Let me start with a brief introduction: I started an on-again-off-again relationship with kettlebells in the early 2000’s with the book Russian Kettlebell Challenge. My fitness journey has taken a winding path, and for the past couple of years has been focused on staying in shape for GORUCK events. To aid in my training for those crazy events, I attended the StrongFirst All-Terrain Conditioning seminar in Northern Virginia back in June. The information presented by Derek Toshner made so much sense, despite the too-good-to-be-true thoughts that were churning in the back of my head. But I have been down the path of beating myself into the ground and showing up at an event in less than optimal shape, so I was excited to try something new. At the seminar, I was lucky enough to meet Mark Reinke. I had previously read Mark’s article How to Use StrongFirst for Successful GORUCK Prep | StrongFirst and naturally I wanted to pick his brain. Mark was incredibly gracious in talking to me at the seminar and in assisting me in my training afterward. My goal was to get ready for my first GORUCK Heavy: a 24+ hour team-building endurance event filled with MANY miles of rucking, MANY push ups, carrying a lot of sandbags, etc. I have successfully completed several Toughs (12 hours), but the Heavy was a new challenge for me. Mark guided me through using swings and snatches in A+A workouts, get ups, plus I followed his plans for keeping up with push ups and pull ups. Naturally, I did a lot of rucking as well, but I never pushed the pace on my training rucks, I kept myself in an aerobic zone, carrying just a little more weight than I would need for the event. The workouts felt fantastic! I was working hard, but I never felt like I had just endured a beat down during a workout. I was able to get a taste of how the training would work when I did my first Tough Light (two events, same weekend, 12 hours, a few hours break, then 6 more hours), and I had never felt stronger in an event. Three weeks out from the event, Mark had me start doing some glycolytic peaking. However, even though those workouts sucked, they didn’t turn me into a pile of goo. I really felt strong throughout the entire duration of the Heavy. The welcome party was exactly what the glycolytic peaking had prepared me for: we did a variation of a Navy Diver Fitness Test consisting of two minute max effort push ups, sit ups, 4 ct flutter kicks, 4 ct mountain climbers, and a few other exercises. I don’t recall most of my numbers, but I nailed 68 push ups, which was a personal best for me in the two minutes push up test. After burning us out with all of that, we set out on the timed 12 mile ruck (though some folks were pretty sure we covered more than 12 miles). The pace was brisk but manageable. Then we picked up a significant amount of weight for the team to carry for the remainder of the event. At various sites we did a load of additional push ups, and then some time after sunrise we did another WOD near the Lincoln Memorial. I definitely paced myself because I knew I had many hours left in the event, but I finished with a good time and got a nice rest afterward as others finished up. Then there were more miles, more push ups, and more good living. When the end of the event finally arrived, I knew I hadn’t just survived the event, but I had been a solid contributor to the team throughout the duration. I have to admit, I had an amazingly strong team, and that makes all of the difference. It is so much easier to be solid and helpful to your teammates when you know that when you need help, they are right there to assist. However, thanks to Derek and Mark, I showed up able to contribute my fair share to the team throughout the 24.5 hour event. In the days after the event, I recovered even faster than I normally do, which I also attribute to the training leading up to the event. I am definitely going to stick to A+A swings and snatches, get ups, and rucking as the core of my training for future events.