Racing, Burpees, and Misogi: a Three Year Update (Part One)

This past fall I traveled to the United Arab Emirates for the Inaugural Middle-Eastern Obstacle Course Championships.

I wasn’t particularly excited to be racing. Granted, there had been a time when I was really passionate about racing, back when I first stumbled upon the sport and subsequently caught the racing bug. Back then my goal was to be the best in the world at what I did, and a good deal of every day was spent either training, recovering from training, or thinking about training.

I thought about the sport constantly in those early days, but the sport did not think about me. I loved speed and trained that way, but the sport of obstacle racing was evolving toward sluggish, multi-hour mountain races. This left me with the occasional short course races and not much else. I had a brief stint with Spartan’s Pro Team and moved on. I would end up working far too much, meeting a Hungarian girl, and eventually following her to Europe.

My racing days were three years ago, ages in a sport spit-balling forward into the public’s eye as quickly as OCR. But I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a certain tickle, an itch in the back of my head. I tried to bury it and move on to new things. Still, it reemerged on an almost weekly basis.

Twice in the last three years I’ve attempted to scratch it.


The Championship took place well outside of Dubai, in the northeastern, mountainous section of the United Arab Emirates that bordered Oman. As we left Dubai behind there was no gradual transition from urban to rural. Instead, one moment we were in the awe-inspiring, meticulous city, and the next we were alone on a sand-strewn two-lane highway. To either side stretched seemingly unending dunes dotted with the occasional camel.

The novelist Wilfred Thesiger spent years wandering through this “Empty Quarter” of the desert in the 1940s. For months at a time the landless Bedouins he traveled with subsisted on nothing more than dried dates and camel milk. Dates, to me at least, seem to be about on par with sandpaper in terms of nourishment while in the throes of dehydration. And why would Thesiger, an affluent aristocrat, willfully spend extended amounts of time trying not to die out in these ever-changing sands?

Eventually British interests began to show interest in meeting with tribes, oil was found, rights were negotiated, and just like that, the massive silver city currently shrinking in our mirrors had sprung upward from the sand.


I drank strong, bitter coffee to stave off the jet lag while Halvord Borsheim, a Swedish racer based out of Dubai, slalomed his BMW SUV though sedentary early-morning traffic. His girlfriend Martha, also a racer, was co-piloting, but she was rehabbing and would be cheering instead of racing today. My brother, Brakken, had flown in from Milwaukee, and currently sat next to me, dozing.

This would be my second time racing here. I had flown out to Dubai in 2015 for the first Middle Eastern Spartan Race. It was a sprint to the finish, and I crossed the line thinking I had won. But my celebration was cut short when I saw Hallvard, medal around neck and banana in hand, waiting for me past the finish line.

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Given the brutal terrain and conditions, I was ecstatic with the 2nd-place finish. The rest of my week was spent wandering around the city in a sleep-deprived spell, jaw hanging at the sheer wonder of the place. I was new to racing, to traveling, to having giant checks handed to me, and everything felt like a dream.

Something clicked for me that during that trip. This was a thought that, simple as it was, would grow into a philosophy over the coming years. You see, I have good speed endurance (I once took a year and a half off from running, and for my very first day back, walked to a track and ran a half mile in 1:58) but my talent is not linear, and I’m actually quite average when it comes to pure aerobic, or endurance events. Had the Americans shown in 2015 I’d have taken 10th and gone home empty-handed. If the Europeans showed up I would have been lucky to take 20th. But only I had made the choice to show up, to sit on a plane for 16 hours, to race. This was the secret: talent is important in this world, but like it or not, it is finite and can only be improved so much. Circumstance, however, is entirely up to you.

This attitude began to bleed into other parts life. Identify a low-probability event, give yourself the skills to succeed in that situation were it to happen, and then finally, attempt to influence the odds of the said event occurring.

I wasn’t able to make it in 2016, but Brakken did fly out.  He took 2nd as well, but to a Russian this time, Sergei Perelygin.


It was morning, but in name only- the sun had already cleared the jagged mountains skirting the race grounds, and it was 93 degrees, well on its way to triple digits come race-time. I was thirsty by the time my warm-up was over.

