It Started With A Text Message
Through endurance sports you meet some interesting folks, like my friend Matt Brand, who one time paid someone to shove a tube up his butt and flush all the poop out of his colon. Seriously.
Matt recommended a podcast by this vegan-hippie-ultrarunner Rich Roll (not to be confused with his arch nemesis Rick). In this episode, Rich interviewed former Navy SEAL David Goggins. The story is nucking futs. You should really check it out, but if not…
Here’s The Cliff Notes Version
Goggins is bullied growing up, a black kid in an all white school. Post high school, he joins the Air Force and a couple years later applies to join Navy SEALs, but weighs too much. Goggins drops 100 pounds in 2 months and is admitted to the SEAL’s BUD/S training. Due to injury and illness, he has to repeat ‘Hell Week’ three times but eventually passes BUD/S and becomes a Navy SEAL.
A couple years later, Goggins learns of a helicopter crash in Afghanistan in which six of his fellow SEALs are killed. Goggins decides he’s going to raise money for the families of the fallen soldiers by completing the 10 toughest endurance events on the planet. First on the list is the Badwater Ultramarathon, a 135 mile foot race starting in Death Valley and ending at Mt. Whitney. Goggins calls up the race director, who says Goggins must complete a 100 mile ultramarathon to even sign up for Badwater.
Four days later, with zero training, Goggins is at the start line of a 24 hour ultramarathon. 70 miles in, he’s in bad shape. He’s broken all the small bones in his feet and is pissing blood from kidney failure. He guts out the last 30 miles to finish the race. Goggins goes on to complete the Badwater 135 along with numerous other ultra endurance events including the Hurt 100, Ultraman, Western States 100, and Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc. He also set the world record for most pull-ups in 24 hours.
I Was Blown Away By This Story
The mindset and attitude Goggins possesses is incredible. He decides to do something and then does whatever it takes to accomplish it. No excuses, no quitting. That insane grit and mental toughness are attributes I’d like to develop for myself
I Did Something Stupid
Three years ago, I completed a GORUCK challenge with my friend Matt Brand (the one flushing his poop out from earlier in this blog post). The event was 12 hours long, but my muscles burned from all the lunges and pushups for the next two weeks. I swore I’d never do an event like that again, until I listened to that David Goggins Podcast.
I signed up for GORUCK Selection, a 48 hour endurance test covering 80+ miles with endless amounts of PT. They tout it as the hardest endurance event in the world with an abysmal finish rate of less than 5%.
It starts with a PT Test with a minimum standard of 55 pushups in less than 2 minutes, 65 situps in less than 2 minutes, a 5 Mile Run in less than 40 minutes, and a 12 Mile Ruck (with your 45 pound backpack) in less than 3.5 hours. Fail any of those and you’re immediately dropped. And that’s just the beginning. Selection is meant to simulate ‘hell week’ and is run by former special operations guys who are trying to get you to quit. Ultimately it’s not a fitness contest. It’s mental. Very few people are pulled from the event for performance. A majority decide to quit.
So Why Would You Do It?
I’ve been growing soft and complacent, lacking discipline and consistency. I hope that by training for an event like this, which is far outside of my current capabilities, I will develop those traits.