Goruck Beached: Finning the Keys

I went swimming Sunday morning.  Well, really, I went finning.  Down in Long Beach…before the skies opened up and it started pouring cats and dogs here in Los Angeles.  I was joined by my GRT buddy, Chris, and we managed to finish our swim training before any lightning struck the water and we were fried to a crisp.

So, why finning?  Because I am getting ready for another awesome adventure called GORUCK BEACHED coming up in May (prior to the Death Race in June).  BEACHED is one of several cool events created by the good folks at Goruck for alumni of the Goruck Challenge.  As some of you may recall, the Goruck Challenge is a team-based event lasting anywhere from 12-16 hours and often covering 20+ miles…while carrying bricks in our rucks and other heavy and awkward team weights.  The challenge is led by a cadre who is retired or still active in one of several branches of the special forces.  They take us (each class is capped at 30 participants) on a lovely stroll of whatever city the event is held.  Ha!  The suck is often epic but the camaraderie that is created by the need to work as a team overcomes the pain and suffering.  It is a small but insightful look at some of the basic training candidates in the special forces go through.

At Goruck BEACHED I won’t carry bricks (at least that’s what we’ve been told – I’m sure other “coupons” will present themselves) but I will spend 4 days in and around Key West, Florida completing team-based missions on foot and in water.  We will ruck and we will fin – movement throughout the ocean and in the city will be constant.  BEACHED is an opportunity to hang out with friends, challenge myself, and gain a little more insight into how the USA trains its most elite soldiers.  Look, this is no wanna-be soldier camp.  This is an awesome event created for civilians (although I’m sure there will be vets in our BEACHED class as there are vets in any other event) to test ourselves and have a good time doing it while learning some cool shit.  Beer will be plentiful!

More importantly, I am raising money for the Green Beret Foundation in addition to my entry fee.  The Green Beret Foundation is the non-profit of choice for the peeps over at Goruck headquarters.  The Foundation “provides unconventional resources to facilitate the special needs of our wounded, ill and injured and imparts unique support to the Special Forces community in order to strengthen readiness and uphold Green Beret traditions and values.”

America’s Quiet Professionals

The United States Army Special Forces, commonly known as the Green Berets, produces some of our nation’s finest and most elite warriors. They fight across a broad spectrum of missions in the pursuit of freedom for those oppressed and to protect our nation from those who seek to do us harm. They are known as our country’s quiet professionals.

Whatever your personal moral and political beliefs are regarding our past and present military actions around the world I think we can all agree that the men and woman who serve make sacrifices that most of us never have to consider.  I am happy to support the Green Beret Foundation by committing to raise $2000 on their behalf.  A small amount but one that I hope can make a little bit of a difference.  And, I am half way to fulfilling my goal of $2000!!!  Please help me meet that goal by donating a few dollars…seriously, whatever you can give will be greatly appreciated!  Five bucks, a ten spot, 20 bones…it’s all good!  Sacrifice one Starbucks coffee today and support the Green Beret Foundation!  Here’s the link to my donation page:

GORUCK Beached 2012 – Edgar’s GBF Fundraising Page

I am excited beyond belief for Goruck BEACHED and happy to raise money for a worthy organization along the way!

Me in my wetsuit (which we won't need in the Florida Keys)

GRT Chris and his GR1 Ruck

Ruck on. Stay Muddy.


9 thoughts on “Goruck Beached: Finning the Keys

    • Hey Jimmy!

      Thanks for reading! BEACHED was great considering it was the first one (Class 001) and at times it seemed things the cadre had set up didn’t quite go according to plans. Goruck put together a well though out event but I knew going in that as the first Beached class we would be the guinea pigs for future Beached classes.

      Things you should know:

      1. You will swim…a LOT. We all took a swim test on the first day but all swimming was done with swims and masks and in Key West even when you are several hundred yards out you can sometimes stand straight up and touch the floor. We also always wore PFDs whenever we were in the water. All swims were group swims and involved a safety line. Just saying all this to let you know that there is plenty of swimming (finning)but it is safe and doable. Just work up your cardio and leg work to work those fins.
      2. This may change but Class 001 slept on the floor of the banquet hall of the local American Legion Post. Bring a GOOD sleeping pad to sleep on. Showers were outside (camping style shower tents) but it is plenty warm so not awful. Food was prepared by the class. This is rough living 🙂 Don’t expect luxury accomodations.
      3. Expect lots of RUCKING. As in all GR Challenges.
      4. There is plenty of suck.

