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Review: Megatransect X

If Kokoro 25 was the capstone to my sports year–scratch that, the capstone to my athletic career–then Megatransect 2012 aka “Mega X” was the after party. I went up with about 20 of my friends from CrossFire Firebase and we had a spectacularly good time. Traversing the 26 mile course was fun and difficult, every bit as kickass as last year. Having done two Megas, I fully plan on going back in 2013. It’s still that good. Below I’ll tell why.

What I Liked

The way I think about Mega the race, I think of a great fighter who humbles me when I finally show up for the battle. I get a good long beatdown and a tremendous learning experience. It is good to be humbled as an athlete, because it gives you perspective on your physical self. It’s healthy for the spirit. Every climb at Mega is a cathartic experience and every descent is a victory. Simply finishing the race is an accomplishment. If you’re a serious athlete, you have to put yourself through these grand experiences or else you’ll never grow. That’s something I figured out last year and something I’ll continue to schedule yearly as long as I’m healthy. Mega is the perfect grand experience.

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Training Recommendations for Kokoro

In my previous post I gave an overview of Kokoro Camp 25. In this post I’ll review what I did to train and offer some ideas for anyone considering Kokoro.

Personal Fitness Standards

Coach Divine recently updated the fitness standards for Kokoro and they are the following:

  • Minimum 50 push ups (40 for women), 50 sit-ups and 50 air squats in 2 minutes each.
  • 10 dead hang pullups for men, 6 women
  • 1 mile run in boots and utility pants on road in 9:30
  • Body Armor (aka Murph) with 20# pack (15# for women): 1 hour and 10 minutes minimum
  • 10 mile run in less than 1:20 (recommended)
  • 20 mile ruck hike with load in less than 6 hours (recommended)

This is me speculating, but I think because of the growing popularity of Kokoro Camp, Coach Divine is putting a renewed emphasis on the basic skills of running, rucking, and body weight PT to make sure attendees have those skills.

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After Action Review: Kokoro Camp 25

It’s kind of useless to describe Kokoro to people who don’t know about things like SealFit or BUD/S or Q-Course. What I usually say is, Kokoro is a military-style adventure event where you work out for 50+ straight hours and it involves team building and mental toughness challenges. The reality is it’s a two-day beatdown that involves finding your Warrior Spirit and pushing yourself to do 20X more than you thought possible. There are a lot of pushups, a lot of rucking, a lot of chaffing, a lot of yelling, no sleep, and it costs nearly $1300 for the privilege of embracing the suck. Coaches are former Navy Seals.

I’ll try to answer the question of why to do Kokoro, or at least why I did it, because it’s a legit question. This will be the first in a 3-part series of posts on Kokoro. I’ll address training and gear in the second and third posts:

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Getting Psyched For Kokoro Camp

I haven’t blogged about this, but my buddy Junior and I have been training for months to participate in Kokoro Camp. The date is finally here…we’re leaving for California tomorrow morning and will be at SealFit HQ by Friday at noon. If you haven’t heard of it, Kokoro Camp is a 50+ hour military-style camp modeled after the infamous BUD/S program that Navy Seals go through. I’m anticipating an extremely high reading on the Suck-o-meter with lots of me getting my ass kicked.

From the SealFit website:

As the world’s premier training camp for forging mental toughness, an Unbeatable Mind and a warrior’s spirit, the camp is an intense crucible experience modeled off of the famous Navy SEAL Hell Week. The difference is that Kokoro is built to teach through experience, rather than try to make you into a quitter.

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Review: 5.11 Tactical Rush 24 Backpack

The Rush 24 is a mid-size backpack offering from 5.11 Tactical. I’m a fanboy of 5.11 Tactical gear and I’ve done long term tests of several of their items, including the Rush 24. (Full disclosure: 5.11 provided me with all of the gear to review.) If you’re interested in a review of the MOAB 10 shoulder bag, check it out here: Rush MOAB 10 Shoulder Bag.

I use my Rush 24 six days per week primarily as a gear bag when I go to the CrossFit gym, but it’s also my go-to bag for overnighters and weekend trips. It has a generous 2000 cubic inches of space in the main compartment and plenty of pockets and pouches for smaller items. Dimensions are  20″H x 12.5″L x 8″D. See their product description page for a full list of features. There are WAY too many pockets to tour all of them in this space, so I’ll let the pics below do the talking. I will say my favorite pocket is the sunglasses pocket…I use this little fleece lined fella virtually every time I step into the gym and it’s an ingenius addition.

