of people and terrified of failure. But I’m glad I had the responsibility foisted on me. I wouldn’t have made it those 7.5 miles if I had just been doing it for myself. Doing something for myself never gets me through when the going gets tough. What got me through the night was not wanting to quit on my brothers that had encouraged, supported, and literally carried me up the bluff.

Thanks to everyone who watched out for me on the trek back to Endex and made sure I didn’t get hit by a car, who encouraged me, and pointed out small things that escaped my attention or could do better. Thanks to the squad leaders who kept their men together and always had counts ready when I came by and asked. A big shout out to the best platoon sergeant ever, @Orange Julius (Ben Brannick), who was willing to stay in the back of the column, so no man was left behind, and kept tabs on me to make sure I was hydrating and eating enough to keep me moving. I wouldn’t have made it without him. That last falling in before the march to the volleyball sands and the patching ceremony, I couldn’t even raise my voice to give an order and he stepped right up and did it.

Thanks to all the guys who didn’t stop trying to get me to do growruck 12 no matter how many times I said no. Especially @speaker (Matt Cook) whose response every time I said I wasn’t going to do it was “Oh, you will.” He had a pretty smug grin when I showed up with a ruck sack at 1800 on Saturday. Thanks to @Choker (Tom Wright) for lending me his ruck and to @Bruce (Christopher Grow) for getting me prepared in less than twenty-four hours. I couldn’t have even started without you guys.

There’s so much more I want to say but words can’t describe how much I love you guys and how much you showed you loved me enough to suffer real pain for me. I’ve always thought @Shoestring (Torres)’s obsession with patches was a bit weird, but the GR12 Tough patch means so much because it represents how the best damn group of guys in the nation came together and did the near impossible one soggy autumn night.

Lastly, throwing sand at someone doesn’t mean you actually have to hit them.

Old Man Hitch 
My turn: GR12 was great. I really enjoyed doing hard things with you men. I don’t think I would have wanted to do that with other guys. Nobody whined. The guys that were hurting seemed mostly just frustrated that they couldn’t hold the log more. I’m glad to be among such a group of men.

Let’s do it again sometime.

Bookworm (Thomas Pillow) 
I don’t have much to add to all that, other than I was absolutely amazed at what we can accomplish together. From the beginning with the OH squats, after 10 I literally thought there was no way we were making 100. But we saw the men around that circle giving it everything they had and we did it. Same with the hill. Same with the log. I’d love got my mindset to change and think we can do it right away. In the meantime, I’m gonna keep hanging out with you HIMs. If we can do what we did last night, think about the impact we can have on the men of this city, on our families, coworkers, etc. Dream big gentleman, together we accomplish incredible things.

Gus (Jordan Carpenter) 
I started the evening pretty confident. The days leading up to the event gave me a huge morale boost: my brother (Halfpipe) finally followed through and registered, guys stepped up to fill slots as others dropped for various reasons, and @Granola (Robert Murphy) pushed my emotional tank to FULL when he HC’d the day of. Once we started, the first test was Overhead Ruck Squats, and I knew I was going to crush the event. Squad 3 cruised to an easy victory in the F3 event and everyone seemed to be in good spirits.

Then Cadre Kevin conspired with the Sky Q to teach ol’ Gus a lesson. Someone must’ve told Kevin that my least two favorite elements are crabwalks and sand. And then someone else must’ve suggested that they crank those two awful things up to 11. “HEY LET’S THROW SAND AT EACH OTHER AND CRABWALK UP A HILL!” I was sucking pretty bad after that, and my attitude suffered for a while.

I can grow weary of the platitudes and Oprah Bombs spoken at these GORUCK events for a few reasons. A big one is that the military schtick is less impactful because I’ve already been there. So I try to focus on the team-building aspects and what I can learn about myself. On that front, I accomplished a lot.

I learned that I can be selfish in my own ways that are less evident. I don’t dodge the weight of the log or shy away from the physical difficulties. But I too often remained silent when I knew others could use a few words of encouragement or chose sarcasm instead of kindness. I learn a lot from guys like @Four Eyes, @Tree Hugger, and @Snookie (Aaron Lies), who do a lot more leading by example rather than by spouting off something clever.

