10 Questions with a GRT – Buddy Iafrate
Welcome back to our latest installment of 10 Questions with a GRT, featuring our friend and yours, Buddy Iafrate (thanks Buddy!). If you’d like, you can check out previous interviews with some of your favorite GRTs. Also, feel free to let us know in the comments if you are enjoying these (or not), have suggestions for improvement, or have a particular question you’d like to see added for future GRTs. Thanks for reading!
Hi Buddy – tell us a little bit about yourself to get things rolling . . .
I’m Buddy, recently (literally in the middle of this interview) located back to Michigan. Professionally, I’m in business/technology consulting with a focus on security. On the personal side, I’m a bit of everything. Crossfit, mountain climbing, saltwater-things, dogs, jeeps, etc. I enjoy coaching Crossfit, especially the Kids program. My fitness background was endurance focused, some triathlon stuff, some multi-day running event stuff, so transitioning from Crossfit and endurance sports to GORUCK was a natural fit.
- What/when/where was your first GORUCK event, and who, or what, inspired you to do it?
Scott Fisher texted me and said “Hey man, sign up for this HTL thing, you’ll crush it.” So I signed up for the 9/11 HTL in Raleigh, NC. We ended up doing the H-Z-L instead, as I’m pretty sure I had a decent case of rhabdo going after that Heavy. Many miles under the Kraken. Lessons were learned.
- What is your go-to ruck for events, and other than packing list items, what do you need to have in it?
A GR1 that I just leave permanently staged for events. I got sick of taking off the hip belts/plates/bladder/etc. and using it for my travel bag, so I just bought a GR2 for travel and rolled. I always have leukotape in the bag, as I fully tape my feet for events with great results so far. Additionally I carry Steve’s Paleo MRE Kits for food, because I hate being hungry and they are dense enough for pretty much any duration. Additionally I always carry 5x more hydration tablets than I need. I prefer SaltSticks brand as they don’t cause any indigestion and they have a caffeinated version that works well. I try to carry enough for an entire team just in case someone, or 5 someones, forget that chugging water is not enough to thrive in 24 hours of hell.
- When at an event, where in the wolf pack would we normally find you?
Up front with the heavy shit, or out back with the Cadre. I’m there for two reasons, to suffer or to learn, and that’s where those things occur.
- What patch that you have earned is most meaningful to you, and why?
By far the Raleigh 9/11 Heavy. It was the first, it was the harshest, and it set an insanely high bar for me in terms of what I expect from Cadre during an event to make it meaningful to me. Cadre Heath and Cadre Chris ruined me. It meant the most because of the event, the stories, and the way the lessons of the Heavy were taught by examples relevant to the tragedy of the 9/11 attacks. 110 flights of stairs in the World Trade Center, therefore we will ascend and descend 110 flights of stairs in a parking garage; all of them loaded, most of them carrying the Kraken . . . all of them with a time hack involved. Lessons were learned. I cannot recommend the 9/11 events strongly enough; if you haven’t done one you owe it to yourself to experience it.
- Name a Cadre and an event that are on your personal “wishlist” and why.
The entire menu of FAD, with either Cadre Heath or Cadre Machin, or ideally both. My experience with firearms was mostly as a kid/teenager when it was about putting food on the table. I’d like to learn the other perspective from those who know it best.
- You see a GRT in the wild – do you snap a creepy stalker picture for the Tough page, or go up and introduce yourself?
Conversation every time, beer if possible. Creeper pic is a copout; I wouldn’t take a picture of my brother and not say hi, and we’re all family now . . . do it right.
- Describe your lowest point during a GORUCK event – for example, a time when you quit, or wanted to.
My low point in every event has always been the same; seeing people contribute below their capacity while others suffer to make up for them. I get it. We all have limits and we all have a reason to not put out. I’m not talking about the guy/gal who has been smoked under a log for an hour past their limit and can barely walk. It’s the fresh and clean underdog who keeps dodging their heavy shift and has been BFF-hugging an empty jerry can for a few miles. I lose it, I rage inside. I want to ask them to leave. It’s the worst version of me; my hope is to have an event where I can just let it go and focus on supporting the people who are going hard and doing everything they can for the team.
- How many GORUCK events have you done, and what is the next one you plan to do?
9/11 Heavy and Light, Chapel Hill Light (after a half marathon ruck, hilariously), St. Augustine Tough, and Constellation Beta 001. My wife and I are doing Ascent in Colorado in August, pretty stoked about that as we love any excuse to go play in the mountains. Additionally stoked to hang out with Chris Way and company to just soak up the knowledge those dudes share so well.
- What do you find to be more difficult during an event – the physical aspect or the mental aspect?
Option C? The social is WAY harder for me than either the physical or mental, but it is also where the real reward and value lives for me personally in these experiences. Getting people to dig deep, work together, and overcome their weaknesses (perceived or otherwise) is the real hard part. I know how hard I can push before I puke. I know how many hours I can roll before sleep-dep causes the hard crash. I don’t know that about anyone else and getting them to that place is a fun problem to solve. [Editor’s Note – way to dig deep and think outside the box on the answer Buddy!]
- What keeps you interested in continuing to do GORUCK events?
The knowledge for sure, I continue to learn and that knowledge is deeply transferable into my personal and professional life. If that well dries up, I’ll lose interest, but so far every event has continued to help me grow as a person.
The community and its diversity is another; seeing people whose differences couldn’t be more pronounced or divisive under other circumstances come together to have fun and accomplish a goal restores my faith in people.
Finally; for my son. Our children aren’t always what we want them to be, but always what we show them to be. For him to see my wife and I commit time to training in the middle of insanely busy lives, and then to complete events and see us suffering firsthand through those challenges, changes his perspective of what is expected, and more importantly, what is possible.
BONUS: What are your questions at this time?
- Why/Who/How did the stupid stuff on Wednesday start?
- Is it pronounced CODre or CADre?
- Has anyone found the surprise we left buried at GRHQ after the water-boiling race to decide the winners of Constellation Beta?