Like most championships, this race would be the Beast distance, rumored to be in the 13-mile range. The first hour would consist of open desert running before moving into the mountains for the second hour. I’ve discovered that these races are typically less-obstacle intensive than US races, meaning shorter, lighter carries and crawls, but it was rumored that there were some intense carries and lengthy swimming sections in the 2nd half of the race.

I stood there at the start line, a good 15 pounds heavier than my racing days, minutes slower in the 5k, running a race 5 times longer than my ideal racing distance, wondering if I still had “it.”

But we’ll come back to “it” later. Because this story isn’t about that.

It’s really about the first time I attempted to scratch the itch, and more importantly, how I failed.


In 2016 I was invited to LA for the taping of a new TV show. The History Channel and Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, Lone Survivor) were teaming up to expose everyday people to Special Forces training; somehow I had been chosen. Probably, if I’m going to be honest, because I’m the cheaper Kraker. I think Brakken might have been out in Atlanta filming a show with NBC at the time.

Nonetheless, work had become quite stressful and I needed a break, so I put in for vacation and flew out to sunny Valencia, California. I saw a fun week in the sun, some long rucks, probably some pushups and planks, and an easy paycheck ahead of me. As you’re probably aware of by now, the History Channel did not share these sentiments; they had very, very different ideas of what the weeks would be like.


Side-note: There’s a strange moment where everything changes. Where in a split instant a person, a normal, everyday person, goes from “Average Joe” to “PUBLIC FIGURE.” What this means essentially is that people now are allowed to say awful, unfiltered things to you on social media. We’ve seen people end up in this position, so I wasn’t unaware of what was coming.

Fast forward to the Thursday night the show, called “The Selection”, aired, and sure enough, the comments and messages began to stream in. People, especially veterans, seemed peeved – no, legitimately upset by what we had volunteered to do.

We were disrespecting the Special Forces and what they stood for by ‘playing pretend.’ We were embarrassingly weak. We were actually actors – heck, we probably hung out in heated trailers between takes. We were soft.

Soft. Now that’s a critique that stuck with me, and for good reason.


A few days before the show began the 40 or so of us participants were shuttled via 12-passenger vans to a small park outside of the city. It was a beautiful, sun-drenched California day and spirits were high. We’d been cooped up in a hotel room undergoing physical and psychological panels for the past 3 days and were ready to blow off some steam.

There in the parking lot we were split into groups of 20 and sent through the basic army PT tests. The first sign that I may have bitten off more than I could chew? I couldn’t hit the sit-up standard of 60 in 2 minutes. Here I was, surrounded by some massive, impressive human specimens, starting to regret my (non-existent) fitness.

We’d been given maps and orienteering to study, knots to tie, etc, to prep us for what was to come, but I put off going over the materials. There was no point preparing – things would most likely be fine, and if not, I would figure it out as challenges arose.

The show began and I was anything but fine. I struggled with the lack of sleep, the never-ending upper-body exercises; the planks, push-ups, log-carries, and of course the constant, wet, bone-chilling cold. An hour in I made up my mind to leave the set. Luckily, my ego wouldn’t allow that, but I’d already accepted my departure as inevitable.  But it wasn’t the physical pain, the tear gas, or the running that did me in.

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I began to feel myself losing my mental edge. We were given a very specific set of instructions summing up, among other things, communication with the instructors running the exercise. Before long I’d forgotten even the most basic one: the word “Instructor.” All I could think of, for hours on end, was the word “Inspector.” I kept my head down and tried to avoid any communication with the cadres, whose names were lost to me. I began to feel vulnerable. I didn’t trust myself, were I to be blindfolded, thrown in a box, tortured, or any other number of things. Would I have a rational reaction on camera, on national TV?

I’m externally motivated. This is great for showing up and overachieving come race day, but not so good for putting in work when the competition is gone and its time for a solo training session.

So what do you do when your external motivation decides to do the opposite, and blasts your face with a hose while telling you, rather explicitly, to quit? 
In my case, I listened.