So even though I think I’m going to retire from GORUCK events, it’s probably like a Brett Favre kind of retirement. I get too much out of doing something CSAUP with y’all to stay away forever.

Toms (Jason McCuistion) 
GR12 was an interesting beast for me. The Light event in January was harder than I expected, and I walked away with two realizations. One, physical preparedness doesn’t get me far if I am not mentally prepared as well. Two, I need to get out of my own head because if i am hurting, others are too, and my teammates are more important than me. I did not enjoy much about many of the GR12 movements, but I very much enjoyed doing them with you men. At one point, I was instructed to sub in for a team weight and help direct and pace toward Overton Park. At first I was disappointed because I didn’t want to do something “easy” while my brothers were doing something “hard”. A few minutes later, I had the joy of watching from a distance as 50 men belted Sweet Caroline while hauling a wet log. That is a beautiful memory, and one that will serve as a great reminder for me. When we die first to ourselves, there is little for this world to take from us. Godspeed, brothers.

Bottomless (Ryan Stephens) 
with no real exposure to these types of events, I had no clue what I was stepping into. It was hard. it was challenging. It pushed me physically and mentally, but it was worth it watching each guy push, pull, struggle together. Squad 1 (@Uncle Rico (Wilson Horrell), @Pops (Michael Shelton), @Four Eyes, Dredd, @Woodpecker, @Granola (Robert Murphy), @Renfro (Sam Taras), @Phat Pat (Jared Olinger), @Halpert (Chris Hardwick), Kramer, and Sheldon (St. Louis bros) killed it and I was glad to struggle alongside each of you and I’m better today because of each of your encouragement and accountability.

CSAUP? Maybe, but I think @Phat Pat (Jared Olinger) put it well when we were standing in the rain at the veterans plaza…”I did it for my brothers”. Aye to that!

Also, my back feels like it was attacked by 220 grit sandpaper.

Uncle Rico (Wilson Horrell)
That really was totally hilarious that they had us leave those logs laying around. Even I, who has no moral bottom, was like, “is this legal…or right?”
But I would have rather thrown them through the Pope’s window than carried them an extra foot.

Shoestring (Torres) aka Shoelace 
You guys have no idea how much I have enjoyed reading all of this stuff today. I’ve done 2 GORUCK Tough events by myself. This weekend made that patch and shirt somewhat sacred since I got to do the Tough event with you men. Every event has meant something special to me but this one isn’t just special, it’s holy.

On the second round of carrying the log after the FedEx Forum I tweaked my knee while under the log. For the rest of the night it was not good. I felt like I was letting the team down by not being in the fight at the level I had trained for and knowing the amount of work I could do. Extremely humbling to have to minimize my workload knowing I would further injure myself if I didn’t. Even more humbling seeing you guys finish the mission without me having impact. I’m extremely proud of you guys and thankful that I have a few more guys to convince to do more of these events with me. You guys were beast and I am excited to see where an event like this weekend takes the Region. Let’s enjoy and reminisce about the weekend but not for too long cause we need to look forward to growing what we have and bringing more men into the pax. So ABH!!

Phat Pat (Jared Olinger) 
These are my #Reflections:
– I’m thankful I could assist with the initial log retrieval and for being called upon by @Toms (Jason McCuistion) to help Q that, especially since I would soon become debilitated and not able to help as I had hoped.
– Getting covered in sand by @Old Man Hitch had me giddy.
– Was overjoyed to #giveitaway to @Captain Obvious (Jonathan Pettus), though I could not make him appreciate it as I did.
– All of the @Four Eyes
– All of the @Snookie (Aaron Lies)
– Crab Mountain was possibly the single greatest defeat gives way to victory moment of any event ever. Totes amaze balls.
– Even better watching HIM like @Nature Boy struggle while also helping others up the mountain.
– @Cheesesteak (Andrew Beach) coming in with a timely Sweet Caroline
– Every time we cut the log
– The leadership lessons were the best I’ve ever heard from a GORUCK event.
– The 3rd F service was out of this world.
– My squad was incredible.

