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GoRuck Training – Full Bricks

11 August 2011 2 Comments
GoRuck Training – Full Bricks

No that’s not a homemade explosive, those are my bricks. 4 bricks, wrapped up with duct tape. So far I’ve been training with just 3 and finally made the transition to full “brickage”. My fun raising page is up http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/Shanahan/nyc911 so please consider a donation if you can.

The challenge is less than a month away now and things are getting “real”. I’m trying to increase my training but it is so hard to find the time. I’m also cautious to avoid injury. The last thing I would want is a tweak or a pull right around now. There’s no way I am NOT doing this event.

But am getting ahead of myself. What is the Goruck Challenge? You can find a video at the bottom of this page and details here: http://goruckchallenge.com/nyc-911/. The New York event is a special instance of the Goruck Challenge to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of 9/11. We have our own event page and even our own special Patch! No doubt we’ll have our own blend of the challenge to earn that patch.

So far my training has been a mixture of swimming, running, some weighted runs and working out. I have created my own version of a WOD: Stand at a pullup bar, drop to a pushup (do a burpee), then add an extra pushup, then back up to standing and do a dead-hang pull up. Do this 50 times for time. I haven’t kept accurate times as it’s hard enough just to finish but so far I can do this in under 15 minutes. I’ve also been doing some 5km rows on the Concept2 machine. Typically around 22 minutes. Just trying to increase my overall conditioning.

The other day I added the 4th brick to the pack. I’ve arranged these side-to-side in a long lozenge in an effort to keep the weight as close to my back as possible. My bricks needed some personality so with the addition of smiley face, Mr. Happy was born. I also added my new Camelbak to the pack. Water weighs about 2lbs per liter. I added 2 liters. The whole pack weighed about 25lbs altogether.

The weight of this pack was a definite shock but it felt OK. Before setting out I did some chins on the bar and it was rough. The straps dig into your shoulders so all the upper body I’ve been doing has helped but I have a ways to go. I also need to work on lunges and overall leg strength as the pack throws off your balance and gait significantly.

It was about 85F and I ran a solid 6+ miles in about 80 mins without gassing. I added pushups every half mile but canned those after about 3 miles as I really wanted to finish. The first mile or two was really not that bad. But the shine wore off FAST.

You realize *crap* I’ve signed up for 12 hours of this, maybe 15 miles of this. And this is not even the full weight. We’ve got to carry logs, coupons, other people aswell! Then you start to psych yourself out thinking about the big picture instead of small manageable steps.

It’s a mental game.

I started to realize what it means to be in your own “private hell”. When you’re running with a pack like this all you want to do is stop and take a nap. Every step of the way it’s dragging you down. It’s hard to get into any kind of rhythm and you’re constantly thinking about the pack, the weight, how much farther, and so forth. It reminds me of when I first started running. I really struggled then and am struggling now. I expected this. It’s part of the process and it’s all about putting in a “new level”, setting a new bar mentally. Not easy.

I am starting to think about packing and gear. This run drove home the importance of traveling light and I’m going to be going over things with a fine-tooth comb. So far I have purchased a hydration bladder (Camelbak 2liter) and a headlamp (Petzl Tikka 2). I need to try different foods as some of those high-carb sport things and Gels/Gu cause me to spike and then bonk badly.

So there’s work to be done and in a way the challenge has already started.

It sucks, but it’s a glorious type of suck. Embrace the suck.


  • David Merrigan said:

    Hey Francis,
    Sounds like you really have your work cut out, hopefully the actual backpack isn’t as disruptive to your rhythm as Mr Happy and friends, I didn’t like the gels on my long training runs as they took allot of water to wash down so I made myself little balls of food, nuts, muesli, raisins etc fused together with honey.I think nutrition is going to be a massive part of your race day.
    I’ve only ever went for 6 hrs minus 25 pounds on my back so have no idea where your going to be mentally. On the other hand your training looks like its been well planned out you sound up for this big time. There are plenty of places to grab inspiration if your in trouble and the camaraderie will I’m imagining be unrivalled to anything you’ve experienced before. Your mom was very concerned when I was chatting with her at Edels wedding. I did have a giggle thinking your a grown man with a family but still your moms little boy ! Anyway best of luck and more importantly enjoy it.


  • David Merrigan said:

    Hey Francis,
    Hope your keeping well and your training is going to plan.
    Looking at what you’ve got ahead of you Id imagine comradarie will be unparallel to anything you have ever experienced before. The training looks savage, was chatting with your mom at dels wedding and your still her little boy, she is slightly concerned for your health but Catherine was reassuring her and reminding her your a grown man!
    On your nutrition I when doing longer events or longs runs and hikes found making my own little balls of nuts, honey, cereal, snicjkers etc and fusing them together in the oven for a few mins very helpful and broke up the sweetness of the gels, it doesnt work for everyone but worth a shot with the amount of hours and feeds you have to take on
    I know you have to fall back on the gels at some stage but for the first few hrs they keep your energy up without feeling sluggish.
    Bit jealous….best of luck with it.:)

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