Crawling 7 Miles with Marcus Luttrell

Since the release of the New York Times best seller, Lone Survivor, in 2007, I’ve been fascinated with the story of Operation Red Wings. Most recently, the feature film starring Mark Wahlberg has allowed for a more broad reach of arguably the most compelling story of military heroism and human perseverance in my lifetime.

The real-life mission to kill or capture a high level Taliban target in the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan led by four Navy SEALs goes bad when a couple goat herders stumble upon their location. The difficult decision to let the goat herders go and the lack of radio communications soon put these four men up against over a hundred Taliban fighters.

"The one."

“The one.”

The firefight that ensued lasted nearly half a day and would result in the death of Danny Dietz, Matt Axelson, and Michael Murphy (who was later awarded the Medal of Honor).

As we all have learned by now, Marcus survives. Despite multiple through-and-through gunshot wounds, compound fractures in his legs, a broken back, head trauma, and biting his tongue in half, Marcus crawled some seven miles through the mountains and reengaged the enemy alone until he was given aid from local villagers.

What isn’t described in the book, or in the movie for that matter, is Marcus’ specific strategy for accomplishing the task of his seven mile crawl.

Marcus, in pain and without real use of his legs, took an insurmountable task like crawling seven miles and made it doable by breaking it up into manageable steps. On his journey, he’d reach ahead of him and draw a line in the dirt with his knife and crawl until he could look back to see his feet past his mark. Then, he’d draw another line and repeat.

Marcus cheated death by crawling seven miles just seven feet at a time. Now, I don’t ask that you be able to relate to the demands or the context of a covert Navy SEAL operation, but understand that this plan of action is a universal tool for any big undertaking.

You don’t get twelve years of sobriety by attempting to avoid alcohol for over a decade. You don’t build a viable brand by focusing on the totality of the project, either. And, you sure as hell don’t come back three games to none to win the World Series by trying to win four in a row. Remarkable accomplishments are a combination of well executed moments. You do these things one day at a time, one task at a time, and one pitch at a time.

Crawling seven miles while bleeding to death sounds impossible to me. Crawling eight feet? I could do that! The next time your looking up at an impossible mountain of work, attack it in pieces.


Logan Gelbrich




4/20/14 WOD

Odd: 5 Dips
Even: 3 Strict HSPU


4 Front Squats (155/105)
4 Push Press
4 Over the Bar Burpees