Ducktales (Chattanooga)
Cadre daniel is amazing, cadre Kevin is scary. When Daniel thought someone was talking smack to him he about opened a can of whoop ass and I was concerned. I was confidently terrified when I was ask to be platoon leader first I blacked out somewhat. I’m really glad we pre cut that center cut while in the river……. …. .. . I was sure we would get trouble from the locals but who would want to start something with 54 ninjas moving an “object” cadre Daniel saw my knife on my hip belt and was concerned, that scared me. Cadre Daniels F3 love shines and I will forever remember him. i was repaired for the gloom pre dawn suck ( that 04:00 to sunrise) but not in cold rain. squad leader @Daniel Tiger (Wood Rodgers) Kept squad 4 sharp, we lost @Tomb Raider but he guided us to adapt and pushed us while checking on us. Segway to @Tomb Raideryou are a swift machine that Mel Gibson wishes he could be haft s :muscle: as you @Haftpipe is a bad ass, we got ant :ant: biters I only got 5 on my hands and they hurt all night. I didn’t mention because you got way more and didn’t bitch. @Slicnut (Josh Regel) thanks for making nut :peanuts: and saw lube I’ll be your spokesman, pretty sure I have automotive uses as well. Let’s make and infomercial. please buy some breathable gloves :gloves: so you don’t ever have prosthetic hands again, I was concerned :anguished:. Photo below was of my feet after. After we were patched we wanted those rucks off and everyone kept theirs on :flushed: @Nature Boy you are an amazing leader loved your strength. @Phat Pat (Jared Olinger) you are funny and strong for one of those beaded mellinials @jepeto you are strong and a great thinker thanks for teaching me the rabbit :rabbit2:… @Lazarus I loved speaking with you in class and then seeing your grit over and over. @Gus (Jordan Carpenter) you are almost as strong and cool as @haftpipe I am a younger brother that loves my older brother and can’t wait patch my brother like you two got to share, that moment completed the experience when cadre Daniel ask haftpipe to patch you :crossed_swords: thank you @speaker (Matt Cook) for the rides and taking direct fire like a champ. Thank you @Halpert (Chris Hardwick) for 3 rides stay with F3 you are strong let me know when you are going to VQ :crossed_swords: please post some of the jiberish I was sleep talking on ride home after I had a breakfast Bloody Mary :laughing::exploding_head: I had to clean the Palmers shower after leaves grass and sand came out of my crack. Got in car with wife and woke up at 840 East. Thank you all for your hard work making this event go smoothly I will never forget it, and will be sharper because of it. @bono let me know how I may help take your position in future if you ever need help or want to retire :muscle: I’ll be your huckleberry. Til next time.

Cheers :beers: :us::muscle:

Carport (Shane Marcellini) 
You men are all awesome! I hated almost every minute of GR12 and at times during the night I placed my mental spirit deep inside myself to try to find a pain-free place. A year ago, I never would have imagined doing something as CSAUP as a GoRuck, I didn’t even know what a ruck was. At 42 years old, I feel like I’m starting over with these new life adventures and a renewed passion for something that is meaningful to me. What a humbling and honorable experience this weekend was to me. F3 is making a difference in ourselves and our community. It’s more than just men peeing all over Memphis, it’s life-changing.

Mamas boy
(I’ve been trying to process this thing, It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I knew it was going to suck but didn’t have any idea how much and in what ways. But now I’m so proud of what we all accomplished together…I mean we pulled an at least 1 ton log from the Mississippi River and carried it on our shoulders, backs, and arms all over our city! I feel so proud to have finished, but now I feel even kind of embarrassed at how some of it played out.
Headed into Saturday, I had the attitude that no matter what I was going to finish. One of my biggest flaws as man, is when things get really hard, I’m the first to complain and point out how other people aren’t doing their job/not pulling their weight/critique how things could be done better. And I was consciously trying NOT to do that during the event.
And although the 100 ohs was brutal I thought it a good challenge and was one of the hardest exercises i had done. The rock game was awesome and the best squad won (squad 3 naturally) was feeling great. Then the sand happened. (sorry again @Snookie (Aaron Lies) I wasn’t trying to get to that much), which I hated but was able to take it in stride knowing that we all had 10 hours left of pants-in-your-junk ruckage left. Suck, yes, but whatever, I wasn’t going to revert to my old self.
Then came crab mountain….and everything changed. Crab walks are my freaking nemesis regardless, never mind a front loaded ruck version with feet first up a huge hill. When he announced the crab walk, my heart sank, but I wasn’t going to complain, right, then he announced feet first. I first thought he was joking. Obviously he wasn’t.
Started off ok, then about 1/4 of the way up hit the mud. It took all my energy to go 6” yo, then I’d put my hands back to brace myself and I’d lose a foot. I was falling backwards. After about 3 of those attempts one of my arms cramped, and to stop this i laid back…the ruck fell down the hill and hit my neck, right at my trachea, my arm still cramping, my body slipping in the mud and to top it all off my pants (and compression shorts) were getting caught and pulled down (which were both full of sand at this point).
I snapped. Lost my damn mind. Expletives flew, and out came the worst of me….I was ready to quit…everything: this crab walk, this event, even F3 because if I walked out on this I’d never be able to post again.
All I remember is I yelled at some point that I’m quitting and at least 2 brothers (@Bookworm (Thomas Pillow) and slaughter I believe) yelled back that I was not going to quit and they offered to help. Not wanting to admit I needed help, I refused at that point, but I will always remember them yelling back immediately that “you will not quit!” A few more pushed upward, I was laying on my side, pants at my knees, ruck dragging between my body and the ground and just laying there trying to a)not slide down the freaking hill and b)contemplating how I could walk away without being noticed…when a brother (I honestly have no idea who it was) came behind me and just yelled “I got you, let’s go!” He made me take the help and pushed my back with every effort to move toward the top. And ONLY because of him, I made it. Gathered myself and then was able to help several guys get to the top.
I was broken by that crab walk mountain. The worst of me came out despite my best efforts to stop it, despite my will prior to the event that I wasn’t going to think about quitting. And other men fought that voice in my head (that may have escaped my mouth as well), and then they literally pushed me to the top.
I feel I need to apologize to several men for my attitude during that evolution. So I’m sorry for anyone I may have brought down during that evolution
I was thinking that at the end I’d never do another event like that…but if you men are involved…I would. Tomorrow.

Bruce (Christopher Grow) 
Guys – This was the most exciting event I’ve been apart of so far. This was my 4th event and I’ve done all of them with @Gus (Jordan Carpenter) and @Granola (Robert Murphy). Having @Granola (Robert Murphy) HC just a couple hours before he event got me super hyped. I’m glad to see you back on there brother. I enjoyed seeing a lot of guys step up and become leaders and push themselves outside of their comfort zones. A lot of guys hit their lows but seeing other F3 guys encourage them and push them and see them not quitting and coming out the other side was amazing. I did not think everything would run as smoothly as it did. It was hard getting things to line up and planned accordingly. But because of you guys, especially @Gus (Jordan Carpenter), @Slicnut (Josh Regel), @O Positive, @Teacher’s Pet (Jeff Riddle), @Phat Pat (Jared Olinger) and @Four Eyes, we were able to make that happen. And like Dredd, Slaughter, and Bono said on the ride to the airport “it was the most organized and efficiently run GrowRuck “ they have been apart of. Dredd said it would’ve been better if we went to West Memphis because he had never been there and jay we should focus on planting there next.

When we hit the park where we left the Implement of Woe was when I hit my low. I was extremely tired. I started dozing. I’m glad that Pitino put me in charge as 3rd Squad leader. It gave me something to do and to not think of myself. Something I’m constantly guilty of and is a leadership weakness of mine. Shoutout to @Daniel Tiger (Wood Rodgers) and @Carport (Shane Marcellini) for the constant encouragement especially on freaking Crab Mountain. I do these events not only for the challenge, but to be with my brothers. Because Iron Sharpens Iron when men do hard things.

Tyler Willis (Boy Scout – Houston)
I just want to say that Growruck 12 was amazing and I’m so happy that I was able to be apart of it with all of you. I came to Memphis with one goal. Finishing was my main priority. After the great 2nd F at the water shed and the following mornings work out I was starting to feel that bond that I find in my local F3 AO then grow school came and I was reminded that mission first men always its not about one person finishing it’s about everyone finishing it’s crazy to me how big F3 Memphis is in just one year that speaks volumes to the leadership you have in your region. You put on a heck of a grow ruck. I have talked to a few here in Houston today and I think the best part of my experience was that no one quit no one was DQ’ed with all of the new guys and late additions morale stayed high everyone left a winner and a better man for being apart of it. I look back at my first attempt at grow ruck 08 and I wish our region would have had a little more Memphis in it Your Region is full of HIM’s just look at the way Orange juleous started vs finished that is a testament to that. We saw men go through very tough mental and physical situations only too see them get stronger as the night went on come together as a team and succeed it was great to be around you guys special thanks to Gus’s and Bruce Wayne and Bono for going the extra mile with the planing and helping me get signed up and keeping me up to date along the way. Sorry I can’t remember your name but thank you for allowing me to stay at the bunk house. I would also like to confirm the previous statement of squad 4 being the best squad

