Archive for March, 2016

One of the reasons that I left Active duty, is because I am disgusted with what the military has become.  I can only speak on the problems with the Army, but from what I hear, it’s a widespread cancer that spans all branches of the service.  Our military has become so weak, that i’m genuinely frightened if we ever have to go into another hands on war.

The purpose of a military is to close with and DESTROY an enemy, not slap their wrists, let them go, and just wait for them to try again.  In fact the word destroy is in the Army’s Soldier’s Creed:

I am an American Soldier.
I am a Warrior and a member of a team.
I serve the people of the United States, and live the Army Values.
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.
I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America, in close combat.
I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an American Soldier.

The thing is, that Soldiers coming up through the ranks nowadays can’t even really live up to this Creed.  Society today seems to ruin everything that it touches, and the Military is no exception.  When I first joined the Army and went to basic, you learned right away that Drill Sergeants were in charge, and if you didn’t listen to them, you would literally get destroyed.  The thing is it wouldn’t just be you that got punished, oh no the entire platoon would take a licking for you, but you know what that did?  It made it so your platoon would get you on the right track through what ever means necessary.

Now what did this do for us?  It made disciplined Soldiers.  Soldiers that knew if they messed up, they had to pay the consequences.  The sad part is, that’s not true today.  When you got to your unit, if you got in trouble, you had two choices.

1. Take physical punishment (smoking).  This could last as long as your SGT wanted.  It was meant to let you know that YOU FUCKED UP.  While they smoked you, a good NCO would also try to mentor you, and let you know what you could do to fix yourself.

2. Option 2 was the road less traveled.  Instead of taking some physical pain for awhile, you could instead get a negative counseling statement.  The problem with taking this easier route is, that negative counseling forms could accrue and earn you an Article 15, which almost always meant demotion, loss of pay, and extra duty.

So generally option 1 was the way to go.  You take your lickings and get back to work.  Todays Army frowns on option 1 and instead pushes for paperwork that if even slightly messed up, gets thrown out, which means little Joe Schmoe gets off Scott free, and theres nothing you can do about it.  It breeds un-disciplined Soldiers who know they can push the boundaries.  I can talk about this all day, but have to say, if a Presidential candidate ever made plans to fix the Army and stop hamstringing us, I would vote for them.

Let me know what you think.  Thanks for reading.

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In regards to my fitness and overall health, the last year and a half, was a HUGE mistake on my part.  My last four months in the Army was a huge waste of time on my part.  I only had to go into work, pretty much once a week.  Besides that I was getting paid to sit at home and stay out of sight.  Instead of using that time to stay in shape I pretty much just vegged out and did everything but that.  Then I went into security work right after leaving the Army, and my fitness level took a complete dive.

Sitting in a car for 8-12 hours a day, is by itself a terrible thing, as you’re cramped up in said tiny car.  You could get out and walk a round a bit, but that only went so far.  On top of all that, my nutrition was anything but that.  I would shove food down my throat, and follow it up with an energy drink or two, to help me stay awake for my whole shift, and it definitely started to take a tole on my body.

Now I wouldn’t say that I got fat.  Yes I got a little belly on me, but I wasn’t super obese, I was more skinny fat.  What really opened my eyes to what I was doing to myself, was constantly having to get taped after weighing in for the Army.  My entire 10 years on active duty, and I never had to get taped, but as soon as I leave the Army I have to start getting taped.  Not a great feeling.

So there is the full story on why I am so actively working to get back into shape, and change my life again.  What’s your fitness story?  If you have one share it in the comments below.  Thank you for reading.

When talking about parasitic thoughts, i’m talking about any thought that can detract from your day, or your goals.  So these thoughts can come from work, driving, people in public, or my reason for this post, just plain old laziness.  To start i’ll talk about the parasitic thought that I had to quash right away today.

I’d been cleaning and running errands throughout the day, and it was getting about time to go for my daily run, but a little voice in my head started whispering.  What was it saying?  That I was too tired from the day, and from running the previous couple of days, and that I should just make my mileage up on Saturday.  The sad thing is that I almost caved into these thoughts.

As I was driving back to my house though, I thought hard about it, and decided that not only would I not skip today, but if I was going to do a makeup run on Saturday, then I might as well just do another run.  Now the point of this whole thing is just to get it out there, that you shouldn’t let lazy thoughts get the best of you.

If you have goals, then you probably also have a plan to reach those goals.  Skipping one workout may seem innocent enough, especially if you have a makeup plan, but it plants that seed of laziness.  You skip that first day, and you’re that much more likely to skip even more days, which in the end ruins your plan for your goals.

Let me know of any instances where you had to shove those parasitic thoughts out of your head.  Thanks for reading, and until next time.

As I stated in a previous post, i’m trying to follow the 80/20 theory when it comes to my running.  For those that missed the post, I have been reading a book called 80/20 Running, and what the point is, is to follow a 80/20 training plan, where 80% of your running is at low intensity, and the remaining 20% is broken between moderate, and hard training.  According to the studies mentioned within the book, most runners (casual and competitive), spend the majority of their training time in the moderate level of intensity, without even being aware of it.  So even when we think we are doing an easy run, we usually revert to a pace that is just under our race pace, and that is comfortable to us.

I have done two runs since I started reading this book, and have been trying to implement the methods that I have been reading about, but it’s a lot harder to get into and stay in the low intensity threshold.  Every time I think I have gotten into the perfect pace within the boundaries of an easy run, I look at my watch and see that I have sped back up to my usual pace.  This see saw effect of pace is a pain, but it is recommended to keep your runs short while you break yourself out of the moderate pace.

My goal for the next two weeks is to find and keep the pace needed for easy runs.  I am capping my weekly mileage at 25 miles per week.  I run three miles in the morning and another two in the evening after my workout.  I’m hoping that after these two weeks I can start upping my milage, without it affecting my pace.  As i’m not an elite runner trying to compete in National events, my end goal is to run about 50 miles a week.  All this running is to help my cardio and endurance to help me in Obstacle and Mud runs.

Let me know what you think of the 80/20 method.  Are you with it or you more of a HIIT (high intensity interval training) type of person?  Thank you for reading.

So while my first obstacle race is probably going to be a BattleFrog Series race, I think I will be focusing more on Spartan races after that.  I like the Spartan races, mainly because there are many different styles of races that you can participate in.  I think my goal for the year is to earn a Trifecta medal.

For those that don’t know what the Trifecta is, it’s a medal that you get by combining the pieces that you earn from each of the race types.  So you have to complete your Trifecta between January 1st-December 31st, so you have a complete calendar year to finish it.  You can also finish multiple Trifectas throughout the year, but you can only get 1 piece from each race, even if you run multiple heats in a day.  You get a piece of the Trifecta for completing a Sprint, Super, and a Beast, and you can complete it in whatever order you wish.

A quick look at the race types:

Sprint=3+ miles, 20+ obstacles
Super=8+ miles, 24+ obstacles
Beast=12+ miles, 30+ obstacles

I plan to finish it in order of difficulty this year, so Sprint, then Super, and finish it up with the Beast.  Next year I can try to finish multiples, but at the same time I also want to do the Spartan Endurance events so we will see what all I can get done.  Once I get more experience with these races, I plan to start entering Elite races in order to earn points for global rankings.

Let me know what you think.  Thank you for reading.

Since I have decided to start doing Obstacle/Mud runs, I figured I should probably improve my cardio.  I’ve been so focused on building strength, that my running and cardio in general have fallen on the wayside.  My only issue with running  a lot more is that I want to stay at my current weight, so I must balance running, lifting, and my nutrition to ensure I don’t lose anything that I have gained in the strength and size department.

I have to say that the biggest helpful tool that I think I have is a FitBit.  This watch helps you keep track of everything from your steps, mileage, to your heart rate.  I’m also reading a book called 80/20, which works on the theory that 80% of your runs should be at a slow easy pace, while only 20% of your runs should be at either hard or medium pace.

