Tom Rowland Podcast Episode #003 - Patrick St. Charles - GoRuck Selection, SealFit Kokoro And Application To Life

Goruck Selection is an event like no other.  Developed by Green Beret, Jason Mcarthy, the website describes it like this:


The description goes on to say:


Your ruck must weigh minimum 45 lbs. at all times, not including water or food. We will weigh your ruck at the start of Selection. If your ruck does not weigh 45 lbs., you will be performance dropped. You will have access to our scale prior to the commencement of Selection.




You must meet the PT test standards in order to be given the opportunity to continue to train. If you fail to pass any portion of the PT Test, you will not receive a refund and your experience will come to an end.


  • 2 minutes: minimum 55 push-ups*
  • 2 minutes: minimum 65 sit-ups.*
  • 5-Mile Run: maximum time allotted is 40 minutes.*
  • 12-Mile Ruck Run: maximum time allotted is 3 hours 30 minutes.**

* Push-ups, sit-ups, and the 5-mile run are done without a ruck. ** For the 12-mile ruck run, your ruck must weigh at least 45 lbs. at all times, not including water or food.

Once the PT test is complete, the rest of Selection begins. At that point, you will take all instructions from the Cadre. If you pass, you will earn the GORUCK Selection patch. It will never be for sale."

For some reason, this event attracted us both.  Most people thought we were both crazy and we may just have been.  Regardless, we stepped up on the line and prepared for an ultimate challenge.  I made it 18 hours into this 48 hour event before dropping.  On his first attempt, Patrick didn't make it past the 5 mile run.  A year and a half later, he stepped to the line again but this time he made it to the top 3 as Facebook viewers worldwide watched and cheered him on.

We discuss what kind of a change he had to make in his mental game to attempt this event the second time, how his training changed to allow far more success and why anyone would ever want to do this event anyway.  I talk about another event that I completed, SealFit Kokoro, and how that compared to Selection.  We discuss the lessons each of us learned from these experiences and what we took back into our daily lives that made us better husbands, fathers, fishing guides, contractors, friends, television hosts and simply better individuals.

This is a podcast that is not really about fishing to the level that the others are, but it is about how you can do better at anything, be a better person and achieve any level of success you are searching for in any endeavor in your life. 



Patrick St. Charles and is a contractor and family man who met Tom Rowland about 10 years ago through an early morning workout program for men in their area. Rowland and St. Charles share a love for extreme fitness events and participated in a GoRuck Selection together. Rowland has since completed SEALFit Kokoro and St. Charles went back for a second GoRuck Selection, making it in the top three of the most recent class.


People Mentioned

Tom Rowland

Patrick St.Charles

Will Hunt

Mark Divine

Clay Watson

Jonathan Hurtado


Tom Rowland and Patrick St. Charles met about a decade ago, bonding through a local workout group and an affinity for extreme fitness events like Tough Mudders, Spartan Races, and Ragnar Relays. Participating in these events led them to even more extreme events like the SEALFit Kokoro and GoRuck Selection.

Modeled after the US Navy Seals crucible “Hell Week”, SEALFit Kokoro is a 50+ hour training event with an approximate 30% pass rate. As SEALFit Kokoro finisher, Rowland learned the true value of teamwork, bringing those lessons back into his family, his business, and every leadership position in his life. GoRuck Selection is a 48+ hour event covering over 80 miles with an average pass rate of less than 5%. St. Charles has had two experiences with GoRuck Selection, the first time in 2015 with Rowland.

Listen in to hear both men’s experience with GoRuck Selection, why St. Charles went back for a second time, and what drives them to push their bodies and minds through such physically and mentally challenging events. You’ll also learn how each experience, good or bad, has shaped the way they live their daily lives in regard to family, friends, and their businesses.


Tom Rowland: I'm Tom Rowland, and this is The Tom Rowland Podcast. [music] On today's show, we've got my friend Patrick St. Charles. We're going to talk about a couple of events one, SEALFit Kokoro, a 50-hour event led by former Navy seal. Mark Divine and his team of BUDs instructors and current Navy seals and all around tough dudes. Also, we're going to talk about an event called GoRuck Selection, which may be even one notch above the SEALFit Kokoro in terms of difficulty. Patrick did GoRuck Selection with me in class 015 and it didn't go so well.

Then, he came back and managed to make it to the top three of the most recent GoRuck Selection class. We're going to talk about a couple of things. One, why in the world would anyone not only want to do this once but why in the world would somebody want to do this twice. What exactly is this? More importantly, what can doing events like this like SEALFit Kokoro, GoRuck Selection, even maybe a SEALFit 20x a shorter event. What can this do for you as a regular guy, as a fishing guide, as a professional? What can you gain from an event like this? What could you bring back into your life? Could this make you a better husband, a better father, a better businessman, a better fishing guide, a better tournament angler?

How could an event like this allow you to see things in yourself that you come to terms with? Resolve, maybe all of a sudden, you find that it's made in an indelible impression on you that goes directly back into your regular life and makes you better at everything. Could an event like this do that for you? We're going to find out when we talk to Patrick St. Charles. Before we get to that, I want to tell you about Waypoint TV. Waypoint TV is a free streaming service that has all the best hunting and fishing shows on there right now.

It is free. Did I mention it is free? Yes, it is free to the consumer. [background music] You can go there. You can see it on your smart TV, on Apple TV, Roku, on Amazon Fire, all types of devices including your phone, tablet, and desktop computer. It is a website. It is an app. It is a free streaming service where you are going to find over 60 producers making the best outdoor content available that is all free to use. You can go there and binge your way. Our shows are there, Saltwater Experience, you can go see over 120 episodes anytime you want for free. Check out and figure out how you can watch whatever you want to watch on whatever device you want to watch it on as they say, "There is no offseason."

Now, we're going to get to Patrick St. Charles and I think you're going to enjoy this conversation. I did, and who knows, maybe it will make somebody out there want to challenge themselves and try one of these extreme events. So, Patrick St. Charles. Patrick: Hey, how's it going? [laughs]

Tom: It's going great, how are you?

Patrick: I'm good and glad to do this, and I'm happy to be here. More about background, I met Tom-- I was thinking about this the other night, it's probably been close to 10 years.

Tom: Has it really?

Patrick: Been very close yes, it was 2008 I believe is when we first started. [crosstalk]

Tom: That's through Will Hunt, right?

Patrick: Through Will Hunt, yes, your old house. He pulled me in and brought me into this group and its crazy workout which I love and a great group of guys and then stuck ever since and then loved it. It's just become a part of my life and something I wouldn't do without.

Tom: That's cool. I certainly feel the same way. We have a-- For those that don't know, I have a workout habit that has spiraled completely out of control to the tune of turning my driveway into a world-class strength and conditioning facility.


Patrick: That's right.

Tom: My wife tells me that it can only go a couple of inches further down the driveway before we have to start tearing it down because it is quite impressive but not as impressive as the group of people that has come to be a part of it. Patrick being one of them. We do it very early in the morning and then get on with our day. The group is mostly comprised of dads, because, it's just, if you're into fitness or it's really important to you and you're also a family man which, oftentimes means that's why you're into fitness because, how can you be a good dad if you if you can't take care of yourself. If you're into that it becomes very obvious as you try to make workout a priority in your life. That if you plan for it in the afternoons, there's always soccer practice, there's always play practice, there's drop somebody off, there's a kid that's sick.

Patrick: Homework coming, everything.

Tom: Something goes on. Somewhere along the line we realized that if you got up super early, that was your time. There's been a group of people that has collected around or has similar thoughts. The five day a week thing works for a while until you need a little bit bigger challenge. Over the years, we've done things like Tough Mudders, Spartan Races, half marathons guys have done full marathons, midsummer Ragnar Relays.


Patrick: Good team wants to.

Tom: Mud runs, right? All crazy things like that then a select few have gone on to graduate to some of the SEALFit events the 20x. Then, there's another level, the next level would be the SEALFit kokoro. A couple of us have done that and then the GoRuck selection. I would put right up there at the top of the challenge too.

Patrick: I don't have the background Kokoro which Tom you did and you have experience both of those with selection but, mine's mainly based off the selection but what I know the Kokoro, I think has a lot of basis and similarities and what's behind it and where those events come from.

Tom: Explain what selection is as you know it.

Patrick: We'll talk about this in a minute. I have two different experiences with some selections. As Tom said earlier, I-

Tom: What is it first?

Patrick: Its GoRuck selection and is based out of the GoRuck company which is the Special Forces military started company.

Tom: Greenbury?

Patrick: Yes, Greenbury. They wanted to put out backpacks as your big thing but equipment I guess that is military worthy. Their background is, they started some of these events smaller ones challenges, just team building to mainly test their equipment and from that point, they had such a big community arise from them. People wanting to do these challenges that took off and based on these challenges which were typical eight, 12 hour, 24 hour deals.

There's a lot of attention from a select few people that wanted something more, "Hey, what's the worst you can do?" And, I think out of that selection a rose they-- My understanding, talking to some of the GoRuck staff, they pulled the worst out of hell week in their experiences from their special forces crucibles and put it all into a 48 hour event that they call selection.

Tom: There is a real selection which is a full on military event how you become a ranger, Green Beret. There are different events that are selection oriented maybe that's not. Is that true you go through selection to be a ranger or you go through selection to be a green beret. I think you go through selection to be a green beret.

Patrick: You may-- Which I don't have a big military background.

Tom: I don't either.

Patrick: My family does and that's one of my reasons why I really enjoy these events too but I'm not sure. I know they all have their crucibles or the seals have their Hell Week with selection and they all have the I think a week to two weeks of just punishment.

Tom: That's going to be the time where they've already gone through a tremendous amount of training and then this is going to be an extended period, very little sleep, very high mobility and just a beat down for the week. That's what selection is to you the worst of it. Patrick: Yes, I think as far as actual event what it is the worst parts but I guess the most of demanding parts of these different military branches.

Tom: So, 48 hours?

Patrick: Yes.

Tom: This recently was your second time to do it?

Patrick: Correct.

Tom: What was it that made you want to do this the first time?

Patrick: The first time I wasn't aware of this event. I believe it was-- I don't know if it was you Tom or another friend of ours Clay Watson at the gym but I know [unintelligible 00:10:13].

Tom: He's the first one that brought it to my attention.

Patrick: Yes and so maybe it was Clay. I know from coming to the gym in the mornings some whispers going on and talking about can we do this and then maybe this is one of those events that not many people have accomplished. It is the event if you do it great a handful of people have done it, 99% people don't make it through it.

Tom: When you're saying that you're not talking about a handful of people in our group, you're talking about a handful of people period.

Patrick: Period, who's ever signed up to do this event right. It’s a less than 5% pass rate and still today, typical one guy will finish.

Tom: The first class that we did was 015.

Patrick: It was, yes.

Tom: We were in that one together.

Patrick: That’s 2015 I believe.

Tom: Why did you want to do that?

Patrick: My initial basis for doing that is I come from endurance athlete background, runner, swimmer triathlete right out of college and I like those challenges. Especially we have done some the mud runs and then I always like to challenge myself and take myself the next level and all talking about that it sounded like the perfect opportunity to give it a try. I thought it'd be fun and something to get into and do and I said let's go do it. In hindsight that may not have been the best decision and the right attitude going into this event but that’s how I felt.

Tom: When you get to the first event and looking back in hindsight, you have two experiences to draw from. Where you went over your head was the first event-- Tell me about showing up and like the training that you had done to get there and I know because we trained together for the most part, but I was coming from a slightly different place. I had trained for a year to go to SEALFit Kokoro went to kokoro did. Kokoro for anybody who doesn't know is a 50-hour event held by former navy seal Mark Divine through his company called seal fit. Kokoro is his crucible event. It's designed to be 50 hours and it's designed to be a snapshot out of Navy Seals buds Hell Week.

It's available to anyone who can pass the physical standards test and you can go there. You don't have to be a special operator if you wonder if you can do it, you sign up and off you go the next thing you know you're in the Pacific Ocean for hours at a time and it's the real deal. There's some differences that I'd to talk about but as we discuss this between Kokoro and GoRuck selection. But, I had just gotten off of that and I'm coming back. I sailed through Kokoro. My training was good, I was healthy, there's no way that you're going to sail through Kokoro.

I came through and I had incredible spirits, I was high-

Patrick: Especially for GoRuck?

Tom: Yes. Well, coming through Kokoro. I did it, me and the group of people that I was with. It seemed like we sailed through but I look back on it, it was hard. There was nothing easy about Kokoro. We get back and I'm healing up which took months and then I go to lunch with Clay and he says, "Hey man, I want to do this. This is the event," I'd never heard of it. Even being in that community and doing seal fit Kokoro and having done a GoRuck.

Patrick: Yes, I know. I hadn't either. It’s very quiet.

Tom: I had never heard of it and I said well, let's hear what it is, what is it? Clay shows me the paperwork. I look at it, I said, "Man that's no joke that looks like every bit is hard as Kokoro if not harder." We set a plan, okay when is the next one? I think the next one was too soon.

Patrick: It was.

Tom: We planned on October 2015. I went ahead, figured out what kind of training I would want to do for it. Found the mountain athlete training plan, which is actually four selection, ordered that, got it, looked at it and said, "Man, I'm going to need to train for a year to start this program." Which was good.

Patrick: That was one of my downfalls for round one. It was exactly that.

Tom: It was a good idea and basically trained up for a year and then started that non-athlete program which is a 10-week program I think. That put me pretty much right at selection. We went through that training together, but not entirely. You were kind of training on your own. Tell me about the first attempt.

Patrick: With the first attempt. I think I came in-- Maybe, Clay and you have already discussed some of this.

Tom: And Michael. Patrick: And, Michael, yeah, there's several of us not here maybe five, yeah, five a group and that came together to say, "Yeah, let's do this." Tom and Clay had already had the workout program, and looked at it and thinking of some of my background and then rest on my roots. It's a heavy workout program. There's a lot of weight, it's been a ton of cardio and a ton of rocking.

Tom: And, the rocking is important because in this event, you are going to-- You are mandated to carry a 45-pound pack dry before you put food and water in it. It has to weight out at 45 pounds and that is going to be with you the whole time and on your back?

Patrick: It is, yeah. Then with water and food I think the second go-around if you pay a lot more attention now is 52 to 55 pounds depending on what was in that pack. We had to go back. We looked at the workout program and I felt comfortable with it because it had some mileage and stuff in it. Great, let’s do this. I was naive to not consider to train up to do this work on program. We started and we were going through workout program together. We do some stuff in the morning, so with the guys with some-- With the amount of work we had, we had to get some after work or on the weekends on our own.

One of my folks too was I would-- If I missed the long one, if I missed one or had a soccer game I had to go to, I'd miss that and I wouldn't get the mileage in. I would think, "Hey, I'm a distance athlete. I'm okay. I can make it through this." Then, in short story, we got to the training program and ended up down there which at GoRuck, they have a physical fitness test which you have to do at the beginning to pass the standards in order to continue going. You know that's to begin with. It's a set amount of push-ups in two minutes, some set amount of sit-ups in two minutes, you have a five-mile run and then 12-mile rack.

Tom: And, just [laugh] -- Just so you get the gist of this. It's in Jacksonville, Florida. It's October, it's hot. You're standing out in the hot sun for two hours [laugh] above 80. You're supposed to get there at a certain time and of course they'll make you stand around and wait and go through all your stuff and then you're standing out in the hot sun for a couple of hours before you get the chance to start on the push-ups?

Patrick: Right.

Tom: Then, you stand around for a while again in the hot sun before you get the chance to do the sit-ups-

Patrick: You're right.

Tom: You stand around the sun for a little while before it's time to do this five-mile run and you have to come in at a certain time. Then, if you make all that you have to then strap on your 45-pound pack which is more like 50, 55 with water and then you have to hit the standard of-- What is it? An hour and a half on the 12-mile run? 12-mile Ruckrun? Is that what it was?

Patrick: No, It's three and a half hours.

Tom: No, it's three and a half hours, I'm sorry.

Patrick: It’s three and a half for this 12-mile Ruckrun. Tom: It'd be really fast if it was an hour and a half.

Patrick: What's it's-- What they don't tell you is-- what you change on the two, but the first time I went down there is on the sand. No matter where the surf was or the surf was up on the soft sand you're doing it on the soft sand, which I didn't get to that point on round one. What Tom was saying which I didn't prepare for either, is we got there and the game was on. As soon as you get there, you got to the parking lot where you're supposed to start. The cadre automatically starts giving their orders, barking at you, be quiet, stand in ranks, sitting out in the sun, standing up for hours and you don't really prepare for that. That kind of worn me down. Then I didn't train for the training program, the 10-week program we talked about and I actually tore my calf about six weeks prior to starting selection. Again, I thought-

Tom: At this point, so we've lost-- You're showing up hurt?

