Monday, February 8, 2016

Why are Legends Legends?

This past weekend Gordy Ainsleigh showed why legends are legends. But lets set the stage. In 1974 Gordy decided he would attempt to finish a 100 mile trail race that had previously only been attempted by horses. Just to prove it could be done. This race became the Western States 100 . Fast forward to this year. Western States has become iconic in trail racing. It is the oldest 100 mile trail race in the United States and thousands try to qualify for one of the few spots on a yearly basis. Gordy has continued to run the race however in 2013 the Western States Board voted that Gordy would have to qualify like everyone else to participate. In 2015 the qualification standards were raised  in response to the popularity of the race.

There was a good chance that the founder of the race would not be able to participate. Many in the trail and ultra community howled and beat the drums suggesting to the board that Gordy should have a lifetime exemption. However Gordy would have none of it. He respected the decision and played by the rules. He wanted no special dispensation. His thought was if he couldn't qualify he didn't deserve to take a spot from a more deserving runner. And this past weekend he qualified at the Rocky Raccoon 100 miler in 28:31:57. At the age of 68 he ran the entire race in a skate boarding helmet for safety due to a previous concussion. Legends are legends because they do legendary shit!!

Image result for rocky raccoon 100 ainsleigh video

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Hey Army Guy-Nobody Cares!!!!

So the other day a new hire at my business says he wants to talk to me. I said sure and he sat down in my office. He then regaled me with his many years of military experience (6 years). His desire that our employees should be better trained ( I agree but unfortunately clients pay the bills so they get what they pay for.) His thoughts that he should become an instructor for the company ( I asked for his bonafides and he had none other than he almost went to Special Forces selection and he was a combat lifesaver.) I discussed the reality of the business world with him and sent him on his way with some encouragement, to put his nose to the grindstone and good things would happen. Good initiative poor execution on his part.

After he left I reflected on the undeniable fact that I have learned in my 11 years of post military "retirement." That fact being NOBODY CARES! You could be the most ass kicking operator with multiple combat tours and awards out your ying yang but without the civilian street cred nobody cares.  Civilians don't understand military jobs or responsibilities. I have been leading and managing individuals since I was 19 years old but the first 22 years I had no paper trail to back it up. Anyone can say they have "leadership experience." You need to start from the ground up and work your way into acceptance. For anything but an entry level job you need training and experience. No one is going to hire you off the street to manage 300 employees if all you have done prior is be a squad leader.

You need to better yourself. Through education and training you need to make yourself more marketable. There are thousands of former military out there with the same experiences as you. Just because you went to Iraq and busted some caps doesn't mean I am going to start you off at $20 per hour. Get some training, show up on time and work hard.

Don't assume that civilians don't know anything. They have all done the job longer than you. Shut up an learn something. No one likes the know it all. Be diligent and thorough in your work.

Everyone likes to say thank you for your service but when it comes to investing money, business owners are going to go with the solid performers regardless of background. Honestly I have had mixed success with former military members. Some are great and some disappoint me. Sometimes I am embarrassed to acknowledge our common bond of service.

So those former military members that are hitting the civilian workforce. Get over yourself. Thanks for your service, now get to work.




Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Annual Goals

So I read an article on irunfar.com about annual goal setting. I thought it would be good to put down my goals for 2016 on paper (metaphorically speaking) on purpose and see how I stack up at the end of the year.

Short Term Numerical Goals
1.Weigh 175 on Jun 1
2. Run/hike and average of 30 miles per week through Jun 1
3. Average 2 cross training sessions per week through Jun 1

Long Term Numerical Goals
1. Run/Hike 2016 miles for the year
2. Total 2500 miles for the year total movement
3. Participate in at least 1 race a month for the year

Short Term General Goals
1. Become a better Paramedic
2. Become a better Instructor
3. Drink more water
4. Get more sleep

Long Range General Goals
1. 3 days per week strength and flexibility
2. Be patient
3. Read every day

So there ya go. Lets see what 2016 has to bring

Sunday, December 27, 2015

2015 By the Numbers

Image result for 2015


2015 was the year of the gun. In 2015 I ran less but trained more and more diversely. It was a transition year that during some points were very melancholy and other times was very exciting.

Running,Biking,Hiking

Miles ran- 801 When I was lamenting about how few miles I ran this year a good friend of mine laughed and reminded me how I just ran as far as "normal" people.  The motivation wasn't there at times but I hope to get it back.

