Stepping Outside of Your Comfort Zone
Jason Mosel has made an attempt at the world record for the most number of burpees in a 12 hour period.
He's ran ultra-events like 50 and 100 mile races.
He's going to be doing a 200 mile race, which will lead up to an 888k race which he'll do in 10 days.
But he's not a natural born athlete. He keeps pushing himself outside of his comfort zone though, which enables him to attempt these huge tasks. Even if he doesn't complete them or hit his goal in a given period of time he doesn't quit.
That's the overall message of this episode. Step outside of your comfort zone, and give it your all. Don't quit.
Links & Resources
Scott DeLuzio: 00:03 Thanks for tuning in to the DriveOnPodcast where we talk about issues affecting veterans after they get out of the military. Before we get started, I'd like to ask a favor if you haven't done so already, please rate and review the show on Apple Podcasts. If you've already done that. Thank you. These ratings help the show get discovered so we can reach a wider audience. And while you're there, click the subscribe button so that you get notified of new episodes as soon as they come out. If you don't use Apple podcasts, you can visit DriveOnPodcasts.com/subscribe to find other ways of subscribing, including our email list. I'm your host, Scott DeLuzio. And now let's get on with the show.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:44 Hey everyone. Today my guest is Jason Moselle, a former Marine. Jason is I honestly don't really know how to say other than he's an absolute machine when it comes to physical fitness. I was introduced to Jason through a former guest, Valerie Pallotta back from Episode 27 and I'll post the link to that episode in the show notes so you can listen to that one, as well. He's been doing some great things for the Joshua Pallotta fund, which we talked about in that episode as well as raising awareness for veteran suicide prevention in general. Jason, welcome to the show. Why don't you tell us a little bit about your yourself, a little bit about your background?
Jason Mosel: 01:25 As you said, my name is Jason Mosel. I am a former Marine. I was a 03-52 tow gunner in the infantry. I was in the Marines from 2003 to 2007. I was stationed over in Camp Pendleton, did two deployments to Iraq, one to Okinawa, Japan. After I got out, we can get into the nitty gritty details a little bit more as we get on but I did have some ups and downs to put it lightly. And then around 2013, I got into running obstacle course races and physical fitness and it's taken off from there. And now I’m training for my next big feat, next May to run a 500-mile race.
Scott DeLuzio: 02:19 Awesome. I think we definitely want to get into some of the physical fitness things that you've been involved in. So, before we get into that though, let's maybe take it back a little bit to your deployments to Iraq. You said you had two deployments to Iraq. What were some of the struggles, some of the hardships, if you will, that you went through while you were deployed and then later on after you got back from the deployments, what were some of those things that you went through?
Jason Mosel: 02:56 You know, it's funny when I look back at the actual deployments. Everybody's story is going to be different and the reaction to what happens is going to be different. But honestly for me, when I look back at the deployment itself, it got to the point, when we were over in Iraq that there wasn't really anything while you're there, that's <inaudible> per se. There are times that you see one of your buddies from your platoon get killed or you have to do things that are really tough but the thing that happens is that you're there for so long, that it just becomes a way of life almost. And so, you're waking up with the mindset of, well, I’m probably going to die today. That’s bad.
Jason Mosel: 03:58 So, while you're there, there's the things that are like, okay, today was tough but we got through it and tomorrow you wake up, all right, I survived another day and you move on. When you come back is when all of a sudden that car just stops and now you start to take in everything you just did. And that was where the real struggle began for me; I was looking back on everything. And all of a sudden, you're going a million miles per hour. And then you just hit a wall and you're not moving anymore. You're not on edge anymore, but you're still on edge. You're not at war anymore. So, there was just no turning it off. You were there for so long, you're like high awareness, high intensity, high adrenaline and then you're back. All right, you're back, you're good. Shut off the warrior and go be a civilian again. Well, that’s not how it goes.
Scott DeLuzio: 05:12 Exactly. And that it becomes a survival mechanism, basically. I mean, there's so much bad stuff going on around you that you sort of have to change who you are and start acting in such a way that you are hyper vigilant and always head on a swivel, always looking around and everything like that. You have to keep that going just for survival and then coming back, it's not like a light switch. You can't just flip it on and off. And you still continue with that after you get back home. So, after you got back from your deployments, you started to struggle a little bit with some of your own issues, after coming back in terms of not necessarily being able to turn the stuff off. Would you care to share a little bit about that because I think that that is part of your story that led into some of your physical fitness type things that I'd like to lead into a little bit.
