Unbound Distance Member, Tiffany Morgan, Interview with All Day Ruckoff
Ruck BEAST Squad features interviews with members of the community to highlight their lives, training, gear, and insight. Hopefully as you read through this you’ll be able to take away advice that will help you train better and perform better that upcoming events. In this issue of Ruck BEAST Squad we get to hear from Tiffany Morgan!
Q: Tell us a little about yourself to get us started.
A: I’m a homeschooling mom of 3 kiddos and a pediatric trauma nurse practitioner. I live in Colorado Springs and work in Texas. Life is busy!!
Q: Where did your GORUCK journey start? What was your first event? What stands out from that event?
A: A good friend of mine from work and I were sitting in the ER late one night waiting on a trauma and he started telling me about the firearms program. I had just had my last baby and things were still a little crazy since I had 3 kids ages 4 and under, so I kept putting it off. About a year and a half later I finally bit the proverbial bullet and went to ASI in Dallas with Garret Machine and Cadre Jake. It was insanely hot, and Machine was making people do pull-ups before running stress drills. I still haven’t seen another firearms event where people were throwing up on the range. My battle buddy thought I might tap out at that point, but I was sold! My first challenge event was Mog Mile 25th anniversary Tough with Mocha Mike. I had NO idea what I was getting into. I drove by myself out of state to get there and was one of two females that showed up. We carried all the coupons that night and did so many low crawls and casualty carries that I still can’t believe I got through that with as little ruck training as I had at that point. Still great friends with some of those ruckers!!
Q: What was your most recent event or events. What would you like to tell us about it / them?
A: Most recently I completed the first Trailblazer HTB in Houston, Texas. What a weekend. The cadre put on an amazing event. So much time and effort were put into the lessons, the way points, and the PT smoke sessions. I’ll never do a plank again without thinking about that event. If we got out of line, didn’t move quick enough, or just generally pissed the cadre off…into the “thinking position” we went. A low plank on frozen grass that steams in your face as you breathe your warm air on it is not easily forgotten! The F3 Houston crew showed up and did work!! That was enjoyable to watch. The thing I’ll remember the most is my dear rucking buddy Anna Edwards flew down to push me towards my first set of bolts. In 2020 I endured stress fractures in my feet during my first HTL attempt and it got in my head. Real bad. I knew that if it happened again, Anna was going to figure out a way to buddy carry me kicking and screaming to the finish line. We all need a battle buddy like that in our lives. Something the cadre said to us will always stick out to me – don’t be here to earn your own bolts, be here to help someone else earn their bolts. This team embodied that mantra fully. I left this event invigorated and ready to take on the world. Being a WWII history buff, I was embarrassed to know so little about the 761st Tank Battalion and the Tuskegee Airmen. Remedying that soon.
Q: Favorite Ruck?
A: This is tough because my pink Rucker 2.0 is my event ruck, so we have a special bond. But my first ruck is a woodland camo GR1 and you never love a ruck like your first ruck.
Q: Proudest accomplishment as a GRT?
A: After completing the HTB, I became the 2nd female and the 7th GRT to earn Garret Machine’s Fight Terror patch. GORUCK’s firearms/tactical program has a 3 tiered capstone patch challenge. Deception, Mind Over Might, and Fight Terror. Each tier requires specific firearms training and legacy events to be completed. The biggest hurdles I saw were the Heavy for Mind Over Might and then the ever elusive HTL/HTB for Fight Terror. When I first started with GORUCK I didn’t even consider getting past Deception. In fact I remember my OG battle buddy asking me if I wanted to train for a heavy. I laughed. Out loud. In his face. No way was I going to subject myself to 24 hours let alone 48 hours of what Mocha Mike put us through during that Mog Mile Tough!! But it got under my skin. It was in my blood. I can’t let go of a challenge, and I had to see it through. Deception was earned in just shy of 6 months. COVID cancelled 2 Heavy dates on me and then I was injured during my 1st Heavy attempt. I recovered and worked with the best trainer in the world Jenn Mecham to prepare for my next attempt 7 months later. I weighed 113 pounds at the beginning of training and gained 7 pounds of mostly muscle by the time it came around. (You could put that weight gain alone as a huge accomplishment!) If I was going to do the heavy, I might as well stay for the whole thing right?! Onward I went. Completing that event in essence earned me 6 patches (Heavy, Tough, Basic, Bolts, Mind Over Might, and Fight Terror), but more importantly showed me that I could do something I didn’t really know for sure I had in me. The little dark voice in my head said I was too small, too novice, and just not enough to make it happen. Before I stepped off for the HTB, I wrote on my arm the names of everyone who told me they believed in me, who said they knew I could do it. Thankfully I listened to them, and I satisfied a goal I had worked towards for 15 months.
Q: How many events have you done? What’s your favorite event or type of event? Why?
A: I have completed 38 events. 10 legacy events and 28 firearms events. I was very fortunate to go to Normandy and do the Omaha Beach Tough for the 75th anniversary of D-Day. It was the most amazing experience of my life aside from seeing my first born child. I can’t put into words what it was like to literally crawl out of the English Channel and see just how deep that beach was. Then walking through the still present ginormous craters where our artillery fell 75 years ago to be patched at Point du Hoc. Walking through those fields you could still feel the presence of those men who fell from the sky. It was incredible. We also had the privilege of meeting and hearing from several WWII veterans while standing on the beach they fought on. A surreal experience.