Miles biked- 209 I cross trained more this year. Most bike miles ever I think. Mostly Mountain Bike.

Other miles- 21 hiking,walking,rucking etc..

Total miles- 1031..869 miles less than last year. I need to ramp it up again

Races

I participated in 7 races this year. 13 less than last year but I took an 8 month break from racing. I didn't race on the road at all this year.

1-50K
1-Marathon
1-Adventure Race
1- Mountain Bike Race
3- Other trail races

EMS

My first full year as a Paramedic I ran over 200 calls. I was lead on about 150 of these. Ran my first code without a net as the Paramedic in charge. I expect to run more on 2016.

Shooting and Training

I became heavily involved in self defense/firearms training this year. Both taking training and giving it. I expect this to continue as I have started my own firearms training business.

Firearms Training Courses taken- 7
Contact Weapons/Defensive Tactics Courses taken-4
Instructor Credentials obtained-3
CCW classes instructed- 30

Random Numbers

Years since joining US Army-33
Years since retirement-10
Years since Ranger School-27
Years since Q course- 25
Number of jobs I have quit since retirement- 2
Number of jobs I currently have- 3
Number of Reserve LEO Departments- 2
Number of EMS Agencies-3


Thats it. 2016 is waiting


Friday, December 18, 2015

Carl Creely

Today was the 25th anniversary of my graduation from the Special Forces Qualification Course. I posted as much on Facebook. Eventually the comments on the subject turned to a fallen classmate, Carl Creely. I am embarrassed to say that the sands of time had clouded my brain on the subject. However I would like to correct that error. Carl was my classmate in the 18B Weapons Sergeant Course. He was a quiet man and a proud Infantryman. He was not the highest achiever in our class nor the lowest. Carl was a good, steady, level headed NCO.

Our infiltration parachute jump into Phase 3 (Robin Sage) was a night time combat equipment static line jump from a CASA 212 aircraft. Carl was on different "stick" than the one I was on so most of my information is hearsay. Reportedly Carl made a tree landing breaking his pelvis. The pain being so great he incorrectly undid the leg straps of his parachute before he undid the chest strap in an attempt to climb down form the tree. It was reported variously that Carl hung himself tragically on his chest strap or he bled out from the pelvis injury. What is not up for discussion is that he was transported to the hospital where he lingered a few days and then he passed. Carl was one of the countless unsung warriors that have died for their country in training accidents and non combat related incidents. I honor his service.

De Oppressor Liber and Blue Skies



http://peacetime-casualties.mooseroots.com/l/12700/Carl-Thomas-Creely

Sunday, December 13, 2015

I Am An Imposter

So I want to let you all in on a little secret..I am an imposter. You may think I am a retired Special Forces soldier with multiple awards and recognitions but I am an imposter. You may think I am the Manager of a successful office with a 7 million dollar budget but I am an imposter. You may even think I am a competent Paramedic but I am an imposter. This is the way I have felt my entire life. I have always felt that I didn't belong, that despite my success that if people really knew me they would know I am a fraud.

Tonight I was driving home listening to a podcast and they started talking about the "Imposter Syndrome." They started talking about me!! Almost every single thing they talked about I have experienced at one time or the other. Imposter syndrome is experienced by high achievers and has been experienced by almost 70% of the population worldwide. So I am not alone.

People that experience this syndrome tend to be diligent, but they feel they are phonies. They can be charming but avoid showing confidence. They feel that any  accomplishments they have come from luck or that they somehow "gamed" the system. Albert Einstein may have suffered from this syndrome.

So how to fix this? Just knowing how I feel has a name has already made it easier to deal with. Writing this blogpost is also helping. I am  going to use some of the coping therapies suggested in this article 21 Ways to Overcome Imposter Syndrome. The biggest thing I am going to do to quit feeling like I don't deserve what I have.  Thanks for listening.






Sunday, November 22, 2015

CFSID

"Education is missing from firearms training." And so it began. It has taken me about a month to digest the experience that was the Combat Focus Shooting Instructor Development Course. I first discovered Combat Focus Shooting through some DVD's I got from the NRA. As I watched them over an over, through days and months, I slowly developed a goal. I was going to learn how to teach this program. A defensive firearms program that wasn't based on perfect scenarios or the myth of hyper awareness. This program was based on psychology,physiology,reason, logic and empirical evidence.