Jason Mosel: 06:31 Yeah. Where we'll start is with the first deployment and the first deployment to Ramadi, Iraq back in 2004. One of the things that stood out to me after coming back was when we lost a buddy of ours from our platoon, Jeffrey Morris, and he was hit by an RPG. And at the time it was tough.
Jason Mosel: 07:06 There's so much going on at that time. And as an 18-year old kid, the only thing you can think of is revenge. I mean, to be honest, that's the only thing that was on my mind and a few other people's minds. I don't know about everybody but I know for a few other people it was like, you're not going to fuck around. We're going out there and we're just going to fucking decimate at that point. And you know, we get through the deployment and then coming back, it's like you're now able to sit there and not just turn off the switch of war but be a civilian, you're cool. But it’s on top of that. You're now having all of these things kick back. And you know, I'm not a scientist, I'm not a doctor.
Jason Mosel: 08:01 I don't know how the fucking brain works. But I'll tell you what happens in my case. There are moments in time when I was over there that I cannot remember. You go into a firefight and I remember the RPG, bam, hits the Humvee, and then black and then you're in the middle of the firefight and then black and then middle of firefight and black. So there's like all these gaps in time and you're there, but it's a little bit odd because then when you come back, all of a sudden it's like Pandora's box is opened in your mind and maybe it's while you're sleeping and you have that dream or you hear something and it just triggers that. It's the key to unlock that door in your mind that just all of a sudden, bam, it opens up and you're like, Holy fuck, like this
Jason Mosel: 08:52 just happened and it just hits you. And so, I was going through a lot of that. But on top of that, it's reliving that night when Morris was killed and it's like, what could I have done differently? Could I have done anything differently? Like, could I have done something or should I have done something that would have brought him back to his family that wouldn't have taken this 18-year old kid from this world so soon. And those things started to really chip away at my foundation just as a person. And you know, when you talk to people and especially at that time, I'm not going to slam the VA every, I have my personal opinions, which I'll keep to myself and everyone has their own personal opinions. But at that time, it was like, here are your pills.
Jason Mosel: 09:46 You're having trouble sleeping. Here's your Trazadone, have the Zoloft. Did that work? Okay, well that didn't work here. Take this all right, that didn't work. Go talk to the chaplain. Well, that didn't work. Well, I don't know what the fuck to do for you buddy. You just need to suck it up. And you know, it got to the point in 2005, we were on our deployment, to Okinawa Japan that I just said the hell with all of this and tried to take my own life. And that is the start of my journey back upwards in a sense when I look back at it now, that was definitely the start of my journey back up. I basically just took all my pills and swallowed them down, washed it down with some alcohol and said that's it.
Jason Mosel: 10:37 I'm out. So, I was found, they brought me to the mental ward body block and basically, I felt like as though I was treading water for the rest of my time in the military. I did get sent back to Iraq for a second deployment after that. That was what it was. And I came back, got out and me and my wife, we moved from Camp Pendleton up to Vermont because we didn't have family there. We didn't know anybody there. And the one thing about Vermont is there's not a fucking thing here. And so, it was perfect for someone like me because it just got me away from everything. What I found is though I was still struggling and I decided I'm not going to take any pills because pills just made me feel like a zombie, not me, everything like that. So instead I just gave up one addiction, if you want to call it that way, only it was a prescribed addiction for another one, which was alcohol and would just drink myself stupid. And that was really how it was up until 2013.
Scott DeLuzio: 12:04 So that's probably a good time to bring in this transition now where you got into these physical fitness challenges and tried to push yourself to different extremes, if you will. I know just to talk about a couple of these challenges. I know earlier this year you attempted to break the world record for burpees, I believe it was back in March, if I'm not mistaken. At that time, you were trying to do 5,000 burpees over the course of 12 hours?
Jason Mosel: 12:52 yes,
Scott DeLuzio: 12:53 Is that correct. And for anyone who doesn't know what a burpee is, because it is an exercise that is sort of hard to explain in words but it's essentially where you start off standing up, you drop down on all fours to almost like a pushup position, basically do a pushup and then kick yourself back up and do a jump. And that's essentially one repetition. Is that essentially accurate for that?
