From the Blog

May
27
Posted by Tyler at 6:46 pm

First, let me start off by saying that GORUCK continues to put on an incredible event.  When they first introduced Beached, I had absolutely no intention of ever participating in it.  Hell, I hardly knew how to swim, why would I bother with a swimming event if I don’t know how to swim?  Then, I met my girlfriend, who absolutely loves swimming.   Turns out, so do many of my other friends.  Not only that, they have all also decided they wanted to do Beached, for Memorial Day weekend.  Well damn, now everyone I know will be away for Memorial Day weekend, and the only reason I won’t see them is because I do not know how to swim.  Fuck it, I’ll join you guys.  Worst case, I get dropped and am forced to watch from the beachbeachandbeer

The Training

To answer your first question, No, I did not grow up around a pool/lake/ocean/puddle like many, if not all of my friends did.  I had the opportunity to do so, but not often.  So I grew up with the strong ability to doggy-paddle, and I made that my strong stroke.  I can, and will, do a normal overhand stroke, if necessary, but not for an extended period of time.  Realizing I needed to be at least a sufficient swimmer for Beached, I did the only thing I knew possible to practice.  I joined a gym.  But not just any gym, I joined LA Fitness.  Why?  Because they had a pool, I had a week, and they gave me a 10 day free trial :)

Thankfully, not only is my girlfriend a proficient swimmer, but she also used to be a swim instructor.  Bingo.

First step, practice my kicking.  “Kick off the wall, and see how long you can kick and swim underwater, without your hands”.  After 5 attempts, I literally stood up in the pool and proclaimed “WHY AM I NOT MOVING?!”.  I still don’t know why, but there was no time to figure out why.  Next was breathing.  She gave me a few lessons, helped me with breathing, stroke, etc. and before I knew it, I swimming laps!!  One at a time, but multiple in general!  That hour went by really quick, but it was very helpful.  Thankfully for me, I have endurance, just very little skill.

Day 2 was more technique and practice.  Another hour of just getting used to water and movement and not drowning.  Unfortunately, this was all the time I had left.  Good thing my friends were super supportive.

The Packing List

GORUCK posted a packing list a few months back of all

The Arrival

We showed up around noon the day before the event.  Camp was set up behind the GORUCK Team House so we wanted to make sure we were there early to claim our territory.  We set up tent, unloaded some bags, then toured the area, buying a few last minute items like sun block and sleeping mats.  The show was about to begin.

The Ruck Off

The night/day/hours before just about any GORUCK event involve a gathering of the participants in a social setting, typically with beer, with the goal of meeting your future and fellow teammates.  Beached was no different, and this time everyone was sleeping in the same space.  GORUCK HQ happens to be right around the corner from the Team House, and this particular week they were holding a Memorial Ruck for Jeff Proietti.  5k, a few beers, and some nice new blisters later, we were back at the Team House.  From here we went out to a local bar with a few of the Cadre to watch the hockey game.  We then headed back to get settled in and hopefully get some sleep before the big event.

Day 1, 0800hrs

Day one started off simple, we gathered around Cadre John aka “Big Daddy” for a welcome speech.  He went over everyone we were going to meet, the classes we were going to get to sit in on, and the “missions” we were going to get.  He assured us that before every mission we will get a run down of timing, location, and what we will need to pack/wear to be ready for it.  Nothing in terms of gear was to be a mystery for the next mission because he wanted to ensure we’d be more focused on the task at hand rather than our gear.  I found this to be very comforting as gear has a habit of taking away from the enjoyment of many events, if overwhelming.

Our first class was safety.  We learned all about the life vests we’d be using for the weekend.  We learned how to mount them, inflate them if necessary, and how to pull the emergency rip cord that would inflate the vest immediately in case we started to sink.  I’m not going to sugar coat the fact that I was thankful for these

The Vests

 

Now that we learned how not to sink, it was time to show our ability to swim.  After a safety inspection, we paired ourselves up with someone of similar swim ability.  There were no bricks available, so instead I paired up with Jordan.  First task, swim a buoy 500m out and back, then repeat.  I didn’t drown, and my finning abilities improved throughout the swim.  It was actually a pleasant swim despite the countless jelly fish.  So glad I headed Big Daddy’s advice and wore pants.

Much of the events of Day 1 kind of blurred together, but among swimming we learned how to assemble, inflate, and use a Zodiac.  Among being one of the most fun aspects of the event, these also quickly became the most despised aspects of this event.  They floated great, in water.  However, we had to get them to the water first, and that sucked.  However, once in the water we got to learn all sorts of fun tricks like casting (jumping out at high speeds), and broaching:

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Later that night, we would go on to repeat these lessons, but in the dark, with only chem lights to show the Cadre where we were.  And it was awesome.

Day 2

After only getting a few hours of sleep, it was time for Day Two.  First mission was to now swim out 1,000m and back with our newly formed sub teams.  After a few more day events and classes, we headed back to the Team House for a surprise visit from the local law enforcement.  They were shutting down our operation.  I have to say, GORUCK has an incredible way of dealing with change, and they handled the situation impressively.  We were told to eat, pack up all of our tents and to plan not to access any of it until “some time the next day”.  This is when shit really got interesting.  No amount of words will describe how incredible the next 12 hours were, but I will sum it up the best I can.

As a class, we were given one mission, with each sub-team receiving side missions along the way.  In essence, we were to paddle the Zodiacs 5 miles north, infiltrate an unknown beach, and find certain items to bring back to our boat to return to our rendezvous point with.  And this was all to be done at night.  The teams spent about an hour planning and plotting our courses, then the team leaders spent another hour discussing with BD the plan.  After combing out every single possible detail, it was mission time.  All I have to say, was that it was phenomenal.

Day 3

Technically, still part of Day 2, we returned to the Team House.  After one more mission on the south side of the beach, we utilized our waterproofing techniques to store civ clothes and infiltrate the shore.  We basically ended the trip on this note, all returning to the Team House for the final cleanup, congratulations, and BBQ/party.  We made it, and it was great

Bottom Line

Overall, this was a very well organized event.  Food was provided throughout the event.  There was a set schedule, with a ton of informative classes.  My favorite part, besides the mission, was the Cadre’s willingness to share personal stories.  It isn’t very often that we as civilians get a taste of this world, and I loved it.  In true GORUCK fashion, we were also very exhausted by the end of the night, barely able to walk.  I highly recommend this event to anyone that likes, or even remotely tolerates, the water.  I will update this AAR with pictures as they are released, but for now I hope this provides a good insight of what we did.  And yes, I will return again!

You can find out more about Beached at GORUCK.com/beached.  They have another event coming up in July.

May
13
Posted by Tyler at 12:12 am

This originally was just going to be a FB status update regarding this upcoming Mother’s Day, but the more I wanted to add the to story, the more I realized I could write an article on it.  To date, this bear has gone through 3 Tough Mudders, 1 GORUCK Challenge, The Color Run, Run to Home Base, and has raised over $5,000 for our servicemen and women.  He has become a symbol of teamwork, motivation, and just fun in general.  Countless smiles, photos, and teams later, he is still trucking on.  Most of my friends know of him, but most don’t know about him.  So here it is, the history, of Mr Bubbles.

(more…)

Mar
13
Posted by Tyler at 12:32 pm

finish

Let me start off by saying this was easily the most humbling experience of my life. I am no stranger to an endurance challenge. To date I have done 20 Tough Mudders, 7 Goruck Challenges (Class 080, 112, 131, 184, 213, 274, 352), the color run, and registered for the NYC Marathon. My training for all of these events has consistently been the same: Roller hockey once or twice a week and beer regularly. Occasionally I’ll go for a run, but people who know me can assure you, my workout regimen sucks. I have thankfully been blessed with a body that heals quickly and obeys my crazy-ass brain.

Initially I did not care for Goruck Heavy. Something about it just did not appeal to me. (more…)

Apr
03
Posted by Tyler at 2:47 pm

The Swamp Asses have come up with a new way to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.  If we reach our goal of $1500, all of the guys on the Tough Mudder team for PA, on April 28th, will wear wedding dresses.  No Joke, it will happen.  Follow the progress of our efforts here, and please help us reach our goal.

