Monday, April 11, 2016

M-Cubed for 4.11.2016

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

- Double digits in April and halfway to May! Here in Ohio, we have had a cold winter blast over the past week but the extended forecast is looking pretty good. Still, that 3-4" of snow on my car over the weekend was downright offensive! Our community is lined with gorgeous pear trees that bloom white in the Spring. I'm fearful that the cold snap and 21 degrees yesterday morning may have ruined a lot of beauty for this season.

- If you didn't read my CrossFit Games Open recap and you'd like to dig through my musings that cover 5 weeks in March, click here. It was a great time and was a great indicator of progress over the past year.

- Along the same subject of CrossFit, April 1st brought some many changes for my wife and I. Since November 4, 2014, we have been members at two CrossFit gyms but on the 1st of this month, we took it all home and now have a garage gym. It all came together, starting on April 2nd as we took a road trip 2 1/2 hours south to the headquarters of Rogue Fitness that is known worldwide as the manufacturer and supplier of everything necessary to take on such a project. One full SUV later and lunch at the Columbus Brewing Company, we headed back home and began the work. Today, the last component arrives. The bumper plates finally arrive from Texas and we can finally do all that we want. From plyo boxes to a rower to a full rig that lets us do everything from pull-ups to dips to back squats, front squats, and bench pressing...we're done. While I'm no coach, I feel I have enough knowledge now to do it safely and still move forward. Plus, there is a plethora of online resources to continually glean from. Still, we will miss our friends that we've gained and will certainly be inviting them over to throw down. For now, it's going to be us motivating each other through each day and workout. If you want to follow the progress and occasional posts about the workout, follow me on Instagram...handle is "RTRSBM".

- I don't mean to keep tooting my own horn, but ICYMI (in case you missed it), I penned another entry dubbed "Faith, Fitness and Family" back on March 23rd. It might strike a chord with you.

- Hard to believe it's been 5 years. 5 years yesterday, I boarded a plane and hugged my family goodbye, en route to Afghanistan. Most of you know that I blogged every day of that deployment in a raw online "journal." I later published that into a book (only a few of them). In memory of yesterday, Day 1, I wanted to have a throwback of sorts and re-publish those musings here. (tissue warning!)

Day 1

Leaving Kansas was knowingly going to be the toughest day in a long time. My family had surprised me at Outback Steakhouse the night before so I was well fed, well loved, and ready to go this morning. Sitting bedside with Tin Man and Scarecrow last night was tough. We had been counting down the days as we prayed together each evening and as we sat bedside, hand in hand with the both of them, I paused...for probably an eternal minute or so, trying not to cry. "This is it. After this, we'll talk and Skype/FaceTime." We did shed some tears and Tin Man squeezed my arm so tight. We prayed probably the longest prayer ever together. We prayed for Dorothy, them, me, and all the other servicemen and women away from their families. A kiss, a hug...goodnight. 

This morning came quickly and I brewed my last pot of Italian espresso until my return. That, a bowl of Kashi cereal, and I even unloaded the dishwasher, took the trash out, and washed a small batch of dirty dishes. The clock ticked by quickly and before I knew it, I released the house felines and they woke up the kids. Mental re-check of the packed bag and we headed to the airport, set to leave Kansas for Oz. 

Arriving at the airport, my whole family was there again, just like at Outback along with Dorothy's parents and a few close friends. Even a few "monkeys" (think "Oz") made a few colored signs for my travel to Oz. As time drew close, we all gathered in a circle and my brother prayed for me and my family and I made my way around, hugging everyone. I must say, I was doing pretty good but that was strategic. I knew when my manly armor would be broken. Tin Man and Scarecrow possessed that ability so I saved them for last. As I knelt down in front of Scarecrow, her eyes were welling with tears and they streamed down her face. "Daddy..." I grabbed her and that was it, we were sharing tears. "I need you to do two things for me. Can you do that?" I asked her. "One: can you pray for me? Second, can you be a big helper to your mom?" A confirmed "yes" to both requests and some reassuring words that we'll talk often and even see each other over the internet. I don't know how long I knelt there but after one last hug, I let her go....and turned around and grabbed the Tin Man and picked her up. She had talked about how tough she was going to be on the way to the airport. Her leather-bound toughness that her dad "had" had crumbled, too, and she cried on my shoulder. We had the same conversation as I had with Scarecrow but with a third request: "Be a leader for Scarecrow. You're the older one, you're the leader and she looks up to you. Can you do that?" "Yes, Dad." "And remember...we're a team. We'll all be OK." More hugs, more tears, and I let her go... Dorothy, she was next and last. I have to say, she was staying strong. I saw her eyes getting red but she was fighting the good fight. A few goodbye kisses, some hugs, and we said goodbye. "We'll be fine," she said. Through security and to the gate with one last wave across the security access point's head and that was it. It would take another 15 minutes or so for those tears to dry up. 

