Friday, March 20, 2009

Navy SEALS Training

As I sat in our team meeting on Tuesday night I thought I was about to break my jaw, because I was smiling so much in excitement for the Navy SEALS training I was about to be exposed to the next morning. I had no idea what I was in for. What I knew was that I was very fortunate to experience something like this...I knew I loved challenges...I knew I couldn't wait to test myself.

I woke up Wednesday morning with a big smile on my face again. As I ate breakfast most people looked tired, nervous, annoyed that we had to do this...no way baby...I was pumped! As we pulled up near the Navy base I saw this huge cargo net in the air that was draped between two huge logs. I thought to myself, "Uh oh...I hope I don't have to climb that...I'm terrified of heights." Oh yeah, heck yeah we climbed that thing. The cargo net was 50 feet high at the top. I was one of the last people to go because my team was the last team to go. The SEAL next to me asked us if anyone was scared of heights. I said yes. He looked at me and said, "Good then this will be more entertaining for me." He told me to just concentrate on where my next move would be. I did exactly what he said. I was moving up the cargo net with ease. I got to the top, took a glance around, carefully flipped my body over the top rail and began my descent. Before I knew it I was at the bottom. Once my feet hit the sand my first thought was, "that wasn't bad at all, I wanna go around to the other side and try it again." Push through the fear and get over it.

The obstacle course consisted of about 12-15 different exercises. One I particularly liked was crawling underneath barbed wire and logs. There were two sides. The left was where most people were going. The right was much shallower and harder to get through. I looked at the SEAL instructor that was there and asked him if I could make it through the right side. He said there have been a couple small girls that have made it through. Then he looked me in the eye and with a manly and testing voice he said, "If you really have what it takes to be a SEAL you could probably get through there, you'll just have to dig your way through." I about yelled I was so wound up with excitement and curiosity and threw myself onto the sand. As I crawled through the sand my arms were pushing the dirt and debris out from in front of me. My face was literally in the sand and my breathing was blowing sand into my mouth, nose and eyes...It's time to man up! There was rusty barbed wire everywhere. At one point I had to dig a hole and lean my head to the side just to keep my head from being cut by the barbed wire. Constantly digging my hands into the sand and pulling my body through the small passage. At one point I felt a little tug on my butt. I thought to myself, "uh oh...I caught a barb on my butt-cheek. There are only two possibilities...I either didn't dig away the sand deep enough, or I have a big booty that sticks out from the rest of my backside, haha. I emerged from the other side with a huge grin on my face. I jumped to my feet and looked back at the small opening I had emerged from and thought to myself, "yeah...what, I got this."From the obstacle course we ran to and from the water several times and completely submerged ourselves in the 64 degree water. We eventually ran down to the beach where there were inflatable rafts waiting for us. Each team had a boat. We had to do different exercises with the boat. All the exercises involved carrying the boat into the water, paddling out, as a team, through the surf, doing something (flipping the boat over, doing a back flip off the front of the boat etc.) once we got out past the break and finally making our way back to the beach where we started. This was somewhat difficult because everyone needed to be rowing on the same page so we could keep our straight line into the waves. If you are at all crooked going into the breaking wave you're going to roll the boat...several boats rolled. Our boat got rolled twice. However, there were a few occasions on the way back in to shore where we were seriously riding the heck out of a wave...it was Gnarly dude! (gotta put some Cali lingo in there right haha:))

A huge part of being a SEAL is attention to detail. If our oars weren't placed in the boat properly we all did push-ups. If our collars weren't perfect we all did push-ups. If a buckle on our life-jacked was open we all did push-ups. Let's just say we did a ton of push-ups.

The last thing we did was really intense/awesome. We all got into a line and stood shoulder to shoulder. We interlocked arms and walked into the water. An instructor told us to turn around and interlock our arms again. We then laid down in the water on our backs. The water was probably between six and 10 inches deep. We laid there for about six or seven minutes. Then we got up, walked onto the beach, put our hands up so we felt cold with the wind blowing on us and went back into the water. We laid down in the water four times. The key is to relax. What I learned about the SEAL training is that it's all mind over body. Your body can handle the challenges. Can your mind? My tactic was to rest my head on the sand and close my eyes. I would listen for the oncoming waves. When I could tell a wave was coming I would simply hold my breath and let the wave completely cover my body and push my head down into the sand. I took deep breaths and tried to make myself believe the water was warm and I was just having a great time. It actually worked. Let's be real...I was having a great time! Being in the water was not even cold for me. The cold part was getting out of the water.
I can't tell you how much I loved all of this. I am one of the few people who had a smile on their face the entire day. At the end of the day we ate MREs which are military rations that they take into combat or training with them. Most people thought they were gross, I loved it. I actually took two of them home with me. We'll see how good they are when I'm not so hungry haha...

