- Flight to Toronto went ok, it was hard leaving Lauri and the girls, but I know I need to do this and have their support. I find myself with nervous energy but excited about the unknown that awaits. It’s been a lifelong goal of mine to do something like this for years now. Sitting on the airplane has me reflecting on the “why am I doing this?”. Lauri and the girls deserve the best version of me and I owe it to myself to provide that to them. NO QUIT! No matter what! That was Hope’s pinky swear I had to give her before I left and I know it is going to come into play at some point, I am sure of it. It’s funny that this event is finally here. It is surreal in a way, the highs and lows of training all to get to this point…anyway, let’s do this baby!
- Update, I met 2 guys going as well while waiting to go to __________ (Gord #8 and Adam #1). They are buddies from Calgary, Alberta and we can all sense the uncertainty and nervousness in each other. As we flew into__________, it took us 2 attempts to land due to fog… I hope that’s not a bad omen! Anyway, the evening went without incident and Adam/Gord and I promised each other we would pull each other through. After a super of carbs and a few stories, off to bed…. fun starts tomorrow.
- Well, I didn’t sleep much, imagine that…. got up, met Adam and Gord for breakfast and then we headed to__________. Ran into 2 other dudes while waiting for a cab from the hotel, so we all shared a cab (Joel and some big dude from Texas) both good guys. Joel and I immediately hit it off and had a good chat talking__________. Respect man. I can totally respect that and he says I should come alone. We will see haha…
- So, now I am waiting at the school bus with the other men at exactly noon and__________ __________ __________ __________. 2 badass dudes were all ready to intimidate us as soon as we got on. Prior to getting on, I was asked__________ __________ __________ __________.. shit that was__________ __________ __________ __________ I said that and,__________ I went… no idea if that was right but that is what my gut said. As I got on the bus dude 1 (aka. Cadre member Aaron) tells me to____________________ __________. Over the next_____ we are instructed to__________ __________ __________ and then we__________ __________ location. We were then instructed__________ __________ __________. We had_____min to do this and then back__________ __________… pretty cool start to the day in my opinion. Then it was on the bus for a____________________ __________.
- Then they proceed to__________ __________ __________ to__________ (as it would become known). Then the fun begins….
- Once at the__________ we were given the explicit rules to follow…__________ __________ __________, etc…. assigned numbers, I would be known as Candidate #23 from here on in and they gave us our rucks and gear needed to complete phase 3. While waiting I found myself thinking about what Maty (Army Paratrooper Buddy) told me…__________ __________, and boy o boy did they…__________ __________ __________ and fucking guys were falling off like crazy…. All I kept thinking was you got this, this is what you trained for…. and just keep moving. Try and be a grey person, not first and not last. Do not draw attention to yourself. Those were the wise words of my military buds I work out with. They were right. As some point I did however become__________ and stayed that way for our group until bed +__________. At which point the real reality hit. We would be__________. That’s when I decided and Joel also had the same idea we would__________. We promised to pull each other to the end of this experience no matter what and so ended day 1. Tired, cold, but overall ok… I hit the sack and prepared for day 2 and of course, ran a prayer for the girls and Lauri. Then with a glance and a wink at the moon to sleep I went.