Jason Mosel: 13:28 The most accurate you can get through talking about it. I mean the listeners, if you want to know what it is, Google it. A chest to ground burpee, put it in Google, look at them. No, you'll see what it is. It sucks. It's a terrible, terrible movement that hurts after you do so many and then you really want to do a challenge. Just try and do it quick.
Scott DeLuzio: 13:54 Yeah. So ultimately, you fell a little bit short of that 5,000 burpees goal that you had, but breaking the world record wasn't really the ultimate goal of that challenge was it?
Jason Mosel: 14:11 No. I mean, I fell a lot short of that but it wasn't ever about this record for me, there were a few things like when you look back at what we did, we livestreamed it on social media because my mindset behind it was that I knew from my past that when people, whether it's veterans or whether it's civilians, I don't really like to say PTSD in veterans and I do a lot of things for veterans. But when it came to this, it was more about a mental health type cause and when I speak to people, it's about mental health because anybody can have PTSD, whether you're a veteran, whether you're a rape victim, whether you are a victim of molestation, anybody. From my own past, from the struggles that I had in the night,
Jason Mosel: 15:08 it was always the hardest. You can't sleep. And even though everyone and their mother told you to call me whenever you want, you don't want to feel like a burden at two, three in the morning, one in the morning, whatever it is, so you don't call anybody. And so, what I decided to do, we're going to live stream this. Because if someone's out there and they're struggling, they don't want to call somebody. I want to give them easy access to see that somebody out there is just getting the fuck after it and that if they're like, all right, this guy can go for it; I'm going to go for it. And so, the other thing to that was that because I knew that the hardest time was at night, I decided, all right, we're going to do this record attempt at night. We're going to go from six o'clock at night until six o'clock in the morning.
Jason Mosel: 15:49 I'm going to do this without any sleep or anything like that because on top of this record. It was more about a struggle and I wanted to try to tie together the mental struggle with physical struggle and hopefully I did portray that a little bit and what I did. I think at the end of the day and of course people are jumping on and off definitely skewed the number, but it doesn't matter. I mean, at the end of the, the live stream, we had around 60,000 views. Oh, people throughout the world. So, regardless of the number that I ended with, which was 3,194, well shy of that 5,000 number. I know that from just people that have reached out to me afterwards that I reached my goal of changing one person's life because that's what it was all about. We raised money for the Josh Pallotta fund, which was awesome and amazing. I know I've changed at least one person's life in the fact that I may have saved someone's life was completely and utterly worth all the pain and discomfort that I went through that night.
Scott DeLuzio: 17:03 Right? And I mean ultimately you kept going until the last possible minute, right? You didn't give up at all throughout that entire 12 hours.
Jason Mosel: 17:13 Oh God. No, because I would feel like a fricking hypocrite if my whole thing is telling people, don't quit. Don't quit. Don't quit. Don't quit. And then I say at midnight, Oh Christ, I'm not going to make this record. Well, pack it up boys. Let's go. No, fuck that, you keep going until the very end because that's what it's about. It's about not quitting.
Scott DeLuzio: 17:39 And ultimately the number of burpees that you did was a personal record for you anyway. So, is that correct?
Jason Mosel: 17:48 Oh yeah, yeah!
Scott DeLuzio: 17:53 You did it, in my mind anyways, if I was looking at this, there's no failure in this. Like this was all good stuff. You smashed. I mean, I don't think I've done that many burpees my entire life, never mind in 12 hours. So, you're definitely not going to find any complaints out of me, in terms of, gee, why didn't you do more? You know? But this isn't the only type of a challenge that you've put yourself through, you've consistently been going through different races and other physical challenges and coming up, I wanted to mention this, coming up in a few months in May, you have another challenge that you're going to be putting yourself through which I can't even wrap my head around some of this stuff but it's also to support the Josh Pallotta fund with this 888 kilometer race that you're going to be doing over the course of 10 days. If you do the math, it's about 550 miles. So that's what, about 55 miles a day that you're looking to do
Jason Mosel: 19:12 yeah. About two marathons.
Scott DeLuzio: 19:14 Yeah. That's the equivalent of about two marathons, not just the equivalent of two marathons. That's two marathons every day for 10 days back to back to back to back, all the way through at the end of May and that is quite impressive. Tell me a little bit about that challenge and what prompted you to want to get into that and everything.
