These training sessions are dedicated to Navy SEAL Petty Officer Steven Voigt, SEAL Team EIGHT, who lost his life in 1996. Today’s training session was another night paddle of 6 miles with a time of 1 hour 15 minutes. This paddle was supposed to be a baseline time trial but the weather and tide make the time questionable as a baseline. Winds were not as bad as the previously training session but it was rainy and cold. I was so miserable that if JAWS had come after me for a night snack he would have gotten a surprise. I would have gone after him and bit him for messing with me. Yesterday’s training session consisted of a 3 mile walk, various incline levels, with a 35 lb weight and weight lifting session 1 – 12*10*8 reps – 30 sec rest. Spent the past couple of days plotting the course from Tampa Bay to Ft Myers. Experience has taught me that you always want another pair of eyes to look over your course. That other pair of eyes will be one of my neighbors. What is great is that he has a lot more experience in most of the waters I will be going through than I do. For most of tonight’s workout I was miserable. For Navy SEAL Petty Officer Steven Voigt’s family, that included a son, misery started when he was no longer there for them. A donation to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation will help provide a college education to his kid. Please consider a donation to reduce the challenge the Voigt’s family has been given.
This training session is dedicated to Army Master Sgt. Phillip Trobaugh, 10th Special Forces Group who lost his life in 1994. This training session was a night paddle and Tampa Bay was grumpy. Rain, wind, waves, and enough moonlight to confirm that those white caps I was seeing were not figments of my imagination. Exciting to say the least. Paddled a strength paddle covering 5 miles in 1 hour and 1 minutes. This was a double workout day so in the morning ran 3.45 miles – 33 minutes and did a TRX routine 1 – 5 week schedule workout. Tough workout day. For Army Master Sgt. Phillip Trobaugh’s family, that included a son and two daughters, tough was when he was no longer there for them. A donation to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation will help provide a college education to his kids. Please consider a donation to reduce the challenge the Trobaugh’s family has been given. http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/billwhale/ufc2012
Someone asked me about the ball cap I have on. For those that watch the show “Deadliest Catch ” you will recognize the symbol and ship name TIME BANDIT. I enjoy the show and the TIME BANDIT is my favorite crab boat. The boat is a nice boat but the crew is what really makes it pretty interesting. The hat itself is a not your normal ball cap. It is a Goretex hat, very warm, water-resistant on the outside, and it has a fold down flap to cover my ears. What I like the most about it is the saying on the back. That saying should be the start chant for any Watertribe event.
This long paddle is dedicated to Army Master Sgt. George A. Fernandez, HHC USASOC, who lost his life in Iraq in 2003. This paddle was a 14.6 mile paddle completed in 3 hours and 30 minutes. The track I took can be seen on (Find me on SPOT ) on the blog. The wind was out of the NE 10-15 knots which made for a tough paddle. Master Sgt Fernandez left behind a family that included a wife, a daughter and a son. A donation to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation will help provide a college education to his two kids.
Today’s training session and discussion on mental toughness is dedicated to Navy SEAL Senior Chief Petty Officer Theodore Fitzhenry, who was assigned to SEAL Team Five and lost his life on 2004. In my post “In Honor of Army Sgt. First Class David Metzger”, I talked about mental toughness. In that post I stated that there were fours areas of mental toughness I am attempting to address in my training. I do want to state that I am not a psychologist and the thoughts I am sharing are strictly from my prospective. Dr. Nick Hall http://www.brnickhall.com has probably done the most work in studying the mental side of Watertibers http://www.watertribe.com . The four areas of mental toughness that I have targeted are: (1) Fear/Fears management, (2) Pain management, (3) Decision making while fatigue and (4) Resiliency. In this post I am to only address (1) Fear management. In the races that I have done there was not a lot of talk about the fears each person had to overcome. Only in casual conversation and not in a group did a fear slip out. For one person it was sharks, for another it was lightning, for another it was a creepy camp spot, for another it was drowning, and the list goes on. My take on all this is that each and every person has some kind of fear or fears that they have to deal with in doing one of these races. My fear is that I am going to make a bad decisions, get myself into a big time pickle, and I will not be able to get myself out of it. In my first Everglades Challenge (EC) I did it with a guy who goes by the tribe name GitUrDun and I felt no fear whatsoever. It was one big fun adventure. Why did I have this attitude? GitUrDun is a very tough individual, is a great athlete and we have a long history together. He is one of those special people who the more he is hurting, the quieter, the stronger and the tougher he gets. He has done numerous marathons, long distance bikes rides, several Ironman triathlons and was an Army Green Beret who was the top graduate at jump school. So in the 2007 EC I felt that whatever trouble we got into, the two of us together would figure a way out of it. One of those “take it to the bank ” feelings. So imagine my surprise at the finish line of the 2007 EC, where I am already thinking about the two of us doing the 2008 EC and getting a faster time, and GitUrDun turns to me and say ” I will never paddle that again ! “. He was dead serious about it too. He wrote