- Woke up to Landon (#14 who would be__________)__________hrs earlier than scheduled…. he would later apologize, but I couldn’t blame him for not wanting to be late…. that fucking__________ was something we as a group would fail to really figure out by the end haha… anyway, the day started with chaos__________ and all of us in a mad scramble to__________ __________. The__________ was constant but I was physically prepared so all I really had to focus on was keeping my head straight. In hindsight, I did a better job than anticipated taking one evolution at a time and not letting anything get to me really. Anyway, I really started to enjoy the__________ __________ everything was full out and Cadre Ethan reminded me of that when he drove his elbow into my chest for not__________ Nermin (#18)__________ during class…lol. After fuelling up and hammering bananas into my system to ensure cramping didn’t happen we were off. Taking count, we were down to __ men I think… shit day 2 and we had lost__________ the group already…. couldn’t believe the guys were all gone, but I didn’t blame them. This shit was real and you had to come prepared at least in the best physical shape of your life. They had warned us in the process workups to be ready and damn they did not disappoint. A solemness hit me I remember… these men (Inc. Adam and Gord) had come with full aspirations of completing this and finishing, however, to no avail. It’s hard to not meet a goal in my opinion and I think that not finishing would have eaten at me for a very long time. In fact, having coffee with Mat the other day and reminiscing about this, he had the same worry. He mentioned how he was worried about me if I didn’t finish. He knew it would eat at me… funny how your closest buds know you the best. Anyways, back to the story, we didn’t realize it but today we would be__________ __________ __________ __________ tested…. that was a very stressful time, being__________ right up the last moment before you__________…. man, what a rush. I remember just having to control my__________ so I could focus. Shit! That__________. After that it was change into__________…. the level of detail with the Cadre was ridiculous and we were constantly reminded__________ lol…__________ came in the evening and some other stuff but essentially body was intact and mentally I was ok. Just setting up__________ at night bullshit and going to bed__________ was brutal. I think that is what claimed most guys, to be honest, being 38yrs old and having some “old-man” grit helped me through the night for sure. Anyways, quick prayer for Lauri, the girls, my safety and health and to bed I went. Oh, one funny note, Joel was a grumpy bear that night I tell you… I chuckled listening to him vent about his feet and I laughed out loud. We truly were a couple and we later would be known as mom and dad to the younger guys days later lol… I was sure glad he was with me and we were sluggin this shit out together.
- Well, the pain just keeps coming….__________ every morning with just continuous__________ of skill in both areas. More__________ to remember, more advanced __________ techniques. After breakfast we had a brutal__________ and the individual testing on an__________. During which we lost a man to a fractured ankle due to the ground unevenness, how fast we were running and bounding. I was there when it happened…. it was nasty and reminded me to watch my__________ at all times. As I finished and then__________ that was the most brutal thing we had to do__________… I remember taking a moment to assess the men. Shit, we were tired and beat up; even our young guys looked like shit lol… I smiled and just kept thinking one evolution at a time and that I would help any of these men anyway I could when they needed it.
- The afternoon would be__________ and__________ which was bad-ass and non-negotiable. You either did it or you went home. I was all over that shit. Loved it! I would later find out that the Cadre thought I was mentally losing it….haha. That’s because I couldn’t__________. So, I came up with abstract__________ test… oh they laughed their asses off when I explained it to them at initiation… Funny moment for sure. The medic even checked me out and I remember thinking__________ __________ lol….But, I got through it and then it was back to__________ and__________… Fuck I hated that part and remember thinking I needed my daughter’s__________ how handy that would have been to have. Shit it was__________. Evening was more____________________ __________, and the days started to blur together a bit. So, when we did things like,__________,__________ __________,__________,__________ __________ __________, etc…. happened throughout and all were milestones in their own right. All with their own take away for sure. I do remember the first lessons with the__________ were a disaster lol… The cadre was all over me and in__________ later in the evening they asked me “23 how was__________ today for you?” me: “not very good Cadre”, Cadre: “not very good?” (sarcastically); me; “fucking horrendous Cadre”, cadre nodding in agreement: “fucking horrendous!” hahahaha… I laugh thinking about it now. Day 3 is also the day I started to get to know the guys a bit more. 21, 14, 9, 18; A bit more chatter at meal times now. Good dudes overall. Same routine overall in the evening minus Joel’s grumpiness haha. I remember really missing the girls and Lauri that night. It was a tough night for me but I kept remembering my promise “Dad, don’t quit, no matter what!”