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Goruck Indianapolis 9/11 2019 HTL AAR

Goruck Indianapolis 9/11 HTL AAR

Heavy Class 339, Tough Class 3185, Light Class 3247

September 6-9, 2019

Cadre Shredder and Cadre Pog 

I think I should give a little background info before I dive right into the AAR because this journey was somewhat strange when I tell people my goruck timeline.  I was introduced to goruck back in 2015 by a lifelong friend of mine but didn’t do my first event until July 1st, 2016 goruck tough class 1988.That event I did not train for and thought I would just “gut through it” and I definitely paid for it.  That was a Geoff Reeves led event in which turned into a 14 hour heavy to say the least. After going through that I said screw goruck and thought that was a one and done experience.  

Then as life changes I got divorced and was having a rough time and got connected with the Cleveland area rucking crew and that changed my life moving forward it showed me a great community of good people I could connect with. Having said that I went onto signing up for a light that was this past June and before I did the light I also signed up for the HTL in Indianapolis that this AAR is about. So basically I had exactly 12 weeks to go from couch to HTL finish and will now list my training guidelines that helped prepare me. 


For the three months I basically lifted weights and ran on weekdays some days I would do two workouts which could be weights or sandbag/ruck workouts and rucks that would be less than 3 miles but would primarily be coupon rucks using a 55lb ruck and sandbags ranging from 40-100lbs a mile unbroken at a time with each one. Then I did a round of heavy drop training that ended the week of my HTL.


Heavy and tough load out:

Goruck Rucker 25l with hip belt and sternum strap

30lb plate

2- Source 3L bladder

Nalgene 32oz

Gander mountain lightweight zip off pants

Miscellaneous dry fit shirt (loose fitting)

Smart wool socks

Ranger panty’s

Goruck MacV-1’s


Columbia windbreaker (didn’t use)

Squirrel nut butter anti-chafe lube 

Leuko tape

Nuun tablets 2 tubes

4 cliff bars and peanut butter m&ms

Caffeine jelly beans


Dude powder

Light: same kit list but with a #20 plate


Start point was at a local park right in downtown Indy.  I got a hotel 2 miles away which was huge for when it came to time between events and where my girlfriend stayed as my support team couldn’t have done it with out her and my battle buddy Mark Ayshford. There were 27 of us who started and all 27 finished and then 20 of us including myself went on to finishing the HTL. 

The welcome party was different than I have experienced before normally you just have to dump and repack everything a few times after gear verification but in this one it turned out to be sprinting and bearcrawls about 50 yards from formation to the other cadre to show him your Id, weight, water bladder etc while doing various forms of PT in between. So the welcome party went as expected after the gear shakeout and then we were on the move with our coupons (9 sandbags which had giant water bladders in them) team weight, and a crate of saws.

We went to the river which was a few miles away in which getting there we had to cross an old railroad bridge which happened many times throughout the weekend, and did a good amount of pt in the water such as squats, burpees, holding our heads under water then we went on to doing a service project part of the event. Our service project was to make natural seating alongside various spot of the river using huge logs that we had to find and carry out of brush and cut by hand and then arrange to cadres request.  We had to move these many times until they were just right haha.

This event was put together so well to help us understand what our first responders had to do as far was working together at ground zero.  Cade shredder hid in this hug drainage tunnel that was completely pitch black and we had to move as a team and try to locate him way way back probably over 100 feet in.  Then after that we were on the move into the city to meet up with local law enforcement to pay tribute to the first responders and have a guest speaker who shadowed that was at ground zero and had a flag from the site which was an emotional experience to say the least. Then we moved towards the tallest building for our stairs which was a very long part of the night.  We did 51 flights at 24 stairs a flight with coupons and rucks on. Then for a few different movements we would go back down to around halfway and come back up. This included a sandbag train, bear crawls, and some casualty carries heading down.

After the stairs we were broken up into two teams and split off using radios to communicate every 3 minutes to check in and of course the radios quit working lol. So we had runners who would have to go back and forth between teams trying to locate each other and coordinate meeting back up under a certain time hack at a designated place. After teaming up we were on the move again.  We made a long ruck towards our next location and along the way we had some significant penalties like a casualty carry and extra coupons to the point where nobody was empty handed and we were constantly rotating from heavy to less weight but always carrying something like chunks or concrete and some wood planks the sandbags had to be on. We were lucky enough after all the penalties for not crossing roads fast enough that an officer from the previous night was our crossing guard for quite a while blocking intersections for us to cross.

Once we got to our next stop it was a fire/ems training center where we did a test that the local fire department has to do. Which was pretty tough but since teams of two had to rotate through the course we got a pretty good break to stretch and focus on food and priorities. After that long break  we basically did our twelve miler but with coupons back to the woods which was advertised as no more than 10 miles but it went for hours lol. Once we got back to the woods we moved more logs and did more water pt and payed back some of the 54 burpees we owed cadre from a very bad missed time hack. Then after that we headed back to start point to endex. 

Time: 24 hours

Distance: 38.7 miles

Heavy class photo


After the heavy Jenna picked us up and brought pizza an my loadout for the tough just in case we went over and couldn’t go back to the hotel. So I ate half a large pizza while drinking a pedialyte immediately so when we got back to the room I just had to shower lube up and re tape my feet. I also didn’t get a nap so at this point I have been up for about 37 hours. 