Physically I was fine, but as I tried to find motivation it became clear I was lacking a “why” for being there.

One of the participants had cancer. He’d put off undergoing brain surgery to be here. Another had only ever wanted to serve his country, and he couldn’t imagine doing anything else in life. This was his moment to shine. But why was I here?

I never figured it out, so I stuck it out for 30 hours and then was gone, just like that, whisked off the set and to the airport for a return flight to Denver.

‘You’re Soft’ I had written, matter-of-factly, in a notebook while the plane took me east toward Denver. “Oh, it’s just an aftermath of being tear-gassed,” I fibbed to the flight attendant, who had seen my red eyes and inquired if everything was alright.

I touched down late that Sunday night, Ubered home from Denver, and slept for 12 hours. That next morning I opened Reddit to catch up on the last two weeks of news.  While browsing, I stumbled across an article from Outside magazine about Kyle Korver, one of the greatest NBA’s shooters ever, and his “Misogi”- inspired training.

Misogi is a Japanese term that refers to the Shinto ritual of full body washing, or cleansing. Korver’s training group referred to it in the physical sense: A difficult, borderline impossible task that served to strip one to the core, both physically and mentally. For their first Misogi, Korver and his training buddies paddle-boarded 27-miles across open water. The next year they upped the stakes, with an underwater, boulder-weighted, 5k relay.

Grantland explains:

“Each participant would dive down, find the rock, run with it as long as he could, and drop it for the next guy to find. Those waiting their turn wore weight belts and tread in water between five and 10 feet deep.

“It took five hours. ‘We were honestly worried about blacking out,’ Korver says. They were also worried about sharks.”

What about the aforementioned wanderer, Thiseger? A quote of his comes to mind, upon leaving a desert journey behind, one in which he’d been imprisoned by the Sultan of Saudi Arabia:

“No man can live this life and emerge unchanged. He will carry, however faint, the imprint of the desert, the brand which marks the nomad; and he will have within him the yearning to return, weak or insistent according to his nature. For this cruel land can cast a spell which no temperate clime can match.”

It hit me. Like Korver and Thesiger, l had been gifted an incredible opportunity: a chance to participate in my own Misogi. But I had walked away, no – I had quit, before allowing things to get bad. In doing so, I failed to capitalize on the experience.

This wasn’t my first time walking away from something. I dropped out of college with one semester remaining. I walked away from racing as I was just beginning to win the short distance races. Maybe there was a theme here.

Sports (and this type of experience) possess a fantastic ability to simulate the highs and lows of life while in a protected environment. How do you react when things go poorly? Who are you when you forget to wear your mask? Its why we stress athletics in children – this is not just playing, but high-stress character-building in a controlled environment.

This Misogi put me to a simulated rock bottom. It was time to fix myself.


Fix Yourself: A Two-Step Process to Physical Enlightenment

Step 1: Remember, explicitly, your thought process during and immediately after the event.

I know you’ve had lows; you’re a human, after all.  What did you think at that rock-bottom point?  “I hate myself when I overeat.” “I gossip too much.”

I used to watch the open heats at Spartan Races. You’re bound to spot someone having a really, really bad time out there. You’ve seen them. Wallowing in the mud, baggy t-shirt and basketball shorts being sucked off, or sitting off to the side on their own, taking deep, ragged breaths, eyes averted from passerby. What would happen when their race was over, once they had taken a hot shower and changed into fresh clothes, I wondered.  Did they take an Instagram photo, accompanied by a big smile and flexed biceps, throw a caption on the photo like “Crushed it” or #Beastmode, and move on with their life? Or did they, from time to time, remember what had really happened out there, the vulnerability they had felt? In my case, I pretended like it didn’t exist for far too long.

Write it down, write it all down and set it in stone explicitly while you’re still in the trenches of despair.

“Pain + Reflection = Progress,” says Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio.

Time is an optimist’s best friend, and we need to get these thoughts down before we begin to rationalize our choices, the passing months softening the rough edges of memories.

So I wrote it down. “You’re Soft.”