My favorite events are clearly the tactical events with either CTR (Counter Terror Rifle), rifle night fire, or Force on Force being my favorite. Although, I’ve done ASI (Active Shooter Intervention) 4-5 times. It’s a great course and a must do for anyone with a handgun. All of these events really prepare you for how you should respond if you somehow find yourself in a gunfight. Unlikely? Yes. But if it happens and you’re the type of person that runs towards an emergency rather than away from one, you better have a game plan. When the screaming and chaos and blood shed start, it’s too late to figure out what you’re going to do. You have to have 100% accountability of your actions in that moment and GORUCK does their job preparing us for that moment. Also….it’s just fun to pull a trigger and make your gun go bang!!
Q: Why do you continue to do events? What keeps you coming back?
A: There’s always something to learn. Whether it’s a firearms event or a legacy event, I have been pushed and stretched and tested in a new way every single time. Sometimes it’s extremely uncomfortable and sometimes it‘a less so. But when I show up to a GORUCK event, I know I’m going to leave a stronger person ready to take on a little more of what the world has to throw at me. The community the GORUCK offers is also unlike anything else. I want to surround myself with people who are willing to be tried and stress tested for the betterment of themselves and those around them. Always keep learning, always keep moving forward.
Q: How do you train for events?
A: Sheesh. This is a difficult one. As a full time working mom who homeschools her kids, I train different in different seasons of life. Sometimes I’m doing back squats in my living room with a barbell at 9pm after the kids go to bed. Other days I’m doing ruck burpees at the park while my kids play on the playground and the other moms cast me glances out the corner of their eye. Some days I do squats and lunges and sit ups and my sad excuse for push ups in front of the TV at night while we binge netflix. Ruck training for miles is very difficult. Recently I started rucking at night around my neighborhood with a 45 pound plate for about 4-5 miles at a time. My favorite is when I can get outside in my backyard and throw a sandbag around with Pikes Peak in the distance. The best program I’ve ever followed has been with Unbound Training Co. I noticed an increase in strength and endurance the quickest with that program. Plus I ever felt like she was trying to kill me!
Q: Best Rucking and / or GORUCK event advice you have gotten?
A: Best advice I’ve gotten is that an HTL/HTB is ONE event. ONE. Not three. ONE event. Show up to the Tough and get through the welcome party. Then get through the first evolution. Then before you know it, you’re at endex and the last part of the ONE event is a victory lap.
Q: Other than packing list items, what is a must have in your ruck for events?
A: Twizzlers, chocolate and almonds, dried mangos, and something to put in my water like Tailwind. Yes, yes, yes!!
Q: A book or a few that have impacted your life? Why?
A: We Band of Angels made a huge impact on me. As I mentioned earlier I’m a WWII nut and just gobble it up. However, this book hit home for me in a very personal way. This book is an account of the 99 Army and Navy nurses who were the first female unit sent into the middle of battle. While on Bataan they endured immense hardship while caring for wounded and diseased soldiers along with caring for each other. Finally taken prisoner by the Japanese, the spent 3 years in a camp where they continued to carry out their mission. Having been a nurse and now a nurse practitioner working in an intensive care unit stateside and also giving care in the developing world, I can viscerally emphasize with their plight. Something about it makes me feel like I should have been there.
Q: What other hobbies do you have?
A: Let’s see, does drinking coffee, binge watching the latest drama, and staring blankly at my phone after the kids go to bed count?? If it does, let’s put those down!! In all seriousness, I love hiking in the gorgeous Rocky Mountains (always with a ruck plate though), making firearms go bang, and reading war history.
Q: What’s the best purchase under $100 you’ve made in the past 12 months.
A: I recently got a smartwool base layer top that is vented in the back and under the arms from REI that was cash money at the HTB. Even when I ruck at night in Colorado I get sweaty and it helps tremendously to have the back vented where the ruck sits.
Q: How do you recruit new people to ruck, or do events with you?
A: My biggest unintentional recruitment tool has been posting my adventures on Facebook. Several of my friends because new ruckers because they were watching my posts from afar. Go figure!!
Q: Best Beer to drink after a ruck?
A: A local brewery from my home town of Fort Worth makes a pickle beer that is AMAZING. Martin House. Look them up.
Q: Advice you would give to someone before their 1st Light?
A: You’re not going to die, just keep moving forward.
Q: Advice you’d give to someone before their 1st Tough?
A: When you start to get in your head, look for a new way to be a good teammate. If someone else is struggling, take your mind off your own woes and help them through theirs. This gives me energy like nothing else. Recently my battle buddy couldn’t find anything to eat that would settle in her stomach. I made it my mission to make sure she had calories at each stop. Works like a charm.
Q: If you get overwhelmed during an event how do you refocus on the task at hand?
A: I have to very consciously remind myself that this is a small problem which requires a small solution. If the men in Normandy can take the beach as it explodes around them and if the nurses of Bataan can care for wounded soldiers when they themselves are malnourished to the point that their own wounds would not heal, then I can move forward a few more hours. It also helps to shit talk the cadre, make jokes with your new buddies, and look at the stars.
Q: What’s the next event or events on your calendar?
A: I promised my baby daddy I would take it easy for a few months after the HTB. So next for me is a firearms weekend in Dallas. Big goal is to place in the shooter competition sometime this year and we’ll likely be at the 9/11 HTB in NYC this fall.
Q: Any parting shots? Things the community needs to know?
A: Keep doing hard things y’all. Fight terror.
If you know someone (or are someone) who would be a good fit for an upcoming episode of Ruck BEAST Squad please reach out to Derek Hill (derekhill1 AT gmail DOT com).