Why I’m Rucking 50 Miles for My 40th Birthday

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This Friday, starting at 9:00 PM in Washington DC, I’m participating in the GORUCK Star Course 50 Miler with three friends, where we will be rucking 50 miles (carrying no less than 20 lb. each) in under twenty hours.  What do we get if we complete this session of ‘good livin’?

A patch.

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?  So why?

Well, the idea started back in January, when I joined five friends on an impromptu and action packed trip to the Grand Canyon for a winter hike (there’s a great blog and video about the trip here).  Six friends from around the country met in Vegas, road tripped to the South Rim, and we spent a weekend filled with equal parts camaraderie and suck – and it was awesome. I came away from that trip feeling energized and focused, both in leading Team RWB and as a father.  And I realized I needed “that” in my life on a more consistent basis – this elemental combination of good people and challenge that makes you want to be better at all aspects of life.

In the middle of post-hike exhaustion, supplemented with a few Bud heavies, we decided we wanted to do something else hard, epic…and maybe stupid given all of the other things going on in our lives – this event was coming to life, and we committed on the spot.

To return to my previously posed question – so why am I doing this?

The easy answer is that I’m turning 40 this year, and wanted to do something to commemorate 4 decades on this planet that I’d remember.  That might be a part of it, but upon further reflection, I realized that’s not really the answer – just what I was telling myself.

Next, I decided that it must be about a challenge, picking a hard goal that would test me physically/mentally, and going after it.  Proving to myself I could tackle something epic what I set my mind out to do. But in meditating about it, I realized that wasn’t it either, if I was being truthful to myself.

I finally came to the conclusion that it’s really two things – maybe I knew all along what they were, but didn’t realize it until I sat down to write this blog.

• I need to do something that really sucks.  Let’s face it, my life is pretty easy physically.  Like most, I spend a lot of time in front of a computer, and my non-exercise required physicality caps out at yard work. There’s something really special about being “in the suck” up to your ears, especially with friends, that lets you know you’re alive.  I’ve realized that it’s not as much about the outcome, as the process that is what’s truly cathartic for me. As cliche as it sounds, it’s about embracing the suck.

• I see people (especially veterans) every day that need to do something like this, and I want to be an example.  It’s no secret that the transitions are tough, be it from military service, or sports, or to an empty nest – and it’s easy to get sucked into the cycle of life – mowing the yard, taking kids to sports, etc.  I look around and watch people living life, but not LIVING life – and you can see the lack of fire in their eyes. Making time to do something hard, and doing it with friends is important, and it will enrich your life.  As one of the leaders of Team RWB, I think I wanted to set an example in a public way.



So, there it is.  It’s not about the birthday, rather much more.  It should be publicly known, however, that the Team RWB staff has been having immense amounts of fun at my expense, to include:

• Placing bets on mileage

• Recommending various anti-chafing creams

• Reminding me to pack batteries for my chem lights, and

• Making sure I had a box for my grid squares (we’ll be land nav’ing)

I don’t know a lot, but I know this is going to be hard, and awesome.  Please send some thoughts our way when you go to bed Friday night, and wake up Saturday morning, as we’ll still be rucking.