Jason Mosel: 19:43 So like, before we get into that, let me just like start back to
Jason Mosel: 19:51 2013 so that we can see the progression to where that came from because one misconception when it comes to this is there's two big ones I hear. One is that you're built for this. I'm not, I can never do that. And two is that you're a born athlete. I hear that crap all the time. So, in 2013, a friend of mine came to me and said, Hey, there's this thing called tough mudder, which is a 10-mile obstacle course race. Why don't you come and do it with me? And “Oh yeah, absolutely; I can do it.” It looks cool. I was a Marine so I can definitely run 10 miles and we're going to have fun. So, I did it and yes it kicked the shit out of me because even though it was only what at that time, three, six, years after I had gotten out of the Marines, I was completely in shape, right?
Jason Mosel: 21:06 While I was in the Marines run a three-mile, 18 minutes for the PFT was nothing. And then six years afterwards though I looked like a chewed piece of bubblegum that couldn't even fucking go like a quarter of a mile or a half a mile without just dying. So even though it did beat the crap out of me, it was like this community of people that was amazing and it was this sense of something that you crossed that finish line and it's like, wow, I just did that. If I'm capable of that, what else am I capable of? And as I started to go through training exercises on a daily basis and pushing that limit, I started to realize one thing and I think it really came to fruition around 2015 when one day I looked in the mirror and said you've been doing all this drinking because you're trying to sweep something under the rug and you're not sweeping anything under the rug because this is who you are.
Jason Mosel: 22:28 What has happened to you in the past is now you. And so, a lot of the times when I talk, I always talk about my demons and that's what it is. I now have what I call a demon in my head. And every morning I wake up, that motherfucker has to pay rent for being in my head because nobody should allow anything or anybody to live rent free in their mind. So, what I started to do was for this demon to pay rent, I had to put him through a little pain and that pain was my training. So, what started with a tough Mudder then moved to the world's toughest Mudder, which is a 24-hour tough mudder course. You just run it for 24 hours, however many loops you can get. Then that started to go to endurance events.
Jason Mosel: 23:32 A death race in Pittsfield, Vermont where hurricane heats with Spartan, which turned into running ultra-events where running the Spartan ultras to 50 milers to hundred milers and always pushing that limit. And when it came to the burpees, we discussed in the beginning here about raising awareness for PTSD, having a conversation with my wife and I was talking about and this may rattle a few cages of people that are listening, but this is just the way I think. Raising awareness is all well and good, but for somebody that's going on Facebook and putting hashtag 22 pushups a day, what in the fuck are you doing? Like what are you doing? You're talking about some things that everybody knows about. And it was one of those nights where my wife was like, what are you going to do?
Jason Mosel: 24:40 And I was like, what am I going to do? What am I good at? I'm good at putting my body through pain. So, let's put that together. And that's how the burpees came about. It's not just about doing 22 pushups a day for 22 veterans that take their lives. It's about showing those veterans that are just going through a mental struggle, what you're capable of where you're able to go. And by having the live stream, you can see it by raising the money for a Val, for the Josh Pallotta fund that's helping start an actual place that veterans can go. It's not just about the awareness piece, it's about what can I do to help the community of people. And so, after the burpees, this year I've done a few other endurance events.
Jason Mosel: 25:47 I've done a few ultra-marathons and now it's setting my sights on the next thing. Because honestly, no one gives a damn what you did yesterday. You have to continuously make that demon pay rent. So, the next step in that is going to be this 500 miler, which is a huge task to take on. It's going to be in a small town called Goshen, Vermont. I'm at a race called Infinitus that the endurance society puts on. It's the same concept where we're raising money for the Josh Pallotta fund. I've been working on getting a community of people to actually run their own 888 K but they don't have to do it in 10. They can do it at their leisure. Give them a goal of trying to raise $888 for the Josh Pallotta fund. So, if we get a hundred people and we're able to raise 800 or 80,000, $888 and so leading up to that, it's just training. In February I'll be doing a test run race, if you want to call it that. It's a 200-mile race in El Paso, Texas in February. And then after that it's onto the 500 or the 888.
Scott DeLuzio: 27:23 Wow. That's amazing. I think some people could probably resonate with those demons in their head and a lot of people don't necessarily think about making them pay rent the way you put it. I like that. They shouldn't be living there, rent free and you should definitely do something about that I don't know necessarily if the physical challenges are the right thing for everyone. Again, like you said earlier, I'm also not a psychologist. I don't know the science behind all of this. The things that happen in our heads but there's something to be said for achieving some of these goals, crossing that finish line after that tough Mudder, even though it was only 10 miles and you thought, Oh, that's nothing.