Step 2: Get Hard

Yes, I was weak mentally. But if I had the physical tools to succeed, would I still have struggled?

And how does someone become stronger? I decided to start with the basics. Take it back to square 1 and acquaint myself with heavy, painful movements that as a life-long distance runner, I had avoided like the plague for a variety of parroted misconceptions, including:

  1. “You’ll become too muscle-bound”
      1. and
  2. “You’ll injure yourself”

Enter the Burpee.

Christian Griffith – Roster #11 From The Selection

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Christian Griffith Roster #11

Christian Griffith stopped by the day after the finale aired for History Channel’s The Selection.

He talks about how the experience has changed his life for the better. His opening up about his personal history with sexual abuse has already touched thousands if not millions of viewers. Christian hopes he can help even more with the platform the show has provided him.

Listen in to learn all about that, how he promised himself not to leave the competiton in anything other than handcuffs, and much more.
Todays Podcast is sponsored by:

Obstacle Guard –  Get it on because Monday’s a workday! 

Show Notes:

ORM’s recap of all History Channel The Selection episodes.

Roster #11 Facebook page

History Channel The Selection website

Listen using the player below or the iTunes/Stitcher links at the top of this page. 

History Channel’s – The Selection: Evolution 7 Recap

Evolution 7: Integrity and Humility

With only 2 episodes left, there are 5 remaining candidates: #2, #11, #12, #17 and #19. They start off the episode with the candidates doing more PT, and then, we are transitioned into seeing the candidates receiving medical attention for various issues. Candidate #2 has knees that have been worn raw. Candidate #19 has a blood blister (and we also learn that while he has a size 10.5 foot, he is wearing size 8 boots. WTF?), and we get to see #11’s medical issue: butt blisters. I am sure there are jokes and comments to be made on this issue, and I will leave that up to the audience.

At the same time that medical is going on, the instructors are reviewing the candidates. This is one of my favorite parts of the episode. They feel that #2 has transformed himself. They feel that #19 is not excitable. They wonder if there is something eating at #12, but they also comment on the passion of #11 and #12. They also comment that, despite his age, #11 is being carried through by his passion.

Candidate #17 is taken for an interrogation and when asked, “Why are you here,” he replies with the same answer he has given in the past and this irks the instructors. He opens up and reveals that he believes he is the weakest link on the team. He also states that he has thought about becoming a SEAL and felt that this was a good experience to prepare him for that path if he so chooses. He also mentioned that he was bullied growing up because of his small stature. The instructors tell him that he needs to step up if he is going to make it to the end.

We finally come to the episode’s evolution: INTEGRITY. Basically, the candidates are going to run a 2.1-mile course with 6 PT stations. At each station, they are to do 50 reps of a predetermined exercise.

  1. Squats with ammo cans
  2. Shoulder presses with ammo cans
  3. Push-ups
  4. Burpees
  5. Jumping Jacks
  6. Return the ammo cans to the pits and then run to the top of Flag hill and back.

What they aren’t aware of is that they will be filmed at each station and that the instructors are looking for integrity violations – candidates who says they did all the required exercises but really did not. It is during this segment that instructor Ray Care says something that resonates with may of us who do OCR’s, GORUCK‘s, marathon’s etc.: “People want to get dropped off at the top of the hill and look down.” We have all heard of how others want things handed to them without working for it, but instructor Care said it best. Plain and simple, if you want to make it to the top, you are going to have to climb it. Good words to live by.

The candidates seem to finish the evolution with no issues and are seen relaxing for a while before they are back in the classroom. It is here that # 17 is asked to stand and read from the board: what is the meaning of integrity? The class is asked why it thinks the instructor has asked #17 to read the meaning of integrity aloud. Yes, it appears that someone has broken the integrity rule. Someone did not do the required 50 burpees at station #4.

When asked who might not have done all the burpees, at first no one replies, but then, #17 stands up and states that he may not have completed all 50. He stated that he was overheated and may have missed a couple. This does not set well with the Instructor who states that #11 was overheated as well and did all 50 of his burpees. He gave kudos to #11 for doing it all despite his age and the heat.