Patrick: I am. Yes.

Tom: Michel Miller showed up hurt. Adam Levid showed up hurt. Clay didn't even show up because he got hurt. Training for the training program was incredibly important-

Patrick: That was so vital.

Tom: I think I was the only one that showed up healthy.

Patrick: Correct. I did not do enough to prep for the training program and as a result and not sticking directly to the program, I wound up doing too much too late and injured myself. I had just enough time where I thought I could maybe recoup, put my foot online down at selection. In doing that and healing in your sacrifice and on the training from that point on also.

Tom: What point did you have to drop the first time?

Patrick: I made it through the push-ups and the sit-ups. Those were great. I had a lot of time to train for those and so I wasn't running, I had a torn calf. I got to the five-mile run and think it's the combination of being out in the heat and my injury and I just wasn't mentally there to do it. Halfway through the run it got me, my calf tweaked me a little bit more. I felt hurt physically and mentally and that was it for me. I had to walk the rest of the way back in on the run. Then, seeing you make the run and then take back off on the 12 mile ruck after that was [laughs] one of the worst sights I've seen in a long time. I hated-- Yes. You feel like you let teammates down and partners down.

Tom: A little background on this on this. There were 278 people that signed up for this event. I have a blog post that I wrote immediately afterwards. I could probably find it right now. People were just dropping left and right. Because of the issues that Patrick's talking about with dehydration and standing out in the sun. Some of these guys, even one of the guys, Tony Smith was an eventual selection finisher.

Patrick: He was, yes.

Tom: Yes. He's a Canadian guy, red haired Canadian guy. Does not do well with the sun at all and that was his demise. Which he later went on to be a great finisher of the event, which in itself is incredible. But, people were just dropping left and right and some of them just couldn't figure it out. The push-ups and sit-ups and all that was published and they had as much time to train for that as possible. People were showing up and they couldn't meet the standards. There was absolutely zero sympathy for these people from the cadre. People were just dropping left and right. Plus they're not thinking about maybe they're barely meeting the standard and they're training.

Then the cadre is saying, "No rep, no rep, no rep. You're not able to do these push-ups." Also that throws them for a loop, then they panic and they don't get it in two minutes.

Patrick: Exactly right. Then when you're faced with the facts, if you're training and you have your standards where you have do-- I forget the exact numbers but say it's 65 push-ups in two minutes and you're at home, in the gym or where ever and you can knock it out in training. I can do 70, no problem and continue to do it and then all of a sudden you've been standing around in the heat, you're bear with your nerves, a little dehydrated, cadre in your face yelling at you, you're not performing right. That number can drop down to 50 in a heartbeat. I think that happened to a lot of people, if not what they'll tell you to actually train above and beyond just the standards.

Tom: Yes. Way beyond. If the standard is 50 you need to be doing 100, easy. You need to be doing 100 while somebody is causing you all kinds of distractions and whatever that may be. I went on to pass the run, the ruck, then there's something called the workout party, which is a lot of hazing [laughs] and beat down. I'm just looking at my blog here. Tom Rowland Training, there's a [sic] article here called Lessons Learn-GoRuck Selection 015 AAR. It says, "Out of 278 people who signed up and just for reference, it says,"Today is Saturday, October 11th and it's the morning after GoRuck Selection 015. "Out of 278 people who signed up 162 RSVP'd to show up."

A bunch of people just decided and kind of like some people in our group got injured on the way or just decided, "Man I'm not doing this, this is crazy." 82 of the 278 actually showed up.

Patrick: Yes. I remember with that one, the first one we did one of the difference to the Cadre on that one, they're actually sending emails and trying to communicate every once in a while with the participants signed up and already trying to start the middle game to get into your head. Why do this? There's no chance you're going to make it. I'll make sure you don't get through this. I think that had a lot of effect on the people too.

Tom: Definitely. This gets very interesting. Out of the 82, seven were women. I'm pretty sure that I was the oldest there at 46, but I could be wrong. If I wasn't the oldest I was definitely one of the oldest. 35 people failed the push-up or sit-up portion and were allowed to re-test. After that, 23 people were sent home after failing twice. They actually did give you a second chance there, which is very uncommon for this group of people. Now, we're down to 31. Six more dropped on the 12 mile ruck and we started the four hour workout party with 25 candidates two of which were women. I'm one of these 25 people, I look around and my group is gone. [laughs] Nobody's there.

Patrick: Sorry Tom. Tom: Now what happened? I was thinking, "Man, what happened?"

Patrick: [laughs]

Tom: We're staring, these 25 people are staring at a group of the hardest men you'll ever see. A bunch of Green Berets, Navy Seals, all kinds of Special Operations guys that have one goal, and that is to make this next four hours the hardest four hours of your life, which they did.

Patrick: [laughs]

Tom: No problem there. An hour into the workout party we lost another six including one of the women. Now, there's only one woman left. 16 candidates remained and Candidate 075, the last woman, drops, who 075 is also in your class.

Patrick: She was, yes.

Tom: What's her name? Do you remember?

Patrick: Jolly? I believe. I have to go back and look at that.

Tom: Yes, too bad. Sorry. Sorry 075 because much respect to you.

Patrick: She has attempted many selections by more than-

Tom: All of them. From this class-- She's been in every class to my knowledge.

Patrick: She has and then actually improved every single one. This last one I did with her is the farthest she's made it.

Tom: Just looking at this, you can see, 278 down to 25 down another six. Now, there's 16 left and then three more drop down after the workout party. We start the sandbag baby event with 13 and that's including me. By the end of the sandbag baby, it was down to 10 and then I dropped. Shortly after that, lost another five. Then, it was down to-- Three remained.

That was the way that it was going to be for quite some time in that first event. I think, I made it about 18 hours on the first one. Really really incredibly tough but I learned a lot of lessons, really did. It was something I'm super glad I did but I'm not quite ready to sign up for another one right now. Maybe I will. You'll never know. I'm not going to put anything out of possibility but that's what I want to ask you about. What is it that made you want to go back? I mean, you saw the condition that I came back. I was-

Patrick: I did. You were ruined. Tom: Ruined. You saw the condition- Patrick: For a while. Tom: -of the finisher. You saw the condition of the people who made it further than you by an hour, by three hours, by 12 hours, by 30 hours. When you get home, what are you thinking about?

Patrick: My first effort dropped. I was very disappointed with just, I guess, in myself and my preparation for it and not respecting, I guess, for doing my homework moments event. I thought I could go up more than I could. With that-- [sighs] I have the drive. I need to get my mind right. My mind wasn't right for that first event. I can make a decision that this is something I really wanted and it was my real reason for doing this.

It took me a while to get there. I mean, I got over that and thought about that event and went and did some other races and events in between. I couldn't get selection out of my mind. [laughs] There `was something there I felt like I left too away too much on the table and I didn't give myself an honest shot at it. It just continued to grow and I couldn't get rid of it. Based on that, only thinking upon it, tons of really good reasons to do it and some drive. I wanted to go out there and-

Tom: What is the reason?

Patrick: I really respect, I guess, the company, for me-- The way we trained here at Tom's with these guys is-- I like to work out and challenge myself and push myself and basically to live. For everyday life to not be stagnant, to always push and continue to grow, this is the way for me to do that. These challenges, I have much respect for the background of this company and to put myself among some of the best military we have. I have some family in military too. I'm so thankful for what they do and sacrifice. In a way, this is a way I can show some respect to them also.

I felt I did a disservice to that, that first go around. It took me a year. The whole year after that, I thought about it and thought about it. I finally got to a point where I was comfortable enough and I would say, "Hey, I'm going to dedicate myself to this." You have to and you have to maybe take some time away from your family which is hard, from your business, from your work and other things in life and find out a way to really schedule and to do something this magnitude and I was able to do that.

I made up the decision probably late summer August in 2016 to really give it a go for the 2017 back down in Jackson Vile. Then we went ahead and signed up right there beginning of the year. I not only have that one training plan we've had before there incorporated, but I did my homework and I actually had three training plans I did prior to that just to get ready for that. It made a huge difference-

Tom: It just stair stepped it up and increased the volume?

Patrick: It did yes. It increased the volume. I did my homework on it. Make sure your mind's right and that you're both physically and mentally there.

Tom: Just to give a little bit of reference here. At the pick of the training, what time do you think you're putting in per day or per week? I think I have a pretty good idea of- Patrick: I do too. My time-- We can say per a week, you're at least two hours a day, is how my day and you have a day off a week. You need your body to rest but you're building up. You may start that hour or hour and a half a day and then you're going to eventually get to do in two days, long two days. Then on the weekends, you're going to get to a point where you're doing four five-hour workouts. Really adjusting your body and your mind to be able to compensate for that and push through it.

Tom: You have done other events?

Patrick: I have.

Tom: IronMan, have you done IronMan?

Patrick: I've done many half IronMans then, many 24 hour plus adventure races.

Tom: You have an idea of what IronMan training, compare the training of Ironman or half IronMan to what you're getting ready for on this one.

Patrick: With triathlon or IronMan to half IronMan, many people know it's locking in the miles. You're out there and just putting in the miles and it's mainly three disciplines. You're swimming, running and biking.

Tom: What about just the overall time?

Patrick: It may be comparable. I think the time limit with a full Ironman, the time frame with the selection it may be comparable. With a half ironman or the many that I did, it was you're maybe training 14 to 20 hours maybe a week. I think it's what I was doing.

Tom: It's like a job for most people?

Patrick: It is, correct, yes.

Tom: You come back from this and you decide-- Is this something that you have to talk to your wife about, or it's just-- How do you manage to put that kind of-

Patrick: If it's something, you should talk to your wife. [laughter] I'll put it that way. There might be some big red flags going off if you- [laughter] If you're showing up at 10:00 O'clock at night not telling anybody where you are. Especially, if you have a family. If you're just married or if you have kids, it's a large commitment. It really is. It's something you'd want to sit down. Luckily my wife is an endurance athlete. She's a runner too and sure she spends a lot of time training also and it may be a little easier for her to wrap her head around. It's a commitment because, you're going to be out for five, six hours on a weekend. You're going from six in the morning to maybe five in the afternoon sometimes. When you could be playing with your kids or going to the soccer game or doing something else or helping around the house. It's very important to make sure everyone is on page with it and okay with it.

Tom: You make this commitment and you decide to go. Our group didn't necessarily rally around you on this one.

Patrick: No, I think they saw the results from round one and [laughs] that got a lot of people out of it fast.

Tom: I've got some demons inside probably but GoRuck selection will do a good job of quieting them. If you've got a burning drive and you feel like you need to be challenged, this thing will challenge you to the point where you're going to resolve a lot of things in your head.

Patrick: Best quotes I've heard [unintelligible 00:34:22] race, "If you're going to attempt this, you better really like yourself." One of the pretty reckless, I'll say reckless it's one of the things during selection, is you're not allowed to communicate or talk with anyone unless a cadre speaks to you. You're in your head the entire time.

Tom: This goes deep into if someone were to fall down and break their leg next to you, you are under strict orders to just keep on going. The cadre will take care of that person. You are not to issue help. What do they call that? Ethical violation or more-

Patrick: Correct, yes.

Tom: An ethical violation. You're not to talk?

Patrick: There's also people that they didn't break anything. Thank goodness but they were hurting or going slow or down in front of me. I can't turn to tell them, the cadre's like go over top of them. Do not let them slow you down. You will dominate that person in front of you at all costs.

Tom: It is all about a singular focus and the big difference between the GoRuck Selection and the SEALFit Kokoro is that they are very, very, very similar except they are also exactly opposite. SEALFit Kokoro, we learned extremely quickly that the only way to success is through teamwork. If someone were to fall down in front of you and you did not help them up, you were severely punished. You were severely punished until you came together as a team. They wouldn't tell you look, we're going to keep punishing you until you come together as a team.

They're going to tell-- They're going to continue to punish you until you get it through your thick head that "Oh, this is what we're here for. We're here to come together as a team with all of these strangers under the greatest duress I've ever been in my life." You have to figure this out. You all have to figure it out. Then once you do, you become an unstoppable force that nothing can hold you down. It was told to us there that at your darkest moment, at the moment when you think you're going to quit. At the moment that you think that you cannot go any further. If you extend a hand and help someone else who is in a worse situation than you are, you will buoy both of your spirits up. That's how you get through all these things. That worked. It worked incredibly. When I say I sailed through Kokoro, I sailed through Kokoro on the shoulders of all of these strangers that I had no idea. That I learned that and I learned the value of teamwork. That's something that I've brought back immediately into my family, into my business, into every leadership position that I have in my life of you are nothing alone and you're everything together. You are an absolute unstoppable force as a team, any team. Sports team, a business team, a family, a group of friends, whatever.

If you are all on the same page, there is an exponential strength that you will never have as an individual. They would say that there at Kokoro that Rambo's don't make it. You know meaning that if you try to go out here and just make this all by yourself, man you will never make it and we saw it. Some people did not get on board and they did not make it and they were left in the dirt. Now, when we go to selection, it is exactly the opposite. You're doing burpees, you're carrying stuff, you're rocking, you're walking, you're running, you're in the water, you're doing all of the same thing. [crosstalk]

Patrick: Then there is no helping the other people out there. They don't want you to know I can't act, no encouragement, nothing.

Tom: I trained alone for the most part, around the [crosstalk] but when we would go on these rucks, I'm thinking okay, I can't talk to anybody. I won't talk to anybody. I won't listen to any music. I won't listen to podcast. I won't do anything. I'll just go. I'm thinking that's enough but what you don't realize and what I quickly realized, I may not have had I not had the Kokoro experience is what an unbelievable blow it is when you cannot communicate with other people.

Patrick: It's miserable. Because, when you train like this and do events and in business and life, you ride these waves. You're going to be up high feeling great. Then you're 10 miles in or something happens and you're feeling at your low point. That's where you benefit from the partner besides you or your team and you push through it. Then you get back up and you go. We're training for selection and I did the same thing. I did a lot of miles and training by myself as Tom did. Then during the event too, a lot of guys I noticed the second go-around which I did a lot better and made it to the top three.

The guys who were at their low point and couldn't push through it and adapt with that, that's the cadre would see that they would expose that weakness. They were gone, and they were out.

Tom: It doesn't take much. There is a point and we can certainly talk about it because that's the main focus of this. Is that there is a point to where you can go no further or at least you think you can go no further and you drop.

Patrick: To touch on that a little bit from my experience, especially going through the second selection where I felt like I did leave it all out there is, I don't think they maybe portray that message as teamwork to you. Definitely during the event it's not but my takeaway from what I've learned is, it embraces that more. When I come back and reflect on selection and how I did better the second time and my reasoning, it's because of my team, it's because of my friends, my workout through, my family who sacrificed too to let me train for this. You're doing the event as an individual but what keeps you going is you have that team, you have that support behind you-

Tom: That's your why, that's the catch phrase these days is watch your why and keep it close. Let's fast forward this a little bit. You come back from the first one, you decide that you're going to do it, what's the time period between the two events?

Patrick: Between my first one and the second one I did. The first one was roughly October 2015 which I got broken, ruined, and destroyed. I had to really reevaluate what I wanted and it made me think a lot just not that but life in general. It took me probably better part of eight to nine months, truly overcome that and find out what I really want to do. By October of 2016 I was committed, I signed up and by the beginning of the year, I decided I need a solid 10 months. I was already training at this point but to start the training program, beginning of 2017 I started. I had everything planned out by that point and then I started my training programs and now so we're doing it.

Tom: Okay, now you're signed up in your right team. In the meantime there has been one other class, it's not like there's a lot of classes of this.

Patrick: Not about one a year?

Tom: Maybe at some point there might have been more I don't know but, maybe one a year but, one of the people who was in our first class 015 Tony Smith, he has an opportunity to do one in Bosman, jumps back on it, gets in there, is a little more comfortable in the mountains, in the cold than he was in the hot sun, and comes out ahead. Did that have anything to do wit-- I mean you are you thinking I saw this guy I know. If he can do it, I know I can do it.

Patrick: After the first one too, but there is some information and there is some finishers, a lot of AAR's which are after action reports which are pretty much just finishers’ experiences of the events, and that’s a great point. I got on and I read a lot of them not just Toni’s because he completed, many of the years prior to that. You start reading deeper into that, these guy’s thoughts and drives, it's a great motivator. Also too seeing him how fast he went in on the first one and came back around within that next year and completed it.

Tom: There's more going on there than just the sun and the heat and stuff like that, that's a period of his mind shift-

Patrick: It is.

Tom: Here you are, you drop out first event you don't make it to the ruck, the vent hasn't even started basically. You're disappointed, you come back, you've got a different mindset, what do you think in going in to the second event?

