Monday, March 9, 2015

M-Cubed for 3.9.2015

M-Cubed (Monday Morning Musings) for March Ninth, Two-Thousand Fifteen...a random smattering of thoughts that end up here on Monday morning.

- March! Time change yesterday, sunset AFTER 7pm, I just love this time of year. No matter what the day brings, we are all moving towards Spring, the snow melt, warmer temperatures, shorts weather and a driveway free of 3" of ice...well, that's my house if not yours. Just awesome. We will still get some snow, I'm sure, but the big picture is bright. Enjoy it!

- Week 2 of the CrossFit Games Open is complete! 3 more weeks to go. Last Thursday night, we huddled yet again on the couch to watch the Open announcement, this week from Austin, TX, and it turned out to be a repeat of last year's 14.2 workout...overhead squats and chest-to-bars. Well, if you were to be a fly on the wall and watching me for the past 19 weeks, you'd know I have garbage flexibility and the overhead squat is my #1 lifting weakness. Many will say that this movement is a true test of overall strength, skill and flexibility. The move starts with the bar on the ground and you must get it high overhead where you begin downward travel. Your quads must break parallel before you come back up. At the top, arms must be locked out and hips forward. That's one. Last Tuesday, my coach actually forbid me from putting weight on my 45lb bar. He told me that I hadn't even broke parallel with ONLY the bar so there wasn't any way I was loading the bar until that happened. (sucker punch!...but the right answer...form/function first then weight second) Then, the Open announcement two days later announcing that very movement. I am doing the scaled version of the Open and for this, the weight required was 65 pounds so two 10lb bumper plates on my 45lb bar. After a high rep dead lift workout Friday morning, I practiced the lift without weight and then with it. I did it...and I looked forward to Saturday morning 15.2 heat with the rest of my gym's family. The second part of the workout was doing chest-to-bars that was scaled down to chin over bar pull-ups. I have been using a band for pull-ups but a week ago was able to finally do a strict pull up with no band. What I DIDN'T practice was literally pushing my chin OVER the bar. Instead, I practiced just going high enough to break the horizontal plane. What a difference to push my chin over! I was only able to squeak out 2 chin-over-bars. So when some took several minutes to do many, many reps of 15.2, my day ended in 3 minutes with 6 overhead squat reps and 2 legit chin-over-bar unassisted pull-ups. No regrets! It's all I had and a week prior, I couldn't break parallel in the overhead squat. The Open isn't about competing with's about exposing one's weaknesses and giving it everything I have..and learning/growing from it. As they say, CrossFit isn't about specializing in any one thing, it's about getting strong across the board in everything. Next year when these squats and chest-to-bars show up, I'll be able to do them and more of them.

- A brand new 12-part series was recently premiered on NetFlix from the Wounded Warrior Project called "Wounded: the Battle Back Home" and "is an exclusive documentary series that brings to life this generation’s injured service member experiences as they battle both the visible and invisible wounds of war. Watch these inspiring individuals navigate their post-war lives in a society that struggles to understand them and a system that is failing to support them." We watched the first 3 over the weekend and I highly recommend this series. Each episode is far short of 30min long so it won't be a big hog of your time. It's safe for the family, too. Each episode is named after the veteran's story being told during that episode. Here is the trailer for the series. Please watch!

- I didn't write M-Cubed last Monday so I never did share about last weekend. My wife and I had the privilege yet again to host a marriage retreat. This time, it was in Amish Country and we hosted 22 couples. We began Friday night and wrapped up before dinner on Saturday. It was a really good time from all reports and all of the surveys that have come in so far. In fact, 100% of respondents said that they'd come back for another one! That's awesome to hear! The photo here is a collage of the weekend: a frozen tundra outside, "RefineUs" seminar material to guide us through, and our accommodations at the Carlisle Inn: Sugarcreek where the retreat took place. GREAT time!