Find out more HERE!

Nov
06
Posted by Tyler at 11:30 pm

We are now 6 days in to No-Shave-November and hair is starting to grow!  Find out more at our donation page up top or click here.

 

November 06

November 06

Nov
03
Posted by Tyler at 1:54 pm

Muddercam and the Swamp Asses are raising money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation.  Find out more here

Jul
26

This is a follow up, and contrasting argument, to Viktor’s review of Vibrams.  This past weekend was the Tough Mudder Wisconsin.  I decided to run in my Vibram Bikilas.  I have been trying to run at least once a week in the KSOs because they aren’t quite as “colorful” as my Bikilas.  I also started the Insanity workout the week before the TM with the KSOs.  In short, my calves have been BURNING.  In detail, I have never felt so much pain in my calves before.  In high school I ran both types of hurdles and excelled at them.  Jumping and running have always been a part of my exercise.   But, for some reason, I can no longer jump with out knotting up after training in FiveFingers.  I attempted a backflip off of a boat last week, and both legs charlie-horsed immediately.  Mid flip I realized that I would not have function in my legs for the next few seconds.  I landed in the water and had to try and float without the use of my legs.  This has never been an issue until I started running in these shoes.  This should have been a clear sign, but for the sake of my fellow Mudders, I ran in them anyway.  They put a whole new strain on your calves, which is why you absolutely must train in them regularly.  I clearly can not do this.  By the end of the event, I was hurting.  I talked to one other runner who was in the same situation as me.   Both of us had the energy to finish, but our calves wouldn’t allow it.  I’m not saying that the shoes were bad, and in fact, everyone else seems to love them.  But at the point I can no longer scale the Berlin Walls when I previously could with ease, I decided that they simply are not for me.

Jul
19

“Develop the capacity of a novice 800 meter track athlete, gymnast, and weightlifter and you’ll be fitter than any world class runner, gymnast, or weightlifter.” ~ Greg Glassman, Founder, CrossFit

In preparing for a Tough Mudder, there are many workout programs available to you in order to gain some physical fitness prior to the tortures of the Tough Mudder course.  Some home workouts are advertised heavily such as Beachbody’s P90X and Insanity, or for home gym products such as Iron Gym’s Doorway Pullup Bar, the Perfect Pushup, or fitness magazine’s new monthly set like the Spartacus Workout.  You can even do the official Tough Mudder workout (just don’t believe the “related obstacles”).

I started doing the Spartacus Workout at the end of 2009, and went into P90X early 2010, but I soon grew bored of the repetitiveness of these routines and I couldn’t finish the full schedule.  I signed up for a Tough Mudder (Pennsylvania 4/2011) in November 2010 in an effort to motivate myself to get into shape again.  I couldn’t get myself truly active until January 2011 when I found CrossFit, and now halfway through July, I’m still doing it.  To me, that’s a great testament; the best workout routine is the one you keep.   (more…)

Jul
13
Posted by Tyler at 5:10 pm

That’s right, we made it in to ESPN Magazine.  But it wasn’t for our skill or our looks.  No.  It was because we like to drink while we run.  Check out the excerpt below, then make sure you read the full article.  It was definitely a good read.

I should probably note at this point that, despite having embraced my inner Mudder, this sort of thing isn’t going to become a weekend habit for me. It’s not that I can’t hack it, it’s just that I’m not obsessed with it, which many Mudders seem to be. Like 25-year-old Tyler Danielson, who is also at the event. He has a Tough Mudder season pass and is carrying 100 test tubes of tequila, vodka and raspberry schnapps in his CamelBak. He does a shot with anyone who asks. Danielson and his pals even down shots while dangling from the monkey bars. He has the Tough Mudder logo tattooed on his right calf and posts helmet cam video on muddercam.com. It’s Danielson whom Dean has in mind when he talks about Tough Mudder becoming addictive.

Read the full article over at ESPN.com