Patrick: With what little I had from the first you still have to take away a lot. In that, I was still there I didn't make it to the actual event and just halfway through the PT test, I was probably still there five or six hours, that's how long it takes, and how they're dragging around. I knew more what to expect and I knew really why I wanted to do it and had a good reason for it. Tom: Again, though, what is that, what is that reason? It can't be that you just have respect for the military.

Patrick: No, that's just bonuses, that's just, "Hey I have a lot of family who have been in military and contributed, I have respect for the military."

Tom: What is really going on there because you can go and watch the vows they create-?

Patrick: My drive for this stuff is my family and friends, it really is. It's my personal team in life behind me.

Tom: What about? They're behind you but in the darkest of the darkest moments of event like this and I know what this is like. You've got it did deep and I'm talking about digging deep. Me and a lot of people that are going to listen to this watched you on Facebook, there's a Facebook line. They're having all these updates and stuff like that. Man I'm talking full on complete misery and you're digging deep, you're going on and that doesn't come from just wanting to be a tough guy, that doesn't come from-

Patrick: No I left that, you can say that maybe was into my tough guy career in 2015 kind of put into that.

Tom: That doesn't do it that is not enough. If you want to see how tough you are, you're going to find out in about the first three hours and it's not that tough. There has to be something. This is my experience anyway. Of the people that I know that completed Kokoro. The people that I've watched go and complete selection. The people that went further than me. The people that were right beside me. All of them had reasons, big time reasons that resonated deeply. We've never talked about that, you and I. What is that for you?

Patrick: Mine for me, my deep when really-- I have so much respect and love for my friends and my family. Really what it is so? They've always been there growing up and maybe for giving me these great opportunities and to push myself in the life I have and this group we work out with too in training now.

We've been doing it for 10 years and they're great friends. You see these people who come in way overweight or way out of shape and health issues. These drives and they change their lives really. I want to be a part of that. I want my life to mean something. I want to be a good example for my family, for my kids and for my friends to continue and want to push and better themselves. Maybe with that, I cannot only help myself but the people around me- [crosstalk]

Tom: Through example?

Patrick: Through example, right. That's a huge thing with me that's resonated a long time. I know both my grandfather's before they passed and even I was young, there's nothing more important than family and friends and the people you can change around so you so.

Tom: As you're going through this, what kind of fears are you having? Because, the whole thing is scary. It's as scary as it could be. Patrick: That's the horrible thing about doing it before too. Then, having to drop out halfway through the first round. Yes, like my training-- I felt great. I trained up through my second round. I was in the best shape of my life. Close to it before I even started the training program. Then that way the training program went really well up to selection. I felt good. I was crushing. That the time hacks for the physical fitness test. I wasn't quite a hundred push-ups but I was in the high 80s to 90s. My rucking was flying and my running was doing really well. I felt good. That part my physical part felt good.

I was most nervous about the mental part going in. Did I have the drive and did I have the right reason why and could I hold it together in my darkest part when even those guys were on me? I was really nervous about that. I think that showed, when I first started, we got up and we did the pushups. I was up there and I felt good but the nerves kicked in right there. They tell you to get down, get in push-up position. The cadre over top of you two minutes go. My arms were shaking uncontrollably and I knocked out. I think I got 80, 82 push-ups.

When I was doing in the 90s before but above standard and then I got settled in, knocked out the sit ups. Then we in the hurting break. Like you referenced before, there were several people there and some huge, strong guys looked like they're pro football players. It blew my mind. I thought they'd do great. They were out in the sit-ups to push-ups. I think nerves and stuff got them. Now, they probably killed it in their gym somewhere. Never make the mistake obviously of assuming about some of your competitors or your teammates. That was mental thing for me too, watching other people around you that you think are so strong go down so fast really weighs on it.

Tom: You look at that. I had the same thing happened to me in Kokoro when I first got there. I am paired up with this guy, who literally looks like a superhero. He had a military haircut. He was probably about 230 pounds. He was so much more physically capable than I was. We hadn't been going two hours and we did something. We were running on the beach and it's a beautiful day in California. I'm looking around going, this isn't that bad. He says, I'm out. I quit right. I just thought of all the places and times to quit. We haven't even started yet.

Patrick: It's the same, yeah.

Tom: That gets back to, it’s really not the physical as much as it is the mental. He just looked at it and thought, man I can't do this for the next.

Patrick: The majority of people going to event like this are going to show up in pretty top physical condition.

Tom: Unless they're injured.

Patrick: For the most part, correct. Unless you're injured, which I did and I went that route, but they are, so there's a ton of mental. To touch on that too, we had that one big guy but there's also, I think, we had a marine recon in my class for the second one. The guy is planning to go into the BUD/S program in two weeks. He's already in the Navy, planning to go to BUD/S--

Tom: Probably a real good idea to let that information out before the event. Patrick: Yes. [laughter] Let me tell you, let that information out, now he's planning to go in the BUD/S, which is a SEALs program to a bunch of Rangers or Green Berets, [laughs] eat that up. Of course, I had these young guys, these guys going to Special Forces training, they look like these NFL Titans, these superheroes back there and then he drops, so that affected me but the other military guys that were in there and I still hang in, so that boosted me a little bit. We're getting to the endurance part and we get to the five-mile run, which I'm a fairly strong runner. I was like, "Just build your own pace in the middle of the pack and work your way through it." I did on the run.

We started and everyone took off just flying. I kind of held back, I was in the middle of the pack and I knew my pace in my training programs. By the turnaround point, I was out front. Everyone slowed down and that's helped my pace. I was a minute ahead of the turnaround and continue to the finish and felt great.

Tom: At this point, you're further along than you were the first time?

Patrick: Yes, and that really kind of settled me down.

Tom: You crush the ruck.

Patrick: Yes and so the ruck-- after the run, we'd put on our 45-pound pack. I thought all the ruck was going to be on the beach from the last experience. Leave it to the cadre, we rucked halfway down on the beach, we do. We'd go down, we hit these big pillars in the sand. There's a cadre sitting there, he's like, "Hey man, turn around. You're a mile away. You're almost there. Just go and you got it, no problem." He was the good cop. [laughs]

He turned around. We hit the second cadre about a mile down. We think that's the end because you have no idea, you don't have a watch, no one tells you mileage. He was, "Man listen, sorry, you're not even close to being done. You're not going to make it, you're behind your time hack. Why don't you just jump in this truck right here and we'll take you back to the hotel--" [crosstalk]

Tom: Hot coffee, doughnuts in there.

Patrick: Yes. Exactly what they said. Exactly, no problem. That's test one. [laughs] I was expecting that and felt like I was doing good on the ruck. They point you back into the streets off the beach, which is another mind game for me, and off I went. Completed the ruck within the time and did well. I think I was third on the ruck but in that, I learned behind the BUD/S class guy dropped, the recon guy dropped-- [crosstalk]

Tom: That's what happened to me in the welcome party. I looked around, nobody's there.

Patrick: It blew my mind that they did that. The cadre kind of talking about it and of course they're using that against you, "Hey, these are the guys going to the Special Forces, they dropped." One guy ran out of water and I think it really messed with his head because how far away he was from the end, which wasn't far. Everyone has their reasons but yes, they don't know--

Tom: Now the event begins. I don't want to go through every little piece of it but you find yourself more, and more, and more people are dropping and--

Patrick: I do, yes. They put numbers real fast. I think we started out-- there may have been something in the-- I don't know the exact-- say, 40 to 50 that showed up the start for that 2017, this last one. By the end of the ruck, I think it was maybe down to 15, I believe, is what that many people left right there at the beginning. Then that was a start, that four-hour torture test, they call the welcome party.

Tom: The welcome party, yes.

Patrick: Yes. [laughs]

Tom: The welcome party is going to consist of four hours of burpees, and running, and rucking, and-

Patrick: It's anything you can think of which is--

Tom: - going in the ocean, and everything that you can imagine. People are throwing up and-

Patrick: Bear crawls and water.

Tom: - tackling one another.

Patrick: [laughs] It never ends. At least where we were, they had us secluded back in the swamp and the worst swamp air you can think of in Florida. This is where we were. They had one gravel parking lot on the one side of the swamp, then there's trails, and you go through the swamps to get to this other one. Finally, I figured out, they roughly spend about 30 minutes with us, drilling us at one. They send us running through the marsh to get to the other guy, then that guy would drill us. They send us back and there'd be another cadre back there. They just keep rotating and really get in your head. That was an experience. [chuckles]

Tom: Just to figure this out a little bit and to give reference, this thing started, they told you to show up at what time?

Patrick: Noon. We may have been a noon, one o'clock start.

Tom: Okay, so one o'clock start, you do the push-ups, the sit-ups, the five-mile run, the twelve-mile ruck. Now you're in a four-hour welcome party, welcome party's over. What time were we looking at now?

Patrick: We're still in the wee hours of the morning, so all that, we're probably-- I would have to say, which I have no idea, but we have to be somewhere in the two, three, four o'clock in the morning. Tom: Okay, so it's four o'clock in the morning, I found myself in the same situation. It's four o'clock in the morning, you have now done your push-ups, you stood around in the sun, you did your sit-ups, you ran five miles, you rucked 12 miles, you basically did a CrossFit workout for four hours. Now this is what people don't know about this event, there has been zero nutrition.

Patrick: None, yes. I think from some of the events leading up to this, so last one we did in 2015 in Jacksonville with the heat and some dehydration issues, the only nutrition we had is they made us pour some rehydration supplement, which is pretty much a salt packet. They make you pour it in your Nalgene bottle and chug it.

Tom: You got that? We didn't get anything like that.

Patrick: Yes, they made us bring-- That was the newest thing they brought. We didn't have Gatorade or anything like that, which I think they had in a previous one but they made us, because it was hot again, but chug that. If you ever tried to chug salt water about half of us got it down and the other half of us threw up.

Tom: Yes, but still, that's a major deal right there-

Patrick: Yes, so that's what we had.

Tom: - because in Kokoro, they had made sure that there was electrolytes in the water in Selection. I found that to be the hardest thing, was all of the sudden, you're going for 18 hours and your body is locking up because you have no nutrition. This sounds extreme because it is extreme. This is the hardest endurance event in the world, coupled with the fact that you're carrying a 45-pound pack, which is now 60 because you're in the water all the time.

Patrick: It's soaking wet, yes.

Tom: On top of that, you haven't had anything to eat and you're lucky to get water.

Patrick: They do provide you plenty of water, so water-- [crosstalk]

Tom: They provide you plenty of water but you have to earn the right to pour it into your bottle. [laughter] Patrick: Exactly right. Or to find the point in between them drilling you into the exercising and commands to actually remember to hydrate yourself.

Tom: Remember, is exactly right.

Patrick: That's huge, yes.

Tom: They never tell you that you can't drink any water. Patrick: They tell you at the very beginning, which I didn't pay attention to at the first one, you sign a waiver, it is on you remember to rehydrate yourself and do what you think is right. That's the only thing--

Tom: Well, Cadre Bert who is the guy that ran my Selection 015, he wrote an article that was on the ruck that said, "Selection is nothing but a hydration contest."

Patrick: I read that.

Tom: You have to really remember to hydrate and remember to hydrate is-- [laughs] You're going to get yelled at if you hydrate-

Patrick: You are, yes.

Tom: - because you now are doing something other than what they told you to do, even though that's what they told you to do, right?

Patrick: Right.

Tom: They told you to hydrate but not exactly. They told you also to do burpees, so you're reaching for your hose to get to your bladder and now you're not doing burpee as fast as they want you to, so now-

Patrick: Most the time you want to try to-

Tom: - you can't do anything right.

Patrick: - just sneak some water while your face down in the mud puddles. [laughs]

Tom: Right. A lot of people fall prey to dehydration and because-

Patrick: They do. It's so crucial in this-- [crosstalk]

Tom: - first of all, you're working out for really an extended time. Even in your training at this point, you're 12 hours in, you've had plain water, maybe this rehydration pack, nothing to eat, so not a lot of people are working out for 12 hours without any kind of hydration or-- not hydration but nutrition. That's another factor for sure but you overcome that and you go on this time. You--

Patrick: Yes. I actually knew a little bit of that going in from talking to you as one for your previous experience, and that 015, and then reading some of these reports online from previous finishers and competitors who made it and didn't make it. I actually incorporated some-- that's not true fasting but I would maybe not have breakfast in the morning on the weekends or something, then maybe do the four, five-hour workouts, and then--

Tom: You're trained in some of that but there's no way to prepare for it because-

Patrick: There's not, no. Tom: - also what happened to me, I was also-- they were putting us in the ocean, out of the ocean. I ingested a bunch of salt water so now I'm throwing up and you're losing all kinds of whatever you might have in there anyway. You don't have anything, you are truly depleted. We did workouts like triple Murph, getting ready for this thing for 015 and for your event. We're doing these extended three-hour workouts and trying not to drink anything other than plain water, no food, probably no food from the night before. That's preparing you some but--

Patrick: It is. I think it's more mental preparation though too, so you get to-- obviously, you need to feed your body after you do workouts and train like this. You'll need to fast, and deplete your body, and hurts you. I think having a little bit of that in your training, it adapts your mind mentally to what to expect. Yes, I feel a little lost, I'm having some stomach cramps, or whatever.

Tom: As I was watching on Facebook, it seemed like they were a fair number of people and then it really dropped down to maybe four or five of you.

Patrick: It did, yes. I think at the end of the welcome party, they were seven. We started with, I don't know the exact number, say 15 to 17. Through that four hours, it dropped quickly and we got down to seven. One of the people messed it out in the welcome party and one of the guys that dropped right at the end of the welcome party was Adam, which is another friend of ours who did in the first one and he had been in this one. He trained well and was in great shape. We were going to welcome party together and strong, he actually pushed me down in the mud a few times. [laughs] To do that at whatever cost it pays to be a winner.

I think his issue was he had a problem with some of the water. I think they had some-- this is what he told me. Some sulfur Florida water wasn't agreeing with him well and it kind of got down, so we lost him and then a couple others right then. It got down to a core four or five people.

Tom: Four or five people, one of them is a woman.

Patrick: It is, yes. She did great.

Tom: Toughest woman I've ever seen.

Patrick: For half that welcome party to put it, she got punished, I guess, what they'll do for not doing some of the exercises correctly. She spent half that welcome party getting personal attention from two cadre, which is--

Tom: I saw that. I watched that and they had two of them.

Patrick: They had two of them there.

Tom: Two of them and we're just beating them down and-- [crosstalk]

Patrick: Which is quite more intense than being with the group. That is how she did that but that is-- [laughs]

Tom: Yes, and she made it through- Patrick: She's tough.

Tom: - and then you guys continue. At this point, the Facebook Live feed is even more personal because now you're kind of getting to know who these people are a little bit. There are some chatter going, "That's this person and here's a link to their bios." People are starting to read about this. We lose Adam and we're really cheering for you and it really gets down to three of you. People kept dropping and it was hard to watch these people drop because they were-- it was hard to understand about watching Facebook if they were dropping because they were breaking mentally, or they were breaking physically, or both.

Maybe some of the people that have actually finished an event like this would tell you that you never break physically, you only break mentally. What do you think about that?

Patrick: I think it's a little of both and there may be some people that, yes, they get injured or have some physical condition they can't control and yes, that's physical. I think the majority of it is mental, is why you drop, but mental based on physical conditions, [laughs] I guess, to put it that way. There was four of us down there at the welcome party when the sun started to come up.

This one far off where Ashley dropped, I think I was in it, I don't know what it was, 22 hours or something like that. What got me to put in perspective, so we got down to four and then-- I don't want to give away a whole lot of what we do in the welcome party but there was a log PT, which was doable but it just kind of got in my head. I'm 5'10"--

Tom: Log PT is when you're lifting-- there may be three or four of you, you're lifting a log over your head, you're carrying it down to the beach, you're doing all these exercises with it.

Patrick: Yes. Somehow they find a sequoia floating in the swamp of Florida and so that's what we have. The other guys lined up with me. These guys are, they're physical specimens, they're 6'2" and I'm in great shape and I'm 5'10". I'm on the log with these guys and we're doing all the work but the overhead stuff, the stuff at the shoulder it-- My shoulder's not hitting the log.

Tom: Good for you. Patrick: Yes. [laughs] Tom: Bad for them. Patrick: Yes, you think.

Tom: [laughs]

Patrick: I'm getting my head on it, my hands on it, whatever I can do to help the team. They know, all the cadre can see I tried but I'm just not putting it there, so they go and find me another token of great weight and odd size, which I don't know how they found this in the swamp either. They separated me away from the team at that point. Then I had this heavyweight and I had a personal intention from one cadre to just in my ear and going and that broke me down physically. It was a little more weight than the log I was used too and then I think slowly and mentally, that was doing it, so I--

Tom: It's a sandbag, right?