I won't bore you with flight info for this day on the Yellow Brick Road, except to say that I sat next to very nice lady on the first flight. Her name was Jennifer and she works at a church near my home. She asked where I was going and after telling her "Oz," we talked about that and a whole bunch of things for the rest of the flight. Oz culture, customs and our mission over there and a lot of really good talk about prejudices that exist in this world, our country, and how it all compares to Oz culture and the radical side of it. (yes, that was a bit of a run-on sentence but I couldn't figure out how to make it right! I wasn't an English major, ya know!) After a 5 hour layover at my first stop, I ended up at the first stop on journey to Oz where I'll remain for about a week. 

Here at this stop on the Yellow Brick Road, I will be checked to make sure my medical record is squared away and get the beloved small pox vaccine. They will basically prick me 15 times with a prong-like needle. From what I hear, it's the most non-enjoyable shot of them all and hurts bad. I will also sit through a bunch of briefs that cover pay/entitlements, family matters, and other misc. items. I will also be fit for and issued the uniform that I'll wear in Oz. Since there are no Navy bases in Oz, this sailor nor any sailor wears a sailor's uniform over there. We wear the uniform of the service who operates the base. So that's what I'll be issued. After all the boxes are checked and my uniforms are issued, I'll continue along the Road. 

So as this day winds down and alone time sets in, I can verify with you that Day 1 is one of, if not the very hardest days of the deployment. I can easily crawl inside my head and get very upset or distract myself by finding something to watch on TV. The base where I'm at even offers a theater with current movies...for free. Perhaps later this week I will do that...Black Swan, Kings Speech...we'll see. I did get to FaceTime with my family tonight and I saw smiles in place of tears which was nice. I ran across this quote today: "Being happy doesn't mean everything is perfect; it means you've decided to see beyond the imperfections and enjoy every day." What a great quote for a day where we could all hang our head in doom-n-gloom. Instead, we can decide to be happy.

- Want to read more? Here is Day 2. Be warned, though. There are 208 of them! 

- We had a family movie afternoon yesterday as it remained cold and blustery outside. Have you seen "In the Heart of the Sea?" It's the story of Moby Dick. If you're a fan of Thor and the Marvel movie series, you'll be pleased to know the same actor who plays Thor is the lead actor here. It was a great movie and one we all enjoyed. So do you think the great white whale was real?!

- Ever heard of General Mattis? He is a former commander of Central Command, the military arm that leads our fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. Well, there is a real movement to propel him into the debauchery known as our presidential election this year. Here is a quick read to bring you up to speed on who he is and the movement afoot to make this a reality. No've got my vote, General.

- There was a time not too long ago where I ran my age on my birthday. I turn 43 inside of a week and only a few short years ago, I was still running my age that day. It was a tour, of sorts, around my county where I smelled blooming trees, ran along the Cuyahoga River, and stopped to see a few friends along the way. Oh, how times have changed! To think of running 43 miles right now is downright painful. I could do it...I could. But, the desire has left me. Instead, my bride and I plan to escape away and just enjoy each other's company for 24+ hours uninterrupted. Walking, laughing, sleeping in, and just "being." Here's to year 44 about to kick off!

- A short while ago, my "little" rescue dog decided to snuggle in for a nap. Mind you, she is about 45 pounds, extremely athletic and strong, and some are afraid of her (for no reason!). Still, she has a soft heart and loves to curl up for a nap like the rest of her family. This is me laying on the couch and the photo is taken directly above us looking down. She just kept digging and digging into my chest! LOL!

- Before I leave you today, I just want to mention a workout I did yesterday, totally unexpected and unplanned which requires no gym equipment of any kind. Just you and a determination to hang in there and stick it out. It's a Hero WOD (workout of the day) named "Maupin." It is named for SSG Matt Maupin who was captured on Good Friday, April 9th, in 2004 and later executed. His friends and fellow soldier came up with this workout and submitted it to CrossFit HQ who picked it up and officially pushed out this workout yesterday. As soon as I watched his story as told by his fellow soldier, I had to do it. Whether you do it or not, I highly recommend taking a few moments to watch the video. If you feel inspired to honor Matt afterwards, here is the workout:

  • 4 Rounds for Time
  • 800m run
  • 49 pushups
  • 49 situps
  • 49 air squats

I finished in 42min, 10sec. Rest in peace, brother.

Have a great week, everyone!

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