Scott DeLuzio: 28:27 I can do that. But then it kicked your ass and then eventually you did cross the finish line. There's something to be said for that sense of achievement. I know a few years ago I did my first half marathon and I had never done a half marathon before. I don't think I'd ever run more than seven or eight miles before that and I just decided to pick up and do it one day and my legs were burning, my feet were on fire, everything hurt at the end of that. My body just wasn't ready for that. But when I took that last step and I crossed over the 13.1 miles or whatever it is, I had the sense of accomplishment that I did something. I'm able capable of doing this thing that previously was not possible to me in my head.
Scott DeLuzio: 29:26 It just wasn't something that I was able to do. And it opened up a world of possibilities. There are things I can do. There are other things that I haven't done yet that I can do now. And I think that someone who maybe is struggling with some of these demons that might not feel like there are things that they can do that might help them realize they have greater potential there. There's more in them then what they have previously accomplished.
Jason Mosel: 30:01 I always tell people too, I say, don't get too wrapped up in my story and say, well, I'm not good at physical fitness. Neither are a lot of people. And that's okay. My whole thing when it comes to this is that for me, for my sanity, I have to do what I have to do. I wake up at 3:00 AM every day regardless of what it's doing outside in the snow and the rain and the heat and the cold or whatever. And I'm out there and I'm getting after it and some people are like fuck all of that. Like no, and that's fine. But what I tell people is that whatever it is that is going to do the same thing of what these physical activities did for me, then you have to do it and you have to put every ounce of energy into it.
Jason Mosel: 30:55 So it could be the physical activity, it could be starting your own business, it can be getting that college degree, it could be leaving your job and getting that better job that's going to make you happy, that promotion or hell you could be into, like I've said this before, you could be into knitting. I don't care. You just better knit the fuck out of that blanket. And just go all in. Everything you've got goes into that. And that's what it's all about. It's not about like pushing your body to a limit physically. It's about taking everything you have that passion and putting it all into whatever it is that's going to make you happy. When you cross whatever finish line it may be, whether it's getting that degree, starting that business, knitting that blanket, it doesn't matter. Whatever your finish line is, put every fucking thing you have into it.
Scott DeLuzio: 31:50 I've talked to a few other people on this show between artwork, painting and photography, music, yoga, outdoor rock climbing and things like that. A similar message came out of those interviews where people were pouring themselves into whatever it was that they were doing. And they focused all of their energy, all of their attention on that activity. So, a lot of good stuff here and I could probably talk to you for hours on this but I don't want to keep you too long. We are coming up on time here but I do have one last question that I do like to ask people
Scott DeLuzio: 32:40 on the show and the question, there's no wrong answer to this question. You can answer it with it as serious as you want or with a joke it doesn't matter. Is there anything that you wish somebody would have told you before you joined the military? Any piece of advice or anything like that that you wish you would've had before you joined the military that you could have carried through your career and even beyond?
Jason Mosel: Nope.
Scott DeLuzio: No. Okay.
Jason Mosel: Because if anybody gave me any bit of information that would change the course that I'm on now, who knows where I would be, who knows if I'd be here, who knows if I'd be happy. Sometimes I guess what I think about and when I think about the past, I think about how as shitty as it was and how terrible times were, if you don't go through that, then you don't learn. You don't grow, you don't strengthen anything. Do I wish that people that have been killed are still with us today? Absolutely. Do I wish that anything in my own personal life was different?
Jason Mosel: 34:15 It's a hard question to answer because I'd be a totally different person and who knows whether I'd be happy or not. But what I do know is that if I could go back in time and tell me that going into the military, I would buckle the fuck up because it's going to be a hell of a ride. And that's it.
Scott DeLuzio: That's actually great advice for anybody who is considering joining the military or is in their early stages, maybe within the first year or so of a military career who maybe hasn’t realized that is a truth to the service that they're entering. But definitely think that that is a great piece of advice. So, thank you for that and for sharing a little bit about your story and everything that you've gone through and things like that. I think it really can be helpful and inspiring too, to the people who might be going through similar struggles on their own.
Jason Mosel: Yeah, no problem.
Scott DeLuzio: All right. Thank you.
Scott DeLuzio: 35:40 Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to check out more episodes or learn more about the show, you can visit our website, DriveOnPodcast.com we're on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at DriveOnPodcast.
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