I really like this way of training, but the hard part is training myself to run easy on the easy days.  Since I haven’t been doing a lot of running, I set my target mile pace at 9:30, but constantly caught myself running at a 7:30 pace so had to dial my speed way down.  The constant fluctuation really got my heart rate elevated, so called an end to my run a little earlier than I wanted, but still got a few miles in.

I feel with all the tools I am using, I should have a good comfortable training platform for my cardio, and hopefully shouldn’t effect my weight too much.  Let me know how you handle your cardio and if you find any specific tools useful to your training.  Thank you for reading.

So awhile back I said that I am looking into getting into obstacle course runs, as a hobby and sport to give me plenty of fitness goals.  Well when I was on Facebook last night, I may have found my first race.  Its a Battlefrog open, in Nashville, Tennessee.  It is an 8k (4.97miles), with 22 obstacles spread throughout.  I’m not fully committed yet because its right around the time that i’m supposed to be moving to Illinois, but i’m really hoping I can do it.

My goal for this year is to do at least three obstacle or mud runs, and then next year try and make it a more serious hobby.  My end goal is to start doing the competitive runs, and then just doing the open runs when I have the time.  Once I start getting more serious with it I might turn it into its own blog, but for now it will stay on this blog.

I also plan on getting a GoPro camera so I can film my runs.  I would only film the actual obstacles, since watching someone run between obstacles would probably be pretty boring.  I think I will use a head mount, and will just have to find a good way to keep the lens clean while going through all the mud and dirt.

Let me know what you think, and if you currently participate in these types of runs, which brand is your favorite.  Thank you for reading, and I will keep you up to date on my plans.

PROMPT #2

Flipping through my prompt book again, I saw this prompt and it struck a nerve.  I thought about it a lot, and hope it comes out as I envisioned.  Again everything i’m writing is my opinion so if you feel differently, or agree, be sure to let me know.

What “lessons” do you feel kids today are not being taught?

I’m taking the term “lessons” loosely, so I will not be discussing anything school related.  Instead I will be hitting on life lessons, that I feel todays youth are not receiving or just don’t seem to care about.  Before I begin I just want to reiterate, that I know not all kids fall into all of the groups I describe, and they might not fit into any of the categories.  I know some kids are taught these lessons from an early age, and for that i’m grateful to those children’s family.

“lessons kids aren’t learning”

  1. Respect for elders
  2. Respect for Authority
  3. Patriotism
  4. Hardwork
  5. Initiative
  6. Tolerance
  7. Compassion

These seven things are all big things, that I think all children should learn, and should learn from an early age.  I feel they should not only learn them, but should practice them everyday.  Frankly however, the fault isn’t really just on the kids.  The fault lies with society as a whole, with the parents, and on the kids.

Let me start by saying, that when I was growing up if my brothers or I acted up in public, we were getting punished, even if we were in the middle of a store.  My parents were not against spanking us right there in front of everyone.  Not only did you get the sting of the spanking, but you felt the sting of embarrassment, because everybody in the immediate area just saw you get punished, and more than likely heard you cry out like a little baby.

Nowadays if I were to even raise my voice at my kids while in the store, half the people in the store would be on their phones with CPS spouting off about child abuse.  Just so everyone knows though, I don’t have to raise my voice with my kids while in public, because my kids know better than to act a fool.  The thing is society as a whole has grown weak and over political about everything.  At the same time i’m not saying beat your kids, but kids need to be punished when they act a certain way, and I shouldn’t have to be worried about what the lady in the aisle next to me thinks about me punishing my kid.

Lets get into those seven points though.

Respect for elders
Growing up adults were either “Sir” or “Mam”, unless you were given the permission to refer to them by something else.  For me it is still that way, it doesn’t matter if it’s an older lady walking into the bank, or someone working the drive thru at McDonald’s, I refer to anyone as “Sir” or “Mam” if I don’t know their name.  It’s a sign of respect, and as far as i’m concerned everyone deserves my respect, until they prove me otherwise.  My wife and I preach the same thing to our kids.  They may not always do it yet, but they know if they are around me they better say it.

