Tuesday the kayakers at the training camp went to the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado for a morning of PT with arguably the world’s most elite group of warriors. This was a hugely beneficial experience for all of us. I learned so much from this experience, but it wasn’t the physical training that was the most beneficial, it was the mental toughness required to push through all the crap they had us doing.
We were all thinking we would impress them by our strength and conditioning and walk out of there with our heads held high. But 5 minutes into the training that idea was washed clean out of our minds. Twenty pushups quickly be came one hundred, and simple instructions soon had our minds spinning.
After the first taste of pain, we then headed over to the “O” course, the Navy Seal obstacle course. This was actually quite fun, real tough, but it was a race and that made it a lot of fun. We had to run through tires, climb over walls, climb ropes, crawl under barbwire, climb a net, walk across rolling logs, run over piles of logs, conquer a bizarre obstacle that was like a giant set of monkey bars in a triangle shape that you’d go over one bar and under the next, then we had to pull ourselves across a long rope, swing onto a beam using a rope, do monkey bars =), jump over 7 steeples, and do twenty push ups (or forty if you accidentally went onto your knees when you finished your first twenty).
Then we got to the log. Here is were I entered the hurt locker– the place of ultimate pain. We lifted the log, we did squats with the log, we did sit ups with the log, we did lunges with the log, we ran with the log, then we took a break and flipped tires, did relay races (which my team lost and had to do a bunch of push ups ended by shouting “HooYah boatcrew 1″), then went back to the log and did it all again. We also did a competition where each “boatcrew” held the log over their heads as long as possible. That was brutal! Again my boat lost and we had to do a bunch of sprints, push ups, sit ups, squats with the log, and a few other difficult tasks Chief Stella could come up with. In the middle of the log work Chief Stella told us to “Find the ocean, then warm ourselves with the sand.” This involved diving into the ocean then rolling through the sand getting completely covered. We did this twice and then had to chase Chief Stella- low crawling. The time with the log was definitely the worst part.
Then we went to the boats. Seven person invlatible boats, that we put on our heads and ran with, did squats with, lunges with, sit ups with, and a number of other things. We had quite a number of different races with the boats and my boatcrew won all of them, so the other boatcrew had to do HooYah push ups for us!
After one last run, ending with an all out sprint— with the boat on our heads of course, our training ended. It took a while for us to trust the Chief that we were actually done, but after showering, taking pictures and changing it was clear that we really were done.
Here are a few of the top lessons learned from this:
-Team work: During a few of our sprints I was lagging behind, Luke Michael came behind me, put his hand on my back and started pushing me– our boatcrew had to win! All of these tasks drew us together, cause we knew that if one of us fell behind the whole boatcrew would suffer.
-Humility: All of us at the camp this week are strong and extremely fit, the Seals were impressed (they told us after, they sure didn’t let on one bit during), but at the end Chief Stella spoke to us about humility, he said, “If you’re doing this for yourself, then just get out of the way and let someone more worthy take your spot.” The lesson was that we were representing our country not ourselves. If we’re out for ourselves, then nothings stopping us from backing off or quitting, but if we’re out for our country, our families, our sport, or something else outside of ourselves then we can push through. If that’s just with those earthly things, how much more accountable am I to press on if I train and race for the sake of the Gospel.
So maybe Humility isn’t just an invisible trophy for losers.