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New CrossFit Iron Legion Website

I’ve been super busy with freelance lately and haven’t had much chance to blog. I am happy to report that I just launched a website for my friend’s gym, CrossFit Iron Legion, the newest CrossFit facility in Ocala, Florida. Please stop by and let me know what you think. The logos and graphic work were done by a fellow Firebaser, Patrick Randle, and I think he did a fantastic job.

I was able to implement a low cost solution for gym owner Ted Dreaver. I installed WordPress on his Hostgator account and loaded the premium theme Reaction by Brandon Jones. I tweaked the CSS and loaded some custom graphics and Ted was rolling within two weeks. Ted was looking for a dark, “gritty” theme so Reaction with it’s dark version worked really well here.

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Review: Beast Mode Battle 2012

In its second year, Beast Mode Battle (BMB) is hosted by CrossFit Militia of Lauderhill, Florida. BMB boasted 334 competitors, making it one of the biggest regional events of the year. As usual, the men’s side of the house was well represented, with 199 male competitors between the Rx, Masters, and Scaled divisions.

The BMB claim-to-fame is a unique format where all events are back-to-back and completed in exactly 60’. I’ll explain below.

The setting

The setting was the Bergeron Rodeo Grounds. I’ve never competed in a rodeo stadium…scratch that, I’ve never been in a rodeo stadium, so this was a cool experience. There was ample space for spectating and the roof with huge fans made it reasonably cool. The competition floor was packed dirt. The dirt made the shuttle runs, walking lunges and burpees a little more challenging.

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Ruck Across America Starts Tonight

If you’re a GoRuck fan (aka “Rucktard”) and you haven’t heard about it, the Ruck Across America unofficially kicks off tonight in Coronado, California. I say unofficially because there is absolutely nothing official about this grassroots epic.

What is it? The GoRuck Challenge, which I’ve blogged about extensively, is a military-style multi-hour team challenge where participants run/hike with a backpack full of bricks. There are 2000+ GRC alumni as of today, with more getting added every weekend. I’ve participated in three GRCs myself and I’m a big fan.

The Ruck Across America is a relay by GRC alumni where a single GoRuck GR1 will make it’s way across the United States. On foot. With bricks. It’s estimated to be about a 10 8 month odyssey (end point is Fort Carson, Colorado in February 2013) and the participants are communicating via Facebook and cell phone to coordinate this human centipede of a relay. There is NO website. There is NO organizing body. There are NO entry fees. There are NO requirements. The whole thing started as a Facebook meme and exploded into an actual event that is happening now. You simply have to have a desire to carry a backpack full of bricks, on foot, for around 30 miles, somewhere in the United States.

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Why I Sold Out and Quit Coaching

For a hearty stretch of my life I was a professional rowing coach, from 1999 to 2009, and I coached at places like Duke, Florida Tech, and Louisville. I thought that was going to be my career. I was and am passionate about the sport and passionate about coaching.

My last major stop was the University of Louisville for a single year, where I was an assistant. It was during that season I realized what a bitch of a lifestyle I had. Without burdening the reader with too many details, let’s just say I worked from five in the morning until eight at night (and sometimes later), all week, and for a half day on Saturday. And when I was out recruiting, I also worked on Sundays. I remember once making recruiting calls at 3:00 am. To New Zealand. That might be sort of okay for a) the President of the United States or b) the head football coach of Alabama, but it’s not okay for a scrubby crew coach making $40K a year. I calculated my hourly take once and I think it was fairly close to minimum wage. At least it felt that way.

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F**k Me I Did A Third GORUCK Challenge

I did my third GoRuck Challenge over the weekend, Class 172 in Orlando. Originally I wasn’t going to participate because my left achilles is still jacked up, but I had a handful of friends register and they inspired me to jump in.

The starting point was the amphitheater at Lake Eola, a short walk from my house. One of my favorite parts of the whole deal was limping back home with my pals after it was done and soaking in the glory of the day and bitching about the experience.

I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon about GoRuck. While they’re happening, they completely suck and I swear I’ll never do another one. Shortly afterwards, I remember the event with extreme fondness and the memory of the experience grows and grows. Just a few days later, I’m thinking about when to do the next one. It’s like Inception where you can’t tell reality from the dream. By Thursday, I was telling everyone what a blast it was and everyone should sign up.

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