As they finish up in the classroom, you can see that #17 is upset at himself for his infraction. The team is very supportive of him and #11 can be heard saying, “Everything is a learning experience.”

Candidate #17 later has a one on one with Instructor Care who asks, “Why did you not complete the 2 burpees?” He really could not provide a good answer. He is disappointed in himself and feels that he should quit. The instructor tells him not to quit (I was a bit surprised, but then thinking back, again we learn from out mistakes. He admitted he made a mistake and was willing to accept his punishment), but he is told that he owes the instructor 50 burpees and that he will have to pay his debt later. The instructor believes he has integrity and #17 is seen leaving to go apologize to his teammates for his failure. Like a good strong team, they are very supportive of #17 and forgive him.

The instructor then calls out #17 to “pay back” his 50 burpees, and we see the whole team come out to do burpees as a team. This is what teamwork is all about and what the instructors strive to instill in the candidates. You win as a team and you lose as a team. When all is said and done, the instructor and #17 are all squared.

In reflecting back on this episode, there seemed to be a lot of “down time” for the candidates. Was it time for reflection on their part or part of some mental game being played on the part of the instructors?  Making the candidates wonder when the other shoe drops? As the evolution ends, we see instructors interviewing the candidates; #2 is emotionally weak and thinking of quitting; #11, when asked about his role in the group, states that he thinks he is a leader  and is able to share his life experiences with the team; #12 still feels that he has to prove himself to his dad who has never told him how proud he is of him; and we close with #19 when asked what one thing he has learned from his experience so far he replies, “Humility.”

Next week’s episode appears to be the culmination of everything the candidates have been taught and experienced during the past 7 episodes. In the previews, we see what appears to be the return of the box, and based on the comments made by the instructors in the preview, does anyone make it through? Looking forward to seeing the final episode.

Read recaps of previous episodes here:

Watch the episodes here.
All photos courtesy of A&E Television Networks  ©2016 A&E Televisions Networks

History Channel’s -The Selection: Evolution 4 Recap

Evolution 4: Weeding out the Weak

When I saw the preview for episode 4 I knew this was going to be a tough one for the candidates. 14 candidates remain as we start episode 4, mid-season for the 8 part series. By now they have proven that they are physically able to move on, but are they mentally capable of moving farther into the show?

At the start of the episode they are taught some basic concealment skills for tonight’s evolution. Basically they are given 4 hours to create a place of concealment in the hopes that the instructors do not find them. They are divided into 4 teams;

  • Team 1 – Candidates 12,19,28
  • Team 2 – Candidates 3,14,15,17
  • Team 3 – Candidates 6,11,20,27
  • Team 4 – Candidates 2,7,22

The Selection - search

At 0200 of day 5 the search begins for the teams. The instructors have 3 hours to find them. After about 90 minutes, Team 3 is the first team found, followed by team 1 and team 2. Team 4 manages to stay concealed until 3 minutes remain. And that was only because the instructor walked on the head of one of the candidates. Very good job of concealment on their part.

The candidates are then handcuffed with zip-ties and have a blackout goggle placed on their heads preventing them for seeing anything, It is at this point during the instructor recap that they state that they think # 20 will be the first to break as the move into what can best be described as the “torture” segment.

The Selection - Praying

The candidates are brought as a group into a “resistance lab” where they are subjected to a number of different types of “torture.” This is where the “psych ops” begin on the candidates. They are subjected to being placed in a small box for long periods of time, having ice cold water poured over them, subject to “repetitive noises” (such as a crying baby), being moved into uncomfortable positions and being told to hold that position, and as #11 experienced, having electric sparks fly near your head. All of this going on while being “blind” , your hands are tied by zip-ties and the candidates are starting to feel the effects of sleep and food deprivation. This is also where the candidates start to drop, beginning with #20 (as predicted by the instructors) followed by #27 and #22. While they are physically able to do what is expected, they just don’t have the mental strength to go on.