Patrick: It was. What they gave me?

Tom: Yes.

Patrick: No.

Tom: You didn't end up with a sandbag? That was--

Patrick: No, this was a piece of a-- it's a piece of road. It's about 10 inches thick and about 2-feet wide piece of asphalt, so they found somewhere in the Florida swamp. I don't know its weight. It felt like it weighed 500 pounds. It probably weighed 80 or something, I don't know but-- While they're doing the log, I had to follow them with this piece of asphalt. I would drop it, the cadre would say, "No problem." He'd pick it up for me and then he'd take it back and throw it 100 yards behind me. I had to go back and get it, do it again.

That wore on me a lot and especially not being up there with the other competitors and the team, I think wore me a little bit, but I got through it. My philosophy is, "Hey, live in the moment. Just get through what's right in front of you, that mission right in front of you and move on to the next task," and so I got through that. Then went back, so the next thing, I think we had to do a duck walk race. It kind of established position for the last four of us that were there.

That's what ultimately what got me. I was down in the gravel parking lot, we're doing some duck walks with the weight behind us. The cadre was sitting there and telling you, do it right, hands above my head. I tried to put my hands above my head but our bodies are pretty depleted at this time, so my stabilizer muscles or whatever, they would fail. We'd fall over, I'd get back up, tried again. The one line that really stuck to my head was, "You're not doing this right. You can keep going but you're not doing this right. Is this the way that you want to finish Selection?"

They put that little bug in my ears and they saw me at a low point and so I made a little farther. I felt like I was cheating if I didn't do the movement right. That poked up to me and one of the cadre, Ragnar, was very kind, said, "Hey, is that it?" He caught me at the wrong time right there and I said, "That's it."

At that point, I felt like I laid out there, I was just-- Physically, I felt like I got on a duck walk and I was just stuck there. I couldn't really will my-- in that position my legs to move like I wanted them to and I felt like I wasn't doing it correctly. Which on the flip side, I spoke with Jason, who's the head of GoRuck and puts on this event. One of the things that I really respected that he said, is say, "Hey, we're going to do that to you. We're going to tell you that do whatever it takes to move and get on to the next thing. Just get through it. Everyone has their highs, and their lows, and rides away. It's going to be a different point, so if you're sucking, when you're at the back of the low, just get to the next thing." That was it, so I pulled on that. There's another guy who went right with me and he was the lead guy, he was winning the whole way and came out right with me and--

Tom: You two dropped right there. That's what happened in my class too is there were 10, I dropped, and then within 10 minutes, another five dropped.

Patrick: Exactly right.

Tom: It was this moment of weakness and they prey on it, and boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, they all go down. At this point, there's two left, right, and you're--

Patrick: There are. There are two left.

Tom: You are so depleted that you cannot get your hands over your head and still no nutrition.

Patrick: Still no nutrition at this point, no.

Tom: Right, so nobody's had anything to eat and then-

Patrick: Then you could hear some whispers. [laughs]

Tom: Here is what is incredible to somebody that doesn't know this event or maybe even more incredible to people that do know this event. You take a guy like Patrick and the other person that was there with you that just dropped. These guys are in peak physical condition. They've mentally already been able to go through a tremendous amount but there is another level. There is another level and that other level is shown shortly and you're at what, 22 hours? The event is a 48-hour event and one of these guys finishes.

Patrick: Yes and it's making it to that 24-hour seems like to be the pinnacle and that was one of my goals. It seemed like if you can make the 24-hour mark, then you can make it. Just looking at some of the history, I guess, the guys that finish, it seems like the guy or two guys who make it to the 24-hour mark typically can make that last 24 hours. Of course you don't know when that 24-hour mark is. [chuckles]

Tom: Yes, but then you have like in our first class, 015, you had roster number-- was it 038? That was winning the event all the way, doing the best and actually had serious physical issues.

Patrick: He did. He was hospitalized.

Tom: His kidneys shut down. That's a place where he mentally overcame his body but his body betrayed him and just would not let him go. You do this event, you go out an incredibly reputable time. You're there for longer than most, you obviously overcome tremendous stuff. What does this mean to you?

Patrick: Somewhat disappointed when I pulled. I felt like maybe if I didn't make it to the end of this one, I would be. Going into it, you need to think like this, "I'm going to finish. There's no reason why I wouldn't make it to the end, nothing else is acceptable," but no, I felt like I really laid it all out there. I was happy with how I performed and I learned so much just about life and getting through hard times and good times. Going back to teamwork, even with the people which I've hardly met besides Adam. I didn't know anybody else there at Selection. I wasn't able to talk to anyone at Selection but just us last four of us, the hours we spent together just beside each other, working together, it's such a boost of confidence.

I actually felt super strong with these other people behind me. Probably the best I felt to that point with the logs. It wasn't really till they separated me out, it kind of got to me. I think it's an underlying theme, is for me, the teamwork, the people around you and the support.

Tom: It's interesting that you come back from an event where you can't talk to anyone, and you can't help anyone, and you can't act as a team, and that's what you come back from this event because I had a similar kind of epiphany about teamwork but it was entirely a different context. You're coming back with teamwork, what is it about teamwork that you get out of this event?

Patrick: The people around you and you're pushing each other, you really are, so it's kind of set up with this event, it's the competitors and the cadre, is how I see it when I got there. The competitor's one team and the cadre, they're there to weed you out. Pushes your breaking point to give you everything you can handle and see who can and who can't. I think it's nearly impossible to do that by yourself, at least for me. The people there besides you and everything is competition, everything's a race but you can't say it but there's a camaraderie and then support against the people doing it. Everybody knows the training that had to go into this thing, the dedication, the sacrifice that goes into that. I think that's all-- [crosstalk]

Tom: How do you take that and bring it back to your regular life? Because most of the people that are doing this, some are looking for military service or are getting ready for other training, but most are like you or I. They're regular people, with regular jobs, or whatever. What is it that you take back from these two events that you bring back into your life as a-- you're a contractor, right, you build houses?

Patrick: I am. Yes, I'm a contractor.

Tom: What do you take back into that?

Patrick: There's a lot of similarities actually now. I'm sure it goes across the board with other professions too. In a contract, there's a lot of moving parts, there's a lot of chaos, but you come back and you can't do it all by yourself. There needs to be structure, scheduling, and you need to rely on your team, is what I do. I'll go back with my subs and my supervisors and-- I guess, it employ a more of the ownership or pride in these persons. Where maybe before that I want to oversee everything and be control of everything, now, I want to give that power to more of my team and so we're more on the working together, instead of more of a, I don't want to say, kind of hierarchy I guess in the stuff but--

Tom: That's a real good thing to come back from with this teamwork and how you can improve your business. Did you come back at all with any sort of challenges? For instance, people are just not that tough around you?

[laughter] You were just with some of the toughest people in the world and now, this guy over here is complaining because he needs a sweater because it's too cold in here.

Patrick: Exactly right, yes. Obviously, you start seeing things a little differently and at work versus other events and stuff you do. Say before Selection, "Hey, a marathon or something sounds tough." After I'm like, "Pfft." [laughs]

Tom: Yes, I'll do that with a backpack on.

Patrick: [laughs] Yes. No problem.

Tom: In fact, I did, every Saturday for the last 16 weeks.

Patrick: Right, yes. More of a broad scheme I guess, that things that seemed like before they were big issues, or something to have a fuss over, or like that is not that important. You know you can overcome that, you know you can work through it. You're going to get over the lows and get to the highs. I guess you have a feeling more of what you're capable of both mentally and physically, what you can push yourself to do, reach out for.

Tom: What is that? What are the limits?

Patrick: I don't know yet [laughs], to be honest. I really don't. I don't feel like-- I felt that obviously Selection pushes you to the limits about thereof but--

Tom: Maybe it makes you find limits.

Patrick: It does.

Tom: You found your limit, I found my limit, but what's interesting is in both of our classes, somebody went on, somebody kept on moving and finished.

Patrick: Absolutely.

Tom: That would be my question now, if there were a Selection three for Patrick, what does it take to finish?

Patrick: I think a big thing, at least for me, into what I felt like in life and [laughs] work too is taking something from your previous experience, so learning that, learning both training but what it means to you in your life physically and taking that and advancing that forward. How can I build upon this? How can I make this better? I know some guys are out there and say, "Hey, I'm going to do this." They did it, knocked it out, and that's it. Maybe that was their goal.

I think Selection for me is a challenge but it's a stepping stone in life. It's a way I can advance myself and do better. I take that from Selection and some lessons I've learned in work and family. I want to be an example of that, I guess. My kids are playing sport during school where they have a hard day, or a hard game, or something, for them to be able to, for themselves, mentally, to be able to say, "Hey, let's get up and do it again." Tom: Well, there are so many lessons. What was the one thing that you take away from Selection? First of all, before we get into that, has there been a day that has gone by that you haven't thought about Selection in some way, shape, or form?

Patrick: [laughs] It's a good question. Very seldomly. If I don't think about it everyday and it's still in the back of my mind, it's not two days that go by that I don't think about it. Absolutely in a very positive way. The first round, I was disappointed and didn't have a good experience with it and felt it's [unintelligible 01:18:19] table. This one is great. It's a great motivator, it still motivates me and I think about it a lot. You can look back and it's accomplishment. What I take away from it a big thing is the work. It's the work, and the dedication, and everything you put in. You put in just to put your foot on the line to start it. That's a huge thing for me.

Tom: Win or lose--Most people are losing in this event, if you call it that. I'm hesitant to say most people are losing in this event because for my own reasons, I would love to call myself a Selection finisher, like I can call myself a Kokoro finisher, but to me that's not winning. Winning is being able to do this event and take away from it something that makes you a better person in life, something that isn't a temporary thing that you come back and it's like when you read a self-improvement book or something like that and all of sudden--

For two weeks, you're cruising, you're doing what the guy said, and you're writing in your journal or you're doing whatever he said. Things are good but then it doesn't stick and it's not a permanent change. Then there are other things that you do that are full-on experiences and these experiences like for some it may be a marathon, for others it may be a SealFit 20X, for others they have to take it a step further and do a SealFit Kokoro 50-hour thing, for others it may be GoRuck Selection, or maybe both.

We've got our crazy friend, Jonathan Hurtado, which is one of the guys that was with you, has done Kokoro and Selection multiple times. He was in 015, he was in your class, he was one of the last people there. I stay in touch with him and he continues to do events. Man, talk about some demons. There are some demons in there you can't get rid of.

Patrick: Oh man and you got to. Do this till your-- I think everyone's going to have some demons.

Tom: Yes. Well, you got the demons that are the ones-- We call it demons but it's really something inside that you need to wrestle with and you need to take yourself to this extreme physical challenge to come to terms with, are you going to cave or are you going to persevere? I don't call it losing.

I look at my experience with Selection and I think it's a big win for me because one of the things that I took back immediately was that until I did Selection, I didn't fully realize the lessons that Kokoro had taught me. I didn't fully realize this until after Selection because one of the things that we were talking about earlier was that the SealFit Kokoro, the entire purpose was to bind this group of people who did not know one another. To bind them together in a way that was permanent and indelible. Bind them there through hard work, complete physical devastation, and humor.

Patrick: Yes. [laughs] Tom: It's always funny. Sweat, puke, hard work, and humor binds people together more so than really anything else. We got through that. I didn't realize, "Well, 50 hours. I can go 50 hours without sleeping. I can work out for 50 hours. We moved about 70 miles in Kokoro, that's incredible. That's the furthest I've ever gone." I went through tons of barriers. I extended myself in times of feeling like it's time to quit, realizing, "No, I can do this." Going through and an hour later, you feel like you're Superman. An hour before, you couldn't raise your arms over your head, an hour later, you feel like you're Superman.

Kokoro went well, Selection it went okay, but what was great for me about Selection is that I realized that without a team, I am really, really weak.

Patrick: The same experience.

Tom: Very, very, weak. That's the lesson that Kokoro should have taught me and I'm sure that plenty of the people that I went through that with came away with that lesson. "Wow, teamwork is awesome. I've got to go out and I've got to be a good team leader." Other lessons I learned there is that in order to be an exceptional leader, you have to be an exceptional follower. You learn quickly what that means and how to execute that in your daily life. Then you go into Selection and it's exactly the opposite. You come away and it's so much harder. It was so much harder for me.

Other people may not have felt this way but I found it to be unbelievably harder than Kokoro. What was missing? It wasn't that the work was harder. Partly because you didn't get anything to eat at all. We were fed in Kokoro. Partly because of that, but mostly because even from strangers, there was no opportunity to help anyone and there was no opportunity to get help from anyone.

That made me realize that in your life, if you are having trouble in your life and you put yourself on an island, and you just go out there, and you don't ask anybody for any help, and you don't talk to anybody, and you stay away from your friends, and you stay away from the people that love you, and you don't talk to them about it, ask for help or do anything, man, you are setting yourself up for failure like nothing else that you could do. We, as human beings will function the best as a team. I am 100% positive of that and I do not have that in my background. My background in sports is wrestling, is swimming, is racquetball, is--

Patrick: Same way, yes. [crosstalk]

Tom: Yes, all individual sports. Right, exactly.

Patrick: Same way, yes.

Tom: All individual sports, which lead you to believe that you are capable of doing anything that you want to, which is a great attitude, except when it's taken too far and you just put yourself out on that island and don't ask anyone for help. If you can find a way to develop these leadership skills through reading books, that's amazing. Most people can't. Like I say, it is a temporary fix. You get a couple of ideas from each one of these books and it's nice and it lasts for a short period of time. You can go to a seminar or a weekend conference and some of that is going to stick, but my experience of these two events is that when you go here, this is an absolute permanent change that you experience in your life.

Patrick: It is, yes.

Tom: Well, it's really like a near-death experience. You've seen people that have a near-death experience and they're different. From then on, they are different. They are never the same. That's how it was for me when I went to Kokoro and that's how it was when I came back from Selection. Even the fact that I did not finish Selection but I made it long enough to get all the challenge I needed, they gave me everything I wanted and more. Then, months later, I realized, "Wow--" With a true epiphany of, "Wow, I really learned a lot more at Kokoro than I thought."

I'm just hard-headed, I guess. Some people might call me dumb. It takes another 20 hours of beat down by Green Berets to let you realize the lesson that you learned the first time. For me, I came back and I was a better husband, I was a better father, I was a better leader in my business, I was a better fishing guide, I was a better television host, I was a better friend. I was better at every single thing in my life and that has not stopped.

I look at my life and I'm like, I can think of a couple of places in my life where it was like before this event I was one way, after this event I was another. A big growth period. Maybe it's high school graduation for some people, maybe it's college graduation.

Patrick: It's a milestone.

Tom: Yes, it's a milestone. Maybe you got your first job and all of a sudden, reality sets in and no more screwing around. Now, you're a different person and that lasts for the rest of your life. Well, a lot of people want to challenge themselves with something like this. They read books about Navy Seals, or Green Berets, or these things but they're advanced in their life. They're 25, 28, maybe they've got a family. Maybe it's not the best time. Maybe they've already gone down some paths of success or a path of a job and they can't really-- It's just not the right time to go be a Navy Seal or go be a Green Beret.

Some people can at 24, 25 years old. "I'm going to totally change my life and I'm going to go down that road," but for the people that can't or don't want to but they still want to see, "Could I do it?" Man, those two events, they'll show you.

Patrick: It's about as close as you're going to get. What I was talking before, they literally take, I think, the most grueling part of their week-long crucible and put it into two days.

Tom: I have no idea what really goes on in BUD/S Hell Week and I have no idea what really goes on in Selection but all I can tell you, is that I signed up to get the ultimate challenge and to experience a crucible event. Now, whether that is what the Navy Seals go through or what the Green Berets go through, it doesn't matter.

Patrick: It delivered.

Tom: What it delivered for me was an absolute crucible event. There was a person that walked into that event and there was a person that walked out, and they weren't the same. The same thing happened at Selection even to another level. Now, I find myself sitting back thinking, what's next? I want another crucible event like that. I don't know that I want to sacrifice my body in that way. I'm 50. Could I step back to the line? I'm sure that I can. I know that I can step back to the line but what's the point of stepping back to the line if I'm really not fully committed on finishing it?

I know what that means, you know what that means, some of the people that are listening to this might not know what that means but fully committed means you're ready to die to cross that finish line.

Patrick: Yes. On the other side of that, did you get enough out of it? Did you learn enough out of that experience to where you're comfortable with it? If you did, you're not going to want to go back and then be fully involved in it. You don't look for that next crucible without change.

Tom: It's also like do you have regrets? The first event, you come back, you got major regrets. "Man, I'm better than that. I know I could do that. I showed up hurt. I didn't do this, I didn't do that. I can do better." You step back up. I walked away from Selection thinking, "I learned everything I needed to learn and way more."