Initially I took every class I could that I.C.E Training Company offered. Fundamentals of Combat Focus Shooting,Combat Focus Shooting, Fundamentals Of Advanced Pistol Handling, Combat Focus Carbine and the Defensive Firearms Coaches Course. I always had my eye on the end goal of becoming a certified Combat Focus Shooting Instructor. Eventually the opportunity came my way at the Rice County MN Law Enforcement Center. This is where Omari Broussard Chief Operating Officer of I.C.E. Training Company would be conducting a Combat Focus Shooting Instructor Development Course. So I took some vacation and drove up to Minnesota with my friend Ernie who would also be attending the 5 day CFSID.

 Day 1-
Started off with an Introduction to CFS. We talked about goals, How efficiency could be measured with time,effort and energy. We discussed how things should be observable,measurable and repeatable. The evolution of CFS and how to train in context.  Concepts vs details, effectiveness vs efficiency, consistency. We talked about the plausibility principle and adult learning models. Training attitudes were defined, the skill development cycle was discussed. We talked about safety,comfort and competency in depth, professionalism and instructor attributes. After that first day we went back to the hotel with some homework and a full noggin. Realizing that everything was testable the studying commenced straight away.



Day 2-
Was another day heavy on concept and theory. We talked extensively about the body's natural reactions. We discussed the physiology of the body. My paramedic background really helped me out in this area. It was on this day we also started to move from the theoretical to the practical. We covered combat accuracy and combat efficiency. The balance of speed and precision was introduced as a key concept. We spent a good part of the day on the range running each other through the high compressed ready, trigger control, stance, grip , extend,touch,press, presentation from the holster, single shot up and multiple shot up drills. Day 2 ended with more homework and teach back assignments for day 3.


Day3-
 After we all completed our teach backs it was back on the range. Balance of speed and precision,lateral movement,multi target engagement, critical incident reload, figure 8 drill, take a lap drill,dynamic deviation control,cognitive drill concept, and non diagnostic linear malfunctions were all covered in depth. We learned, discussed and then taught these drills to each other. Day 3 ended with more teach back assignments for day 4.
Day 4-
More teach backs, then to the range. Review of take a lap drill and presentation from the holster. Then we covered the spin drill, the wind sprint drill, shooting in motion, volume of fire and the chart of doom. At the end of the day we went back to the classroom for a 2 hour block of instruction on how to market your firearms training business. Then back to the hotel to study some more. Day 5 was test day.

Day5-
Test day. We started the day with the written test. This was a fill in the blank test going over everything we had learned in the previous 4 days. A score of 90% was required to successfully pass. I honestly forget how many questions there were but I think it was around 50. Then Omari, our lead instructor, handed out random note cards. On these cards were a concept or a drill we would be required to teach to the group and be graded on. Each of us got 4, usually 2 concepts and 2 drills. In addition each of us would have to teach/demonstrate a critical incident reload. These graded evolutions took up the rest of that day, as we took turns teaching and being students. All under the watchful eye of our primary instructor. Then it was done. We wouldn't know if we passed until all the tests were graded and the subjective teaching tests were examined. Ernie and I had some great conversation full of ideas and plans on the way back to Iowa.



I found out I became "certified" meaning I had passed the course a few days later. Currently I m working on becoming "active". This step involves co-teaching a CFS course with a senior CFS instructor. As there are only 5 designated senior instructors nationwide this will require some coordination. One thing I like and has drawn me to CFS and I.C.E Training is that they hold the standard. Less than 50% of those that attempt CFSID ever become active. I.C.E. Training doesn't care. The standard is the standard although they do allow people to retest for free if necessary after a cool off period. I have been deliberately vague about a lot of the course. If you want more indepth  information you can pay for it and strap on your thinking hat like I had to. I would definitely recommend you become a I.C.E Defensive Firearms Coach before attempting CFSID, it helped me a lot. I am very excited to grow my firearms training business. Check me out at www.eighteenzulu.com or @eighteenzulu on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, November 9, 2015

9 to 5 Adventure Race



So my buddy Rob asked me a few months ago if I wanted to do an adventure race with him as a 2 man team. I had always wanted to do one so I said sure. This particular race was a beginner level 8 hour race that was in a county park about 2 hours from my house. I didn't prep much for it, actually I didn't prep for it at all other than getting my mountain bike tuned up prior to race day and packing the mandatory gear. On the day of the race I woke up at about 0400 and drove to Rob's house and we left at about 0500 for the 0700 packet pickup. Race was to start at 0900 but we wanted to get there and check out the map and plot the course etc. This race was to be a combination of Trek/Orienteering, Mountain Bike and Canoe. Distance and course was unknown until you showed up.

