My Number One Tip For Special Operations Selection
It was the hottest summer on record for over a decade and there we were, about to kick off the hardest test any of us had faced in our lives to date.
Just my fucking luck as well, the tests in front of me were hard enough on a cool day let alone on a blistering summers day.
As day 1 kicked off I knew in the back of my mind that this was a marathon and not a sprint.
Men much fitter than I had come and failed due to the fact they didn't know how to pace themselves.
I was not going to make the same mistake.....or was I.
I couldn't help myself, I started off slow and with restraint but the competitive side of me kicked into life.
As we grabbed out packs (rucksacks) and kicked off the next test I found myself out front with an old colleague of mine, we had both came from the infantry battalion and served in Afghanistan on the same rotation.
After 10 minutes I took a look behind me to notice the next person and the majority of the pack were far behind us.
Quickly I knew that it was not that they were going too slow but the fact we were going to fast.
I could feel the heat beating down on me and it starting to take effect, I wanted to catch up to the brother ahead of me to tell him to slow down but he was too far gone.
I slowed down considerably but still came in within the top 10%, I knew I had given too much.
One challenge ended and the next began.
This time it was a run in patrol order over a course that has more up hills than down hills.
The late afternoon sun now beating down upon us, sapping the energy and water from our bodies.
Already by this point many men had quit on themselves and their dreams, the numbers were already dwindling.
As the next event kicked off again I couldn't help but start fast and I was once again in the top 10%.
Quickly the pack thinned out and the heat began to claim its victims.
As I passed the half way mark I latched onto a guy who had already done the course before and knew the course well.
Just as well.....
As we got to the end of the course (unknown to me at the time) my vision started to go blurry and I felt shivers through my body, I was going down.
I had drunk all my water, not a drop was left in my bottle.
Reluctantly I had to ask the guy next to me if he had any, thank the lord he had a whole bottle.
"Yeah bro, drink what you need and poor the rest on your head" was his response.
A few moments later as we ran around the corner the finish line was in sight.
As I crossed the finish line I glanced at the operator who had been running with us and beat us all to the finish, he looked hot and just as cooked as we did.
This is how I knew the heat was not just my imagination.
I was gripped up by the instructors as we waited for the rest of the candidates to come in.
They trickled in slowly but surely, for some of them though time was running out.
Go over time and that's it, thanks for coming, come back next year.
During this time I reflected on the day and how stupid I was to go out as hard as I did.
I was the fittest I had been, I was prepared, I was confident, yet here I am on day one in the absolute hurt locker.
We watched as the remainder of the guys trickling in were pushed off to the side, their journey was over.
They all walked over to a near by stream and jumped in to cool off from the searing heat torture we were experiencing, I wanted to jump in the stream so bad.
Relief from the heat meant a failed a dream so the relief would have to wait.
We had one more event left for the day, it was a swimming event. We were warned that as we jumped in the water it was likely that we would cramp up.
Right on cue as I began my swim my legs were trying to retract, severe cramp attacking both my legs.
I managed to fight through the cramp and got the event completed.
That was day 1 in the bag, as I sat there, exhausted, tired and hungry I contemplated what I would've done different.
It was easy, I started off treating everything as a sprint when in fact selection is a marathon.
It requires the best of you, it requires you to give it all you've got, but if you try to give it all at once you will not be there at the end.
If you have the courage to go for special operations selection that is my advice for you to heed.
It is not always the fittest and fastest who succeed, as they run a sprinters race during a marathon.
Train hard, train smart and execute wittingly.
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