Sunday, June 19, 2016

Schuetzen Nein Hour Endurance Run

I had been wanting to do a timed ultra event for awhile. This race was local, in a cool venue and the RD was the ever diabolical Joshua Sun. Josh puts on great races with awesome atmosphere but they are never easy. This one was no different. Continuous .85 mile loop in which you were going up or going down. No real flat spots to speak of. But the park was beautiful and the day was hot!! Did I mention it was Africa hot? You can see in my split times as the heat and hills started grinding away at my endurance. Like being eaten to death by a thousand gold fish. I pulled the plug at about 4 hours and 16 loops due to some cramping issues. I did get in a half marathon and a good day on the trails. Next year I get in more!!



Entrance
Down Hill
Turn Left





This obstacle got bigger



Obligatory Selfie


The push up place. I did 10 pushups for every lap here. Got 160 in


Another "large" obstacle




Touch the Yeti!!!

Mr. Pigglesworth






Thursday, June 16, 2016

Why do I need an AR-15?




That questioned was posed by a friend of mine. I am paraphrasing, but she did not understand why folks that like to shoot or have weapons for self protection need to have something capable of shooting so rapidly or that holds so many bullets. I wrote on the subject of gun control almost four years ago in this post shortly after the Sandy Hook massacre http://mikemac356.blogspot.com/2012/12/is-it-just-me.html .

But do I NEED a weapon that has these capabilities?

 First what we NEED to do is elevate the discourse beyond name calling. Almost immediately after she posted her question another individual insinuated the only reason you need a weapon of this type is to kill minorities or if you have a "micro-penis." While this totally ignores the fact that millions of females and minorities in this country in fact own these weapons, the statement itself is not helping. Statements like that just inflame and entrench the rhetoric on both sides. No one on either side wants to see the loss of innocent life. To intimate otherwise is ludicrous.

Secondly we NEED to educate. No good decisions can come from fear and ignorance. As it happens the day prior to the spree killing in Orlando I happened to have registered for an Active Shooter Response Instructor Development course. So I can further my expertise in this area and train others to survive should they be caught in a bad bad situation. Furthermore almost immediately after the incident I had myself added to a national map of self defense trainers willing to work with the LGBT community to help them prepare to survive a dynamic critical incident.

Thirdly and this is the crux of the question. It is my feeling that as human being no one should have the right to tell me what I NEED. I feel this way about all things. I won't tell you what religion to follow, or who to marry, or what car to drive. You can't tell me what tool I feel is the most appropriate for the self defense of myself and my family. You see, because that is the thing. I take responsibility for my own safety. I don't rely on others to protect me because that assumption often fails. Look at the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and tell me society doesn't break down rather rapidly if enough pressure is applied. The AR-15 rifle is one of the most technologically advanced rifle platforms available in the civilian market. Banning them or restricting magazine capacity has no meaningful effect on the actions of those that intend to do harm to others. My sister who is very liberal wrote this the other day because she is also very thoughtful and intelligent.

"Exhibit 1:
http://www.motherjones.com/…/mental-health-gun-laws-washing…
Exhibit 2:
"Psychopathy (/saɪˈkɒpəθi/), also known as—though sometimes differentiated from—sociopathy (/soʊsiˈɒpəθi/), is traditionally defined as a personality disorder characterized by enduring antisocial behavior, diminished empathy and remorse, and disinhibited or bold behavior." ~Dictionary
Exhibit 3: "The historical reasons for regarding personality disorders as fundamentally different from mental illnesses are being undermined by both clinical and genetic evidence. Effective treatments for personality disorders would probably have a decisive influence on psychiatrists' attitudes." ~British Journal of Psychiatry
Conclusion---yes, mental illness is why people think they can kill others willy nilly...not access to guns/inadequate gun control. Let me ask you this: Do you own a gun? Would you go on a killing spree? Of course not, you aren't a psychopath. Will gun laws keep people with no remorse from killing? Will treatment keep them from killing?


So do I NEED an AR-15. The answer is yes, I feel I do. It is the most effective and efficient tool for the job I need to accomplish . Until that time it sits in my gun safe and occasionally makes a trip to the range. Should others try to impose their will on mine. Through threat of government violence via law enforcement they are no better than other authoritarian regimes. I do not think that is their intention, when all everyone wants is to make people safer.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Extreme Close Quarters Tactics 6.9.16

As part of the  Personal Defense Network Tour 2016 at its Iowa stop I taught an Introduction to Combat Focus Shooting Course and co taught a  Youth Firearms Familiarization and Safety Course  . I also participated in a course entitled Extreme Close Quarters Tactics. My goal this year is to increase my self defense skills in the space inside two arms reach. Extreme Close Quarters Tactics is described as follows on the tour website.


"An advanced 1-day course for experienced shooters and armed professionals. This course will focus on engagements inside of "double arm distance." This course features a significant amount of retention work, unorthodox shooting positions, introduction to some Combat Focus shooting concepts and a variety of less-lethal options. During this course students will utilize impact reduction equipment and training rounds to engage one another and role-players with firearms while grappling and during various gun-grab or ambush scenarios. 

The core components of this course are a key part of the curriculum for military special operations personnel who train with I.C.E. in the Close Quarters Counter Ambush program.

