For links, transcripts, and to connect, visit UnderTheLog.com
Kristen Apple shares stories about her life, GORUCK, and her awesome "why" that kept her going during her recent GORUCK Tough/Basic Battle of the Bulge event.
You can connect with Kristen on IG.
If, after listening to Kristen, you're inspired to do a GORUCK event, you can find upcoming events right here.
Kristen mentioned that she uses the Ruck Strong training program. Check'em out.
As we mentioned in the show, a great way to support this podcast is to visit RuckingChallenges.com and register for this month's event.
Of course, you can join her as she seeks to earn her Bolts at the NYC 9/11 GORUCK HTB.
Finally, you can learn more about her awesome community, the Steel City Ruck Club on this profile piece on Rucking.com.
We didn't talk about it in this episode, but if you'd like help training for a GORUCK event, check out these GORUCK Training Guides and our Ruck WOD website.
The Under The Log Podcast is part of The Rucking Collective, a collection of websites devoted to the sport of rucking.
Ryan Burns 00:12
Hey, gang, it's Ryan here with the Under The Log podcast. In today's episode, we're talking to Kristen Apple, about her recent GORUCK tough, basic battle of the bulge of them. Among other things, Kristen is going to talk to us about her Why, why she was there. And let me tell you, it is a fantastic why I think you're going to love listening to her stories. And so stick around for this episode of under the law.
Ryan Burns 00:47
Before we get to today's episode, I want to ask you to visit ruckingchallenges.com. Every month, we post a new rucking challenge. And you can sign up for an individual event or grab one of them really, really sweet subscriptions. And you'll be signed up every month, or in a patch, do some sweet rocking. Check it out ruckingchallenges.com. It's a great way for you to show your support for the Under The Log podcast. With that, let's get on to our interview with Kristen apple.
Ryan Burns 01:24
Ryan Burns 01:25
what's up, everybody? I got Kristen here. Kristen. Thank you for coming on the show today. Just to get started, could you give us a little bit of an introduction about yourself? You know, name, the event you just completed. And maybe just a little bit about your life outside of GORUCK.
Kristen Apple 01:43
Sure. My name is Kristen Apple. Born and raised in southwestern Pennsylvania, about 35 minutes from Pittsburgh, wife and a mom of two terrific girls. I just just completed Battle of the Bulge tough basic out in Columbus with a pretty cool group of people.
Kristen Apple 02:01
And outside of GORUCK, I've really been doing that for about a year now. I'll try to go rock I like to do boxing fitness. I play softball and play in all my life. I actually get to coach my daughter now, which is a really cool thing. And like to lift weights and you know, throw some some weight around. So it's good. I love being active. And thankfully we have a really good rock club that's local here and Steel City rock club. They're just awesome people. Yeah, Steel City. Steel City is awesome. Yeah, um, so you said you you've started coaching your daughter and softball. So it's a sport that you've played, that you love. And now you're coaching your daughter. So I did the same thing. I grew up playing soccer, love soccer, played a whole life and, and I've coached both of my younger boys, how, how is that going for you? I love it. I love being there and watching her grow because it's my older daughter, my eight year old, she started playing two years ago. And they were looking for coaches and I'm a self employed massage therapist so I can make my schedule however I wanted. So I was able to work the practices around my schedule and work my schedule around the practices, and seeing her take into a sport that obviously is a pretty big passion of mine. I've been playing it for so long. And it's so neat to watch and to see here start to grow and love that and to get a little more intense and to see that skill set and start to build and it's a blast. I love it. That's fun. So are you like coaching the whole team by yourself? No, I'm just an assistant coach. I don't want all that responsibility.
Kristen Apple 03:38
Leave all the big decisions. Damn, I mean, it's ate you so it's not too bad. You know? It's still just the basic skill sets.
Ryan Burns 03:46
Yeah, well, I know coaching under eight soccer was like herding cats like yeah, holy cow. That's it's both fun and like what in the world are y'all doing? Like Get over here?
Kristen Apple 03:59
Right and I laugh because her head coach. He is also a coach for baseball and he's used to coaching high schoolers to try he started whenever our daughters were six you and trying to teach them mechanics and things getting the basics down. He said something about arms being in a field goalpost and the girls looked at him like he had three heads like yeah, like I don't know their six year old five and six year old girls they have no idea what a field goalpost I mean even being from Southwest pa and us being you know big into football still
Ryan Burns 04:37
man I bet there's a lot of great stories there. But we're here to talk about go rock and all all good things go rock so you you just did the Battle of the Bulge. Tough basic which which That's awesome. But I don't I don't think this was your first event or even your first back to back so what's what's kind of your go rock story, you know? You said you've been rocking and doing this for about a year like what what other events have you done and that sort of thing?