Choker (Tom Wright)
I had a huge sucker punch to the gut and team vs. self lesson right off the bat during the welcome party. After we got back from the first run to the sand pit and found that all our rucks had been mixed up, my sole concern was about myself and how I was going to find my ruck. Another trip to the pit and back, and I still couldn’t find it. Then we started doing the squat/presses – during the presses I’d scan the circle looking for it, and between every set I’d shout out “Who has my black multicam?!?” My shouts were partially drowned out my @Lazarus shouting “Black ruck with GrowRuck patch!” After a couple of rounds of that I was getting really irritated. Why won’t people look at what they are holding and answer my shouts? Then an awful feeling hit me and I realized I was so focused on myself that I hadn’t even looked down to see what ruck I had. Sure enough, it was a black ruck with a GrowRuck patch on it. I shouted out to Laz that I had his, and when that set of squats was over I ran over to him and passed it off. As I did, he pointed to someone a couple of places to his right and said “Isn’t that yours”? Right there Danny’s “Team, teammates, self” lesson hit home in a big way. You can hear that lesson with your ears, but it doesn’t take hold until you experience it in action.

Nature Boy 
GR12 was an amazing experience! Crabwalk Mountain sucked! I struggled the whole time and would not have made it up without the help of several HIM. I have never seen so many people put themselves last and others around them first. I was humbled multiple times throughout the 14 hours. So many PAX helped me and offered solid advice and words of encouragement. I would love to do this again with Y’all. Thank you for putting up with me. SYITG.