When we did show up we got our race packets, which had our maps in it and checkpoints. We learned there were 30 check points split between 2 trekking/orienteering, 2 bike and 1 canoe leg. Rob had spent a lot of time outdoors but he designated me as the navigator. So why he was pumping up bike tires and getting gear ready I plotted all 30 points on our maps. Although I was pretty confident in my navigation skill, it is perishable, and the civilian map system and 1:24,000 and 1:15,000 scale befuddled me for a minute until I figured it out.


Our required gear such as space blanket,fleece,compass,water,food,headlamp,waterproof jacket,fire starter,bike inner tube,patch repair kit probably weighed about 15 lbs. I had mine packed in a Camelbak Mule pack I had left over from my military days. Once it got close to start time the Race Director gave a short speech and handed out our "passports". These were the cards on which we would punch each check point when we go to them. Most of the check points were marked with orange and white squares but some had no markings. On our coordinate sheets were clues such as kiosk or reentrant ( civilian for draw.. Who knew?) for each checkpoint. The national anthem was played on a loud speaker and we were off. A lot of people started running but we were in it for the whole day so we just started walking. I was just getting my navigation legs back trying out my new compass and this civilian navigation technique. The first section had 4 checkpoints. It took us much longer than it should have for a few reasons. One was  the distances were much shorter than I thought, we actually walked by a few points because I thought we had to go farther. Also I had misplotted a point and we had to go back and find it after walking right by it. Anyway we eventually got all 4 points and we hit the mountain bikes.





The first mountain bike leg was pretty easy. Hit 3 points on the way and it was all road so we made pretty short work of it. I guess it was about 6 miles. The we rolled into the second trekking leg at another park. It looked like much rougher terrain and honestly I was a little worried about my rusty navigation skills. But I decided to say fuck the compass techniques and use good old attack points and terrain association just like the old days. This technique worked pretty good as I would get a general azimuth and just terrain associate until I figured we were close then we would just start looking. We only had to backtrack once and made some good time on this section hitting all points. When we got back to our bikes we had been moving about 4 hours. So we stopped for a little chow out of our packs. We also had to participate in a challenge which included water balloons and a sling shot in a closest to the pin scenario. Once we were done we got back on the bikes for the second leg. This bike leg was a little harder as it was longer, probably about 10 miles and also straight into a head wind. We had to find 5 points, some on the highway and some on a mountain bike trail. This leg probably took the longest just because of the distance. Once we got back to the start/finish/transition area 3 we had to get our flotation devices and paddles and head for the canoe. This is where our race went south for a bit. As we were shoving off someone flipped our canoe and we both fell into the lake up to our eyeballs. Rob said it was me but I cannot confirm or deny this rumor.Anyway we took a minute to change into what dry clothes we had and pushed off again. The wind affected our speed on the way out. Also my lack of efficient paddling. Anyway we snagged 2 out of the 3 points on this leg and decided discretion was the better part of valor and we headed back for the last trekking leg.


 We picked up the map for our last leg and we had about 2 hours 15 minutes before the time cutoff. We had 6 points left to get. So we started out. I didn't even plot an azimuth we just shot it with the compass and headed out. We managed to pick up 2 more points before we figured we should head back because of time. We blew off the 2 farthest points and grabbed the 2 closest to the finish in 7:32 with 26 out of 30 possible points cleared. Not bad for two cherry racers.











 I had a lot of fun at this race. It was a good workout and a blast even falling in the lake. I brushed off my rusty navigation skills and I plan on doing another one in the spring.



Thursday, October 29, 2015

Marine Corp Marathon: 40th Edition






This past weekend I ran the Marine Corp Marathon with a friend of mine. It was his first marathon and we had a great time. The wife and I saw some sights and had some laughs. It was my 35th race of marathon distance or greater and the largest race I have ever participated in with 45,000 runners. We finished at the base of the Marine Corp Memorial in 6:55:08.