Workout of the Day (Friday)

Hilly 3.5 mile run. Enjoy. Go!

Then, pull ups and two sets of pushups. Feet on and elevated box, hands in rings just off the floor. Now raise one leg for core strengthening and begin two sets of pushups.

If you are feeling spunky then add the P90X Ab workout.

Make It Fun!
God Bless You.


I Forgive You

One year ago this weekend, I was in the lead vehicle in a convoy that set out to help the local people in Afghanistan. My head phones were on to communicate with others in my truck and I was stealing glimpses out of a small section of the front window to prevent getting car sick. Our team bounced around the countryside past vineyards and grape drying huts. We noticed a disturbance in the soil in the middle of the dirt road. The truck commander instructed the driver to veer around it and as we did a deafening explosion resonated through each of our headsets. The back end of my truck kicked up. I was concerned I was going to hit my head on the ceiling. Just prior to leaving the base, I had cinched down my seatbelt more than usual. I was just millimeters from the roof. I saw dirt out the side window tear off the view of the vineyards and replace it with a field of brown for a moment. I felt gravity invite me then pulled me back to earth. My right elbow struck a metal box next to me and delivered an incredible pain. The truck began to settle into position and then stopped. Tan dust began to suffocate what little air we had. I looked across from me then to my left, checking on each member in the truck. I unbuckled. I waited a couple of seconds then rose up to open the escape hatch. I cringed waiting for a complex attack to ensue. I anticipated I would be met with machine gun fire. I raised the hatch. My gunner was still in position pulling duty. I checked outside of my vehicle, saw the sky above and the ground below. There was no immediate attack. I got up on the roof and assisted each team member out. A security element was formed. When night fell, we continued our mission. We were successful in setting up a police security station, demonstrating to the locals how they could have sustainable potable water using things in their local area, met with village elders and providing security for the local people.

With all that being said. I know the man responsible for attempting to kill me. I worked with him. He knew our missions because he was the Afghan Army Leader who planned them with us. He was also working for the Taliban. He was corrupt on so many levels and his world came crashing down on him one day. He happened to be with us several vehicles back.

I was bitterly angry. I met with my friend and chaplain. I told him I knew I should forgive the man but I found it very difficult. Our role was to help people being oppressed. He attempted to permanently separate me from my family and I was mad. I experienced a lot of mortars, RPGs, and rockets. This made me truly angry. I became edgy, short tempered, and quick to fire off a sarcastic remark over the next few weeks. I prayed for forgiveness and I do to this very day. I pray for him that he tried to murder me. I pray for myself due to the anger I developed.

My role was to help people. I was not a combatant. This man valued money over human life.

I forgive you and pray that God will forgive you.

Barefoot Running and Loving It

I am a big advocate of barefoot running. Not minimalist or five finger type shoes, however real barefoot running. Growing up, I was worried about every little thing. One thing I was worried about was getting dog or cat worms from the soil. After reading Born to Run, my wife switched to the funny looking shoes with individual spaces for each of her toes. She introduced the book to a great friend of ours. Now, he runs all sorts of half, full marathons, 50 and 100 kilometer races barefoot. Real barefoot. He’s run the Leadville as well. He introduced the book to me and it makes sense. I spoke with a physical therapist friend and colleague of mine. He has worked much with biomechanics and gait. As of spring 2012, he could not find definitive research demonstrating one way or the other as to which is better: to run shod or barefoot. Therefore, I shall leave it up to the individual.

For the past 1.5 years, I have been running barefoot some and shod as well. If you choose to run barefoot, approach it slowly. I found it beneficial to start and advance in quarter mile increments. It is nothing for me to go out and run 5-13 miles. It takes time, but once you train your mind to control your body and breathing, most anyone can run comfortably. Many people I know went out and bought the funny looking shoes then painfully regretted the next day, having attempted 3 or more miles. So, I advise people to start low and slowly increase as your body adjusts. Start with a quarter mile. That’s it. You may think its no big deal. Really, just a quarter mile. Then stop, stretch and hydrate. Wait for two days then repeat it again. If you are not in discomfort, add a second quarter for a total of a half mile. Then repeat every other or every third day. If you are in pain, then don’t run that day. Wait. Wait until the discomfort is gone. Then slowly advance by another quarter mile. Seriously, take it slow and you will see positive gains. If you push too hard too quickly, you may set yourself back.

To date, the furthest I’ve run barefoot is five miles. I have come to realize in my fear of worms, and bugs and generally the unknown are two things. First, we could die at any moment. Secondly, we have medication for those worms and parasites.

With that being said, get out there and enjoy today.

Today’s workout is hill repeats for one mile. Barefoot.

Again, if you run with shoes, enjoy the hill repeats. If you run barefoot, start slow.

Make It Fun !
God Bless You.

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day. It is a day which many Americans remember and reflect on those who served and ultimately gave their lives for their fellow mankind.  For some, it is a day off work, others a day to barbecue or to enjoy adult beverages.  Some have to work, especially if in the service industry such as fire, police, medical/nursing, corrective services, dispatchers and many others.

This past week, I had the honor and privilege of meeting James “Maggie” Magellas.  He is the highest decorated Army Officer of the 82D Airborne Division. He served with the 504 Regiment.  He was a normal American of European ancestry and grew up in Wisconsin. When called to serve his nation, he became a communication officer, later a glider pilot and ultimately served as an infantry platoon leader.

I listened to him speak about his journey to Italy via Northern Africa.  The 101st Airborne is well known in American history and has been portrayed in films such as Band of Brothers. The 101st was part of the D-Day invasion to liberate Europe penetrating the beaches of France. The 82D served in the sands of North Africa and worked their way to Italy and Germany.