- It was a pretty good week last week during my work days. I had the privilege of swearing three different people back in the Navy. While I normally work with those who aspire to be Naval Officers, I also help out the enlisted side of recruiting by swearing people in. In this case, three different sailors who had previously served decided to return...just as I did back in September 2007. Each with a different story and reason but all back in uniform. The first one was the coolest as he brought his grandfather with him who is a World War II Navy veteran. Of course, he had his signature hat designating such, hearing aids in both ears and a cane to help him along. Before he left, I gave him an American flag/Navy flag lapel pin and he thought I was only showing it to him and not giving it to him. It made his day...well, not exactly. Watching his grandson take the oath made his day but the pin was the icing on top, I guess. It was an honor to meet him, thank him, and shake his hand.

- Last Thursday, I dug through my "running folder" in the archives of my basement. There are some things in my past that I do my best to navigate around, other things I have no recollection of, and others I remember fondly. Back then, I saved all of my bib numbers and in those days, races published big booklets of finisher results and mailed them out. I have a lot of those. Here is one that I found and even the medal has some green verdigris on it. The medal is 16 years old now and wow, so much life has happened since then! The travesty unseen here is what I was wearing. SHORT shorts in bright purple! I found a handful of photos from this race and rolled my eyes at each one. I was only 26 years old back then, it was marathon #4, but I still ran a respectable 3:49:50. As I look at this one last time this morning, I really did hold on to that "pear shape" of a body forever...until now. So much has changed since this photo...physically and in life. I don't know him!

- Any chance you caught Mr. Moon this past week? For two nights, he was full and if you caught him rising from the east, he was bigger than ever, especially on that second night. Just brilliant! We had two nights of clear skies, too, so we got to sleep with the backyard illuminated and light pushing around the curtains all night long. I LOVE those nights and look forward to days soon where we can leave the windows open yet again.

- Yesterday, I had a most fantastic morning run. I slept in (code for 6:30am) and timed my morning run to coincide with the sunrise at 7:47am. It was "Spring Ahead Sunday" and by the looks of it, it would be a gorgeous morning and day. I hit the road right around sunrise and ran east, hoping for a front row seat. I got it! It sure was beautiful. I took the route through my local park and ended up, not on purpose (sort of), in 1 foot plus deep snow, if that makes sense. With the sun then freeze over the last few days, running through it in shorts made my shins bleed as I pulled them up for each step. It was quite a workout and once I got out of that park, I re-designed my return route home and dodged pot-holes and black ice vs. bleeding more. All in all, it was great to run which I have been slacking in lately. I felt strong and confident but stopped at the 10K mark. I hope to get more runs in mid-week as the temperatures warm at that 50 miler ONE month. (gulp!) Here's that sunrise...

- Have you seen the movie "Gone Girl"? It was at the library and had heard about it, it got a few Golden Globe nominations and one Oscar nomination so I thought "Why not?" Plus, it was one of two movies that Reese Witherspoon produced in 2014 so I wanted to see it for that reason, too. Well, if I were to rate it on a 5-star scale, I'd give it a solid 3 but definitely not an Oscar nod. It is most certainly NOT for the young-ins and is most certainly twisted. Often, my wife can predict the end to a thriller but not this time. As the end approached (and at 2 1/2 hours seemed like it was never going to get there!), we asked each other "how in the world is this movie going to end?!" and in the end, my arms went in the air..."that's how it ends?!"...argh!!!! Anyway, it's a good movie if you like twists and turns, Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, and a movie about a total psychopath. (Some of you just reserved it on Redbox, didn't you?!)

- Before I close today, I want to share not some stranger's quote but something I penned just a few days ago..just random thoughts from my head and then a few photos I took from Saturday's CrossFit Games Open 15.2 at my gym. We have some great athletes and I was able to capture many moments for a lot of them. Have a GREAT week, everyone!

School, relationships, work, the run, the box, parenting...showing up to give less than 100% mutes what could be and robs you of the joy, accomplishment, and fulfillment that waits. ~ Me

- Here are the photos and here is the entire 61-photo album.

Lisa Shiu, CrossFit Games athlete, co-owner/coach of All Heart CrossFit and 2015 hopeful to move on to Regionals. "GO, LISA!!!" (being judged here by my other coach and gym owner, Charlie Dunifer)

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