Monday, June 8, 2015

M-Cubed for 6.8.2015

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

- Usually I'm passed out and in bed by 9 or 9:30pm. Last night was a well-decided exception as we watched the Cavs and Warriors head into overtime in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. Cavs for the win! Cavs fans are chomping at the bit to root on the wine-n-gold on Tuesday night at home in Cleveland...I just wish every stinkin' game wasn't at 9pm! One little factoid: that was the first-ever Cavs win in any NBA Finals in history. Way to go, Cavs! (and please fire those referees...good grief, they were bad last night)

- I'm a sucker for a good Broadway tune. Last week, a video went viral when the cast of Disney's Lion King and Aladdin got stuck on a 6hr flight delay in the airport. Pretty awesome way to kill time but notice the execs in the their suits in the background...can't say they're loving it as much as the other onlookers there and the millions like me out in cyberspace. Watch it, here.

- I don't talk much about what I do for a living here simply due to security, blah blah blah...but in the course of my job, I get to help people move towards achieving their of which happens to be piloting a fighter jet one day. A few days back, this photo was sent to me via text of one such dream realized as this unnamed pilot flew the Super Hornet for the first time. In a world of selfies, this one takes the cake. See the reflection? This photo totally made my day...and I'm super proud of him for achieving his childhood goal!

- Well on June 4th, only 4 days ago, my wife and I celebrated our 7 month point doing CrossFit. Seven months! So much has happened and changed in those 7 months in our lives...not only the introduction of CrossFit. I bet if you dug back into history around January 1st in my blog you'd find some goals for 2015, one of which was to return to the 100-mile trail race this year. Well, my running goals have really taken a hit this year. Some I did and some I simply erased. The Kettle Moraine 100 Miler was one of them. Had I stuck to the original plan, I would've run 100 miles over the past weekend in southern Wisconsin. Instead, I did an under 15min workout Saturday morning. That was the extent of my physical exercise all weekend. While my thoughts escaped to the kettles on Saturday morning, I feel good about where I am right now and have no regrets. Things change, ya know!? Here were some thoughts I typed Friday night as I thought about the 100-milers going to sleep before their journey Saturday morning.

- Speaking of CrossFit (you know I had to go there), we've now completed our first week at our new home, CrossFit 881. Why 881? One thing that many CrossFit boxes do is name their boxes using zip codes, area codes or addresses. I know...not terribly creative but it kinda works! Others get really creative. For this one, it happens to be the street address and after watching the CrossFit Games Regionals, I now know that it's more common than I thought. Lots of lots of boxes out there with random numbers as part of their name. Anyway, the week went awesome. Our prior routine had us attending a class daily with other members and that class was pretty typical: warmup, a gymnastic type of movement, some kind of strength element and the WOD/workout. Done in an hour. In our new box, it's custom one-on-one training and particular to the member, their goals, their current status (physically), how much time they have, etc. We have both found we are weaker than we should be after doing this for 7 months so we're spending more time on building that strength...a stronger foundation. So each day, we're moving through different muscle groups much like a weightlifter might do. We'll usually wrap up the session with a high intensity workout, too. I'm definitely more of a sucker the "suck factor" of a WOD vs. my wife. She'd be happy just lifting all the time. All in all, it's been great so far and we're charging forward into a new week. I'm really curious to see where this all goes and how I can do things better once my strength is greater and some of my foundational movements (like the squat) are better. Bottom line: it was a great change for us to make and we love our new home.

- Did you see the headline a few days ago about us destroying an ISIS heaquarters building, thanks to social media? Many know that ISIS uses social media to tweet out instructions and push their beliefs to the world. Well, our folks in the Air Force were paying close attention to some bragging by them that divulged a location in Syria. 22 hours later, 3 of our JDAMs took it out. The article is a quick read and worth the few minutes to see how a 21st century war is being fought without putting thousands and thousands of U.S. boots on the ground. Read it here.

- Back to CrossFit for just a moment to mention a few victories. One thing I never really even tried before was the dip. Well, I did them this past week for the first time...several sets of them without any assistance. It was an awesome feeling! Then on Friday, I stopped in late that day (I had already worked out in the morning) just to hang out but got put to work swinging a kettlebell. Prior to that day, I had never swung heavier than a 45lb kettlebell. For most workouts, the weight prescribed for men is 55lbs but I've stayed clear of that and never been nudged to even try it. That changed on Friday as I did and then swung the 70lb kettlebell soon thereafter. Ha! (Check out my Instagram feed for that video) That short stop got my wheels turning about a WOD called "Helen." It's one of the "girls" and a benchmark WOD in the world of CrossFit. It's 3 rounds as fast as possible of: 400m run, 21 KB swings at 55lbs, and 12 pullups. I decided to show up Saturday morning and do it just as prescribed. All 7 of my tears on my hands had healed and I decided that I could probably get through these 36 pullups without tearing them again if I gripped correctly and used a nice bit of chalk. Come Saturday morning, I did it and while not super fast by CrossFit standards, it was great for me and 100% legit! I finished it in 11min, 50sec. Now I have a baseline to compare to later as I get stronger and more efficient, especially, on those pullups. (image is of the 55lb KB I used for "Helen.")

- Ever feel like folks are talking about you? I will definitely have that feeling this week but for good reason. At my current rank and for how long I've been it, I'm up for promotion to the next one and starting today, a selection board will meet privately, taking a oath of secrecy, and select those officers who will promote to the next rank. My record is in tip-top shape and I'm confident good news will follow! The bummer is that word won't follow until late August or even early September. Fingers crossed!

- For all you Apple junkies: This afternoon is another big Apple press event at the WWDC '15 kicks off (Worldwide Developers Conference) in California. I'm always curious to see what news Apple will release. Nothing huge this time around but software and hardware news/updates are expected. Yea..I'll probably skim through the whole presentation later tonight as it gets published to their channel on the Apple TV. I'm just a sucker at their marketing, products and how they do business.

- This week's quote is a bit long-winded but it's worth it. Regardless of your chosen workout regimen, I hope it strikes a chord with you. We can all stand to learn something from a champion! Have a great week, everyone!

"In an endurance athlete's life, discomfort is never far away. Discomfort is little more than a conversation between your body and your brain – another reason why a strong mind is so important.

The brain is the master computer of the body. Even when we are working on the efficiency of the peripheral components – the legs, the arms, the butt cheeks – we can recruit the seat of all power to enhance the effectiveness of our work. It's a question of testing limits.

You are not just working your muscles and lungs, you are working your brain to learn to accept each new level of exertion as something that can be endured safely. The brain – at least, the safety-first part of the brain – will try to dig its heels in.

Eventually it will prevail, because, of course, there are limits. I can't launch into an Ironman as if it were a sprint, so a sense of what really is too much is always crucial.

The key is to push that point back as far as possible.

The interface between the conservative and ambitious impulses in our brain should be a frontier of continual struggle. Remembering the pain of previous sessions or races we have successfully endured gives us the confidence to go through it again and the evidence to present to the brain that we are capable of handling it."

– Chrissie Wellington, four-time World Ironman champion

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