a story about the race and would re-read the story to remind himself of it anytime I ask him about doing the race. He even sold his kayak to put an exclamation mark on his position. So at the start line of the 2011 EC , without GitUrDun at my side, I found myself dealing with a big rush of fear. Will I make the right decisions and if I do get myself in trouble, will I be able to get myself out of trouble ? It was all on me. Well the record book shows that I did finish the 2011 EC. I feel my decision-making was pretty good. I did deal with some hairy situations that I was able to work through by myself. But, as I think with most fears, it is one that I know lurks way back in my brain, ready to pounce on me at my weakest moment. My training approach to manage this is to raise this fear up, feel it as much as possible, and to work on reducing as many fear triggers as possible. By fear triggers I am talking about performing rescue drills until I have them cold, thinking through my plans for different emergencies, going over charts until I can almost draw them from memory, and having good safety gear that I am very familiar with. Now how about the approach of working at raising and feeling the fear. Somewhere in my military career I saw a definition of courage that went something like this. ” Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the ability to feel the fear and overcome it.” With that in mind I am taking the approach that the best way to learn to overcome it is to feel it and deal with it. To accomplish this I do a lot of training by myself and I try to train in bad conditions. If it is night-time and the wind is blowing that is a good time to train. If the wind is blowing, it is cold and the seas are confused, that is a good time to train. Find a river that flows for miles through no man’s land and that is a great place to train. Especially if the water level is low and the local knowledge is not that accurate. The other thing that I try to do is to think about how others have overcome their fears while doing these events. I think about one Watertriber who has completed two Everglades Challenges and he is missing both his legs. Talk about courage. I think about him and feel pretty wimpy letting my fear bother me. Shoot I have two good legs to help me get out of a bad situation. Watertribers kind of ask for the opportunity to deal with their fears, but for Navy SEAL Senior Chief Petty Officer Theodore Fitzhenry’s family, that included a daughter Lauren, they didn’t ask for the fears that came when he lost his life. Please consider a donation to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation to help reduce the fears of the future for the families of our Special Operations Warriors. http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/billwhale/ufc2012
Training Session : Ran 3.7 miles – 33 minutes / TRX- Routine 2 – 5 /6 Week Schedule. I will talk more about how I am training for the other three areas of mental toughness in future post.
This Thanksgiving training session is dedicated to Army Sgt First Class Daniel Crabtree, 19th Special Forces Group who lost his life in 2006. This training session included a 4.5 mile interval workout. Interval workouts are not my most favorite workouts. They hurt, they are hard and they are just plan not fun. This workout was a pyramid with 3 – 90 strokes piece, 2 – 180 strokes piece, 1 -270 stroke piece, 2 – 180 strokes piece, 3 – 90 strokes piece. I did use the GoPro Hero camera to look at my form during the training. I have attached a part of that video so you can see what all this little camera picks up. Really is pretty amazing. The jury is still out on getting audio and I am still working with that. For Army Sgt. First Daniel Crabtree’s family, that included a daughter named Mallory, hardness didn’t come with an interval workout but with the loss of a husband and father. A donation to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation will help provide a college education to Mallory. Please consider a donation to reduce the challenge the Crabtree’s family has been given. http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/billwhale/ufc2012
This training session is dedicated to Army Sgt First Class David Metzger 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) who lost his life in 2009. This training session included a 3.5 mile hike with a 35lb weight – 1 hour in duration. It was late in 2004 that I first heard of the Watertribe. I decided to enter the 2005 Ultra Marathon (67 mile) race to get a feel for what these expedition kayak/canoe races were all about. The Ultra Marathon is held at the same time as the Everglades Challenge. In fact the finish line for the Ultra Marathon is the first checkpoint for the Everglades Challenge. Driving over to the start I figured most of the race contestants would be in their early to late thirties, all male ( hey you know you need lots of testosterone to do something so dangers), with mostly military backgrounds , (the major in special operations), a few adventure racers and triathletes. As I walked the starting line that early morning I was shocked to find that my initial thoughts were not even close to the reality of the contestants I encountered. Several years have now passed with more folks entering these races. Yet, today when you walk the starting line you will observe some of the same traits that I observe years ago. Instead of most of the contestants being in their early to late thirties you will see an age span from the early twenties, there was one year where a young teenager did the event, to very very mature 60-70 years of age ( not going to say old because I am not a spring chicken myself). Instead of seeing an all male field you will see several females who are the most pleasant, gracious, I will severely kick you rear end and smile while doing it, females you will ever come across. Instead of mostly military special operations backgrounds you will find a very broad background of folks. From professional to blue-collar, from still working to retired, from corporate to non-profit, to self-employed, and counter to the believe by non Watertribers that the contestant are just not right in the head, an extremely bright group with several having upper level college graduate degrees. Thus the question “What is the common trait of Watertribes that allows them to not only complete an extremely challenging event but want to come back for more ?”