Kristen Apple 05:06
Yes, I actually my first one was right before everything shut down last March. It was literally the weekend before they shut everything down. It was a shock Valley light with cadre soul Crusher, Sanchez. Well, man, that was a, that was a good one to start out with. He definitely liked to put us through some some good paces. But I had a good group around me. And it was it was awesome to start out with such a good event. And then I did another one in August with Kadri. Fagan on Greensburg and then did with a 9/11 out in Shanksville, which talk about a you know, really moving experience. Have you ever been out there and I mean, we're only you know, too little about two hours away from Shanksville. And it was unbelievable. Just that, that emotional feeling that you get when you're there and thinking about what those people went through. And it was, it was pretty neat.
Ryan Burns 05:56
I mean, even just even just listening to you say that, like I just got goosebumps all up and down my arm. Like 9/11 events are just if you're listening, and you've you've never done a 9/11 event like that has to be on your to do list. And I would highly recommend if you have the means to do either a Shanksville a DC or a New York like being on those sites. It's just, it's unbelievable, isn't it, Kristen?
Kristen Apple 06:26
Oh, absolutely, for sure is an indescribable feeling. I mean, you can say all you whine about, wow, you admire these people for the sacrifices that they made. And you know, what a sad event. It was just all of it all together. But to be there to be where all of these things went down and where so many people lost their lives? Like I said, indescribable, you have to be there to really understand it.
Ryan Burns 06:52
Gosh, huh. Like, I can't I can't even get that. Get those goosebumps to go away. Just thinking about that. Right. That's awesome. And so the tough basic this was this was your your second you had done the zombie before
Kristen Apple 07:12
zombie in October with cadre Steve and that was first for my first tough
Kristen Apple 07:20
talking to some of the other experienced people who I mean people that have earned their bolts and have been doing go ruck events. And you know, we have a record leader, Caitlin, who is I mean, a complete badass, and she has done team assessment. And she went to do the brag double heavy like so for her to say this was one of the hardest toughs that she's ever done. She said, I think it's top three is what she told me. Wow. And that was your first tough. Yes, my first tough.
Kristen Apple 07:50
I mean, so. So you were like if I can do this, I can, you know, bring it bring it on from here on out. Yes, pretty much. That was kind of the mindset after that. It was like, all right, well, I finished this one and finished. I like to think that I finished well, like talking to some of the other people that completed the event. And asking, you know, their opinions on like, was there, you know, something I could have done better? Because that's ultimately it's it's a, you know, team based event. And what I did as an individual, if it didn't help the team, it doesn't matter. So I wanted to get some feedback from people and they said that I I did really well.
Ryan Burns 08:24
So that was that's, that's really cool. Like I've never so so I'm, I'm real self reflexive. After an event, you know, I typically will write a an AR and posted on record beer or whatever. Right? But um, I'm always kind of internalizing, like, how did how did I interact with with people? Did I lift up the team? You know, how did I interact with the person that was struggling? How did I interact with person that was just a pain in the ass for everybody. Like, and I kind of look into myself, but I don't think I've ever asked anybody else. Like, Was I a good teammate? Like, what could I have done better? Like, that's, that's really cool. Is that something that you've done before? Was that? I try to Yeah, I mean, I always look for feedback. You know, in my job, obviously, people will tell me, if I'm doing a good job as a massage therapist, if I make them feel better, if their muscles are, you know, feeling better if I took away whatever pain or ailment they were complaining about. So I like to have that verbal feedback and know what I can do better. that's Charlie, that's really awesome. I want to do that after my next event. That's really
Kristen Apple 09:37
Yeah, it is. It's nice to hear because, I mean, maybe that's, I don't know, maybe that is that attention seeking for me. I don't know. You know, trying to get that that feedback. I'd like to think that it's more so to try and better myself than to, you know, fish for compliments. But yeah, well, I think it's like anything you know, there's there's that balance there like I mean, it can be self seeking.
Ryan Burns 09:59
But, you know, hopefully, in that it's not just accolades like, No, no, like, what is the one? You know, even asking maybe like, what is the one thing that I could have done better? Right? You know, because people are gonna naturally be like, Oh, you did great way to go like, Yeah, but like, Where did I suck?
