Cant Hurt Me - Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds
David Goggins
Contributed by Eleanor Sherer
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Chapter 6

David had enrolled into the San Diego One Day hundred-mile race event that drew numerous athletes across the country. The race was scheduled for a perfect day as the weather was cool and the course seemed easy. However, it would turn out to be one of the most difficult things that David had to do in his life. Though elite athletes trained for months for the race, David had just learned about it three days before and was totally not prepared. His ego was bolstered by the fact that he had successfully completed two Hell Weeks training programs. With this bullish attitude, David stood out from the group of athletes who seemed physically fit and cared about their diet. David even gobbled unhealthy food even just hours to the beginning of the race.

At the beginning of the race, David started at a blistering pace and was in the leading pack with professional athletes such as Ms. Inagaki. This showed his unpreparedness and inexperience in running such a race. John Metz, the race director, was concerned about David’s seemingly flawed strategy but David was adamant he would be fine. John’s concern was clear when he ran up to David and advised him to slow down and pace himself appropriately to complete the race but the bullish David ignored his advice.

After twenty-seven miles, David was in deep pain as his quads throbbed and his feet were chafed and bleeding. The effects of not training for the race started showing as with each step he made he endured more pain. He consoled himself by thinking about how he was running for a bigger purpose as the race was not about him. He had registered as a participant to help fundraise for a charity organization that provided for the families of fallen soldiers. This initiative was close to David’s heart as he had lost fellow comrades that he knew in the battlefield. On this premise, David decided to continue with the race despite the pain.

At fifty miles, as the pain washed through his body as waves, he soldiered on, albeit at a slower pace. David vividly narrates how his bones felt brittle as his thighs began to feel as heavy as steel. Further, he torqued his hips to keep his legs moving and fought gravity to lift his feet a mere millimeter from the earth. David was starting to realize the difficult task that he had entered in with no preparation at all. His cockiness had led him to believe that if he had survive Hell Week twice he could easily compete in this race. However, he was starting to lose his senses as his thoughts occasionally drifted away. In spite of all these, David continued with the race, he was not going to quit.

At the seventy-mile mark, David could not take it anymore. His physical pain was too much to bear and his cardiovascular stamina had been stretched to its utmost limit. David was so dizzy and dehydrated that as he approached his wife, Kate, he saw her in threes. Evidently, David was seriously low on potassium and sodium and his blood pressure had plummeted. Kate immediately removed his shoes, revealing cracked toenails, broken blisters, and blood streaming from his feet. Additionally, David passed bloody piss that he saw leak down his leg and as if that was not enough, he shit his pants. He decided to hide all this from Kate who had gone to fetch some Motrin as he feared she would realize how poorly he was doing and beg him to pull out of the race. David sat where he was for about twenty minutes as other runners ran past him, some laughing at his predicament. Thereafter he laced up, ate some food, and went back on the track. He refused to quit.

At this point, David was way behind other runners and moving so slowly he knew he could not finish in twenty four hours at such a pace. It was at the eighty one-mile mark that David finally realized that this fight was not about Operation Red Wings or the families of the fallen. This fight was all about him and his desire to push himself to the brink of destruction.  It was about how much he was willing to suffer, how much more he could take, and how much he had to give. David instigated his sympathetic nervous system once again and his adrenaline took over. In his mind, he replayed the various challenges he had surmounted to reach where he was and he was not ready to give up. He picked up his pace as the pain began to fade away from his mind. He passed numerous tired runners on to the finish line as they looked at him shocked at the renewed energy he was experiencing. Whenever the pain became too much to bear, David dug into his “Cookie Jar” and took a bite.

After finishing the race, David was in a bad shape physically and medically. His legs were covered with blood as he shivered in the fog. A nurse realized the gravity of his situation and tried convincing him to go to the hospital, but David insisted on going home. Once home, David collapsed on the kitchen floor only to come to an hour later. He then proceeded to the bathroom and started peeing blood instead of urine. It seemed that David was suffering from kidney failure but he still refused to go to the hospital, as he did not want to mask his pain with painkillers. Instead, he wanted to experience the pain and suffering as it was his trophy ceremony, and he had earned it.  According to David, this was confirmation that he had mastered his own mind—at least for a little while—and that what he had just accomplished was something special.


This chapter looks into the various challenges that David experienced and how he surmounted the most physically draining challenge he had ever encountered. Initially, the San Diego One Day race seemed to be a simple adventure that he would easily finish even without preparation. However, it turned out that his arrogance was limiting how he viewed the race, hence, inhibiting his decision making process. In the most painful of situations, David fell back on his “Cookie Jar” approach to surmount this seemingly impossible challenge and finish the race with an extra mile. David instigated his sympathetic nervous system once again and his adrenaline took over. In his mind, he replayed the various challenges he had surmounted to reach where he was and he was not ready to give up. He picked up his pace as the pain began to fade away from his mind. David successfully finished the one hundred mile course but only because of his determination and will.

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