Friday, May 6, 2011

A Strong Mind Conquers a Strong Body

David Goggins is one tough, tough man.  He is a Navy Seal who has served in Afghanistan.  After hearing that several of his friends had died there, he dedicated himself to raising money for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, a charity that raises money to fully pay for the college education for the children of fallen soldiers.

"He dedicated himself."  You hear that kind of thing often.  For most of us, it means about as much as most of the rest of the things that we do; you know, half-assed and half-cocked.  For Goggins, he chose to go a different route than having a bake sale or car wash.  After running an internet search for the "10 hardest events in the world," Goggins decided on the Badwater Ultra Marathon.  This course is an absolutely grueling and debilitating 135 miles in the desert heat of Death Valley.  Temperatures rise to 130 degrees in the summer, which is when of course the race is held.

After getting in touch with the race promoter, Goggins, who then weighed 280 pounds and had never even ran a regular marathon, was told that he would have to qualify.  Goggins accepted this and signed up for a 100 mile race 4 days later.  At mile 70, Goggins stopped for a break and found that he was pissing blood from kidney failure.  He started walking at what he estimated to be a 40 minute mile pace.  As he had to finish the 100 miles in less than 24 hours, he knew that he would not qualify based on that current speed, so somehow, despite his kidney's failing and despite the fact that he had broken all of the small bones in his feet, Goggins started running again.  He finished in just over 19 hours, qualifying for Badwater.  After losing 30% of his bodyweight in the next 3 months, Goggins came out of nowhere to finish 5th in his first Badwater Ultra Marathon.  He has since gone on to win the race.
David Goggins hates to run.  He absolutely hates it.  Not in the way that a lot of runners "hate it but like the runner's high" type of attitude, but honestly and truly detests every part of it.  For Goggins, doing the thing he hated to do was his way to grow as a person and to strengthen his soul.  He does not take days off.  He sleeps a little less than 4 hours a night, waking at 3:30am to run 15-20 miles before his full-time duties in the military begin.  As my friend Eric likes to say, "he embraces the suck."  This is one baaaaddd man.

His now-defunct blog is called "Show No Weakness."  I would highly recommend a thorough dive into the archives.  This is one intense dude, and his attitude and beliefs are not for everyone.  Hell, they are barely for anyone, as you can see in the comment section of many of his posts.  People ask him why do something he hates, why deal with so much pain and discomfort, and why not just stop and smell the roses now and again.  Goggins stops and smells the roses differently than other people.  For him, he is living by doing, by challenging, by persevering, and by constantly winning the personal battle against himself.

None of us will come close to matching his will, his discipline or his determination, but we can all take something away from his example.  Our limits are far, far beyond whatever we have fooled ourselves into believing, and if we let it, our mind will carry our body when our limbs are too weak.

If nothing else, watch this video:


Salman said...


K. Syrah said...

You post shit like this just to make me feel bad, don't you?

BARNES said...

This is heavily badass.
But when you know about his military accomplishments it gets even more absurd.

He was special forces in the Airforce. Got out and tried to get into pro-football. He gave it two years, it wasn't happening and he hit his deadline so he enlisted in the Navy on a SEAL contract. He lost about 40 pounds to get ready for BUD/S. During BUD/s he went through the famed and notorious HELL WEEK 3 times. The third time was apparently on his request.

Later, he went on the Go to and graduate from Army Ranger School.

He does all this training while still working fulltime as an instructor at BUD/S and untill recently, didn't know that he had a heart condition that should have kept him out of SpecOps and SURELY out of distance running.

Currently, scientists at the Olympic training center want to conduct studies on him to find out how all this was physically possible. Seriously.

He is a machine. Forged in pain and suffering.

Anonymous said...

THE definition of a badass. Pissing blood, broken bones and kidney failure? If that isn't steel grit and uncompromising determination, I don't know what is. Makes me want to sign up for one of those crazy 50mi ultramarathons that Lindsay does!

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