Kristen Apple 10:17
Right? Yes, yes, absolutely, you really do have to look at yourself and be able to see where those weaknesses are. So you know where to train.
Ryan Burns 10:25
That's awesome. So I want to say that. So, you know, I just kind of reached out to folks, I posted on the rock up here, Instagram, you know, who's done a battle of the bulge region recently trying to find people to interview and you had reached out. And so typically, I just send people a link that says, awesome, you know, here's, here's the link to my calendar, let me know when, when we can talk. And on there, there's this little box that says, you know, is there anything that I need to know that would help me prepare for our interview? And most people just put something like, Hey, can you send me the questions in advance, so I know how to prepare or some people just like, right, you know, this is the event that I did some people leave it blank, but I opened up yours. And, I mean, I read what you wrote in that box, and like, my jaw dropped, like, literally, I walked into the living room, and I looked at my wife, and I said, You're not gonna believe this.
Ryan Burns 11:23
I was like this. This is gonna be so awesome to talk to Kristen. Because what you did in that, in that box is you you shared with me your why, for doing this, this event. And, you know, in goruck events or in an endurance events in general, and anything that you're doing, that's really difficult. Having that why that thing that, that motivates you that when when you hit that dark spot of an event, when you when you feel like man, I just don't want to keep going, or I don't want to do or I don't think I can do another Rep. You. You turn to that why, like, why am I here? And like, notoriously I suck at coming up wit h lies. I'm like, I don't know. Because I don't know, because I'm here. But your why for this event was so amazing. So share with us your why and maybe talk a little bit about how that motivated you throughout the event.
Kristen Apple 12:23
So when I was looking towards 2021, and the events that I wanted to do the one this one spoke to me specifically because my grandfather, my papu, he was actually captured as a POW in battle of the bolt. So yeah, pretty crazy. He was a paratrooper, and they were dropped, obviously behind enemy lines to try and break up the advances. And they assumed that they were going to be just close combat hand to hand, they didn't assume any artillery, at least they're the Intel didn't show that there was any heavy artillery that was coming. And they were wrong. And there were tanks everywhere. And thankfully, my grandfather obviously was taken alive as opposed to taken, just took his life. So took him as a POW. And for about six months, actually, he was he was in that camp, and right across from one of the furnaces. And that was his job was to dig the the mass graves for oh my god for souls that were that were taken so violently over there. And he actually, while he was there, befriended one of the guards that was in charge of, you know, feeding them, and he would bring him extra extra table scraps. And
Kristen Apple 14:11
they were able to, they were scared about the callback that they were going to run into. So the Germans just fled. They, they didn't want to waste the bullets on taking the lives of their POW. Wow, they just fled. So my grandfather, they spared his life. So that's unbelievable, right? Crazy, isn't it? Just to think about that. So you you
Ryan Burns 14:37
like, like, when did you When did you learn that about your grandfather?
Kristen Apple 14:42
Actually, ironically enough, shortly before I started looking at the 2021 events. My dad posted something on Facebook about it. He posted a picture of him in his uniform and his brother. My great uncle was also in the army and also fought in the So I he posted something about it and said something about Battle of the Bulge. And that was where my papa was taken as a POW. And I was just like, Oh my gosh, that's crazy. And then as I'm looking through the list of events, and I saw that it was in Columbus, and we're three and a half hours from Columbus, I'm like, I got to do it like this. I have to there's no other choice. This is my the way I'm going to start 2021
Ryan Burns 15:25
Oh, man. So like, growing like growing up, you didn't know that he was he had been a POW.
Kristen Apple 15:30
So I knew he was he actually passed away before I was born. It was actually, I think, a couple months after my older brother was born. So February of 1980. And I wasn't born until October 81. And I had I heard stories, I saw pictures. And I knew that he was a POW for six months, but it didn't know, when he was captured and aware he was captured. I knew none of that. So I kind of came to light towards the end of last year.
Ryan Burns 15:58
Wow. So did you like reach out to your dad? Like, you gotta tell me all about this?
Kristen Apple 16:02
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Because I wanted to be able to come into the event and be able to talk to to cadre hand and actually, cadre, MOCA, like, was there too. And I was I want to be able to tell his story, and tell my why and be able to give a little background on it.
Ryan Burns 16:22
So what was what was that like? Like doing the event? And kind of having that in the back of your mind? throughout it? Like, what, what did that feel like?