Our class was pretty big we had 20 of us from the htl and then I think 23 fresh bodies. Welcome party went per usual healthy portions of PT and cadre switched up our rucks so most of it I used a gr0 that was definitely different than my 25l.  We had to do an elephant walk train weaving down the hill and then buddy drags up which was killing my quads. We then moved out to locate a monster log from the Veterans Day htl the year prior and hauled that for atleast half the event in which it was with us on our way to do the 51 flights of stairs again and then once at the top we had to pass our rucks down all 51 flights which was very tough but the team did great with the exception of few rucks whose bladders happened to pop I was so glad mine held up that’s why I packed a spare. After the stairs we brought the log to the woods where we set it in place and moved onto getting more logs and carrying them around. This is where I hit a wal and it was easily the toughest part where quitting was never an option but for about two hours I was a zombie so I forget some of the tough except for key points. 

Next we went on a pretty long ruck but our rucks were chain ganged together for miles and had to cross the railroad bridge again which was pretty scary since there were gaps between the railroad ties and we were linked together.after that we were on the move and if cadre ever got ahead of the flag it was going to be hell to pay so we were constantly pushing and pulling and never quite got in sync but managed to always stay ahead of cadre.  Next was a football inspired obstacle course that consisted of various obstacle and low crawls all while connected still.  

We then moved on to a long ruck back to the woods where we cleared out logs in another area and some of these were huge!  A few of these logs were at least 20-24” in diameter. After that we were on the move back to ended which we crossed the bridge again lol. Which everyone else finished!

Time: 12.5 hours 

Distance: 21.4 miles

Tough class photo

Mark and I before the light


After the tough same plan as after the heavy ate the other half of pizza on the way back but this time we had a little more time so I showered lubed and taped within about 10 minutes and took ibuprofen then got dressed and passed out immediately I knew I needed a nap because now at this point I haven’t slept for 52 hours because I had to drive to Indy from Ohio the morning of the heavy roughly a 5 hour drive.  So I got a much needed 2 hour nap which felt like 8 hours lol. We then got to the start point and was glad to see everyone from the heavy was there and a few from the tough not too sure about how many went for the t/l.  

This light was actually a pretty solid light and a great team. I would say the heavy and the light we worked together way better than the tough.  This class was good size as well we had the 20 from the heavy and 23 combined from new people to some from the tough. Our welcome party had a decent amount of pt but a lot of hill sprints and then we did some plank pt and some animal movements. 

Onto the ruck towards the woods where the fresh bodies were set out to clear out and pick up more brush and trash while the htlers had to move more of the logs again to perfect the arrangement of natural seating. After the seating was perfected we grabbed three logs and carried them to the river where we did lots of shoulder to shoulder presses and then log Situps in the water.  After the woods we went to the city where we ran some relays up and down stairs and during the whole event it was the htl group vs everyone else and surprisingly we were winning every evolution for the most part. It was a true testament to how well a great team can do even though they are smoked or that our training was above and beyond given what we were trying to accomplish either way it was a lot of fun and everyone was having a good time.

Once the relays and competitions were over we ducked to the 9/11 memorial where we had some more pt and endex which felt amazing until he called the htl crew to the front for some more extra good livin.  We had to do 4 count flutter kicks until he patched all 20 of us so we did between 55-60 of those. Then shredder patched all the guys who earned their shredder patch which was a great achievement! Now we got to have some of the best tasting beer ever even though it was bud light it tasted amazing after what we been through.

Light class photo

HTL endex

Getting patched!

HTL finishers

Myself with the one and only cadre Shredder!

My lady who without her I couldn’t have done this!

Time: 6.5 hours

Distance: 5.25 miles


The week leading up I made sure to drink atleast 1 ½ gallons of water a day and three days out I cut out caffeine and the day before I had a pedialyte before bed and then one the morning of the heavy along with one thing I would not do next time is having about 2500 calories consumed between breakfast and lunch ( almost puked during heavy welcome party).

During Events I would make sure when we got a break I would lube up concerned areas and would only take caffeine if I absolutely needed it and made sure to get my electrolytes in wether they weee in my nalgene or one time I had to add them to my bladder because we didn’t have enough water to too everyone off let alone fill nalgenes.i also took ibuprofen twice during the heavy and then once before and during the tough and again before the light. My feet didn’t have one blister and I didn’t chafe at all following this routine and I left my boots on the whole time during each event because I figured if my feet felt ok don’t mess with them. Since my feet were great and I wasnt chaffing, during breaks I could focus on elevating my feet and stretching. I also didn’t cramp up one time during the event 


This was a very emotional and breakthrough moment for me finishing this HTL. I trained my butt off and it was definitely worth all the long hours and losing my summer to training but also the group I did the HTL with were the best guys I ever met and we could have done anything together I didn’t know anyone going into this event and now I feel like we will all be lifelong friends having went through it together. The best thing I can say is have a solid why before the event and if you don’t have a definite tone beforehand but have a few you will definitely find “the one” when you hot that dark moment everyone does it’s just a matter of when and being there for a teammate to make sure they keep their head in the game and not give up! My why was my girlfriend and health things she went through during my training and also my son.  In that real dark moment I just thought about how Friday morning a held him and said “ daddy is going to do something very tough buddy and I just need one last hug before I go” so I held him and he gave me the biggest hug. 

During that dark time I just thought about him and how I wanted this to be something I can share with him and let him know you can do anything and the human body is so much more capable than what you might think and to not let your head hold you back from doing whatever you set out to do. 

Thank you for reading this AAR if you made it this far haha I am not the best with writing so I hope it was still helpful and if there is anything you would want more info about or details you need explained better feel free to contact me by face book or email at

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