Navy SEAL PT Lesson 1: There’s No Such Thing As ‘Fashionably Late’

20 Jun

I knew it was going to be tough — but today was worse than I had ever imagined. Never in my life have I ever experienced the sheer shock, terror and dread which I faced this morning at 5:06.

This pre-dawn file photo shows participants in the Navy SEAL PT Course. (Photo:

   {Navy SEAL PT Lesson 1: There’s No Such Thing As ‘Fashionably Late’}

More than 20 participants met at 4:45AM, and then ran in formation to rendezvous with Navy SEAL PT Course Instructor Jack Walston at 5AM in Central Park. I was not among them. The terror I faced at 5:06AM was looking at my clock in disbelief.

My first alarm went off at 3:45AM to which I responded by rolling on to my side and taking a couple deep breaths as I began stretching my quad, then I stretched my back and then rolled to stretch my other quadricep. The process was seamless and as my eyes began to focus on the clock to see if my second alarm would be going off momentarily, I gasped in disbelief.

CLICK to DONATE: Robin is raising $16,500 for Cooking With The Troops. Just $30 will go a long way in helping troops deal with injuries in a positive way!

From that moment I went into a tailspin of my worst nightmare in slow motion. My “Debbie Downer” thought was: I just missed my PT course.

My “Moxie Molly” thought countered: Like hell you did. Will you perform or fail today? You choose. If you just accept this, that’s a fail.

But if you get to the park, run the probable path they took, find them, ask to be allowed to do PT, then accept whatever is going to come your way. And, if you don’t find them, do your own kiss-ass workout. Regardless of the outcome, that will be performing.

The CNN digital clock lording over Columbus Circle clicked over to 5:31AM as I entered the park. My adrenaline was working over time — never had I ever wished to accept the psychological and physical consequences of being held accountable for not keeping my word.

Would it be bear crawls? Push-ups? Crazy bobs? Would the whole squad have to do it with me, or would I be relegated to my reps while they continued on with the PT.

There in the early dawn glow, a column of figures appeared. I was prepared to face it, relieved in truth that I found them because at least Instructor Walston would know an attempt was made — the question remained, would he allow me to do PT.

I came to the edge of the group and took a couple of strides towards the front of the column where Instructor Walston was giving commands. But, PT Course veteran Walter stopped me and motioned me to fall in next to him.

Walter knows the PT Course protocol, but I don’t know that anyone has ever showed up late, so how could there be a protocol for that?

Instructor Walston took note, addressed me and carried on with beginning a PT evaluation. I didn’t dare breathe a sigh of relief — the course is built on catching you off guard, mentally, and then pushing you physically even further at that point. It’s a double whammy effect on a person.

My numbers were not so hot — or at least not what I wanted to see myself produce. I did 22 standard push-ups and 15 modified push-ups in two minutes, 44 sit-ups in one minute (the kind where you bring your chest all the way up to your peaked knees), and a 4:20 timed run for a distance of approximately 1/2 mile.

Just to be clear, this set of measured fitness exercises were interspersed between other fun things like low crawling back and forth through two beach volleyball courts, bear crawling through the courts and other crazy nonsense that my mind has blocked out now.

Just some of the sand I came home with that yet remained exfoliating my skin within my clothes!

I finished the day sweaty, sandy and shaky — questioning my own ambitious goals. I realized how out of shape I am. I faced a queasy stomach that showed signs of breaking my record of never vomiting during any athletic training season or competition from high school through college.

Could I really do this and in the way it’s meant to be done? I don’t want to survive this course, I want to really perform.

It’s quite clear that there is no room for feelings in this course or counting on being inspired to carry me through Day 2, let alone making it to graduation at the end of Day 5.

I can’t think. I just have to do. And being in my head is not an option. So my thoughts that Instructor Walston is going to single me out tomorrow — with the purpose of making it a clear example that starting PT whenever “I” happen to make it there is not an option — I am going to respectful decline to entertain.

I will keep you updated on my progress in the PT Course and in the upcoming efforts to get media attention and even corporate sponsors … as well as shout-outs to those fans who are joining the team and donating to Cooking With The Troops.

You can contribute by donating, spreading the word about Cooking With The Troops and posting links to this blog on all your social media networks. Trust me, this is a group effort …

I can’t do this alone and as Instructor Jack Walston poignantly said today: “Everyone’s actions — good or bad — impacts everyone. There is no individual out here.”

How true this is. We already are a community, so let’s make a difference! Donate & Spread the Word!


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