Wow, GrowRuck 12! How does one begin to convey what that means? I can imagine someone asking me, “Hey what’s that GrowRuck thing you did all about?” Should I ask them if they have a couple of hours and want to watch a man shed a tear or two in the telling?
So, for me, the few weeks leading up to GrowRuck I had not been able to post at the Wednesday Barracks Ruck workouts, challenges at work were sapping my energy, and I was beginning to wish I hadn’t signed up. Then, at Carolina Watershed, I caught the fever of excitement, and started to get pumped up. I got to meet Half Pipe, super cool dude with a few similar interests, got to hear stories from the movers and shakers (Dredd, Bono, & Slaughter), and just generally became excited to kill this event with all of you great dudes.
Saturday morning of was more of the same excitement, a huge group of great guys pushed and led by the F3 leader that I immediately grew to respect upon meeting, and Grow School, which far surpassed my expectations of content and delivery. Somehow, at this point, I had subconsciously decided that this would be the kind of event that we would grind through together, and everyone would make it just fine. In some ways, that was true, but that simplistic expectation sorely discounted the depths of pain, despair and mental warfare, and the heights of courage, trust, teamwork, shared experience, and pride that would take place over the 14-hour event.
Well, personally, the commencing event by the Mighty Mississippi could not have gotten off to a more disastrous start. When Cadre Daniel called me out for showing disrespect, all the excitement and determination I had built up were crushed. I was immediately ashamed and sorry for what that might mean for all the men around me. I didn’t think I had done anything, but I quite obviously did. Old (bad) habits die hard. All I wanted to do was tell Cadre Daniel I was sorry for the disrespect, but knew I couldn’t apologize with any meaning behind it until I had completed the event. When I did finally apologize after getting the patch, Cadre said it was no big deal, but they look for anything and sometimes even make things up so they can get everyone’s attention. Well, all I know is that for 14 solid hours I couldn’t shake that sick feeling of letting everyone down out of my mind.
After the initial and major faux pas, I was determined to prove myself throughout the rest of the event, still very much with self-centered thinking. My first doubts arose around the 70th rep of Squats with the Ruck over my head. I was seeing black spots and thought I might not make it. It was helpful to see @Bookworm (Thomas Pillow) to my right, doing the same thing I was doing, without complaining, sometimes struggling sometimes crushing, but all the time moving. He didn’t have to stop stopping, because he didn’t stop. This was my first stark reminder of the critical nature of teamwork to this event.
Crab Mountain is permanently etched in my memory as metaphorical to life. It began as a ridiculous challenge, I found a good rhythm, and quickly thought I could do it on my own, then slide back into the helping feet and encouraging words of @Granola (Robert Murphy), an awesome beast of a man, found my footing again, got close to the top, before realizing that I was completely helpless to make it another six inches, and relied on the help of two HIM to push/pull/drag me to the top. That seems to be an accurate summary of my life.
I’ll not go on about the particular challenges we faced, thought they were great and many, but I do want to record my thoughts on the different HIM who impacted me. @Nature Boy was beastly in so many ways, and we scored a great stroke of luck in having him on Squad 4. His leadership early in the night set the tone for other leaders behind him. His steady presence, commanding voice, and care for his men resonated with me. I also had the pleasure of marching many tired and wet miles with him, and learned from his machine-like ways. I was convinced that he was, indeed, a machine, until he told me he was a little tired, but upon reflection, I’ve concluded he told me that to sympathize with me.
@Granola (Robert Murphy) exuded Mission, Men, Self in a way that I hope to retain with me for life. He used his voice for a constant stream of encouragement, while also physically helping at least two people, and that at the same time. Propers to you, my friend.
@Commie (Caleb Parsons) was an object lesson on determination. I marched behind him the majority of the time that he was Squad 4 Fire Team Leader Alpha, and I noticed a couple of things: 1) He was determined to perform his duties well (which he did), and 2) he was determined to do it despite circumstances. He had some major chafing going on, and he had the least ideal ruck and weights of anyone else that I saw. Thank you for that example, @Commie (Caleb Parsons).
Half Pipe was the fatherly, wise, steady presence that I needed to see and hear throughout the night. He brought a sense of calm amid the various stormy challenges.
Bookworm was just good ole Bookworm, steady. Steady was powerful to me, because the inside of my head was a roller coaster most of the night.
@Tomb Raider provided a quiet confidence and constant positive attitude. That was golden. Also, why am I not surprised he was one of the first to crest Crab Mountain and come back down to help get the rest of us to the top?
@Daniel Tiger (Wood Rodgers) cared for his men as well as anyone else. He was constantly raising morale, and used his sense of humor strategically to our benefit.
It would be wrong of me not to mention the unexpected superstars (@Snookie (Aaron Lies)) , the sustained greatness of the great ones (@Four Eyes , @Gus (Jordan Carpenter), @Bruce (Christopher Grow) , @Soybean (Don Gale), @O Positive , @Old Man Hitch, @speaker (Matt Cook), @Shoestring (Torres), @Orange Julius (Ben Brannick), for the various and memorable contributions to the weekend. I’m sure it is wrong of me not to mention every single man by name, but I just don’t know all the names.
So, in conclusion, I’ll tip my sandy hat to basketball sized boulders, death squats and raining sand upon my friendly foes across the net. I’ll raise my glass of Fireside Amber to toast massive logs and tiny hand saws, chafed inner thighs and burning calves. I’ll take a bite of a chicken biscuit, sip on some J Brooks Bootleg and ponder shared leadership, loving by knowing, and how to connect community to team. I’ll gingerly don my Grit, Grind Grow shirt over my raw shoulders and fondly remember the most beautiful recitation of James, and the feeling of muted glee at not having to launch another mortar round of sand at my brother. All the while, I’ll remember my favorite Beach boy, @Cheesesteak (Andrew Beach), leading an impromptu Karaoke session of Sweet Caroline, while thanking my brothers for not putting a boulder in my ruck and tossing me into the river. Finally, I’ll hum the Doxology to myself, and then know that “It is well with my Soul”.
If someone asks me about my experience, I’ll just have to tell them, “You would have had to be there”.

Bombay (Adam Ditzig
For The Love of Him
GrowRuck012 Sucked and 52 HIM embraced it!

