50 Miles Rucking in May
A vetwod challenge to benefit Stop Soldier Suicide.
Mental health for military members has been on my mind and heart for years. It was my focus of organizing and fundraising way back in 2019. I am not entirely sure why it tugs at my attention and effort, but it has, it still does, and it will.
So when Vetwod posted a challenge to ruck 50 miles in May, I put out a call to friends to borrow a weighted pack and I hit the road (and the trail, and the parking lot) over and over again.
Turned out I was able to borrow a pack from a veteran, which meant every time I put it on it held that much more meaning. Sometimes I listened to music. Other times I just walked in silence, as a sort of meditation. Often, when I walked the early morning miles, I would put my hand over his name and just send him and other vets positive, strengthening thoughts.
It’s really just walking with a few extra pounds, right? I never did weigh it. It’s true, after the first few days of putting the vest on, it didn’t seem extremely heavy. I did some really light jogging once I got used to having it on. Finding the extra time to ruck was the big challenge some days.
Even so, I certainly felt lighter every time I took it off. And my body told me, through tightened hips, sore back, and stiff legs, that whatever the weight was, it wore me out in new ways. Life was different when I wasn’t carrying it.
We recently wrote about burdens on this blog. Being a burden to others. The burdens we carry. This 50 miles of rucking made me think about how so many are weighted down in ways both visible and hidden. I was lucky to get the daily relief of taking the extra weights off. I could look forward to the feelings of lightness. What about those who are walking weighted in ways we cannot see? Through depression? PTSD? Weariness from taking care of others? Poor sleep from anxiety or nightmares?
I appreciate when my fitness efforts have an extra layer of meaning and thoughtfulness. A post for those, especially in military circles, who shoulder unspeakable burdens. May they find some relief, some lightness, knowing others care and appreciate what they have done.