He described his accounts across the Waal River and noted the leading officer to bang on the side of a tiny boat repeating “Hail Mary, full of grace. Hail Mary, full of grace”.  Bullets whizzed past and shells exploded around.  This was  a daytime river crossing, during broad daylight, in which the Germans held the high ground and had the tactical advantage.

He continued with the airborne operation into Nijmegen during Operation Market Garden. This was demonstrated in the movie “A Bridge Too Far”.  An example of an airborne insertion into enemy territory was shown.

I purchased his book All the Way to Berlin and he has a film documenting his time in the 82D in conjunction with the World War II Foundation, Tim Gray Media, and Ocean State Media.  Here is the link to the trailer.

You may also see the show on PBS or can order directly from him.  Per Mr. Megellas, “Lead from the front and your men will follow”.

I have been fortunate to get to know a few veterans along my journey in life. Mr. Megellas served in WWII. Tom Lyons of Minnesota served in Korea, JP Winstead served in the Pacific in WWII and his son in Viet Nam.  A gentleman I attend church with was a Green Beret in the Pacific during Viet Nam. Jim Lane served in Somalia. I have had the privilege of meeting folks who were in the military in Saudi Arabia for Desert Storm, and others who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I ask that you take a moment and say a prayer for all people around the world as we all work towards world peace.  I do not know anyone wishing for war. Some did volunteer to serve while others were called by their nation. Others found service locally in fire, law enforcement, medical, teaching or other government service.  Take a moment to thank those, pray for those who have been affected by war, violence, and loss, and enjoy this Memorial Day.

Make It Fun!

God Bless.

The New Sexy

Yesterday, I stopped into the local movie house in Raleigh, North Carolina. The film du jour…Star Trek: Into Darkness.  For those who are fans of the Star Trek films, I am sure most have already seen this in the past week.  However, I found it had a great combination  of intelligence, displays of physical fitness, and developing leaders in times of strife/controversy.

If you have not seen the film, Captain James T. Kirk and crew face one of their own when they have to work with and later battle Khan.  The name Khan is used in many parts of the world and is of royalty most notably in the Pashtun regions of western Pakistan, eastern Afghanistan, Mongolia, and India; possibly descendants of  the historical warrior Ghengis Khan. In Star Trek, Khan was a member of Star Fleet who was genetically modified to have improved intelligence, physical prowess, and healing abilities.

The character Khan is played by Benedict Cumberbach, an actor with an incredible future ahead of him unlike many other actors.  Mr. Cumberbach, until recently, was better known for his PBS role of Sherlock depicted from the original literature set in modern times.

Kirk is played by Chris Pine.  Kirk is often finding himself in physical altercations and yet has the intellectual ability to think his way through difficult and challenging situations.

I appreciate the works of director J.J. Abrams and creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat in that they celebrate intelligence.  Unlike many films of the 1970s and 80s in which the selling point was often topless women to entice film viewers or to be sickly rail thin like Twiggy, films of today are beginning to reflect a new view that is more intriguing.  Characters with a combination of physical strength and endurance with intelligence.  This combination may be the new sexy.  Intelligence has often been overlooked in history or has been exclusive from physical capabilities, though this unique combination brought together develops a more appealing leader. This may be even evident in the new James Bond films which Bond is less about jumping into bed and more about chasing the enemy in Parkour style and utilizing his intelligence to problem solve.

Spock mentioned in the film that he cannot lie.  Sadly, he mentions that he does not believe in miracles, though if you know his character you know this is an honest statement for him.

You see the story unfold realizing that one person cannot complete the task or mission alone.  It takes a team.  And in that team, members accept responsibility for the good and the bad, the accomplishments and the failures, all that the team does and does not accomplish.

As our world society continues to become more obese and vastly increase long term health effects, it greatly decreases productivity and causes staggering rises in health care costs.  We all have responsibility in ourselves, our families, our jobs, our society and our world. We have responsibility to lead healthy lives, healthy lives lead to mentally sound lives and our spiritually fulfilled lives lead to better citizens. We must accept responsibility for all we do and all we fail to do.

I appreciate the change in films and in an ever increasing awareness in our society of holistic approach to topics. I appreciate people stepping up to be leaders and understanding that in a leader, we demand accountability and reward them when the job is done honestly and correctly. I am not out to sell anything or project any particular view or body image on anyone.  I am trying to encourage people to have physically, mentally, and just as important, spiritually fit lives.

Make It Fun!

God Bless.

Workout of the Day (Saturday)

This workout is a combination from last weekend and this weekend.  Give it a try, I bet you will find it to be a great calorie burner and a bit fun.

Last Saturday, I spent 6-7 hours splashing and playing in the surf, snorkeling and swimming in the open ocean.  At the water’s edge with just enough room to keep my face out of the water, I performed “superman” planks with one arm and opposite leg elevated.  What made this even more difficult was the shifting sand underneath each time the waves rolled in.  I added side planks and push ups.  Repeat this for three sets.  Add to it the oblique plank crunches as used in the workout program Insanity.  Start by positioning yourself in the basic plank position.  Raise one leg at 90 degrees to the body and draw your knee towards your shoulder.  Perform one on each side for 10 reps.  Again, the shifting sand underneath makes this even more difficult and a wonderful challenge.

Last night I ran 7 miles in the dark on loose sand at a moderate pace.  There were mild hills so the loose sand made it more difficult.

Please, get out and enjoy your weekend.

Make It Fun!

God Bless.

Workout of the Day (Friday)

I spent the weekend in Wilmington, Carolina Beach, and Kure Beach. Friday night I watched the sun glimmer and dance on the ocean as I stood in the waves looking west. Fridays’ workout is four hours of splashing, jumping into the waves like Superman punching through a wall of water, and open water swimming. Don’t forget to run on the beach barefoot.

Make It Fun!
God Bless.