Kristen Apple 16:31
That's a it's a motivator For sure. Like you said, you know, you, when you have that point in time, whenever you're going dark, and you're thinking, Man, it's cold, man, I'm tired. This weight is heavy. You know, I just, I could just quit right now. You know, I don't want to do one more Rep. I don't want to take one more step. I don't want to hold this, you know, sandbag for any longer. I just want to be done. And then you have that in the back of your mind. You think this is nowhere near? You know, the sacrifice that my my grandfather and so many people made nowhere near the torture that they were put through and the conditions that they had. I mean, we It was cold, you know, in cold? Yes. It was like 16 degrees overnight. But it was nothing. It wasn't feet and feet of snow with you know, gear that was less than stellar by today's standards. Now, you know, Oh, my gosh, our cold weather gear is just unbelievable anymore. And we were prepared for it. You know, right. They there was no threat to my life that night. Right. You know, it was it said, I just think it gives you that extra push when you have that you're like you said, You're why when you have that in the back of your mind, and you're thinking, jeez, you know, if they did this, if they put their lives on the line, if they were willing to sacrifice, like, I can take that accident, I can, you know, take that weight for, you know, another 50 yards or whatever, I can take my turn on, you know, whatever the heavy carry is. So
Ryan Burns 18:00
that is just that's such an amazing story.
Kristen Apple 18:05
Thank you for s haring to learn about Oh, absolutely. My pleasure. That was so, so fun to learn about for my dad and like I said, obviously he came out on the better end of it. I mean, yeah, they lost about 40 pounds during that time, but he was able to come home. You know, that was and I always thought it was really cool. My grandmother if she never lost hope, like everyone she didn't hear from for six months. You know, what are you gonna think? Oh, man, yeah. And she she was always said to her faith was so strong. And she always knew she was like, he's alive. He's gonna come home. My team is gonna come home. So um
Ryan Burns 18:45
so your your, your grandfather passed away before you born where it was your is your did your grandmother? Did you know your grandmother growing up?
Kristen Apple 18:54
Oh, yeah. Yeah, she Oh, my Yes, she was awesome. So they are first generation who came over from actually Greece and Asia Minor. So we were really fortunate to have her she lived to be almost 96. Yeah. And what I thought was really special about her to me. She came from a generation where obviously like you, when you married. You married for life. That was it? Yeah, she lost my grandfather at such a young age. And she never, never even thought about remarrying. She just learned to do all these things on her own. Like she was so tough when it came to fixing up their farmhouse or fix up steps or doing these things like she was just so independent and so strong and like such a huge role model for me. We were really, really fortunate to have her around for so long.
Ryan Burns 19:44
That's awesome. That's like the second time of this interview. I got goosebumps, man. Y'all got me.
Ryan Burns 19:58
So this is the part The podcast where I shamelessly plug rocking challenges calm, you love rocking you love a challenge. It's a match mednet. Every month we have new rucking challenge that you can do on your own or with a rock club. And here's the real deal. Since this podcast doesn't make me any money, you signing up on rockin challenges.com, this is my wife, this isn't a complete waste of my time. So do your part to keep under the log alive by signing up and rocking challenges.com today.
Ryan Burns 20:39
So the events tough basic. So you're actually the first person that I've talked to that's done a basic since go rocks kind of made this little format change of going from a light to a basic. Now you've you've obviously, you know, you started off doing three lights, you did a tough light. So you've, you know, kind of what a light feels like. Right? For those of you who are wondering like how things have changed, like, Did you feel like there was much of a difference between the light and the basic?
Kristen Apple 21:09
I think with us specific to what Kadri Han had in mind, he really wanted to do the Robin Miller WOD. During the light there did the basic. And so that was a big focus for him more so than miles or any other PT. So once we got out of admin, it was basically just about, you know, getting the movement to get to where we wanted to do the Robin Miller wad and making sure we were able to get it done in time. So that was I thought that was a lot of PT. For I mean, I know it was part of the movement or whatever. But compared to the lights that I've done in the past, that was the most amount of PT that I've ever done. Okay.
Ryan Burns 21:52
Robbie Miller, that that's a that's a lot going on in that one.
Kristen Apple 21:56
Right, right. I mean, you figure, I think we did it. When we hit our time cap was 45 minutes, we had to do it under so I mean, that's 45 minutes of solid PT, I've never done that an event done light before. So nice. Nice. Yeah, you normally get your admin and your welcome party, and you get some, you know, like 1015 minutes of PT, and you actually might have something or you might, you know, get punished for not completing a movement of time not hitting a time hack or doing something wrong, whatever. But that was the most amount of constant PT that I've had. So that I thought that was different. I'm sure other people might have different experiences. But for me, we still had the same amount of coupons that we carried for the tough the night before with 10 less people to carry them.