Friday night:
•Had the opportunity to meet fellow F3 brothers from Memphis, Chattanooga, Louisville, Dallas, Houston, Charlotte
• Heard from Dredd as he covered the mission and foundation of F3
• 3rd F
• Good BEER

Saturday morning:
• Had the opportunity to grind it out with 62 F3 brothers (4FNG’s)
• Learned the proper form of Flutter Kicks (D!@k beaters are on the ground under your 6)
• Grow School: Pro’s practice in the worst conditions. Amateurs practice in the best conditions.
Saturday Night:
• 14 hours of HELL
• As soon as we started 100 OHS I was second guessing myself. I think it was Tomb Raider that kept me in the fight! He kept repeating you got this!
• I somehow enjoyed the LowCrawls. I had Pops on my left and Old Man Hitch on my right. The first roll we did I know I kicked someone!
• The sand pits made me smile at the time. This is where I paid Tomb Raider back for helping me out with the 100 OHS. “Thanks for the help here is a hand full of sand to the face!”
• Crab Crawl Mountain. I was about half way up when Gus cramped up. When I heard him scream I tried turning around and rolled head over heals. Several HIM were already at his side so I pressed on. I was about 15 feet from the top when I thought to myself, there is no way you are making it to the top. I think it was Ducktails that pushed me to the finish line. I immediately headed down the hill to help my brothers! I think that hill humbled all 52 of us!
• The Log…. as one of the taller guys at Growruck the log sucked! I felt useless half the time because it was hard for me to get my shoulder under it. When I did get under the log, I was in a half squat and and to shuffle my feet 6inches at a time. After the FedEx Forum the log took me to a Dark place! Thankfully someone put me on the sandbag for a while. I was able to regain my composure walking with U-rock.
• The Ruck to Overton Park was not so bad but the Ruck back to Tom Lee was very Difficult! Luckily I was next to Shoe String and I had a pocket full of Skittles. Shoe Strings knee was hurting and he wasn’t giving up. I asked him if I could take his ruck and thankfully declined. Reality was I didn’t want it, I just knew he was hurting, so I offered. I didn’t say anything but that helped drive me to stay in the fight. (This guy is hurting and won’t give up his ruck, what’s my excuse keep pushing!)
• The emotional finish! While sitting listening to Four Eyes, Commie and Uncle Rico, I was fighting my emotions! My Body was physically drained and tightening up by the second, there is something to say about a MAN opening up in front of a large group! I truly am grateful to all the HIM that helped me complete this event.

Looking back at the weekend:
I took my body and mind to a place it has never been before. I have a much stronger bond and amount of respect for ALL my F3 brothers.

Special thanks to O-Positive for EHing me 8 mo this ago!

Yours Truly,
Gordon Bombay

Soybean (Don Gale)
To be totally honest, I was not looking forward to GR12. I did GR05 in Chattanooga. It was an incredible experience. I was really excited for us to have the opportunity to host, and tried to be enthusiastic about tricking you guys into HC-ing. My excitement started to wane the three weeks prior to the event because I kept feeling weak during bootcamp and on extended rucks. I was definitely not in “GORUCK shape” (whatever that is) for GR05, and I really don’t think you can ever be 100% prepared for those events. The cadres find a way to challenge you, whether you’re Jesse Ventura in Predator or the 2017 version of Soybean. I mean Halfpipe _is_ a cadre and got attacked by fire ants! You can’t prepare for that. Approaching GR12, I had higher expectations for myself and the contribution I could make to the team, so when I was getting fatigued doing merkins a week before the event, it was really frustrating. That made me start doubting why I was even doing it. I’ve already done this. Why am I putting myself through this again? Those doubts stayed with me until around 4pm Saturday when I realized there was nothing to be done. I had to post because I committed to it and my brothers were counting on me being there.

The event started fine – I was expected a lot of PT for the welcome party. I did not expect 100 overhead squats. I couldn’t extend my arms at the bottom after about 25 reps, and I was very concerned I’d be called out and make the rest of the group wait for me to fix my form. I can’t remember who was to my left, but when we took our break after 40 or 50, he asked if I was alright. I said “yeah,” but I really wasn’t. I was dizzy, out of breath, and felt nauseous. Cadre specifically said to speak up if you feel like that maybe an hour earlier, but what are you gonna do? The doubts came back pretty strong then. For a few seconds, I really considered walking away. I only stayed because I wanted everyone else to finish, and I thought if I left, someone might follow me, or want to follow me. Looking back, I know that you guys would’ve just grabbed me and made me stay anyway. I drank some water, caught my breath, and just tried to keep up. The last 50-60 reps I mostly had my ruck resting on my neck, eyes closed, just hoping cadre didn’t call me out. Somehow we got through 100 of those, and I thought that was the hardest thing I’d ever done. I had no idea.