Finishing, I'm not sure what more I would have learned. I'm sure it would have opened doors in my mind that I have no understanding of right now but, honestly, I gave it everything I had. I was completely and fully physically and mentally completely broken. I've never been like that even close to that in my life and they did it. They broke me completely. I walked away from that, no regrets whatsoever. Absolutely no regrets. You, on the other hand, are still searching and you--

Patrick: I am.

Tom: What's next?

Patrick: There may be another Selection on the horizon. I'm going to say this right out. I think about it a lot. I think that I had a great experience with this last one. I took away a ton from it and I'm still learning everyday from Selection. I think you continue from experience like that. I feel like there are any regrets. I go back and do think, "Hey, if I stuck it out for another five minutes, which if I did, I would've been on to the next exercise."

Tom: You never know.

Patrick: You go through and you never know. I always had that little bit of doubt and what if in my mind. I'm doing some other events in between, some different events to keep pushing forward, to expand a little bit but it's still there. There's still a little bit there.

Tom: What's the next event?

Patrick: We have a next event. It's called the C2C and it's an adventure race. It's down at Florida and it's a 72-hour race. It starts on one coast and it finishes on the other coast. It's a combination of navigation, and map and compass, and trail running, and mountain biking, and paddling.

Tom: There are known events going into this? Patrick: There are known events. You know roughly the total distance of each-- I say the [unintelligible 01:31:42] to the distance of each of the paddling stuff. The rest you don't know until you get there. Normally, looking at something like this-- you have a partner. It's a team event which is a big plus too. I think if you talk me to do this because I've done some 24-hour ones before, which those are stretched, your big commitment, you feel totally depleted after. If you told me to go do a 72-hour event, I may have said, "No way. It's not something I can handle right now.

Post-Selection, [chuckles] after that, after going through that and I just made it 22 hours. I'll look at the 72-hour race like this and what's involved, and I'm excited. I'm like, "Let's do it." [laughs].

Tom: Well, all I know is you're not going to have nine Green Berets chasing after you the whole time.

Patrick: It's a completely, yes, a different deal and this is more of-- This, I consider it a team building, and working together, and self-perseverance across the State of Florida. It's a more, I don't know, exiting, [laughs] hopeful-- [crosstalk]

Tom: Well, it's certainly way different. I remember when I got back from Selection and I'm watching the Ironman with Michael Miller. We're looking at this event going by and I was like, "Man, check that out, people are just giving them Gatorade."

Patrick: [laughs]

Tom: "Just people standing on the side of the road are just giving them Gatorade. That look's awesome."

Patrick: Eating whatever they want.

Tom: "Not one person has a backpack on. No one is wearing pants or boots. This is amazing. Let's do this next time."


It's amazing then how your perspective changes.

Patrick: It does a lot and with anything. Say you put it back into work and family. Nothing seems too much and not overcomeable, I guess you can say so. Anything you can get through and work together and you can accomplish and get to your goal. That's a big, big thing you take away from these events. At least for me, moving forward. Yes, there's still some drive out there, I think. I like this, I want to continue to do it and grow and hopefully take away life lessons from every one of these things you do.

Tom: I know that I did. I would say that that's probably a pretty good place to end this one. For those people who might have gotten some motivation to look into-- I'm not going to say sign up for but look into what Selection is, you're going to find that by Googling GoRuck Selection. If you do that, you're probably going to come across all kinds of information on Selection. I will tell you that it is a very underground thing that only the most motivated, also the most crazy, and also the most disciplined people will embark on. If you choose to do it, I wish you luck. I'd love to hear your story. [laughs]

Patrick: Absolutely. [laughs]

Tom: If you choose to do it and you don't make it, you are among the majority. If you choose to do it and don't even show up for the start line, you are in the majority. If you choose to do it and you are among one of the finishers, there's probably-- how many finishers total ever in history?

Patrick: I don't know, maybe two dozen. Maybe.

Tom: Yes, a small number.

Patrick: Yes.

Tom: A small select number of people that are unbelievably mentally tough and physically prepared. Also, we talked about SealFit Kokoro, that's easy to find also. You can Google Mark Divine. The organization that he has is SealFit, the camp is called Kokoro. He also has something called Kokoro Yoga, which is entirely different. If you're looking for the supreme challenge, I'm sure Kokoro Yoga will give you a challenge but it will not be the one that you will find in our 37 of Kokoro. Google those things, check them out, Go to SealFit.

If you are so motivated, please, please, make sure that you are ready before you sign up for those events. Ready means ready, like you are unstoppable, you are superman, you feel like a superhero and probably look like a superhero with weird muscles popping out all over the back from carrying a ruck.


Anyway, I want to thank Patrick for coming and doing this with us.

Patrick: Thank you.

Tom: If you enjoyed this, let us know. We will be back with Patrick's next challenge and we can find out if he did jump out of an airplane or not in the C2C. Anyway, thanks guys. We'll talk to you later.


Hey, everybody. Thank you so much for listening to the show, I hope you got something out of that. Got just a little bit of news. We have started a weekly show that is designed to be up to the minute videos of what's happening this week mostly in the Florida Keys but also in other places that we fish as well. We'll be putting that out every week. The best way to find that is to subscribe to the YouTube channel, youtube/saltwaterexperience. Search Saltwater experience on Youtube, subscribe to that channel and you will get updates of when a new video is published.

I've also figured out how to put the podcast on YouTube finally. A lot of people like to put that window behind other things they're working on and listen to the podcast while they are working. We now have that for you and there's a playlist called Podcast, there's a playlist called Weekly Show. You can go and see all the new videos that we're putting up there.

Started a new email address, specifically for the show and that is, Those emails come directly to me. I'll see every single one of them. If you have comments, suggestions, ways we can make the show better and particularly if you have suggestions of someone you would like to see me sit down with in the hunting world, in the fishing world, in the outdoors, sports world or just a motivation, inspirational character, or someone that can teach us all something, I'm very interested in your suggestions.

That's You can get the podcast on iTunes, Stitchers, Spotify, SoundCloud and we're also publishing it on the blog. The weekly show will be published on the blog too, but the best way is to go to YouTube. Subscribe there and you will get it immediately when it's published. Until next week, thank for listening. We'll see you soon.


[01:38:46] [END OF AUDIO]

March 17, 2018

March 17, 2018

Patrick St Charles was in Class 015 of Goruck Selection with me.  We trained with 3 other guys from my garage and another, Jonathan Hurtado, online.  

The first class went pretty well for me.  I made it roughly 19 hours and learned all the lessons I needed from this event.  Jonathan and Patrick did not do as well and the failure in 015 left them both very hungry for another try.  They both ended up in quite a bit different situation in the second attempt.

Read More

Jonathan Hurtado Goruck Triple Heavy (HHH) Interview

I don't complain as much because I've become so grateful of the things that I do have, and I've learned that "it could always be worse." 

-Jonathan Hurtado

Many of you who follow this blog will remember that when I was training for Selection with my friends at the RRL, we met a friend, online, through this blog who trained virtually with us.  His name was Jonathan Hurtado and he was in Selection Class 015 with us.  Jonathan is a great guy.  We have stayed in touch since Selection 015 and Jonathan has gone on to complete some really amazing challenges.  We have sat down to talk a few times since.  Read those interviews here:

Goruck Selection and SealFit Kokoro Interview with Jonathan Hurtado

Kokoro 41 AAR from GRT, HCL and Goruck Selection participant Jonathan Hurtado

This time, we are going to discuss a recent event that Jonathan and a few others took on and completed.  This event is called a Triple Heavy or HHH and it is put on by Goruck.  A Heavy is 24 hours of work and many train for a long time to be able to complete one.  Jonathan decided to try to do 3 of them...back to back to back.  Something like this is going to be a crucible experience and it is only going to be completed by someone who is physically prepared and mentally for everything that is to come. 

I asked Jonathan about gear, preparation, training, his "why" and much more.  Thanks so much to Jonathan for doing this here.  Enjoy


Tom Rowland:  Hey Jonathan- Great to catch up with you.  I am so excited to hear about your HHH experience.  Because a lot of other people will be reading this, lets go over a few things to make sure everyone understands just what an HHH is.  Can you give us a little background on the different Goruck events and the difficulty of each?  Cliff Notes version is fine.  

JH: The GORUCK Challenge is a team endurance event based on Special Forces training where participants undergo a variety of boot-camp exercises and team-building challenges while wearing a backpack full of weight.  It tests your physical and mental abilities and is designed to make you work as a team, usually with people whom you never met before. There are three types of Challenges that vary in length and difficulty.  There's the GORUCK Light which lasts about six hours, the GORUCK Tough which lasts about twelve hours, and the GORUCK Heavy which lasts at least twenty-four hours.  There's also Selection, GORUCK's hardest event, that's forty-eight hours and is not a team event like the Challenges.  The pass rates for Lights and Challenges are above 90%.  The pass rate for Heavies is around 50%.  The pass rate for Selection is less than 5%.

Tom Rowland:  How many Goruck events have you done?

JH: Including the Triple Heavy (HHH), I've completed twenty-nine Challenges.

Tom Rowland: So a Heavy is 24 hours and at one time the hardest event in the lineup outside of Selection and you decided to do 3 of them back to back to back?  Why?

JH: After failing to complete GORUCK Selection 015 in 2014, I was going to attempt it again the following year.  I tore my calf during training in early 2015, which ended my hopes to attempt Selection that year.  However, an opportunity came to do a new event called the Triple Heavy later that year.  It sounded dangerous and unprecedented, but I ultimately signed up because I'd figure it would be good prep for Selection in 2016.  I was also curious to meet the other people who were crazy enough to attempt three consecutive Heavies.

Tom Rowland:  Has anyone ever done a HHH before? What is the history of the event?

JH: The Triple Heavy is a custom GORUCK event created by Doug Otte.  Previously, the GORUCK HTL (which is a GORUCK Heavy, a GORUCK Tough, and a GORUCK Light done consecutively) was the hardest team event GORUCK offered.  Doug was inspired by the HTL to create what he considered to be the ultimate team event, the HHH.  Seventeen started the first GORUCK HHH in 2015, and seven (including myself) made history by being the first team to complete back-to-back Heavies (GORUCK HH).  The third Heavy was canceled due to low participation numbers, as only four were willing to continue and five were needed.  I was the swing vote to determine whether the Triple Heavy would continue, but I decided not to proceed because of a thumb injury I suffered near the end of the second Heavy.

We all vowed to come back for HHH02 and finish the event.

Tom Rowland:   Did the reason for doing the second HHH change from doing the first?

JH: Yes, it did.  I did the first HHH event for Selection prep and a desire to meet the other HHH teammates.  For the second HHH, there was a feeling of unfinished business after how the first HHH ended.  But my primary reason for doing HHH02 was to inspire others by showing them that what is considered impossible may not actually be so.  Finishing three consecutive Heavies had never been done before, and I strongly felt that it was indeed possible and the HHH02 team would be the one to do it.

Tom Rowland:  Since the HHH is a team event, how did you decide who you would do the event with?

JH: The first HHH accepted anyone who signed up.  The second HHH had an application process, with input from the GORUCK HH finishers if needed.  Finishing an HTL was an important requirement, but exceptions were made if a person had similar experience (like finishing Kokoro).

Tom Rowland:  Who were your team mates?

JH: The team was a mix of people whom I have done previous GORUCK events (including the first Triple Heavy) and some I had never met before.  One was even a cadre from the first Triple Heavy, Chris "Soul Crusher" Sanchez!

Tom Rowland: So now we understand the motivation and the events, this is where the rubber meets the road…how did you train for the event?  How long did you train for it?

JH: After the first HHH ended in late September 2015, I took October off to recover.  I started my training for the second HHH in November and I already had a major event coming up.  The calf injury I mentioned previously also took me out from doing Kokoro (a 50-hour endurance crucible based on Navy SEALS training) in early 2015, so I rolled into the 41 class in February 2016.  Thus, from November through February, I trained to get ready for Kokoro 41.  I mostly followed Stew Smith's Complete Guide to Navy Seal Fitness during that period, although I wished I did more running.

After finishing Kokoro 41, I took March off to recover.  A good friend of mine, Troy Angrignon (also a Kororo finisher), helped devised a HHH training plan for the rest of the year.  I followed variations of Strong Swift Durable training programs, specifically Fortitude, Valor, GORUCK Selection, and SFOD-D Selection, but I didn't follow them too strictly.  For example, the SFOD plan had 80# ruck training days, which I felt were too excessive for HHH, so I scaled them to 60#.   I also did a bunch of GORUCK events throughout the year, including the GORUCK Triple Light.  However, I didn't do any HTLs this year, as I felt that finishing Kokoro in February was enough in terms of big events. I was worried that not doing at least one HTL before the HHH would be a mistake, but it ultimately worked out.

Tom Rowland:  What kind of communication did you have with your team during the training?  Did you ever get to train in person with your team?

JH: We used Facebook to communicate with each other for the big things like getting the correct items for the event and hotel accommodations.  For those whom I knew prior to HHH02, I either communicated via Facebook Messenger or on the phone.  I would see some of my HHH teammates at other GORUCK events, so we'd talk about the event then as well.

I mostly trained alone, although I did a few workout sessions with a good friend and HHH teammate, Roman Hunt, since we lived in the same area.

Tom Rowland:  How did this training differ from SealFit Kokoro?

JH: It was less running and more rucking.  Pull-ups weren't a big concern, although I still worked on my push-ups since the Heavy does have a PT test.  The goal was to get used to rucking a lot of miles with heavy weight.  One of the modifications I did that wasn't in any training plan was a heavy ruck session that I did once a week, where I did three rounds of one mile with a 45# (and later 60#) ruck and a 60# sandbag.  Ruck PT was also important, and one of my "favorite" sessions was to bear crawl with a 45# ruck around a basketball court for a few laps.

Tom Rowland:  Tell us about the event?  Where was it held?  Temperature, weather?

JH: HHH02 took place in San Diego, CA from September 29th, 2016 to Octobet 2nd.  It was sunny and hot during the day and not too cold at night.  We visited a variety of places, such as downtown San Diego, Coronado Island (including the North Island Naval Air Base), a Crossfit gym, Fiesta Island, the desert in Anza Borrega, and ended at the USS Midway.

Tom Rowland:  What did you choose to wear?  What about socks and footwear?

JH: I wore a cheap Champion athletic shirt, Triple Aught Design recon pants (which sadly ripped during the second or third Heavy), compression shorts, and a Columbia windbreaker when it got cold.  My footwear consisted of Injiji toe socks, Darn Tough Merino wool socks, and Brooks Beast '14 sneakers.  I was considering boots for this event, but I would develop issues with my right ankle whenever I trained in them.  I ultimately decided to go with what I was comfortable training in, so I used the same brand of sneakers I wore for the first Triple Heavy.

Tom Rowland:  Walk us through some of the highlights.

JH: 1st Heavy - Taking a ferry to Coronado Island and enjoying good old surf torture at the beach.  Later on, while walking in the surf, I got stung on my right toe by a stingray or some other animal.  My foot hurt like hell, and I remember Cadre Brett Vernon sarcastically asking me if I wanted to med drop.  I was temporarily a GORUCK causality where I had to be carried on a tarp for a bit, but thankfully my foot got better and I could move on my own again.

Later on, we were granted access to the North Island Naval Air Base in Coronado and got to see the SERE school.  I'm grateful that we had the privilege to visit it (and also grateful that no SERE interrogation techniques were used on us).

Kirk Deligiannis in SealFit 45.&nbsp; RIP Brother.&nbsp; We will always remember you.

Kirk Deligiannis in SealFit 45.  RIP Brother.  We will always remember you.

2nd Heavy - The PT test for the second Heavy took place at Crossfit ATR, and we did the "Doc" Hero WOD (in honor of Charles Luke Milam).  Afterwards, we were surprised with a bonus memorial WOD for Kirk Deligiannis, who was an amazing member of the GORUCK community and sadly passed away after finishing Kokoro 45 a week before the Triple Heavy. Teammate Kim McGrath was instrumental in having the HHH team do a WOD in his honor, and we both were given an opportunity to talk about him before we started.  The class yelled, "For Kirk!" before we started his WOD.

We also were honored to have a veteran from Operation Gothic Serpernt, Steve Lycopolus, speak to our class. This was significant since the HHH was also Mogadishu Mile themed, and to have someone who experienced the event we were commemorating made it extra special.

We ended the second Heavy at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. Unlike last year's HHH, my thumb was still intact at the end of the second Heavy, so I looked at Kim (who finished the HH with me last year) and told her I was ready for Round 3 while wiggling my thumb.