The Selection - In The Box

Nine hours into the lab # 28 quits leaving 9 candidates. Into the 10th hour we lose another candidate leaving us with 8 remaining candidates remaining; candidates # 2, 3, 6, 11, 12, 15, 17 & 19. By this time they been in the “resistance lab” for 11 hours, and have gone 36 hours with no sleep. If you have ever gone without sleep, you know that one becomes irritable and unable to think clearly. And not having a sense of time (or sight) adds to the difficulty of the evolution.

They are finally freed from the handcuff and have the goggles removed by the instructors. They have completed this evolution. The instructors give them praise for completing this grueling segment and are told to eat and rest because as one instructor stated, “Now that we have cut the weak, we need to start cutting the strong.”

So we have 8 remaining candidates at the halfway point. Interesting to note that according to the shows beginning screenshots 80% of candidates fail special ops training. Based on that figure, we could expect to see 6 candidates to complete the show. With only 2 candidates needing to drop to make that percentage, and only half way through the 8 episodes, one can’t help but wonder if more than 80% will fail. Only time will tell.

Of the remaining 8 candidates, 4 of them come from OCR backgrounds; #6, #11, #12 and #19 . Way to rep the sport guys. And for you GORUCK fans, we have 6 GRT’s still in the running; #2, #3, #6, #11, #15 & #17

Read recaps of other episodes here:

Watch the episodes here.

All photos courtesy of A&E Television Networks  ©2016 A&E Televisions Networks

Ryan Kent

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Episode 215 – Today’s show is a conversation with Ryan Kent. Matt and Ryan dig in and discuss what Ryan has been up to since their last chat back in early 2015 including:

  • What he can tell us (so far) about History Channel’s The Selection.
  • Ending 2016 strong
  • His experience on the Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge
  • What his goals are for 2017

Todays Podcast is sponsored by:

MudGear – Order now for free shipping in the United States on all products.

Show Notes:

Running Bear with lyrics (Now you know the words!)

A clip from Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge of Ryan and his team.

The Selection Cast Bios

Listen using the player below or the iTunes/Stitcher links at the top of this page. 

History Channel’s -The Selection: Evolution’s 2 and 3 Recap

Ok boys and girls. A lot has happened since the first episode. We will get to the recaps of episodes 2 and 3 in a moment.

Being an Obstacle Race media site, we of course want to highlight OCR athletes when talking about an event. In my first review I pointed out folks that were OCR racers based on those my editor and myself knew were involved with the sport. The History Channel bios for the candidates don’t always mention OCR/GORUCK affiliations. so we may have missed a couple of folks. Just want to give a shout-out to a couple more candidates from those worlds:

  • # 6 – Dylan Davis
  • # 14 – Johnny Larios

Good luck guys. Now let’s look back to our regularly scheduled review.

Evolution 2 : Hell & High Water

Good Morning Candidates!!! Anyone that has gone through military basic training can relate to the awakening that was given the remaining 25 candidates. The look on the faces of the candidates is priceless. WTF in a major way. It was also during this sequence that we heard one of the instructors refer to candidate #30 as “Time Short.” While this was happening 2 of the candidates dropped leaving 23 as the day begins.

The Selection - WAKE UP

During the first candidate review by the instructors of the episode we learn that candidates #11’s age is 45 years old and that he is the oldest candidate. They also picked a new team leader for the day, during this segment tagging #23 for the job.

During the breakfast consisting of MRE’s, candidate #18 drops because of health issues. We also lost candidate #29 when they were being loaded up for the next evolution I refer to as “BUDS” leaving 21 candidates remaining.

At the beach, this is when the “Hell and High water” happens. Candidate # 23 is made the team leader. It was during this segment of the episode that we saw the loss of an early fan (and instructor) favorite #30. The swim to the buoy just was not in the plans for him. He gave 110% of himself but sometimes that is just not enough.

The Selection - #30 Drops

It was also during this segment that I had a letdown in regards to the reality of the show. During the buoy swim, some candidates were allowed to use flotations devices. I understand the safety aspect but it only adds fuel to the fire in regards to those that say it is not realistic.  I know that all the candidates had to pass a basic military PT test to even be considered, so why was a swim test not given if it was going to be part of the show?

