Well, this sounded like a good idea at the time… “Somebody” had the bright idea to conduct and then write about a 12-mile ruck sack march and then putting the results in our training blog with the whole encouraging headline for our prospective Special Operations readers, that it is STILL a piece of cake.

After all, since starting at SpecialOperations.com and SOFREP, I’ve had the pleasure of writing the “SOF Selection PT Prep” pieces every day. And not just writing them. It has been fun to strapping on a ruck again and doing some shorter distances with my fat bulldog keeping me company in the cool, pre-dawn air. It brought back many pleasant and some not so pleasant memories of carrying the pain pill while a member of a Special Forces A-Team and as a cadre member at Selection. And after following my friends and SF brothers doing the length of the Appalachian Trail, in a fundraising effort for the Green Beret Foundation, it got my motivation up to as high as it can get and I thought, a 12-miler for time with a 45-pound ruck shouldn’t be hard for this steely-eyed ole snake eater right? Hindsight can be a mother…

I had a couple of advantages that you kids in Selection do not. Number 1 is I knew where every mile marker was so I had instant feedback as to my time and distance. I had mapped a trail on flat ground along railroad tracks and a bike path so there was none of the element of the unknown as to time and distance. Which, is a part of the mind-fuck the course plays on you.

My second advantage is I wasn’t carrying a weapon on this, just a walking stick, my staff of Ra if you will. If someone had seen me in town carry a rifle down the road at my 3 a.m start time, you’d have read about the old SF guy being shot by the police for doing something shady, because no sane person goes out rucking at 3 a.m. for fun.


The author with his SFAS walking stick, the Staff of Ra, which a snapping turtle made the ultimate sacrifice for. Image courtesy of the author.

And my third advantage was having my iPod charged up. Having music blasting in your ear is a great motivator. And nothing kills the boredom of a long hike like music. Loud, metal. Metallica is a good choice, We’ll start off with S&M and then the Black Album.

Of course, I had a couple of disadvantages as well. Having blown my back out in SF, and having two surgeries that ended my career is never a plus, the resultant arthritis that crept in there is always a joy early in the morning. That and having two knees that the same. Two surgeries, arthritis…ain’t life grand? So things kind of evened out. Plus it has been ….. Ok, it has been a very long time since my days as a cadre member at Selection so that isn’t a plus…at all.

I got up, put on an old pair of fatigue bottoms from my days as a contractor with that god-awful ACU camouflage pattern. Whoever thought that shit was good? Stretched well and got ready to head out. My bulldog lifted her head and sensing it was much too early for this, looked at me with a “WTF” look and literally flopped over and went back to snoring. Maybe this was an omen…