Monday, July 6, 2015

M-Cubed for 7.6.2015

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

- How was your July 4th holiday? I definitely appreciated the "observed" holiday on Friday followed by the real deal on Saturday. My wife and I took full advantage of the day off Friday by spending 3 hours at our CrossFit home in the morning. By the time we left, nearly the entire gym membership had arrived and lots of weight was being moved! We had to leave, but a cookout followed and continued into the late afternoon. For July 4th itself, we stuck to tradition and headed to Stow (a few towns northwest of us) for the July 4th parade...the best one around, in our opinion. It lasted about an hour and 15min and began with lots of Old Glory as you can see below. The best is at the lower left...a LIVE re-creation of the Iwo Jima Memorial. They do this every year and it never gets old. It was great, too, to see the crowd stand for Old Glory as she passed on by.

Afterwards, we headed into Kent for the farmers market and the beginning of the Heritage Festival happening on the streets of Kent. While there, I made the last minute decision to sign up for a 5K to take place on the Kent State University campus at 7pm. I was already warned of the heat and the hilly course but thought it would be a good opportunity to test myself in not-so-ideal conditions. Before 7pm arrived, we spent some more time in Kent then headed home to relax a bit and perhaps even a mid-day nap. As evening approached, we headed on back to Kent. It was upper 70s and a bit sticky. I noticed a few friends were running the race, too. I warmed up, stretched and told my wife I was about to get my tail handed to me. The time arrived and the race started directly up hill for about 1/2 mile onto a course shaped like a lollipop. I found myself immediately within a group of friends whom I had never been able to run with before and stick with. I passed mile 1 in 7min flat and kept the pace up and opened it up on 2 short down-hills...knowing I'd have to crest them both on the return trip. The 2nd mile was under 7...more around 6:50...and I was still hanging with them. As the last crest happened, it was a 1/2 mile downhill to the finish. Every thing I had...I gave. Nearing the finish, I was right behind a friend of mine (you can see his foot in the photo below) and did everything I could to catch him. I did and finished 2 seconds in front of him, good enough for a 1st place finish in my 40-44 age group and 17th overall!!! For those of you who know me, you know how rare this is! I was super happy and in fact, I didn't get my tail handed to me! I kicked IT in the tail! Final time was 21min, 17sec for a 6:53 average pace. Photo credit below goes to my wife who was along the route near the finish and caught the sprint. "Thanks, Babe!"

- Given all the debate lately on the Confederate flag, same-sex marriage legalization in all 50 states, etc., I have just one question....

Did you know that OFFENSE is a CHOICE? Think about have to CHOOSE to take on an offense. What's worse is that when we own that offense, it becomes front-and-center in our minds. It consumes us and wrecks everything. It's all we can think about! Instead, let me challenge you to reverse this for yourself and don't let offense ruin today for you. Focus on something good. Focus on things you are thankful for. Bless someone! Don't give in to the norm and gain "keyboard bravery" and lash out on social media about how offended you are. Oh yea...on January 26, 1979, the Dukes of Hazzard premiered and has been in syndication for years, most recently on TV Land. I grew up watching that show. Now, it's been pulled. Why? The Confederate flag on the Dodge Charger...or better known as the "General Lee." So because of the social outcry of a Confederate flag flying over a state capitol, it's now appropriate to yank the Dukes? A month problem. Now...  Good grief. It's just all so ridiculous and reactive to...wait for it...OFFENSE. What a waste of time and completely absurd.

- Big time life lesson learned the hard way: don't celebrate the win until you actually WIN. On left below is Ben Payne, an Air Force pilot who began celebrating his assumed win of the 60,000 runner strong AJC Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, GA on Saturday and every July 4th since 1970. On right is British Olympian marathon runner, Scott Overall who was sprinting to the finish, trying to beat Payne. While Payne's arm was in the air celebrating, Overall passed him and beat him by 9/100ths of a second...the first photo finish in the race's 45 year history. Truly..."it's not over till it's over." The irony? A Brit beat an American on Independence Day on American soil.

- This past week has been...a struggle in my CrossFit box. There are some things that I'm better at but overall, I'm playing catch up big time as compared to so many others. I don't know if it's because of how God made me, my age, etc. But things like poor flexibility continue to plague me. I refuse to quit and give up, though. I have had some great gains in my first month at CrossFit 881 and on Saturday, I hit 8 months doing CrossFit. Overall, I love it but often, my attitude turns sharply sour. Let me explain one major hurdle that remains today. Below, you'll see a photo of me that was posted a week ago from my first CrossFit competition on June 27th. I am doing a front squat. If you know anything about position when the bar is on the shoulders, you know what's terribly bad elbows/arms. My upper arms should be parallel to the floor...not pointed down at a 45 degree angle. If they were up, the bar would rest across my shoulders and not cause me to lean forward...back should be straight. This horrible flexibility spills into a plethora of Olympic lifting movements and really frustrates the heck out of me. I do all kinds of stretches and lift them "elbows up!!!!" the best I can....I just can't. Still, I'm going to keep on trying but this is such an issue right's tough for me to stay positive because of the lack of progress. For some, this comes easy...really easy! They just do it without even trying because the flexibility is there. To end this on a positive note, I will say that I made progress in my most difficult lift this past week...the overhead squat and hit a new personal record by 30lbs! On the same day, I hit a new front squat record by 5 pounds. I also began progressions towards doing the butterfly pullup. :))))

- Last Monday, I partially drafted an M-Cubed but just didn't like where it was going so I spared you the pain. Also on Monday, I had a short trip to Columbus, OH where I visited the Rogue Fitness headquarters. While there, I picked up a t-shirt and on that shirt is part of the this week's quote you see below. I posted it on Facebook and was amazed at how many people had personal stories regarding this quote so I definitely wanted to close out today with it. It's powerful and I challenge you to make it your own and decide what it means to you. Have a great week, everyone!

The Man in the Arena

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

President Theodore Roosevelt, from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic".

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