3rd Heavy - We began in the desert of Anza Borrega.  I was worried about how dry and hot it was, but the third Heavy didn't start until the sun was already going down (making the temperature thankfully cooler).  Nonetheless, that start was intense because we were expected to work strong and hard despite having done two consecutive Heavies.  We were nearly ruck running up a mountain and we lost three teammates in the first 90 minutes of the event.

Near the end of the event, we had to do peer evaluation of our other teammates.  It was really interesting to hear what your teammates had to say about your performance throughout the event and provided an excellent learning opportunity on how to improve as a team member and leader.

And obviously, the endex, which I'll talk about later.

Tom Rowland:  On an event like this, there are going to be some major highs and some major lows.  Can you describe the darkest moment and tell us what you and your team did to overcome and get back on track for success?

JH: The darkest moment for our team came during the second Heavy.  We were supposed to infiltrate the San Diego Challenge class that was happening at the same time, but we kept failing for a variety of reasons.  We were exhausted (this was probably around Hour 40 or so into the event) and weren't gelling as a team.  The repeated failures put a damper on our mood.  The end of this evolution provided a nasty gut punch with the loss of two team members, including Cadre "Soul Crusher" who had to be med dropped.  We were given an opportunity to nap for about 15 minutes or so.  The combination of a brief rest plus the sun coming up allowed us to recharge and essentially start with a clean slate for the next evolution.  We worked better as a team afterwards.

We had another rough patch around Hour 70 during the third Heavy.  Our team was down to eight and we were having troubles working together as the cadre put a lot of stress on us and our team leader.  It took a while for me to realize that the cadre were actively trying to make us turn on our team leader.  I wished I had realized this sooner, and I'll discuss this more in detail when I get around to writing my After Action Review for the event.  We eventually rallied around our team leader to get past this evolution, but I look back at this moment as a failure of leadership in my part and an unfortunate learning experience because I could have done better for my team.

Tom Rowland:   Now that it is complete, what do you see as the most challenging thing to completing a single Heavy…how was it different to complete 3 back to back to back?

JH: If you never completed a Heavy before, you wonder if you can survive putting in work for twenty-four hours straight.  Sometimes your food gets taken away and you have no idea when you'll have a chance to refuel.  The long grind and sleep deprivation create a daunting atmosphere, but it's one that can be conquered if you trained hard and have the right mental attitude.

For the HHH, food wasn't an issue since there was an expectation from the Cadre that we would never be denied food since doing endurance rucking for three straight days required a lot of calories.  After finishing one Heavy, the major issue is whether you think you have enough will power and strength to continue for another 24 hours.  To combat this feeling, I essentially treated the HHH as one long eventAlthough I still celebrated the victory of completing each Heavy, I considered those ends as breaks rather than the end of one event and the start of another.

Tom Rowland:  So you had a short time between each event…What did you do during that time?  How did you prepare for these “commercial breaks”

JH: The first break between the first and second Heavy was tough because I was unable to sleep.  I don't know if it was because of the food I ate, or my inability to be comfortable in the outside grass, but I couldn't take a nap and ended up laying with my eyes closed until it was time to go.  I presumed that the cadre would warn us before the second Heavy start, but that didn't happen and it was stressful to collect all my unprepared belongings before we had to move to the next location.

We all learned our lesson at the next break between the second and third Heavy.  We made sure that our packs were ready for the third Heavy before we took our naps. I was able to rest a bit, and sure enough, our prep paid off because we were told to immediately move once the third Heavy started without notice.

Tom Rowland:  How did you feel when it was over?

JH: The HHH endex was an amazing experience.  We finished near the kissing statue outside the USS Midway.  Members of the GORUCK community and teammates who had dropped from the event were there to cheer us on and congratulate us as we finished.  Seeing that support as we arrived lifted our spirits, especially since it signaled to us that we were finally about to end.  Getting the HHH patch was one of the best moments of my life.  First, the accomplishment of completing something that I was unable to do the year before provided a great feeling of vindication.  Second, being able to show people that nothing is as impossible as it seems was satisfying.  I truly hope that our HHH victory would inspire people to pursue their goals.

Tom Rowland:  Tell me about the recovery process

JH: I slept a normal eight hours after the event, which was surprising.  When I had to walk around the following day, I limped.  The day after that, I stayed in bed.  When I went back to the gym, I avoided using any weights and mostly kept to stretching the first two weeks after HHH.  Unfortunately, I have a lingering injury on my right leg that was exacerbated by the HHH, so I'm still not at 100%.  I've mostly been doing upper-body bodyweight work and swimming to stay off my leg, and I'm about to start physical therapy to rehab my right leg.

What did you eat?

JH: One of our HHH teammates, Kelli, who dropped during the second Heavy brought Jack in the Box burgers and fries to the endex.  She is a saint for doing this, and I will be forever grateful for her generosity.  The Chipotle run after the event was also fantastic, and I appreciate Pete Silver for driving the team there and then back to our hotel.  I joked with my friend and HHH teammate, Patricia, that Chipotle was the food of champions since we ate a burrito the day before our Kokoro and HHH events and we finished both events.

Is there a Quad Heavy in the future?

JH: No. The Triple Heavy was already on the edge of excessiveness, and anything that goes beyond that is too much in my opinion.  I wouldn't be completely surprised if someone comes up with something dumb like GORUCK HHHHHell Week in the future, but I won't take any part of it if it ever exists. You would have nothing to show for it except for some really stupid injuries.  

Tom Rowland:  So now you have done a number of Goruck events as well as completing SealFit Kokoro and HHH.  What lessons have you taken back to your everyday life?  

JH: Mental attitude plays a big role in how you will succeed or fail.  You have to be absolutely confident in what you are doing.  When I first attempted the HHH, my attitude was that I would finish two Heavies and see how far I could go for the third.  Lo and behold, I only made it as far as two Heavies in HHH01.  For HHH02, I changed my attitude and repeatedly visualized myself finishing the third Heavy with my teammates.  One of the main reasons why I completed the HHH was because I absolutely believed that I could finish it.  I used the same visualization techniques to see myself completing Kokoro, and that played a role in becoming a Kokoro graduate.

I don't complain as much because I've become so grateful of the things that I do have, and I've learned that "it could always be worse."  Completing those events also warped my perception of what is difficult.  Any challenge that stands in my way doesn't seem as scary as the stuff I've been through in Kokoro and HHH.

Tom Rowland:  I am a graduate of SealFit Kokoro 30 and I attempted Goruck Selection 015 in your class.  I saw great similarities between the two events, but I also saw them as almost the opposite of one another in so many ways.   Successfully completing Kokoro gave me great confidence and I brought tons of lessons home and became better for it.  Failing after around 20 hours in Selection 015 also taught me a ton of lessons.  In so many ways, I learned and gained more from the failure than I did from the success.  Can you give us some insight to how you would compare and contrast the HHH to SealFit Kokoro?

JH: Reliance on your team members is a big factor in both Kokoro and HHH.  I would not have completed either event if it wasn't for my teammates.

In terms of difficulty, the Triple Heavy was harder than Kokoro.  It seems obvious saying that because the HHH's 72 hours is greater than Kokoro's 50 hours, but I'll never forget how intense it was to be expected to perform again during the third Heavy when you already had done so much in the previous 48 hours.

Kokoro was more than just a test of your physical and mental limits--it was also designed to provide lessons that allowed you to find or reflect on the purpose of your life.  The Triple Heavy, on the other hand, had no specific goal other than to test its participants to work as a team and endure to the end.

Tom Rowland:  Now…the big question…what is next?  Is Selection in the cards for you?  If so or if not….why?

JH: That's a good question, but it's one that I won't answer at this moment.  The injury on my right leg hasn't fully healed, and it's put into question whether it's worth going through Selection again.  After the Triple Heavy, I feel that I don't have to prove myself to anyone ever again.  If I ever decide to do Selection again, it would have to be for a very good reason.

Thanks so much Jonathan.  Congratulations on being a great American and challenging yourself daily


Jonathan is currently working on writing his AAR for the second Triple Heavy, but you can read his AAR for the first Triple Heavy at the links below.

Kokoro 41 AAR from GRT, HCL and Goruck Selection participant Jonathan Hurtado

I started this blog to document my training toward the most difficult event of my life (so far), Goruck Selection 015.  Shortly after posting a few training days, another 015 prospect started leaving a comment or two and posting his training.  I connected with him and through the miracle of the internet became cyber-friends with Jonathan Hurtado.  It turned out that he was just as crazy as we were and we continued to train together or at least tell each other about our training through this blog and email.  Jonathan had done quite a few Goruck events and was training hard for 015.  We met at Selection and ate together before and after our time in 015.

I told Jonathan about my experience and graduation from SealFit Kokoro 30.  He was interested and we have kept in touch since the event.  Jonathan has had some challenges getting to Kokoro, but he finally did it and here is the interview shortly after he returned home.  Enjoy...

TR: Congratulations on being secured in Kokoro 41!  I am so excited to hear how it went for you.  Before we get started, give the readers a little of your background. 

I'm in my late thirties and I've been working as a programmer in the video game industry for about five years.  I live near San Francisco, but I grew up in New Jersey and worked in New York City before moving west.  My journey to endurance events started with a Tough Mudder in 2012.  Always looking to challenge myself, I've since done two more Tough Mudders, several Spartan Races (including a Trifecta), and fifteen GORUCK events, including an HCL (Heavy, Challenge, Light) and a Double Heavy.  I also attempted GORUCK Selection 15 back in 2014.


TR: You and I met through this training blog when we were both preparing for Goruck Selection 15.  We trained together virtually and then finally met in person at the event.

Before Selection, I had completed Kokoro 30 and talked with you about it. I am so excited that you did it.  As I remember, you encountered some difficulty after Selection and while training up for Kokoro.  Tell me about the process.  Was 41 the first camp you trained for or was there another?

I had originally signed up for Kokoro 36 (February 2015) to help me prepare for Selection 17 in Bozeman, MT. However, I did a poor job of creating a sensible training plan, and I overtrained to the point where I tore my calf during a six mile run. The injury derailed my Kokoro and Selection plans for 2015.  I was able to transfer to a later Kokoro class, but 2015 wasn't an option because I needed time for my calf to heal and I was committed to doing the first ever GORUCK Triple Heavy in October. I ultimately ended up transferring to Kokoro 41, which was a year after my original Kokoro class.

TR: So many people in the Goruck community are interested in Kokoro and the same for SealFit people being interested in Goruck events. As one of the few who have done multiple Gorucks and been a part of Selection as well as completing Kokoro, how would you compare/contrast Kokoro from Selection?

Although both events will push your physical and mental limits, they do so in drastically different ways. For GORUCK Selection, the cadre are actively trying to make you quit through brutal smoke sessions and extensive taunting.  You're pretty much alone out there because you are forbidden to interact with the other participants and you cannot talk unless spoken to by the cadre.

In Kokoro, the coaches can be as tough as the Selection cadre (especially during the grinder sessions), but their primary goal is not to make you quit.  They want you to succeed and make it to the end, provided that you give your best effort all the time.  I didn't have to deal with fending off negative energy in Kokoro like I did in Selection.  The other big difference between Kokoro and Selection is that teamwork is actually expected at a Kokoro camp.  There will be times when Kokoro will be very difficult, and you'll either reach out to a teammate and ask for help or assist a teammate if he or she is struggling.  That type of team camaraderie is not allowed in Selection.

TR: How about Kokoro vs other Goruck events that you have done

The big overlap between Kokoro and the GORUCK events that aren't Selection is looking out for the person to your left and right.  Working as a team and caring for one another are some of the most important lessons you can learn from Kokoro and GORUCK.  The big difference between Kokoro and the other GORUCK events is that there's a lot more running in Kokoro and it lasts much longer than most GORUCK events.

TR: How did you train for Kokoro 41?

Training for the GORUCK Triple Heavy (HHH) in October 2015 left me in good shape, but I still needed to work on push-ups, pull-ups, and running for Kokoro.  After recuperating for about a month after the HHH, I started my Kokoro training.  On the advice of another Kokoro finisher, Troy Angrignon, I picked up Stew Smith's Complete Guide to Navy Seal Fitness to get stronger on my push-ups, pull-ups, and runs. I took cold showers to mentally prepare for cold water immersion.  I did sandbag shoulder-to-shoulder presses and 45# plate overhead holds to strengthen my shoulders.  I already had a strong rucking ability due to my Triple Heavy training, so I only rucked once a week.


TR: How did you feel you were prepared?

The push-up and pull-up volume work in Stew Smith's book helped me prepare for the PT and Murph tests.  However, I wish I got the book earlier because I was only able to do eight weeks of training instead of the full twelve.  I regret not running more, specifically doing sprint runs.  My legs were feeling heavy after the first day of Kokoro and I was one of the slowest runners in the class.  I did well in strength tasks such as the log carry and log PT.  I also did fine in the mountain rucks, although I should have done more mountain rucks in my training.

TR: How did the training for Kokoro differ from Selection or other Goruck events?

I did a lot less rucking and a lot more running in my Kokoro training, although I wished I did more sprint runs.  I primarily focused on improving my PST scores.

TR: One of the worst parts of Kokoro 30 for me was getting to SealFit headquarters and waiting around.  I was intimidated, nervous and the waiting was killing me.  Walk me through your morning before the event.  What time did you wake up, did you eat?  How did you prepare that morning?  Give me your recollection of showing up to the event and expectations.,  Tell me about the collection of athletes that showed up for 41.

I slept early the night before so that I could wake up at around 5:40am (start time for the event was 8:00am).  It gave me enough time to check out of my hotel and drive to a nearby Denny's for breakfast.  I ordered a pepper jack steak omelette.  I wanted to give myself enough time to eat breakfast and arrive at the Vail Lake Resort at 7am.  Thank god I did, because I had a brief scare where I showed up at the GPS coordinates from a Kokoro email and the attendant had no idea what Kokoro was.  Turned out that I went to Vail Lake Resort's RV park and the actual Kokoro start location was two miles further down the road.  Despite the slight detour, I still made it to camp early.

I was the second person to arrive and was told by the coaches to wait near a tree.  There were nine of us total in our class, including two GRTs (GORUCK Tough folks who completed a GORUCK event) and three who had signed Navy SEALs contracts.  While we were waiting, we talked about where we were from and why we were doing the event.  The low number of participants made it easy for us to bond quickly.  Six of us would ultimately finish the class.

Waiting for the event to start didn't bother me.  Troy mentioned that it was a deliberate ploy to mess with your head, so I didn't let it stress me.  I anticipated and correctly guessed that we would start with a brief welcome party (boot camp exercises), then have the PST test, and then suffer through a Grinder session.  I didn't have any more expectations besides this, and was determined that I was only going to concentrate on the present and not worry about what was coming next.

TR: What is the one thing you brought to the event that you were really glad you had?

Knee pads that I bought from REI.  They protected my knees during the first day, but I had to take them off for a wardrobe change and never had the opportunity to put them back on later.  My knees were roughed up a bit during the second day, but it wasn't too bad.

TR: What is one thing that you wish you brought?

Better energy bars.  I made the mistake of bringing Hammer Nutrition Chocolate Coconut Almond bars without trying them before the event.  Someone recommended the brand in their Kokoro AAR, so I bought a few in blind faith.    They didn't taste great, and I realized that it's not a good idea to eat chocolate because the energy spike from the chocolate would eventually wear out.  It wasn't catastrophic, but I really should have tried the bars beforehand.  This is what I get for waiting until the week of the event to finalize my nutrition supplies.


TR: What was the most difficult part of Kokoro 41 for you?

Running, specifically the "pays to be a winner" races.  I was okay with running during the first day (even ran about 6:40 during the PST mile run), but those races were taking a toll on me, especially since I wasn't the faster runner in the group.  It was getting harder to run as the event progressed, and I quickly realized that as much as I ran during my Kokoro training, it wasn't enough.

TR: Things were really bad near the end of the event.  I got sick and it was really hard for me to take full breaths.  I wasn't moving as fast as I would have liked, but I knew I was close to the end of the event, so I was determined to continue no matter what.

TR: What did you think you were most prepared for and why?

Anything that involved strength, so the log carries and the log PT.  I was already in good shape from the Triple Heavy, so the Kokoro training just built on top of that base strength.  The first mountain ruck went well because of my extensive ruck training.  The second mountain ruck was a little harder because of the steeper elevation change.  I wished I had done a few more mountain rucks to mitigate that.  I also was running on empty at one point during the second ruck, but I started feeling better after we took a break and I ate an MRE.

TR: What lessons will you take back to your everyday life from Kokoro 41?