The problem is it seems to have fallen on the wayside.  Kids and young adults are so self absorbed that they don’t care anymore, and more often than not, will let a door close in an older persons face, even if that person is in a wheelchair or walker or whatever.  This is a big lesson that needs to get back into our society.

Respect for authority
This is a huge problem, and has only gotten worse with social media and Youtube.  Again kids and young adults have no respect for authority figures.  There are videos floating all over the internet of kids yelling at cops, threatening teachers, and trying to fight anyone that gets in their way.  Why is this allowed?  It’s allowed because our society has turned into a bunch of weak minded and weak willed people, who think we should just stand by and let people roll over us…WRONG!!!!  These kids need to be put in their place.  Teachers should be allowed to remove problem children from the classroom, cops should be able to arrest these kids for acting like that.  In no world should some high school student be able to bully a teacher or administrator into submission.

Patriotism
This one hits home for me, because of what i’ve given, what my family has given, and what my brothers in arms have given.  I’m not saying everyone has to bleed Red, White, and Blue, but you better respect the country you live in.  All these people out there stepping on, burning, or defacing the flag that so many have died to defend need to be punished to the full extent of the law.  For those that don’t know which law I refer to:

Whoever knowingly mutilates, defaces, physically defiles, burns, maintains on the floor or ground, or tramples upon any flag of the United States shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

Also i’m sure someone will bring it up, so yes in 1969 Congress said that burning the flag is not illegal and is an act protected under the 1st Amendment.  However I think if you hate the United States so much that you would burn our flag, I feel we should be able to put your ass on a plane and forcibly remove you from our wonderful country, but thats just my 1st amendment rights in action.

Hardwork
This one is pretty self explanatory.  Stop letting your kids think they are entitled to anything, and make them get their asses out there and work for what they want.  Every time a young adult is killed while trying to rob someone, their families say that is the only way they could get money for school clothes…BULLSHIT, take your ass to McDonald’s and work for minimum wage.  That’s how I got the things I wanted, or I worked outside removing tree’s with my grandfather during school breaks, in order to get a little pocket change.  For all those young adults protesting for some free college.  Guess what?  There are already five programs out there to help you get a free education..You know what those are?  Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard, go serve your Country if you want your Country to serve you.

Initiative
I’ve kind of hit on this throughout my post, so i’ll briefly hit it again.  Teach your kids to help others without having to be asked.  Open doors for your elders, pick up trash instead of letting it blow around, find ways to help others.  Don’t make everything so personal.

Tolerance
This is a big topic in our country today, and frankly one that I think the up and coming generations aren’t learning in a productive manner.  We need to be tolerant of other people, you can’t look at a group of people and hate them because they are a certain ethnicity or color.  Am I for a mass exodus of Muslims coming into the United States?  No, but it’s not because they are Muslim, it’s because I know that with that many people coming into the country, people who shouldn’t make it within our borders are going to slip through the cracks.  The thing is we can’t teach our kids to despise a whole group of people, thats how genocide and concentration camps come about.

Compassion
This kind of goes hand in hand with Tolerance.  You can’t hate everyone you meet, it’s just not healthy.  I was trained for combat, lived through combat, yet I can still treat people respectively when I meet them for the first time.  I treat everyone the same way, until they give me a reason to treat them differently.  Kids need to be taught to value and love life.

If you made it to the end of this, I want to thank you for reading through it.  I think this is my longest non-story related post to date.  If I said anything to offend anyone, I’m not sorry and it probably means you’re part of the problem.  I’m sure there are a bunch of errors throughout this, but as always will take all constructive critism.  Thanks again for reading and look for prompt #3 tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

Firefighter

Posted: March 21, 2016 in Creative Writing
Tags: , ,

One of the jobs that I have been looking at recently is that of a firefighter.  I’ve never really pictured myself as a firefighter, but there are some benefits to it that I like, and my younger brother has been a volunteer firefighter for a few years now and seems to love it.  One of the biggest benefits to me is that it is in the town that my grandparents live in, so I will be close to my family.

