FMP Debrief – Operation “Two if by Sea”

On Saturday, March 28th, a group of elite warrior athletes assembled at the YMCA in Portland, OR for Operation: “Two if by Sea”.

Many of the members were long time CrossFitters from CrossFit HEL in Portland, some of whom will compete in the Northwest Qualifier for this year’s CrossFit Games.

Here is the debrief of the mission:

There are four major areas evaluated in an FMP.

  1. Accuracy – Technical precision in movements.
  2. Intensity – Relentless drive to move smoothly through each phase of the operation.
  3. Teamwork – Communication between members to motivate and assist each other.
  4. Mission Success – Either it was, or it wasn’t.

Here’s how the team did.

Insert – Swim 2000 Meters

Water has a way of punishing those that have not learned to swim – no matter how fit they are.  Some of the most impressive athletes I’ve ever had the honor to coach showed their lack of skill in the water.  This is not because they lack the endurance, but rather the technical aspects (accuracy, coordination, and balance – as they pertain to swimming).

In the end, with some difficulty, everyone made it to the Objective.  It was not very pretty though.

Actions At the Objective

Over the Side – 100 Pull Ups and 100 Squats

Every one did a good job here.  To closely simulate the caving ladder climb, the pull ups and squats were done in 20 sets of 5 pull ups and 5 squats.

The team started pulling together here.  There was good intensity and for the most part, good range of motion on the movements.

Take the Bridge – 4 Rounds of: 100 meter sprint / 20 Burpees

This was the critical element of this mission.  Mission success required an all out effort here.  If there was anyplace to go into the zone and put out with every fiber of their being this was it.  The five minute time limit, for an advanced or elite athlete is doable, but not easy.

The fastest time was 5:13, just 13 seconds too slow.

The slowest time was 7:40, still respectable, but not even close to the limit.

In this phase, what I wanted to see was total commitment to the task.  I knew that it would be painful.  I knew that the lactic acid would be burning the lungs and the muscles.  Only the totally committed could even hope to make the time limit.

Unfortunately, the team got close, but was unsuccessful.  This cost them the mission.  According to the FMP brief, if the time to reach the bridge went over 5 minutes, the terrorists would have time to arm and blow the WMD.  It would obviously cost them their lives, but it would cost us all of ours as well.

And yet, we went on…

Sweep the Ship – 4 Rounds of: Lunge 100 Meters / 50 Push Ups / 50 Sit Ups

The exhaustion of taking the bridge, coupled with the knowledge that the mission had failed seemed to take some of the steam out of the team.  They got through the evolution, but the momentum seemed to slow, and the motivation drain from the team.

Final Assessment (on a scale of 1 – worst to 10 – best)

  1. Accuracy – 6With the exception of the swim, accuracy was pretty good.
  2. Intensity – N/A – This was the thing that cost the team the mission.  No matter how good it was overall (and it was good overall), in the single area that made all the difference – Taking the Bridge – the team failed.
  3. Teamwork – 7 – The team did work together fairly well.  There is obviously room for improvement, but this is the first time many members of the team worked together.
  4. Mission Success – No.

In the immediate debrief after the mission, each member of the team, as if they were the sole survivor, reported that the mission had failed.

For each fallen member, we took a minute of silence – in the lean and rest (push up position).