When we walked over to the bluff, I was nervous. When Cadre Kevin said to crab walk up it, I was annoyed. When we _all_ tried to go head first and he stopped us, I was utterly dismayed. Chaos ensued. Some guys were making great progress. Others were falling sideways, rucks sliding off. Halfpipe just stood up and was hitting himself – fire ants! I got maybe a third of the way up and couldn’t move. Toms helped me up by him and let me rest on his back a minute. My right shoe kept coming off, my pants were coming off, and my arms could barely support my weight, forget about pushing my body up. I was stuck. This was where the power of these events really shows. If we were doing this at a bootcamp, some of us would’ve made it to the top, others would’ve “modified as necessary” and turned around or bear crawled, others would’ve just taken the stairs. This wasn’t a 45 minute workout, though. I couldn’t be the guy that sent us all back to the bottom, but I couldn’t do anything to progress.

Boy Scout and some others around had the idea of passing rucks up like a conveyor. Toms stayed with me and gave me support when I needed it. Then, Slaughter and another guy came down from the top, got on all fours behind me, and pushed me up. About 10 feet from the top, Tomb Raider picked up my feet and helped the last few steps. It was incredible, humbling, and it got my mind right. When I got to the top, I thought, “If we can do that, we can do anything.” And we proceeded to do that. Rucked through a busy downtown corridor with a 50’ log. Found creative ways to cut, carry, and dispose of the logs. Found creative places to pee. I kept expecting more PT – at the park where we dropped the last log section, at Overton, and back at Tom Lee. It never came.

Four Eyes’ GrowRuck Revival was incredible. When Uncle Rico talked about faith, and how Crab Mountain was a perfect picture of totally leaning on Another for salvation, that hit me hard. I try, but I can’t do it all myself, and I’m not supposed to. Commie was an inspiration. I was an idiot at 19 – I wish I’d had F3 in my life then. When Four Eyes called us to keep headlocking because the guys who really need F3 are still out there being sad clowns, I was overwhelmed. I’ve spent the last year getting to know you brothers on muddy fields and rough parking lots, in rain, wind, and snow. You’ve had a tremendous impact on my life. I’m happier, healthier, and most importantly, I’m constantly challenged by you guys to be a better man. We can have that same impact on men in our community by just getting them to ring the first bell.

I came away from GR12 thankful for the opportunity to suffer alongside each one of you and eager to continue growing and maturing as a region in Memphis.

I worked hard the last several months getting myself ready for Growruck.  It kept me accountable to push myself and post as much as possible so I could do my best. When we started those squats at grow ruck, I was quickly humbled. I’d worked so hard to get ready for this and I realized I was still not at all ready, and shouldn’t be there.  I kept a bad attitude most of the night. During the log carry at some point I started thinking about just quitting, even though that meant I couldn’t show my face around F3 anymore.  I didn’t care about that pain, I just over it and really wanted some dry socks. Thankfully I couldn’t think of a way home. It wasn’t until Four Eyes spoke at the end that my mind really got right. I finally remembered that it wasn’t about one night, but that it was about what the last 8 months have meant for me, and what the future looks like together. When we were in the sand at the end, I was pretty sure it was over. I also know that if we had to have another sand fight, go back up crab mountain, or whatever else, that we were all prepared to do it and finish well together.
After using Growruck as motivation to push myself for so long, I was planning on taking a step back for a while after it was over. When I was laying there hurting at some point on Sunday, I was more eager than ever to get back to work in the gloom with F3. I felt like I needed to post, even though my body wasn’t near ready.  I’m thankful that the truths of this brotherhood are real, even when my selfishness distracted me from them. I’m excited to be a part of this group, continuing to prepare for whatever is next in life, so that we can share more victory together.

Uncle Rico
Read his post here:

More to come…