Navy Seals [images added]

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).

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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.

Vibe of the OTC

Friday afternoon I got picked up at the San Diego airport by an Olympic Training Center volunteer driver named Matt. He’d been driving for the OTC for 6 months or so and I was curious why he volunteered since he looked in his late twenties- not the typical age for volunteer work.  Turns out he had toured the OTC on a whim a year earlier and had been captured by the upbeat vibe of the place.

“Everyone here has a goal.” He said, “None of my friends have a plan for their life, they just float along, so this goal oriented mindset here really motivates me.”

Since that first tour of the center, Matt has become a regular volunteer, guiding tours and shuttling athletes, as well as working two jobs, at hotel and as a valet driver, and going to school. Thanks to the motivation he received from the Training Center vibe he now has a plan and has started to put himself through college for a Sports Kinesiology degree and hopes to someday work as a strength and conditioning coach at one of the OTCs.

I’m happy to see another person benefited by the Olympic movement, but I also hope and pray that he will realize that this is not enough, and instead find true meaning in the Gospel.

First day of Camp

At last I’m here, the Olympic Training Center. It’s been a long week, two finals and 3 papers, I’ve still got two more papers, but I’m now on the west coast again, and at the good old OTC so I’m happy. Unfortunately Thursday I came down with a 101.4 degree fever a head cold, and an ear infection, I’m feeling healthy energy-wise today but I’m still congested and my ears are still messed up. Guy Wilding the National Team Men’s coach said I should rest today and not go to practice, tomorrow’s off for everyone so I’ll have another day’s rest and then, Lord willing come back strong and healthy on Monday.

This camp is looking really good. It is the 2011 Mens Team Boat Evaluation camp so starting Monday we’re going to be doing a lot of testing and trying a lot of different line ups. I’m really excited, we’re also going to be taking a break from the seat trials (tests to find out who should be in what boat) and go spend the day with the Navy Seals at Coronado. Guy described the type of work we’ll be doing there as “some running, but mostly just carrying large objects around.” Should be good!

Well I need to start working on these last two papers so I’ll sign off.

Four Days Till Chula Vista!

This Friday at 10:58 my flight leaves Oklahoma City! I’ll be off to San Diego for a Team Boat Training Camp at the Olympic Training Center with the USA National Team Coach Guy Wilding. I’m excited for this opportunity because I’ll get to work with the best of the best in the USA, Morgan House, Tim Hornsby, the Dolan bros., and a few of the other top notch paddlers.

This week is going to go by slowly though. I’ve got lot’s of tests and papers due before my flight leaves Friday morning, and I’ve still got a lot of training to do. The thing I’m most afraid about is with all this studying and writing, I won’t be able to get the sleep I need to recover or stay healthy and I’ll end up sick. Time management is huge for daily life at college, but when it comes to finals, manage your time as well as you want, you’ll still be up all night. Fortunately only one of my finals is going to be real hard, my Principles of Public Relations class. That one’s a doozy!

Along with my classes, I will also be brushing up on my Spanish. Carlos Montalvo Garcia from Cuba arrived here in OKC on Saturday and will be training with us.He won bronze in the K2 1000m at the 2009 World Championships in Nova Scotia, so he’s quite an addition to our training group here. Only catch? He doesn’t speak English yet. So Jen and I have been translating for Shaun and stumbling our way through conversations. I’m so happy to be able to work on my Spanish again! It had been probably 6 months since I had had a conversation in Spanish and Saturday I talked for hours in Spanish. It’s rusty but coming quick.

Well now for those tests….

Projects and Papers

Well it sure has been a while since my last post. This week has been crazy, I’ve been working on a number papers and projects for the end of my classes. I’ve only got 3 days of classes left and the teachers are piling it on. Wednesday I had a project and an essay due so Tuesday night quickly became Wednesday morning and I went to bed at 3:30 am, ugh. That was awful. Thankfully I’ve been able to get a lot of sleep since then.

Training has been good and hard. We had last weekend off, then hit it hard again on Monday. We’re only paddling four times this week, since the focus is in the gym, but we’re doing lots of running to stay fit.

Yesterday we did negative lifts, this is something I had never done before, but I found it quite beneficial. We rack up more weight than our max then lower it down as slowly and controlled as possible, then your spotter lifts it back up. This is quite successful in making you sore.

This afternoon we will be doing parachutes again, should be fun!