. When I was much younger and actively competing in triathlons I learned that you cannot judge someone’s physical abilities by the outside. I completed too many races where I finished looking at the back of someone I had judge as an extreme couch potato who most likely would not finish the swim leg. From my prospective, you do have to have a good physical conditioning base to finish one of these events, but that is not the most critical element. The most critical element is something that is not something you can detect by looking at someone physical statue, or their age, or their profession, or a their sex. I believe that we all are blessed with different levels of mental toughness as we are all blessed with different levels of physical abilities. I also believe that as we can increase our physical abilities through training we can also increase our mental toughness through training. So how am I increasing my mental toughness? From my prospective there are four components of mental toughness that I am attempting to increase in preparation for the UFC. I plan on exploring these in a future post. Watertribers test their mental toughness by attempting to completed one of the many endurance races in the country. For others they don’t have to sign up for a race to have their mental toughness tested. For Army Sgt. First Class Metzger’s family that included a son named Grant, that test came in the fact that he was no longer there for them. A donation to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation will help provide a college education to Grant. Please consider a donation to reduce the challenge the Metzger’s family has been given. http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/billwhale/ufc2012
This training session is dedicated to Capt. Derek Argel, Air Force Combat Control Officer who was killed in Iraq on Memorial Day 2005 . This training session included biking 10.4 miles – 33 minutes -Intervals (HR 125 – 140 ) and lifting weights – 12 * 10 * 8 – 30 sec rest. Evening training session was the 2nd Night Paddle – 5 miles – 60 minutes – strength paddle. I ran over something big so there is one sea creature with a headache tonight. Needless to say the fiberglass Twinkie with me as the soft inside survive another night. When Capt. Argel lost his life he left behind a family that included a son. A donation to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation will help provide a college education to his kids. Please consider a donation. http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/billwhale/ufc2012
This training session is dedicated to Capt. Garrett Lawton, 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, who lost his life in Afghanistan in 2008. This training session included running 3.45 miles 33 minutes (HR 120 – 130 ) and TRX1 – 5/6 week routine – 30 sec rest. Have increased the speed of the run and decrease the rest interval during the sets of the TRX. When Capt. Lawton lost his life he left behind a family that included a son. A donation to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation will help provide a college education to his kids. Please consider a donation. http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/billwhale/ufc2012
These training sessions were dedicated to Air Force Staff Sgt Timothy Davis who was assigned to 23rd Special Tactics Squadron and lost his life in 2009.
Nov 18 – This training session consisted of Biking 10.4 miles – 33 minutes -(HR 120 – 130 ) and Lift Schedule 2 – Rep 12*10*8 – 45 sec rest.
Nov 19 – This training session consisted of a 3.5 hour long distance slow paddle (HR 80-100). I had four goals for this session: (1) Continue building endurance, (2) Try out some modifications to my fueling protocol, (3) Get some open water paddling time in and (4) Practice doing videos. Goal (1)- Finished the 3.5 hour paddle in good shape and covered 13.8 miles. Half of this paddle was against the tide and the wind which varied from 5-15 knots. The waves were really not that bad since the winds were out of the NE and I was closer to the eastern shore of Tampa Bay. Goal (2)- My stomach and my energy levels seemed to do ok with the fueling protocol change I tried. I am trying to address the taste fatigue problems I experience in the two Everglades Challenges. I am not going to mention any negatives I might experience with any of the energy fuels. I feel this is unfair to those brands. A fueling protocol that works is so dependent on each person’s body chemistry. What works for one doesn’t work for another. Goal (3) I did get some good open water time in this workout. Paddling in open water can be very boring or very scary. It takes some mental toughness to keep from letting the open water get under your skin. My prospective is that only time making friends with open water, the deeper the better, will get you over those big bad sea monsters that supposedly live in the deep big water, and the big waves whose sole purpose is to flip you. Goal (4) Did practice taking some videos with a new camera. I don’t think it would be a good idea for me to quite my day job to become a video guy. Lots to learn on this front.
When Staff Sgt Davis lost his life he left behind a family that included a son. A donation to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation will help provide a college education to his son. Please consider a donation. http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/billwhale/ufc2012