      The experience is what you make it…as in the Challenge. Have a good time. Expect things not to go accoring to cadre plan. Roll with the punches. The unexpected can sometimes provide awesome experiences.

      I’m happy to answer any specific questions you may have without revealing too much 🙂 Email or reply with questions.

      ~ Edgar

    • Awesome thanks. I do Marine Rescue here in St Aug so the swimming really is the least worrisome to me. I guess having just done my first challenge the rucking, especially on the beach, has me most concerned, as 16 miles in Jax Beach beat me up pretty good. I can’t see myself doing 4 days straight of that. The camping, cooking etc, doesn’t concern me either, spent 6 weeks sleeping on the ground in Patagonia last year. Just wanted to get a better idea of the time allocation and the rucking. Maybe with less weight the rucking won’t be as painful. My mind says yes, my knees and foot say no 🙂

      • The rucking is spread out. Not like a challenge where it is 15-20 miles in one go. And you won’t be carrying bricks in your ruck but you will most likely be sharing the weight of your inflatables and other gear. It IS hot and humid so water consumption during missions requiring rucking to destinations is essential. Some missions are time reliant and require fast movement. This was the experience of 001. I did not find the rucking to be as brutal on my knees as a Challenge. Also, we didn’t ruck on sand. It was all urban rucking on the streets of Key West. I say listen to your mind 🙂

      • Thanks again! How bout your choice of fins and mask? Did they work out well for you? I have a pair of OTB Abyss water boots that I think I might use, can be used with fins which would allow me to just take off the fins and continue on. Thoughts? Also I know from past exp that having an uncomfortable mask on for hours is miserable, what did you use? How was it?
        Thanks again, hope you had a nice holidays.

      • Thanks! Happy Holidays to you!

        My mask and fins did work out well for me. I bought a mask & snorkel set at Big 5 for about $50. You can get cheaper but I tried on the various masks and the slightly more expensive one fit better on my face. Some masks have UV protection, some are anti-glare, etc but for me it was about what mask fit the best on my face (BTW…if you have facial hair or scruff the mask may not form a water-tight seal around your face). I do recommend going out and testing/practicing with the mask & snorkel at the pool. If it doesn’t feel right then return it and get another model. The Key West water is very calm so I didn’t have any problems with the mask getting knocked off or anything. BUT I did lose my snorkel at one point when I stopped to drink water from my GR1 in the inflatable boat we were tugging. You might want to attach it to your mask with some paracord. It sucked not having the snorkel.

        The OTB Abyss water boots look great but I don’t know if you want to swim with those. I don’t recall anyone swimming with boots although everyone had fin booties. I recommend getting neoprene dive booties (as opposed to just sock fin booties). You will be thankful for the sole when doing beach landings. Super light and comfy (I imagine the OTBs might get heavy after a while?). You will need strap heel fins with booties. We were given time to change into shoes for movement on city streets after a beach landing so I wouldn’t worry about having your boots on in the water. I think you will be thankful to be wearing light, comfy, flexible fin booties rather than your boots.

        I got a great deal on Rocket fins through a friend of mine and I loved them! They were a bit bigger than most everyone else’s fins but fit great and felt great. DO practice with them to condition your legs, feet and ankles to the strain of the fins. I went through several pairs of $25 fins before I bit the bullet and went with the more expensive fins but the it was worth it. Again, personal choice but this is what worked for me. My local dive shop was great for advice and explaining the difference between different types of fins (scuba vs. snorkel for example – Scuba fins seem to be much bigger – I had an in-between model) and booties.

        I’ll take a picture of my mask, fins and booties and post it up later tonight so you have a visual idea of what I used.

        And check out this link: http://www.military.com/military-fitness/fitness-test-prep/swimming-with-fins

        Hope this helps!

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