With the right team and the right attitude, you can accomplish just about anything.  Finishing Kokoro proved that, and I'll be carrying that for the rest of my life.  There was also an exercise in Kokoro that helped me address several negative emotions that have been hiding in my mind for a long time.  I didn't know how to deal with them, and being able to finally let them go is an amazing feeling.  Furthermore, most things in life don't seem so hard anymore after enduring Kokoro.  That's an awesome confidence builder.


TR: Would you recommend Kokoro to the Goruck community?  

Kokoro is very expensive, but I felt I got my money's worth from the experience. I would definitely recommend it to the GORUCK community, with the caveat that you really need to have a strong reason for doing the event.  When Kokoro gets really hard, whether you succeed or fail will depend on how good and convincing your "why" is.  If your "why" is weak or selfish, you will not finish.  

TR: What type of athlete do you feel is ready for Kokoro?

You must exceed the minimum standards of Kokoro's initial PST. Be strong in the ability to crank out push-ups and pull-ups (especially when you are tired), as that will help you in Murph.

You must be able to finish Murph in under 70 minutes AFTER you do a workout that smokes you.  Doing Murph after 24 hours is a lot different than doing it fresh.

You need a good running base because you'll be doing a lot of running.  Be great at suicide sprints (especially on sand) because it pays to be a winner.

Do several mountain rucks (no more than 12 miles) so that you are used to rucking with elevation change.

Being able to do proper overhead squats will help immensely.

Doing a GORUCK Heavy or an HTL will help you deal with endurance and sleep deprivation, but it is not required.  Most of the guys who finished Kokoro with me never did a GORUCK event.

Be mentally tough. The above steps will get you physically prepared, but your mind also has to be strong enough to resist the urge to quit when things get tough.  Mental toughness is a skill you can learn, and books like Mark Devine's Unbeatable Mind provide those lessons.

TR: Can you give us a brief description of the workload in Kokoro?

You have Grinder sessions (fast-paced boot camp exercises), running, mountain rucking, log carries, log PT, beach PT, and surf torture.  There's other stuff in Kokoro, but those are the main things you'll encounter during camp.

TR: How did this compare to the workload of Selection?

I can only talk about the first hour of Selection's Welcome Party as that as far as I got in Selection 15.  I remember it being the most intense thing I have ever done.  Kokoro's Grinder sessions were very difficult, but its intensity wasn't as brutal as Selection's.  The attitude from the Selection cadre is different from the Kokoro coaches, so that probably played into my perception of Selection's workload.

TR: What is next for you?

I've signed up for several GORUCK events and I'll be leading a team to run their first Spartan Sprint.  I'll also be doing the GORUCK Triple Light in August, and then attempt once again to finish the GORUCK Triple Heavy in late September.  I'll be taking a big break after that one.

TR: Man, thanks so much for talking to me about this event. Kokoro 30 was one of the most powerful, meaningful moments of my life.  I have heard so many Kokoro graduates say that they have thought about the event every single day since graduating.  I cant say that I have thought about it every day, but certainly every week.  It made me mentally and physically tougher and I brought back many lessons to my life and I have become a better person because of it.  I am so glad that you enjoyed your experience.  Welcome to the Kokoro family!  Hooyah!


Kokoro Prep

AJ Hickey or 037 doing overhead work in Selection.&nbsp; 037 was one of the most badass people I have ever met in my life.&nbsp; He was the strongest candidate but was medically dropped as one of only 2 remaining.&nbsp; 037 suffered serious kidney issues but has since recovered.

AJ Hickey or 037 doing overhead work in Selection.  037 was one of the most badass people I have ever met in my life.  He was the strongest candidate but was medically dropped as one of only 2 remaining.  037 suffered serious kidney issues but has since recovered.

Matt Lawson is headed to Kokoro in Oct so I thought I would design a little prep workout for him today.  One of the worst things I encountered in both Selection and Kokoro were overhead ruck or sandbag holds. They are tough and can break you when simply standing with the bag overhead, but they are made far worse when asked to maintain an overhead hold in a deep squat.

Our workout was really very simple but looked more complicated on the board:

Run 400 round 1, 800 round 2, and 400 round 3

After running, Complete:

16 Burpees

8 kettlebell swings at 70 pounds

4 straight bar muscle ups

2 Turkish Getups at 70 pounds

1 double rope climb with no legs (this is a 15 foot climb with one rope in each hand)

x3 rounds

"Rest" exactly 2 minutes between rounds by maintaining a 45 pound sandbag in the overhead position on round 1, in full squat on round 2 and in overhead position on round 3.

Many, including myself, found it to be difficult to maintain the overhead position for the whole 2 minutes so we did an accumulated 2 minute hold, counting only the time the bag was held in an overhead position with arms locked out.

For Matt Lawson, he incurred an additional 10 burpee penalty for every time the bag touched his head.  Ouch.

At one time, I rated workouts in the summer with a sweat index.  I cant remember exactly what the standards were, but a 10 was completely soaking shoes and socks, like we had jumped in a pool and a 1 was a small ring around the collar.  I give this one about a 7.  Pretty good, completely covered, all clothes soaked but shoes and socks not completely drenched and I could not ring out my shirt.

Goruck Selection and SealFit Kokoro Interview with Jonathan Hurtado

When I was getting ready for Goruck Selection Class 015, I set up this blog and began documenting my training.  I didn't really think that anyone would read it...I didnt care.  I just wanted to document the training.  Along the way, I met a guy named Jonathan Hurtado who came across my blog.  We conversed via email and through the comments and started to kind of train together for Selection. 

We posted our times and weights to the blog.  I could tell that Jonathan was a serious athlete and in some events was killing me.  In others, we were even and others, I was ahead. 

When leaving for Selection, Jonathan and I set a meeting place and got together to discuss strategy and gear.  We probably should have had this talk much earlier because we both made mistakes.  Who knows...if we had talked more, maybe we would have made even worse decisions that we did.  You can't second guess, but rather just learn from your mistakes and continue to move forward.

I liked Jonathan right away and was impressed with his resume of Goruck events.  I learned a few things from him right away.  We shared a couple of meals before the event and then had an awesome meal of 4 cheeseburgers, 3 orders of fries, and 2 large chocolate milkshakes after of my favorite meals of all time.

Jonathan aced the fitness test and made it a long way into the Welcome Party.  I saw him throughout the event and drew comfort and motivation from a familiar face.  I went there with 3 friends, but in a dark and uncomfortable place like Selection, you draw from any little thing.  A familiar face goes a long way.

Jonathan and I have stayed in touch and I recently sat down and got to ask him a few questions about the last Selecton, the next one and a possible stop at SelFit Kokoro.

Hey Jonathan,  great to hear from you.  Thanks for sitting down and talking for a few.

TR:  Tell us a little about yourself…where do you live?  What do you do for a living?

JH: I currently live near San Francisco, working as a programmer at Crystal Dynamics, a video game studio.  I've been in the video game industry for four years, having worked on games like Grand Theft Auto V and the recently released Lara Croft & The Temple of Osiris.  Prior to that, I worked as a web developer in New York City.

TR:    What was your athletic background?

JH: I got into weight lifting when I tried wrestling in high school and later biking when I moved to Washington (state).  I was in decent shape, but it wasn't until I started training for my first Tough Mudder in 2012 that I improved my fitness.  Besides running, I purchased some kettlebells and did a program of two handed swings and Turkish get-ups.  That got me into incredible shape and I was able to finish my first Tough Mudder.

TR:  How did you get interested in Goruck and what events have you done to date?

JH: I remember when I first read about GORUCK well before I did my first Tough Mudder and thought how stupid it sounded. "12 hours?  While carrying six bricks?  Why would anyone do that?"  After finishing my first Tough Mudder, I was hooked on obstacle course racing and immediately started looking for other events to finish.  After completing another Tough Mudder and a Spartan Super, I reconsidered the GORUCK Challenge as the next event to do.

My first GORUCK Challenge made a huge impact on my life that I still feel to this day.  The stories Cadre "Big Daddy" told during that event taught a powerful lesson of appreciating how my life is going (as others unfortunately have it worse), and completing the event instilled confidence in confronting matters that are outside my comfort level.  I have since finished seven other GORUCK events, including a back-to-back Light & Challenge and an HCL (back-to-back-to-back GORUCK Heavy, Challenge, and Light).

TR:  We trained virtually for Selection through the use of my blog.  We were both using the Military Athlete program to get ready.  Tell us about your road to Selection and how you prepared for the training that we did.

JH: When I found out about GORUCK Selection, I thought it was insane and I wouldn't even consider doing it.  After finishing my first Challenge, I went back to view the Selection promo video and its “This probably isn't for you.  Or is it?” tagline goaded me to consider doing the event.  I purchased my Selection entry on January 2014, giving me ten months to train before Selection 015 at Jacksonville Beach in October.

I was a fan of Military Athlete’s GORUCK Challenge plan, so I purchased their Heavy and Selection plans.  The training strategy for GORUCK Selection was to use one plan to train and do its corresponding event in order to be strong enough to do the next plan.  Thus, I start with their Challenge plan and do a GORUCK Challenge, then follow their Heavy plan and do a GORUCK Heavy, then go through their Selection plan before GORUCK Selection.

I ended up doing an HCL instead of a Heavy due to a scheduling conflict, which was good and bad.  Good in that it gave me experience in exerting myself for 48 hours with very little sleep, but bad in that I sprained my ankle near the end of the Heavy portion of the HCL.  I was able to finish the entire event despite my injury, but I thought that my injury was going to prevent me from doing Selection.  After the HCL and some rest, I started the first couple of weeks of the Military Athlete Selection plan while avoiding exercises that would put weight on my foot.  I had an MRI done on my ankle and decided that if the results were not good, I would not do Selection.  The MRI indicated that I had no torn ligaments on my ankle, so I resumed the full training once it was feeling better.

TR:  Do you have training partners?  Where do you train?

JH: I mostly work out alone.  There's a gym near where I work, so I go there early in the morning to train.  There's also a trail right next to where I live, so I use that for my runs and rucks, although it's mostly flat.  I have done a few training rucks with a friend who completed a Challenge with me.

TR:  I saw you throughout the fitness test and then through most of the Welcome party.  You were doing great.  I had heard before Selection that you never really see how people exit, you just look around and they are gone.  I looked around for familiar faces and they were all gone.  What happened to you?

JH: There were three issues during the Welcome Party that broke my resolve.  The first was my gear set-up.  I went with GORUCK's recommendation to use a GR0 for Selection, but the boots I planned to use did not fit in the rucksack with a full hydration bladder and other items.  I concocted a set-up where I attached a GORUCK brick bag to the GR0 with carabiners so that I could store my boots (and later shoes).  This was a terrible idea in retrospect because it made the rucksack heavier and certain exercises more difficult than they needed to be.  Also, the reflective belt I used on my rucksack kept coming off (tip: don't use velcro belts), and that warranted special attention from the cadre.

The second was a weakness that came up during Selection, overhead squats.  I did not have the flexibility to do these properly, and this affected how I perceived my performance during the Welcome Party.

The third were the warnings of being performance dropped after finishing last in a couple of Welcome Party events.  At that point, I was tired, my legs were feeling heavy, and I felt I couldn't perform to standard.  I was already fighting doubts on whether I trained hard enough for Selection, but I was able to keep those doubts at bay as I progressed through the PT test.  The warnings, however, psyched me out.

Those three issues created a perfect storm where I doubted my ability to continue and convinced myself that I was better off quitting, address my weaknesses, and come back stronger for the next event.  Was that really the case?  It's debatable.  I probably could have stuck it out longer, but my gear and flexibility issues would have made that very difficult.

TR:  What lessons did you learn from Selection?

JH: Test my gear thoroughly.  Due to time constraints, I didn't have an opportunity to fully test my final Selection load-out before the event.  If I did, I wouldn't have gone with the brick bag set-up. I might have used a GR1 over a GR0.

I also learned that I needed to work on my flexibility.  I saw a personal trainer after Selection and he pointed out areas where I was really tight.  He recommended a variety of exercises to loosen up, so I now incorporate those into my workouts.  I'll also be working on my overhead squat.

TR:  Looking back at Goruck Selection in Jacksonville.  Do you consider it a success or a failure in your eyes?  Explain why…

JH: While not finishing Selection was a disappointment, I still consider it a success because I got to see what my weaknesses are.  I have a clear idea on what I need to do to address them, and I'm excited at the thought of getting even stronger.  I've learned that failure isn't necessarily a bad thing if you approach it as a learning experience and use it as an impetus to make yourself better.

TR:  Are you going to try Selection again?  What will you do differently?

JH: Yes, I have registered for Selection 017 at Bozeman, MT in August 2015.  Jon Eytchison, the sole finisher of Selection 015, described his Selection training plan in his AAR.  That will be the blueprint for my Selection training plan.  I’m also doing a Pre-Selection prior to Bozeman to gauge whether I'll be ready for the actual event.  What I learn from Pre-Selection will guide the final months of my Selection training.

TR:   What pack do you expect to use in Bozeman Selection?  Which did you use in Jacksonville Selection?  How do you think you will prepare your gear differently for Bozeman Goruck Selection considering what you have learned from the Jacksonville Goruck Selection?

JH: I used a GR0 for Jacksonville, but I couldn't fit my boots in the ruck with a full hydration bladder.  One thing that was interesting was that Jon had the same problem fitting boots into his GR0, so he didn't bring any to Selection!  I'll either have to find lighter boots (which are hard since ultra wide boots that drain are not common) or consider using a GR1 instead.  I'll also pack as few items as possible.  Since the cadre are going to dump all our gear out at the beginning of the event, having fewer items will make stuffing them back into my ruck a lot easier and less stressful.

TR:  One of the things that we have discussed extensively is the possibility of doing SealFit Kokoro.  Is this something that you are going to do?

JH: Yes, I'm registered for Kokoro 36 in February.

TR:  How are you preparing for Kokoro?

JH: I'm doing a mix of Wendler's 5/3/1 Lifting (for strength), Military Athlete's Murph plan (to prepare for Kokoro's Murph requirement), the running portion of the BUDS Warning Order for Navy Seal Training, and long runs on Saturday.  I have also been taking cold showers to prepare for the Pacific Ocean surf torture.

TR:  Did you have any foot issues in Goruck Selection?  What are you doing to prepare your feet for Kokoro and Selection now?

JH: No.  Despite my ankle injury from HCL, it didn't come up at all during Selection.  I didn't get any blisters during Selection, and I attribute that to my set-up of Trail Toes, Injiji toe socks (as a liner), and Merino Wool boot socks.  I've rucked as far as 20 miles in this set-up without issues, so I imagine that it will serve me well during Kokoro.  As for preparing my feet for Kokoro and Selection, I train in wet boots when I can.

TR:  Do you have any expectations or goals for Kokoro?

JH: A key point that keeps being brought up in Kokoro videos and AARs is to know your why, as in why are you doing this?  There are various reasons why I’m doing Kokoro (such as becoming a better leader), but my main reason for going through a crucible like Kokoro is to give me insight on what's needed to pass Selection.

TR:  I think that the best meal I have ever had were those 3 burgers, fries and 2 milkshakes that I had with you the day after Goruck Selection!  I know you are probably watching your diet now and dreaming of food.  Do you have a meal that you plan on eating after Selection Bozeman, SealFit Kokoro?

JH: It will either be a burger, fries, and shake combo, or a whole pizza pie.

TR:  When I have the opportunity to talk to someone who is into the same things I am  (Selection, Kokoro, heavy training) I always want to know one thing…why are you doing this?

JH: Jason McCarthy, the founder of GORUCK, had said this and it has stuck with me ever since, "Live life to the fullest, because tomorrow is not a promise."  Since there is no guarantee that I’ll be around tomorrow, I have to treat each day as a gift and make the most of it.  Training for these events and testing my limits is my way of fulfilling that credo.  Also, I enjoy a good challenge, and I get pleasure out of completing something that people consider hard or impossible.

TR:  Imagine that it is 3:45 am, you are submerged in the cold Pacific Ocean and you are as cold as you have ever been.  The instructors demand that you continue this beach party for another 4 hours.  What are you going to think about to get you through?

JH:  I'll have to rely on my mental toughness techniques to get through that.  As bad as the surf torture will be, it will end at some point.  Others before me have gone through a similar experience, and if they can complete it, so can I.

TR:    The thing I struggled with most was training for the lack of food and electrolytes.  In Selection, we did not get anything to eat and only a few stops for plain water for 18 hours of intense exercise.  I started cramping, throwing up and having issues related to electrolyte imbalance.  037, ended up in the hospital with very serious Rhabdo, and eventually Tubular Necrosis.  Do you think that you can train your body to be ready for the lack of nutrition and electrolytes?  If so, what are you doing?

