This Is Gonna Hurt…

This morning a large weight has been lifted off my shoulders, both literally and figuratively.


Last night I lay in bed by 2000hrs but couldn’t sleep until 2100 and even then I woke up several times throughout the night. I dreamt of various scenarios of going back in time and changing things, typical of the last twenty four weeks. The last six months, you could say, have been an ordeal of sorts. Finishing college, mother having a stroke over 3,000 miles away, my report date moved up 8 months early, losing a girlfriend, my car breaking down on me (still in the shop, in fact), disappointing my father time and time again…Finding myself spending a short spell in jail had me contemplating the six figures of life insurance I’d be worth to my Dad and ailing mother if I had just stopped breathing. As I went from failure to failure, finding it hard get myself off my own ass to save myself, the future looked more and more grim.

Thinking I’d lose my job and land myself in six figures of debt, learning I wouldn’t, and then learning I might, over and over again set me on quite the emotional roller coaster. My thoughts oscillated between blissful ignorance and the morbid. Some things, I thought, like failure, hurt forever. Other things, however, would only hurt for the rest of your life.

Three weeks ago, I found out right before I took a 4-day pass that the 8 mile diagnostic ruck I had gone on, and failed by 30 minutes (I had 2 hours to complete 8 miles with a rucksack) was not in fact a diagnostic. Before me lay a paper saying that it was the beginning of a 45 day period I had to pass a 12 mile ruck at the same pace (12 miles in 3 hours). Failure meant separation from the army. It suddenly occurred to me that the existential crisis I had twice avoided was only 31 days away. Except that I didn’t even get the 31 days – I only got 21.

A week flew by and I passed a 6 mile ruck with 2 minutes and 54 seconds to spare, the only real good news I had had in months. The 8 mile I was scheduled to take was cancelled and the sleep I was supposed to recover on the weekends, after losing it to details and preparation for court, I lost to drink.

Then it was the week of the 12 mile and Wednesday night came quicker than I had wanted.


I woke up still groggy after barely 7 hours of sleep. I put on my uniform, put on my brand new boots, loaded my ruck in my buddy’s car. As soon as I hit the boot to the one mile long track, I silently accepted it.

This is gonna hurt.


P.S. For comparison:

Sept 24 – Eight Mile Ruck in 2 hours (My time = 2 hours 30 minutes)

Oct 8 – Six Mile Ruck in 1 hour 30 minutes (My time = 1 hour 58 minutes 6 seconds)

Oct 29 – Twelve Mile Ruck in 3 hours (My time = 2 hours 40 minutes)

6 thoughts on “This Is Gonna Hurt…

  1. Pingback: This Is Gonna Hurt… | Neoreactive

  2. Pingback: This Is Gonna Hurt… |

    • Thank you for the compliments.

      I made it; I passed the test. My career, though delayed in timeline, will be back on track shortly.

      When I started this whole thing four years ago, my answer would have been an unequivocal yes. Now that the cancer in the system has metastasized to even the combat arms, I’d say that it’s less worth it every passing year.

      In general, for me, it is worth it because the army gets me where I want to go while teaching me some invaluable lessons along the way.

      Here are several:

      1. Fitness, especially the part about how it is often mind over matter
      2. Finding multiple ways to skin a cat, even when it seems utterly hopeless
      3. Learning how to think in an environment that still prepares you to operate in an environment that punishes mistakes and slow learners with loss of life and limb. Think the school of hard knocks, but on steroids.
      4. Learning how to navigate a bureaucracy and learning the nature of the beast.

      And if all else fails – if the shit really hits the fan – you’ll have access to a lot of guns and will know how to use them. And because you’re wearing a government uniform, they won’t point their guns at you…at first.


Leave a Reply to Tom Arrow Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *