SGPT Interviews Dan Pena, SEALFIT 20X Graduate

SGPT Interviews Dan Pena, SEALFIT 20X Graduate
Tell us about yourself.

I’m 41 years old and work as the Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Siena Heights University, my undergraduate Alma Mater. My wife, Amber is also a Siena Heights graduate. We met as undergraduate students. We have been married for 14 years and have 3 children, (Patrick-5, Sophia-2, Jack-11 months). Prior to working at Siena, I worked in Development at Notre Dame where I earned my MBA. Amber was working at Notre Dame as well in Strategic Planning.

Did you have an athletic background growing up?

I did. My Dad was very athletic in high school and coached baseball and football at Adrian High School (MI) my entire childhood. He also coached the local American Legion baseball team. As a result, I’ve been in around/interested in athletics most of my life. I participated in football, wrestling, and baseball in high school.

Tell us about the event.

The event (SEALFIT 20X) was everything I expected. The coaches really pushed us physically, mentally, and emotionally and stressed the importance of the Big 4 of mental toughness, the Big 4 of emotional toughness, and working as a team. I learned a lot about myself in those moments when I was in evolutions that pushed me past my physical preparation. I noticed during those times how I became focused on myself versus being a good teammate. It was very insightful.

Where was it?

The event was at the Vail Lake Resort in Temecula, CA.

What was the hardest part for you?

The hardest part for me was the amount of sprinting during the event. I trained hard, but not enough in that area.

What felt like it was the easiest?

I don’t know if you could say anything was easy, but the pushups, planks, PST, and MURPH were what I expected, and I felt I did well due to my preparation.

Was there a moment you felt like quitting? How did you talk yourself out of it?

There was one moment during our second to last evolution that the thought of quitting crept into my head for a split second. Immediately another voice in my head stopped that, and I could hear myself thinking, “Really? You’ve come this far and you’re thinking like this? Stop it. Just get through this part.”

How did you stay motivated throughout the event?

I focused heavily on my breathing, especially during the tough parts. I also forced myself to smile as much as possible. It was a tremendous help.

How did you train?

I completed the SEALFIT Bootcamp, ran a half marathon, completed MURPH on Memorial Day (with a vest), completed 7 minute and 20 minute planks regularly, and completed Grinder PTs regularly. I worked out 7 days a week, and took days off as needed.

I also worked on getting used to cold water by taking cold showers on a regular basis. Helped a bunch.

What would you have done differently?

I would have done a lot more sprint work.

How did you recover afterwards?

I took a few days (3) off. I stretched a lot, and eased myself back into my workouts.

Any tips for someone wanting to train for and enter this event?

Don’t discount the level of fitness suggested. Also, really, really identify and know your “Why”. That’s the only way you’ll get through.

What’s your next goal?

I’m registered for Kokoro Camp in March of 2019.

SGPT: What book are you currently reading?

DP: I am reading Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin,

SGPT: Thanks for the interview Dan.

DP: Thanks!

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