How to Push Through and Embrace the SUCK

Hi Brad,

I’ve been a subscriber to your emails for quite some time. I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate them with an example of how I’ve used some of your advice.

This past weekend, I attempted the GORUCK HTL 9/11 Memorial in Washington DC. I’ve done various Heavies, Lights, and Toughs over the last few years and this was my second attempt at an HTL. The first attempt ended after the Heavy, when the lure of a hot pizza and comfy bed, and no more pain and rucks got the better of my mind.

Anyway, this weekend I started the Heavy, and the Cadre got into our minds quickly. We busted out 50 pushups with rucks and then the cadre lead us on a fast paced ruck to a park. Not sure of the distance, but the 105 heat index made any distance taxing. Once to the park we were instructed to do 7 loops individually around the park within the time hack. I’ve done many 12 mile timed rucks in training and during adverse conditions and came in under the time hack. I knew I could do it, but I don’t know if it was the weather, the mind games or what – I was hurting mentally almost from the beginning.

The demons crept in early and I started thinking long term. I couldn’t imagine completing the HTL, or even finishing the Heavy, and I started thinking that I wouldn’t finish the 12 mile ruck. I thought my energy snacks might help but they upset my stomach, and so did water. I never have a problem with hydration or food, so this was one other thing that started my downward mental spiral.

And then, I remembered a recent email where you relayed your dark times in SEAL training, and you would repeat “I’m good. I’m good…” I couldn’t remember the whole statement that you repeated, but I started saying out loud “I’m good… I’m good…” I repeated it a number of times. And then I started adding positive statements to “I’m good…” “I’m good because I’m alive… I’m good because I’m honoring the victims of 9/11… I’m good because I have a loving wife… I’m good because I have 3 great children.”

I started to feel my mind coming back. It’s like I could feel the darkness in my mind parting to light. I could feel my body re-engage. My pace quickened. I finished the 12 mile ruck. I finished the Heavy. I finished the Tough, and then finished the Light, and earned the HTL patch.

One thing about these GORUCK events is that you learn that you can’t finish them alone. Family, friends and classmates helped me this weekend, but so did your emails and advice, and I wanted to thank you for sending them out.

Jonathan Lepisto

Hitting the Wall and Punching Through
Calm in the Chaos

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