SGPT: Tell us about yourself?
PD: I am a husband and a father to my two young girls. I am also a junior high science teacher during the week and mostly workout to be able to climb when possible over the weekends. My passion is ice and alpine climbing and being in shape makes this sport faster and safer.
SGPT: Did you have an athletic background growing up?
PD: Yes. I played competitive tennis for about a decade, did some marshal arts and some running but had very little experience with weight lifting. I later on discovered rugby and then the very beginning of CrossFit which showed me that I was not nearly as in shape as I believed. My first years of CrossFit training proved to be eye opening!
SGPT: How did you train for the Kokoro event?
PD: I followed the SealFit OPWOD at least 4 days a week and did a longer day of climbing during the weekend when possible. I practiced the PT tests after the OPWODs assuming that I would not be tested when fresh on the first day of SEALFIT Kokoro. Once I registered for Kokoro, I also signed up for a specific online training from the SealFit crew for the last 2 months leading up to the event. I got progressively weaker but my endurance and mental game got better at the same time. It was a smart trade off. I also climbed less and rucked more with a 40lbs pack (no belt), boots and sand pipe. I had to wake up early on the weekend and finish my training session after putting the kids down to bed in the evenings on week days.
SGPT: Tell us a little about the event? Where was it?
PD: The event was held at Vail Lake resort close to Temecula. I warm and dry place for a Canadian!
SGPT: What was hardest part of the event?
PD: After breaking a rib at the end of the pool torture it became easier for my tired self to make excuses… I made due for a while but the internal battle of the negative self-talk against the desire to get the job done culminated during the mock-up rescue mission. I was in a dark place to say the least. Low crawling with a 35lbs pack was excruciating for my rib, but my dark negative thoughts persisted even when it became bearable while walking. I struggled to let these thoughts go. Once I realized that I had a mission and that my teammates depended on me, I was able to shifting my focus from my negative internal dialogue and attend to my teammates and the task at hand.
SGPT: What is one thing you wish you would have done to get ready for SEALFIT Kokoro?
PD: I should have completed some swim training in order to increase my confidence in the water! Being an efficient swimmer would have saved me a lot of grief from the coaches and would have being less taxing mentally.
SGPT: Any tips for up and coming athletes that want to do Kokoro?
PD: I was surprised by the number of trainees that struggled early while hiking up Mont Palomar. I guess this is where my climbing came to good use. Do not ruck on flat ground! Practice going up hill with a pack for miles!
SGPT: What kind of boots did you use for the event?
PD: 5.11 Tactical ATAC 8“ boot. The side zip saves time during transition and the draining feature allowed my feet to be dry some of the time.
SGPT: Did you use double socks/compression socks or body glide on your feet to prevent blisters?
PD: I used Injinji Liner Crew NuWool Socks under a beefier Darn Tough wool sock. I also taped my feet with Leukotape K following technique used by ultra runners. These measures did great until the pool evolution (as expected).
SGPT: What kind of ruck did you use for training and the event?
PD: I have an old Cilo Gear 40lb pack. I now consider this pack to be too heavy for climbing but it can take a beating and the shoulder straps are comfortable enough for the regular rucking.
SGPT: What book are you reading now?
PD: I just finished Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win (New Edition).
It was a great read.
I highly recommend it!
SGPT: Many thanks for the interview
PD: Always a pleasure coach.
Kokoro training tips