Read Part 1 of Surviving Delta Force Selection here.

Behind the Power Curve

Having completed the first leg of the 40-mile forced march in twice the amount of time allowed to pass the selection phase, I was sure I was behind the power curve but felt strong and fast and in good spirits. I felt confident that I could make up for the lost time by skipping any breaks for rest, food, or to urinate.

Daylight was dominating, and a light rain had ceased falling. The air was cool and sweet, and I had actually taken in some of the beauty of the forest and vegetation that sailed by me as I half force marched and half ran up a very winding path that was available to comfortably ascend the steep slope.

At times, I would sacrifice the comfort of the path for the speed of scrambling painfully straight up a steep slope. I would resort to the path as a means to recover from the direct ascent. Once rested, I would make another excursion straight up the slope. I felt there was a combination of the two climbing techniques that would lead to the fastest speed for me.

West VA Bridge
Welcome to North Fork Mountain, West Virginia.

Ultimately, I convinced myself that the constant sprint/cruise combination was harder on the body than just maintaining a constant cruise, like an airplane, a car, or pretty much any powered vehicle. I resumed cruise control and abandoned my dash speed intervals. The air grew warmer, and as for the beauty…well, that pretty much lost its luster quickly and entirely as the march went on.

Why was I only just now learning this?

What the hell was I doing showing up to selection without knowing how best my body should negotiate this rough and varied terrain?

Well, mes amis, I came from an assignment in Key West, Florida. The mean altitude above sea level is about three feet. No elevation, no hills, nothing but flat expanses to train on.