Pain and Suffering

 overhead squat

There is a discussion going on right now on the GORUCK Tough Facebook page regarding the best quotes from GORUCK. While most involve a colorful exploration of the “F” word, my favorite is this little gem:

Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

It is sooooo true. We all have to put in hard work, and a lot of the time it sucks. We all have the choice in how we deal with the suck. You can let the suck consume you, and typically those around you, or you can embrace the suck. You are always free to choose your reaction to what is thrown at you, even pain.

An example from the GORUCK challenge was when the team was carrying the logs, which dealt out some real pain. Chris, our leader at the time, had the gang singing songs and laughing while carrying this several hundred pound piece of rotting wood up narrow trails over roots and rocks and creeks for an hour or two, in the dark. Instead of focusing on how much that sucked, i.e. suffering through it, the team leaned in and laughed their way through it. Same pain, very different experiences.

This applies to so many aspects of my life. I always have a choice, and I’m gonna choose to smile over suffer 100% of the time. The way you choose to react to a situation is wildly contagious. If you are part of a team, you can bring the team down with your complaining and whining. People will follow you down that trap. By the same token, put on your damn happy face and bring the team up. They will follow you in that direction too.

Your choice.

(Unofficial) GORUCK Tiny

GORUCK Tiny Ann Arbor


I thought I had joined a ‘cult’ like community when I got into CrossFit.  Then I did a GORUCK Challenge.

Somehow, I was able to find 6 friends crazy enough to follow me around Ann Arbor, doing push ups, carrying a cooler filled with beer and dumbbells, bear crawling, crab walking, and all sorts of other messed up stuff for over 9 miles this past Saturday morning.  And it was awesome.  So much more fun than I would ever have thought.  10 years ago, I would have more than likely been slow to wake up, a little hung over, and settled in on the couch to watch a few hours of College Game Day.  Not any more.

I was up at 5:30 AM and at the starting point for my first ever organized fitness ‘run’ by 6:45 AM.  As I sat there in the dark, I was really curious to see if anyone else was really going to make it out.  Then, at about 6:50 AM, cars started pulling in.  That was a great feeling.  By 7:15, all but 2 of my confirmed ‘guests’ had arrived, and one had texted me at 6:30 saying he would be 5 minutes late.  At 7:20 on the dot, Danny came screaming in on his bike, and it was time to begin the ruck!

I had plotted a path very close to the path used for the GORUCK Challenge in Ann Arbor, cutting a bit here and there, targeting a 4-5 session.  In the end, we traveled 9.3 miles, did a few hundred reps of good PT, carried some things and laughed just as much as we would have had we been sitting at a bar.

During the ruck, we spoke about doing this again in January.  After the ruck, we decided that was too long to wait.  The next one is set for December 14th.

Here’s a link to the pix and video from the event:

 Pull Ups with 50# RuckGORUCK Tiny Ann Arbor Map