At the end of the day we had a chance to mingle with all the SEAL instructors and ask them questions. I must have asked 100 questions. I wanted to know everything. I want to feel what it would be like to go through the training. I want to see how far I can take it...how much misery and pain I'm willing to endure...
Becoming a SEAL is not my life's dream. I would like to think I could do it if it's what I set my mind to...and I think I really could. However, there are other things I dream of. Being given the opportunity to train with these guys and get a taste of what their life is like was both exhilarating and eye-opening. I want to thank them for everything they do to protect our country and for risking their lives for to keep us safe. Oh and thanks for making that day one of my best days of 2009!

17 comments:

Gina said...

Glad you enjoyed it. Now, you all have an idea of what Larsen will be going through! :)

While I'm not a huge fan of the water, I'm a little envious that you guys and gals got to do what I have always wanted!

This is a great entry (as always) and a story to pass on to your grandkids! :)

C-Bone said...

Lookin' good in those fatigues, sir.

That meal... not looking quite as good. But glad you had a good time.

Adin said...

mann that sounds exciting, i think it would be pretty interesting to be a seal.

Soly said...

Sounds like you had lots of fun!

Mikayla said...

What an experience this was for you! I am glad you had fun and pushed yourself to the limit. That is the whole point of it all! As for the MRE's ... What kind did you get? The chicken ones are pretty good!! I have had a ton of them (live in a hurricane state, you will get very familiar with them! lol) Thanks for sharing your amazing time with us!!

Romans 16:1 said...

AHHH!! that must have been so freaking awesome!! just reading it i was pumped i was like OH yeah seals training haha

i wish i cuda been there for the laying down in the water part. not the barbed wire thing though lol :)

...what was in the MRE??

J said...

Scaling a 50 feet wall, and the boat exercises....whoo! That is workout!! Especially those water exercises!
I think the idea of the mind of matter...forcing you out of the comfort zone to push yourself to achieve your goals- but relaxing and becoming aware of surroundings. I heard of this technique used in yoga, or in general when your stressed out! I always imagine a sunny day at the beach. What a captivating experience!

Lauren Ashley said...

No joke, Garrett, I read this with a HUGE smile on my face! I'm glad you had such a great time!!! :) And I totally loved the Cali lingo! Holla! lol. Thanks for keeping us updated... and thanks for putting so much detail into your blog! I felt like I was there! :)

Nicole said...

hat sounds AWESOME. I am sure it was difficult but I guess if you thought of it as fun you would enjoy it. I can only imagine having to do things like parts of the obstacle course, the boats, and push-ups everyday for a job. I would never want to become a Navy SEAL but I would like the chance to try it out. Enjoy the rest of the training camp!

Amber said...

Wow Garrett! That sounded like a pretty awesome experience :) From all the pics Ive seen it looked intense. I defiantly couldn't do that.

Anonymous said...

This is really cool that you had an opportunity like this.

I was actually just reading the newest edition of Splash magazine and I was gawking at how down to earth you are. As a swimmer whom everyone knows, you must sometimes feel stressed and feel like you're about to pop. As a swimmer, I can understand this to a degree haha but you really are down to earth and that's what is so cool about you.

Also, your entry in SPlash as a Foodie was really good-I never really understood the importance of what to eat before races, after races, before practices, and after practices. The advice will definitely be passed onto my team.

Thanks so much, Garrett.

Carly W, NJ

Garrett said...

haha yeah Larsen is going to go through some tough times...

I got a chicken fajita MRE...it was tasty:)

I'm glad ya'll have enjoyed the post.

Thanks so much for reading my Athletic Foodie article in Splash magazine...I'm glad you liked it. The input really helps me!

Christina said...

LOL wow! I can feel the energy radiating of/from your blog!
As mentioned before...this is a story to pass on....
have a nice sunday.

gr. Christina

Romans 16:1 said...

oh yeah!! i read Athletic Foodie too. i never wuda guessed that you had high blood pressure (that was it right?)
keep up the good work in the next splash ed.!

Marcelo said...

Hey Garrett,

I have a blog in Brazil and I wrote feel things about you. Check it out.

http://www.mundodanatacao.blogspot.com/

Best regards,

Marcelo

Kast-A-Way Swimwear said...

Very entertaining post, I really enjoyed it! I love your enthusiasm!

Garrett said...

Thanks so much for posting about my blog on your blog! I wish I could understand what you're writing haha!

Glad you like the enthusiasm...


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