The audience also saw candidate #11 take more of a leadership role. After the swim he could be seen trying to get other to overcome the cold. When all was said and done, 19 candidates remain.

The candidates end the episode with Zodiac Boat Drills. They may look light but they are a bitch to carry any distance. It was in this segment that #11 is made the class leader. During this segment we saw 4 more candidates drop, the sisters; #8 and #9, #23 and we see the first med drop of the show, #4.

By the time this episodes ends 10 candidates have dropped. A pleasant day at the beach was not in the works for many.

zodiac-night

Evolution 3: Man in the Arena

There are 15 candidates remaining at this point and this is where it becomes more of a mental game for the candidates.

Candidate #11 is still the team lead when the group has their first barracks Inspection and it is not pretty. It was also during this segment that #11 gets reamed for calling the instructors “Inspectors.” He did this first in episode # 2. Because the instructors are starting to play more mental games, #11 seemed to be challenged a bit more than the other class leaders. But at this point it is to expected. As a team leader #11 did not follow-up through with his team to make sure things are done. Also during this time #11 was asked who he felt were the weakest candidates and he picked 2 females, #27 and #3. Will this come back to bite him? Or create dissention among the team?

The Selection - Inspection 2

Since this episode entailed a lot of walking, #20, whose toenail came off during episode 2, was questioned about his ability to continue. He sticks with it and moves forward. Also at this point #11 is replaced by #19 as the team leader.

The rucking aspect is comprised of 40lbs in their bags as well as their normal gear. The instructors also expect them to maintain a 12-14 min mile pace. While this sounds doable, jogging/walking with a backpack with that much weight is hard on both the back and the legs for those not used to it. It is during this evolution the team is to perform a Downed Pilot Drill. Basically create a litter with the materials given to them and transport a 200lb duffel bag (representing the downed pilot) back to the team pit. Multiple ideas were being thrown out by the candidates on the best way to do this causing confusion and potentially causing a time hack penalty in which one of the candidates would be tagged as a causality and would also have to be carried back to the pit. They finally got things moving with no time left. For those that have done a GORUCK event, you can probably relate to what was going on. This is something many GORUCK participants have experienced during tough’s and heavy’s. Along the return route there were issues and one of the candidates was tagged as a causality. It was also during this time #2 replaced #19 as class leader. We learn that candidate # 2 is a firefighter and he was better able to organize the team during this evolution and was able to complete it with only 2 casualties.

The Selection -Downed Pilot

There were a number of interrogations during this episode. It was during his interrogation that #19 admitted his faults during the evolution. He was also asked who he felt were the strongest candidates remaining and he choose  #11 and #12 and had high praise for #11’s mental fortitude.

The PT also gets a bit more challenging as the team is subjected to “sit-up” hell. Over 1000 done!! Kudo’s to completing that PT.

The Selection - 1000 situps

In the closing moments of the show the interrogation of #11 took place. Candidate #11 has become a fan and instructor favorite so it was interesting to hear of his reasons for being there. This was an emotional segment for #11 .We also learned that they were required to memorize a creed for the show and #11 repeated it (This is where the title of episode comes from.)

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”Excerpt from the speech “Citizenship In A Republic”  delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910 (Source: http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/trsorbonnespeech.html)

The Selection - Number 11

Only 1 drop during this episode, smallest amount to date. While some may say this evolution was too easy so drop rate was low, I tend to believe that the 15 candidates that started the episode were more prepared mentally and physically for what awaited them.

The show enters episode 4 with 14 candidates left. While there are still a couple that I am surprised are still remaining, I am impressed by those that are. As I mentioned in regards to the “floaties” used in episode 2 this took something away in regards to the realism, but for the most part they are being pushed. I reached out to a couple of people that I knew that had gone through Special Ops training and they generally had positive things to say about the show. Again they, like me, realize it is a TV show and that the reality of it may not be as authentic as some viewers would like.

By now many viewers have picked a favorite candidate. Would love to know who yours is. Reply in the comments and let me know.

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All photos courtesy of A&E Television Networks  ©2016 A&E Televisions Networks