. Oh, and day 3 was also the day and 1 of 3 times I really wasn’t sure I was going to make it through. 1 of 3 times the experience almost broke me…. it happened on the__________ __________. We had to individually__________ __________ __________ it happened….__________ on my feet. I remember Landon #14__________ after I__________ __________ #9 and I asked him if he would__________ with me because I was struggling. I needed help and his response was absolutely bud, I will__________ with you to the end to get you through. My feet were in a ton of pain and he looked at me and reiterated “I got you 23, don’t worry bud, I’ll__________ with you.” I was almost in tears by the end and my humility during that will be something I will never forget. It was a defining moment for me up to that point and it taught me asking for help isn’t a weakness and I shouldn’t be afraid of asking. Thank you, Landon, you never will now how much that moment meant to me. So, now finished, in tears and feet killing me, I knew I was in a bit of trouble with my__________…. could I hump this experience out with__________? Well, the Lord would shine upon me a second time that day with a man named Joel! Lol… my buddy and partner in crime. He would lend me some of his__________ and it made a world of difference. A gamechanger for sure! My__________ now were tolerable. I knew then, we got this and I will drag every single guy left (__________ of us now) to the end if I have to onto day 4…
Days _ and _
- How to__________ __________ __________ __________…. very cool day. Learned about__________,__________,__________, etc… Of course, we had the__________ but knew I was at the halfway point of the experience and that gave me a bit of new life. I remember sitting at breakfast, hydrating and thinking I am still sluggin it out with these men, lord give me strength to finish and get to the end. But more importantly prayer for the girls and Lauri and a very sincere request to keep my feet intact….. as it looked like rain today.
- After more__________ __________, I came to the realization while we sat on the ground that mid-afternoon, that the next challenge__________ __________…. The cadre had us__________ __________ taking us__________ to somewhere where__________ __________…. All I thought was ok, lets just get through this unscathed… Well, karma is a bitch and as__________ __________ about a minute or 2 in, BANG! Joel went to__________ and__________ __________. I had dislocated my knee! WTF? I remember quickly rolling up my coveralls and looking and seeing yup knee cap on the outside of my knee. Cadre Medic and several of the other members__________ as she put it back into place. This would be the second time of 3 that I thought I can’t do this anymore… So many emotions running though my head… the Cadre taped up a make shift brace with duct tape and Jeff knelt down and said “Think about your body now, long term, is it really worth trying to continue. I am not going to make you__________ __________ it only gets harder and you have 2.5 days yet to go. I will give you 5 min to decide, it’s ok to quit 23”. So, I got up, weight bared it, tested the shitty stability and realized Fuck it… yeah it hurts but it was somewhat stable. I turned around looked at the cadre standing there and said “You will have to put me in a body bag before I will quit.” I got up hobbled my way down the__________ back to the other __________ men now waiting for me. I remember coming around the corner and seeing them stand-up and clap for me. I saw Steph #21 and looked at him and thought I can do this, more importantly, WE can do this! We were a team and I could sense these men would go to the wall for me to help ensure I finished this experience and they did. For the rest of the day and upcoming days we would work as a unit. Guys leaned on each other and we refused to let the Cadre break us. I got through the rest of the day with help from all sides, guys wouldn’t let me be last when__________ so the cadre could__________ and I would fall behind, Nerm #18 would__________ to take the weight of my knee (now swollen to 2 grapefruits in size, lol…), Landon, Phil, Ira, Joel, Steph would all offer words of encouragement and I would help right back with the same. I mean this injury was just going to be part of the bionic man that I am hahah, just add it to the list of injuries I have had. Yeah there were tears for sure, I mean Fuck it hurt, but I could do it. I believed it and felt it. As night finally came and we settled__________ __________ __________… I remember thinking this would be the test. Could my knee be ok overnight and please lord don’t let it cripple me tomorrow. As with previous injuries, I was really concerned about the swelling overnight and whether I would be able to bend it at all in the morning. Time would tell. It was a long night…
Days _ and _