Before I can get the job there are several steps that I have to take to qualify.  First is taking the civil service written test, which is something I have done before to qualify for Louisville Metro Police, so i’m not too stressed out about that.  The other thing that I know I have to do is the CPAT, which is the Candidate Physical Abilities Test.  While the test itself doesn’t seem that difficult, i’m still a little stressed about it since I have never done it before.

CPAT
All events are done while wearing a 50 lbs vest, hard hat, pants, and work gloves.

Event #1= Stair climb
This event is done on a stair climbing machine.  You must walk on the machine at 50 steps per minute for three minutes.  For this event you have 12.5 lbs weights attached to your shoulders, so a total of 25 lbs is added to your 50 lbs vest.

Event #2= Hose drag
For this event you must drag a non charged hose 75 feet, then take a 90 degree turn around a barrel and walk an additional 25 feet.  Then you must pull additional hose until a predetermined point on the hose has crossed the line.  When walking with the hose, you can only have up to 8 feet of it over your shoulder or across your chest.

Event #3=Equipment carry
For this you must pull two saws off a raised platform, one at a time.  Then grabbing both you have to walk 75 feet down and 75 feet back.  You can set the saws on the ground to readjust your grip, but if you drop either saw you fail.  Upon reaching the start point, you must then return both saws to the platform the same way you got them down.

Event #4=Ladder raise and extension
For this event you must raise a 24 foot ladder from the ground into a standing position against a wall.  From there you move to a propositioned and secured ladder and must extend it all the way and then lower it back down without letting it slip.

Event #5= Forcible entry
Using a 10 lb sledgehammer you must strike a target until a buzzer sounds.

Event #6= Search
For this event you must crawl through a tunnel maze to the end.  Throughout the maze there are obstructions that you must navigate over, under, or through.

Event #7= Rescue
You must drag a 165 lb mannequin by the handles for 35 feet, make a 180 degree turn around a drum and drag for another 35 feet.  The entire mannequin must cross the line to be counted.

Event #8= Ceiling breach and pull
Using a provided pike you must push up a 60 lb trapdoor three times, then pull down a 80 lb ceiling device five times.  Repeat this four times.

You must complete all events within 10 minutes to pass.  There seems to be slight variations between testing sites, but all the events stay the same.  Like I said, for the most part the only thing that has me stressed about this test is that i’ve never done it before.  Physically I don’t think I will have any issues with it though.  I’m hoping this opportunity works out for me, but we will see.

Thank you for reading..

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I was flipping through the prompt book, I chose this prompt because I felt it was pretty ironic that I stumbled across it.  I will answer just the prompt and then elaborate more on it in a follow on post.

Pick one of the following careers: music DJ, sushi chef, or firefighter.  This will be your job for the next 3 months.  Why did you choose it, and what benefit do you think you will gain from it.

Of the three jobs listed I pick firefighter.  The main reason I pick that over the other two is it fits my interests and talents more.  While I love to listen to music, I have never had any desire to create, mix, or do anything else with music besides listen to it.  When it comes to food, I love to eat sushi, but have no interest in ever making it (BBQ, and smoking are my two food interests).

I feel that firefighter is the best pick for me for several reasons.

  1. I want to be able to help people
  2. I’m a physical person, and nothing says physical like smashing down doors, running into a burning building, and carrying someone out.
  3. I like to be part of a team.  The other jobs listed are all pretty single person jobs, and while I don’t mind it, like I said I prefer to operate as a team, and become friends with my team.

Some of the benefits I see to being a firefighter are:

  • Helping people
  • Being on a team
  • staying in better shape
  • making new friends
  • solid career

Now like I said at the beginning of the post, this prompt is ironic because i’m starting the process of hopefully becoming a firefighter.  I will make another post completely covering that, and should have it up sometime today.  Thanks for reading and be on the lookout for prompt #2.