JH: I talked to some Selection finishers regarding their diet plan prior to Selection and both recommended Intermittent Fasting, where you only consume calories during a specific period of the day.  One also suggested Ketosis, where you restrict your carbohydrate intake to get your body fat-adapted.  This was the diet I followed before Selection, and I wasn't feeling hungry during the Welcome Party.  I don't know how my body would have reacted if I got past the Welcome Party, but I see myself following the same plan when I'm prepping for Selection again.

TR:    From what you learned from Goruck Selection in Jacksonville, do you think that you could lay out some benchmarks that anyone would need to be able to complete easily to make sure that they made it through the Fitness Test and the Welcome Party?

JH: You need to do 80 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, run 5 miles in 35 minutes, and ruck 12 miles with 45# dry in under 3 hours.  That will give you a fitness cushion that will ensure that you’ll complete the standards regardless of your state.  I guarantee that you won’t be at 100% when you do the Selection PT test, most likely because of nerves.

Proper form is also vital.  Cadre will no-rep any push-up or sit-up that is not up to standard, so make sure that when you’re hitting those benchmarks, that they are done properly.  I strongly recommend asking GORUCK cadre to review your push-up and sit-up form.  Mark Webb has an excellent write-up on push-ups that can also help.  

I got this tip from Cadre Surfhog after Selection: do the hardest workout imaginable, then do the PT test.  If you can pass the PT test in a fatigued state, you have an excellent chance of passing the Selection PT test.

As for the Welcome Party, it's a non-stop nightmare of ruck PT, so do something like Boot Camp or Crossfit with your ruck.  View the last fifteen minutes of GORUCK Selection (see "1230 Saturday / Shark Attack" in the Selection 015 recap) and do those exercises.  If you have issues with any of those exercises, then you know what you need to work on.

I would also recommend seeing a personal trainer and have him or her review your flexibility.  If you are tight in certain areas, learn the corrective exercises from the trainer and incorporate them into your warm-ups and cool-downs.

TR:  Jonathan, it is an honor to know you.  You are a true inspiration and a great example of someone living his life to its full potential.  I wish you all the best and I know that you will be successful in your quest for Selection and Kokoro.  Can we catch up and do another interview after Kokoro?

JH:  Thanks!  I appreciate the advice you've given me as I prepare for Kokoro.  I will absolutely do another interview after SealFit Kokoro.

Frogman's Christmas/Frogman's New Year

We have done this workout as both Frogman's Christmas and Frogman's New Year.  I think you can probably find it titled both across the internet, however the workout stays the same.

Frogman's Christmas/Frogman's New Year

100 Dead Hang Pull ups

250 Pushups

500 Situps

Run 3 miles

For time

On Dec 26 2012, we did this same workout and my time was 66 minutes and change.  Today, I completed this in 57:10 which is a great improvement for me.  I credit it to all of the pushups and situps we did to get ready for Goruck Selection.  Despite doing much better, I was still smoked by Rusty Gray (on his anniversary) who ran about 400 m farther than he was supposed to and still beat me by about 45 seconds.

We had a great turnout today with Kim Ray, Matt Greenwell, Kyle Haren, Kevin Distasio, Rusty Gray and even Will Hunt dropped by to drink a beverage while cheering us on.  It is great to have such camaraderie at the garage. 

I am continually impressed that I can write something like this on the board and get zero complaints from any of the guys. They just step up and do it.  This, in turn, makes me step up and do it better than before.

Thank you to everyone who is a part of the RRL. 

Goruck Selection Gear

I made alot of mistakes in preparing for Goruck Selection.  LOTS!  Hmmm...where to start?

I guess one of my biggest mistakes was not paying very close attention to Jason McCarthy's blog post about packs and packing.  It was late in the training and I had trained with a GR2 for 2 years.  I did not think it was wise to go to a GR0, but I was wrong.

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Work, Work, More work

Traveling lately and filming the remaining episodes of Saltwater Experience. 

I had 2 of the best days of my fishing and filming career earlier this week as I filmed 2 shows with my boys and one with my daughter.  Doing shows with the kids is the absolute highlight of my year and career.  I love it so much and enjoy spending time with them with or without the cameras.

This time, the weather cooperated and we had outstanding fishing!

Here are some shots from the trip:

Hayden caught this BEAUTIFUL Permit and my BEAUTIFUL wife got a picture of me, Turner, Hayden and Hanna with it!

Hayden caught this BEAUTIFUL Permit and my BEAUTIFUL wife got a picture of me, Turner, Hayden and Hanna with it!

Hanna with her first ever bonefish!!

Hanna with her first ever bonefish!!

We did a snorkel segment on the show.&nbsp; Hanna and Dad on a beautiful day!

We did a snorkel segment on the show.  Hanna and Dad on a beautiful day!

Turner gets a HUGE Bull Shark

Turner gets a HUGE Bull Shark

Careful!&nbsp; These guys bite

Careful!  These guys bite

Hayden gets a HUGE Goliath Grouper!

Hayden gets a HUGE Goliath Grouper!

Good thing that Hayden has been lifting weights

Good thing that Hayden has been lifting weights

Then, Redfish and Snook for Turner and Hayden

Then, Redfish and Snook for Turner and Hayden

The ride home with Hayden

The ride home with Hayden

Slick Calm and flying in the Yellowfin 24

Slick Calm and flying in the Yellowfin 24

These will be some of my favorite shows.  We have filmed more than 100 shows now and the ones with my kids are always my favorite.

As for Training:

Since Selection, I have been taking some well deserved rest, however, I cant completely rest.  I have been hitting some of my favorite travel workouts while on the road.

Deck of cards






Row 1000 (There is a rowing machine at Hawks Cay)

50 Thrusters @ 45 lbs

30 Pullups

Magic 50

5 Dumbbell Swings per arm

5 Dumbbell Snatches per arm

10 burpees

x 5 rounds for time

Use a 50 lb dumbbell if you want a great workout.  I did this one today in 6:57

LSD Run.  5 miles

Train hard, work hard, enjoy life.

Setting goals

One of the major things that I learned by doing Goruck Selection is to be very careful in how and where you set your goals.

When I first began to prepare for Selection, I set a goal that i wanted to be top 10 in the class.  At 46 years old, being top 10 is outstanding and I felt like that goal stretched me, challenged me and pushed me to train harder than just to have a goal of finishing.

I used Unbeatable Mind techniques of breathing and visualization daily to put me in that top 10.  Through research on forums like Professional Soldier, I set my goals for the PT test at numbers that I thought would get me to the top 10 in the class.  Soon, I began to meet those numbers and even exceed them.  On test day, I set PR’s for both the pushups and sit-ups and was among the top few in the class.  The run went well and I smashed the ruck, well under the time hack and in the top 10.

The goal of top ten seemed out of reach at first.  So far out of reach that I just kind of assumed that if I was top ten, I would easily be able to finish the event because top ten seemed to be an even greater goal.

Where we set our goals is where we end up.  SealFit visualization is very powerful, so powerful that you have to really watch what you set your mind on because you will attain it and it might not be what you really wanted.

As I was alone, in the dark, depleted, cramping and struggling to finish carrying my 60 pound pack and 80 pound sandbag the entire length of the unknown distance, a Cadre walked up to me and quietly started talking.  If he had yelled at me, I probably would have picked up the bag and continued, but this guy was smooth and an expert in mind manipulation.  Instead of yelling, he reassured me, complimented me on making it so far and told me it was fine to stop now before I ended up in the hospital.  This was powerful.

He told me that he recognized that I had trained my ass off, but I just didn't train properly for this event.  He was right.  No food for 18 hours of exercise had me dizzy, lightheaded, cramping and physically at the very bottom of the fuel tank.  I had trained without food, but not to this extent.  I succumbed to the realization and withdrew.

On the walk out he was even nicer.  He told me that I should be extremely proud of myself because...I was top ten in Selection.

BOOM.  I wanted to dig a hole and crawl in it.  At that moment I realized that I had been visualizing and training for exactly where I was and that WAS NOT going to get me to my original goal of finishing this event. I had accomplished my goal exactly, but in doing so I had sabotaged my original goal of finishing.  Your mind is a good soldier…it does what it is told.  No more, no less.  Here I was disappointed because I had reached the exact goal I had set for myself.

Dumbfounded, I sat down in the parking lot and wondered how things might have been different if I had set my goal differently.  Yep, I made it to the top ten, but I still did not accomplish my original goal.

Had I set a goal not to be top ten in the class but to be in the top 10% OF THE FINISHERS, things might have been vastly different.




Those goals don't seem all that different from one another to many people, but they are.  In fact, there are galaxies of difference between the two goals.  One says that success is being top 10.  While a good thing to be, you are still not a finisher.  The other says that first you will be a FINISHER (your original goal) and second, that you will exceed that by crushing the event and ending up finishing AND being in the top 10% .

In many events, or in school, being top ten is good...really good and will probably get you into the college you want to go to or win an age group medal.  In other events, being top 10 may not get you anything at all, except failure.  Selection is an example but other examples may include the Olympic Trials, BUDs, SFAS, The CrossFit Regionals, The Regional wrestling tournament.  Each of these things requires you to be top 3 or to graduate, to move on.  You could accomplish your goal of setting a world record, but if you finish 4th place…you don’t get to go to the Olympics.  Maybe all 4 of you set a world record, but you will not go to the big show, your original goal.

Be careful how you set your goals.  First set goals to absolutely reach the original mission plan- Go to the Olympics, Graduate BUDs, Finish Selection, Make it to the CrossFit Games.  Set a second goal to exceed that first goal- Go to the Olympics and earn a gold medal in the trials and set a new world record in my event, Graduate BUDs and become a SEAL, Make it to the CrossFit Games and win my Region, Finish Selection and be top 10% of the finishers.

Visualization is powerful and if you are not already using it in your training and daily life, I encourage you to research it and use visualization techniques to reach your goals in fitness, business or life in general.  If you need a source, try

Just be careful where you set your goals because you will probably achieve them and it may not be what you originally wanted.

So many people experience failure but never realize that they are only doing so because they are setting goals improperly…just like I did.  Be specific, be exact and make sure that those goals match the end result that you want.

Rest and recovery

Huge amounts of calories have been consumed and lots of stretching.  I am feeling pretty good and have returned to normal hydration levels.

After Kokoro I was back in the gym right away.  I think I am going to take about a week off this time and return to some slow movements...slowly.

My right ankle is jacked up a bit so I am working on mobility there, hips, and lower back for now.

Tons of yoga and water while working to build a stronger team with my wife, first and foremost, Children, my business and friends.

Thank you to SO MANY people who have text, emailed, called or otherwise wished me the best.  I appreciate your support.

Lessons Learned-Goruck Selection 015 AAR

Lessons Learned-Goruck Selection 015 AAR

Today is Saturday, Oct 11 and it is the morning after Goruck Selection 015.

Out of 278 people who signed up, 162 RSVP'd to show up...out of those, only 82 actually did show up.  There are various reasons for that, namely that the training for an event like this is really hard and injuries do happen.  (Out of our group of 5, only 2 of us showed up injury free to the start) ...

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Taper continued

The weekend was dedicated to rest.  I did almost nothing physical and took a few naps.

I dont feel as good as if I had worked out hard all weekend but I am hoping that it will pay off.

This morning:

2 min pushups- 75 moved slow and deliberate intentionally

2 min situps- 71 moved about as fast as I could, but that is a long way from the 82 I hit last week.  Not sure why that happened today, but I still feel confident in the ability to hit 65 any time

1 mile hill ruck with 60 lbs- 9:44 felt good.  The hill is steep so I was not able to run the whole thing, but did finish pretty quickly.



KB Swing @53 lbs

I bowed out of this one and stretched instead.  Trevor finished this in 3:21.  Pretty strong!

12 minute visualization on Selection

Good day

McCallie Baylor

We have one of the biggest rivalries in High School sports in my hometown.  McCallie, the school I went to, and Baylor the rival have been bitter rivals for 100 years (I don't really know how long but a long time).

McCallie is an all boys school, 6-12, that is an outstanding school.  Baylor, also an outstanding school, is a former all boys school that went Co-Ed about the time I graduated.  I think that the Co-ed change may have actually made the rivalry more intense because instead of splitting the all girls school also in the area, they kind of became a sister school to McCallie.  Now it is really, McCallie/GPS vs Baylor.

To make things more intense this year, both schools have exceptional teams.  In fact, McCallie just defeated 4 time State Champs, Ensworth (Nashville) 62-34 last weekend to become the number 1 ranked team in Tennessee.  Baylor, also on a roll is number 2.  This is the first time in history that McCallie/Baylor is a 1 v 2 matchup.

Things go crazy this week...literally.  Signs are hanging all over, vandalism of said signs and even campuses also exists, pranks, and more, but the underlying theme of all of this is that there is tremendous school spirit and both sides are proud to be a part of this history. 

Almost every boy with a pickup truck makes a giant flag from a bed sheet and puts it on the trailer hitch of the truck.  Baylor does it too, but not like McCallie.  Sometimes, the kids make the flag with a giant M from a black bedsheet with a giant blue M.  This year, a highly concerned resident posted on facebook that she saw a truck with a flag like this and thought is was a splinter cell of ISIS.  Now that is funny. 

The rivalry extends to every workplace, talk radio, golf courses, bowling alleys, bars, restaurants and yes...even to the garage.

In our group we have a number of Baylor alumni and parents but maybe a slightly higher number of McCallie alumni and parents.  Today, I put together a workout to polish for Selection and also have some fun. 

With a front from Canada to Mexico on top of us, we experienced heavy rain this morning which was kind of fun.  The workout was:

Run 400 m

55 Pushups

Run 400 m

65 situps

x 3 rounds for time

I felt great!  No ruck, no boots, no pants.  I flew through the runs and made sure my nose was to the floor on the pushups and that my situps were solid.  We took the top 3 times for each team and decided a winner. 

This time it was McCallie by a landslide!  Lets hope that the game will have the same outcome. 

Oh, by the way, this thing goes in long streaks of winning or losing.  McCallie had a 10 year run before Baylor beat us and then continued their streak for the last 7 years.  This year, the game returns to McCallie for the first time in 25 years or so...needless to say, it is a big, big deal around here. 

Good luck to both teams and I hope that no one is injured.  With such an emotional game, it could go either way.



"The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don't like to do. They don't like doing them either necessarily. But their disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose. They have a burning yes that makes it possible to say no to other things.
An independent will power to do things when you don't want to do them"

Warm up:
4 Rounds
3x Pull ups
5x Bench Press (95, 115, 135, 165)

10x Situps
Instep Stretch Lat + Pec Stretch

(1) 5 Rounds - Every 90 Seconds
40% of Max Bodyweight Bench Press, then Max Bodyweight Bench Press in 60 Seconds

(2) Perform the following weighted pull ups (25#) 100% max reps Pull-ups Rest 2:30 sec

80% max Reps Pull-ups Rest 2 min.
60% max Reps Pull-ups Rest 1:30 sec.

40% max Reps Pull-ups Rest 60 sec.
40% max Reps Pull-ups Rest 30 sec.

20% max Reps Pull-ups

(3) 8 Rounds - Every 90 seconds, 10% of max reps SBGU (round up) + 1 rep


Magic 20 miler

Since I will be traveling next week, I had to get in the 20 miler early.  I packed 68 pounds with water.  63 without.

For some reason, I was having a pretty hard time around mile 12.5-16.  Something happened and I was able to rally and get a second wind.  My time was very bad though and I am concerned.  In order to hit sub 15 min miles, I have to run...alot.  I did not do that today and came in at 5:22:27.  My splits just kept getting slower through the whole ruck.  The weight felt really heavy and I just felt slow.  I only stopped to pee 2 times and to refill my water once.  Other than that, I was moving the entire time.




1. Pushup Progression

5 rounds at 35% of 2 Min Max plus 1 final set


2. Situp Progression

5 rounds at 35% of 2 Min Max plus 1 final set


3. 3 x 1.5 mile run


4. (PM) 3 x 3 mile ruck at 45 pounds


I did the pushups at 30 for all 6 rounds, situps at 26.  I was not able to complete all 6 rounds at 26.  One round I only got 12. 

Runs went well today despite the 18 mile ruck yesterday.  10:31, 10:37, 11:14

I will ruck either at lunch or tonight.  20 miler tomorrow.

18 miles/60 pounds

18 mile ruck at 60 pounds dry.


I carried 6 liters of water with me and started around 65 pounds.  I finished at 59...cant let that happen again!


This one took me 4:29:00 and I realized I was going to miss the cutoff with 1 mile left.  I ran the last mile and barely made it.  It was a tough distance, but made easier by our fall-like weather.  73 degrees is a LONG way from 93 degrees.  I have not had to pee during a ruck in the last 10 weeks, but today, I had to pee 5 times!  The cooler weather was nice and I was not sweating that much. 

I hope that this time is decent...I really have no way of knowing.