- __________ of us remain; We woke up and behold knee was pretty much in the same state as I went to bed. Sure swelling up a bit, but I could move it, somewhat weight bare it, and realized I can finish this shit! It was a bit of an energy boast to be honest. I just had my concerns with__________ …. well, the lord took care of that as__________ __________ __________. I was scared for sure but I made that promise to Hope and to hell with breaking that. A big push today and the big finale tomorrow. We could all sense it now. The end was close and actually the cadre seemed __________ __________ was either cool or very bad… we weren’t sure lol….I was probably delusional due to lack of sleep, mental fatigue and physical pain. But today would bring__________ __________ __________ to take all the men that quit__________. After building this__________ __________ __________….ugh… that suck balls big time. Raining, cold, tired,__________. We finally get back__________ __________ what do you want to do with the rest of your life? Rick (Cadre – Navy SWCC) put it best when he told me “over 1/3 of your life is over, what is the next 40yrs going to look like. Don’t waste them.” You know what, he is right. I sat there realizing that although cold, shivering, beat up… I was alive and thankful for it. Although I was bent…. I would not break! Just get back up and hit it again, Life is full of failures, but it’s what you learn when you fail & how you apply that knowledge going forward that matters. It’s exactly what I tell the girls, “we will celebrate your successes, but I will keep track how many times you fail and get back up again, because that is what is important.” So, after some__________,__________,__________, etc… they__________ me and take me to another__________ were I join the others__________ in silence. This is the 3rd time of 3 it was almost breaking point. Being__________ __________ is brutal for the mind. You start having all sorts of crazy thoughts, but I realized at some point, this is a game of sorts…. me against me. I can do this I just need to__________. Use my other__________ to help with the uncertainty around me. Boy that was important as__________ was set to begin, we just didn’t know it. The cadre__________. Felt like hours went by where I lost track of time and had to “dig deep” (Just like the tag on my boot I got from Steve as a good luck token to help me through it, he is from my spin class and a good buddy). Guys were struggling, I specifically remember Nerm having a hard time and when it finally ended, I turned to him after the cadre left and gave him a hug. He needed one, he was in tears and I could tell he almost broke. I would be there for my brothers however I could be. A bit later on as we continued to wait and a couple minutes later__________ __________ … truthfully, I don’t think we cared as we were ready to finish and it felt good. I slept well that night and went to bed thanking everyone and my family for getting me this far and “Holy shit! I am going to finish this, fuck yeah baby! Looked at Joel and he felt it to.
Days _ & _
- Awoke with__________. Guys were__________ __________ with no issues today. Stiff, sore, and hurting but determined whatever was next we could do it. I could do anything and used that positive reinforcement in my mind to prepare. We__________ and waited. The cadre__________ ________________________________________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ .
- We almost felt__________ at least for the moment. I felt so pumped__________ __________. Grinning ear-to ear we all__________ __________. Cadre then came in and__________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ …. I stepped__________ __________ __________ and here is what awaited us….
- __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ .
- __________ __________. Our__________ __________. We__________ cadre behind us and Jeff (CAA – JTF2 Cadre Leader)__________. He__________ BOOM!!! Now,__________ __________ __________ I do remember the overwhelming shock and emotion that hit me all at once. I had finished. I had made it to the end. I even now as I type this out have tears in my eyes… I sat in disbelief that I did it. I kept my promise and completed “The Process”. From then on it was a bit of a blur, some __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ Yes, I got a__________ that is unique along with the 6 men who received their own. But that story is a personal journey and represents a lot of emotion so all I can say is I will be getting a tattoo with my brothers to represent our amazing bonds and achievement. As the__________ __________ concluded, we had our__________ us. These men and women could finally__________ __________ and they are all__________. I will stay in touch with them for sure. I will remember that day for the rest of my life. I will hold a special place for the 6 other men / brothers I went through this with. I will take all the lessons I learned and reflect on each to make myself a better man. This was truly a life changing event. Although the future is uncertain and challenges yet to be determined and conquered, I know I am ready for anything and for whatever life brings me. I have learned some valuable lessons that I will continue to explore through phase 4 and already find myself making some changes that feel good. I mean who doesn’t like getting up at 5am everyday right ;-). Lol… I love my family, my girls, my wife and most importantly my life. You did it buddy! Now remember, the only easy day was yesterday so lets go get some today eh?
- Initiated Candidate #23 – Serial #01 (Travis Eagles)