Ryan Burns 22:42
Oh, yeah. Okay, I
Kristen Apple 22:43
had to really get in on good rotations. That was really important. Thankfully, we had people who had done the Toughbook the night before. So we were able to use the knowledge that we had from the night before and what worked, what didn't. And so yeah, that, at least for me, I think that the PT more PT was kind of shocking. Okay, other than that, I didn't see too much of a difference.
Ryan Burns 23:08
Okay. Um, so, so you had this being your second back to back event, I think something that people might appreciate, you know, cuz that's, that's kind of a progression that people go through is you you maybe took the advanced route by going from lights to a tough light. But like, you know, for me, I did a I did a tough and I was like, you know, once I finally got over the shock, I was like, well, let's, let's start. Let's do the tough and the light next time. And so, like, how did you feel that time between events like what do you think is most helpful? Like for somebody who's thinking All right, next thing I want to do is try a tough basic like what's your what's your advice for that in between time?
Kristen Apple 23:57
Honestly, I'm because I don't need that much sleep. Being a parent you had to learn how to function on very little I went home I went home I went out to eat with a group of guys from the Columbus rec club and we got a nice big meal protein and try to re energize ourselves and then I actually I didn't have a hotel for in between because I thought I'm not going to be there for you know the majority of it so I'm not gonna waste the money so I actually just I went back to my truck and crashed out in the front seat for about an hour and a half or so then grabbed another bite to eat, stretched out a little bit and got ready for for number two for the basic so yeah, that I know that a lot of people they do like foam rollers and stuff like that. I know. I actually I preach that I do as I say not as I do. I know how important it is and I know how much it helps. But I unfortunately I had a bad about that thought about The care in between the recovery phase.
Ryan Burns 25:03
Yeah, well, I mean, it worked for you. You made it right.
Kristen Apple 25:05
Yeah. Yeah, I did. I made it work. It happened. But as I'm shooting for 911, for the htb, actually to try and earn my bolts. Yeah, I've got to really try and focus in on then hone in on that that recovery phase because I mean, it's one thing to do tough basic, but to go htb and
Ryan Burns 25:29
where are you going to do it and Shanksville again? Or?
Kristen Apple 25:32
No, we're actually there's a pretty large group of us from Steel City. They're going to go up to New York City.
Ryan Burns 25:38
Kristen Apple 25:39
I mean, that's 20th anniversary, too. So imagine, it's gonna be incredible.
Ryan Burns 25:44
All right. That's the third time I got goosebumps. Like, I can't I can't imagine the New York htb Oh, me neither on the 20th anniversary. That's awesome. Man. I wish you all the best with that, like, just man, get get that done. That's awesome. Thank
Kristen Apple 26:06
you. Thank you. Yeah, we're really ramping up the training right now. Because there's so many of us that are that we're using that as our opportunity to try and go for our bolts. And there's gonna be some people that have already earned theirs that are just going to be there, you know, for the experience part of it. But yeah, we're really starting to ramp things up training wise and doing actually doing rock strong. Okay, which is helping immensely. Like I've noticed a huge, huge increase in strength already just from cycle one. And yeah, I'm doing Pathfinder two, haven't talked to a couple people that have done ACB. Well, HCl is HTTPS. In the past, they said, if you really crush indoor, if you really, really go after it, you know, get your miles hit all the challenges, you're gonna be good for the HDB. So yeah, I'm gonna do that from now until September. So that's the plan.
Ryan Burns 27:00
That's awesome. Kristen, I can't wait to have you back on the show after you get those bolts.
Kristen Apple 27:05
Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. Thanks for having me.
Ryan Burns 27:15
Hey, thanks for listening to this episode of under the law. If you'd like to see shownotes links to stuff that we talked about or a transcript of the episode, visit us at under the log.com. While you're there, you can find links to all our social media profiles, and we'd love to connect with you. And if you haven't already, please subscribe to the podcast wherever you get your podcast from. And dig in the content be really cool if you'd leave us a positive rating. And finally, if you've recently completed a goruck event and want to chat, drop me a line at Ryan and under the law comm or send me a message on social media. And we'll get you on the calendar for one of the next episodes of underdog Well, that's it for me. We'll see you next time.