This is an intense course meant for armed professionals and individuals with advanced weapons handling skills and reasonable levels of physical fitness. "

They course was taught by Alessandro Padovani, Omari Broussard and Ken Crawford. I have taken training from these folks before.I consider them mentors in this area. I had a great time training with like minded folks. I returned home sunburned, sore and realizing I need more.










Saturday, May 21, 2016

Sunderbruch Beer and Bacon 10Kish Trail Run 2016

Another great race put on by Joshua Sun and the QC Trail and Ultra Runners. 6 minutes faster than last year at 1:29:21. Oh ya and Bacon!!!!















Friday, May 20, 2016

Impactful


I was working the other day in a small town about 30 minutes from where I live. I stopped to get a soda from the convenience store and I saw a friend that I had not seen in person for quite some time. I hollered and at first he didn't recognize me (I was out of context ) but when he did we gave a hand shake and man hug. We were shooting the shit when he asked me if I would come talk to the high school class he was teaching about the War on Terror. Maybe tell about some of my experiences in that regard. I agreed, with the proviso that I was working as a paramedic and if I got an ambulance call I would have to leave.

So the next morning I showed up and he met me at the front office and took me down to his classroom. Several students were seated in a semi circle and another teacher also joined us. He introduced me and I took a seat. The students had written some questions on the board and they took turns asking me each question and allowed me to answer. As conversations do we got off on some tangents but it was fun and they seemed truly interested. Eventually I was asked " What was your most impactful experience?" Just then my radio squawked for a 911 call and I had to thank them and leave in somewhat of a hurry. I never got to answer the question.

I have been thinking about it since then. What was my answer going to be? I have chronicled many of my experiences here on this blog. Stories like this http://mikemac356.blogspot.com/2010/04/baxmal.html and this http://mikemac356.blogspot.com/2010/05/kirkuk.html andthis http://mikemac356.blogspot.com/2010/04/road-to-klaw-kut.html and this http://mikemac356.blogspot.com/2010/04/april-9th.html and this http://mikemac356.blogspot.com/2010/07/no-mans-land.html and this http://mikemac356.blogspot.com/2010/09/wrong-place-wrong-time.html and this http://mikemac356.blogspot.com/2012/02/war-dogs.html and this http://mikemac356.blogspot.com/2013/02/i-dont-dance.html and this http://mikemac356.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-little-girl.html and this http://mikemac356.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-banya.html .

Good stories all but were they impactful? I think the one that was most impactful was the one I haven't told. Its the story of my time as Team Sergeant on a Special Forces Military Freefall ODA.

I have to go back in time a bit to set the story up. I was put on the promotion list to MSG shortly before my move from 1/10 in Germany to 3/10 in Ft Carson Colorado. I had recently left the best ODA I ever had the pleasure of serving on,ODA 014 MFF. That team was solid from top to bottom. I then spent time as the Battalion Operations NCO as well as the interim Team Sergeant on ODA 016 on a Kosovo deployment. By the time I moved to Colorado I was a newly promoted MSG and was assigned to the 3/10 Battalion Military Freefall Team as the new Team Sergeant, the senior enlisted member of the team. I was well qualified for the position having been on MFF teams for 10 years and also being a former MFF instructor at the Special Warfare School. I was qualified but under prepared.

No one told me to expect the personalities I would encounter. The team I walked into was as tight as the team I had just left. They worshipped the former team sergeant like a god. I had enormous shoes to fill in their eyes. I had quite a good reputation in the Special Forces community or so I thought. These guys didn't give a shit. It was obvious that it was going to be a tough road. Several guys were helpful and over the months ahead proved to be very valuable. But with a few of the guys I experienced something I have never experienced before or since. I believe they actually hated me, as in despised me. They hated my personality, my training ideas, they way I did things. They just hated me. This was a shock, it had never happened before. I was second guessing myself trying to figure out where I went wrong and what I could do better. The guys who could not accept me as team sergeant undermined my authority at every turn. Instead of helping me and working together they actively looked to make my job harder. This sucked. I was at the epitome of my career. I was a god damn Team Sergeant on a Special Forces MFF ODA and I was miserable. My ego was in tatters. I started believing that I wasn't up to the job.

This went on for months and through multiple training deployments and real world missions. Slowly the old team members started rotating out and they were replaced with guys I had known from 1/10. Guys who requested to come to my team. But still there was that little hard core clique of naysayers. Eventually we got the call to deploy to Romania for the invasion of Iraq. I was now getting along with most of the team but my Senior Communications Sergeant was not having any of it. He was the last hard core member of the "We Hate Mike Club." Where ever I went, what ever I did he would subvert,bitch, moan, complain and downright ignore my orders. I tried talking to him, talking to his peers, asking my boss what I could do. Nothing worked. He thought I was a moron and I thought he was a insubordinate little fuck. This went on so long because he was very good at his job. I needed him or so I thought. But finally I had enough. I went to the Company SGM and on the eve of what was the greatest real world mission of my military career I asked for my Senior Communication Sergeant to be removed from my ODA. They didn't argue too much as I was adamant. I would rather go to war a man down than deal with the drama anymore. For his part he didn't argue either. I think he was relieved. They moved him to the Company HQ just prior to our infiltration into Northern Iraq.

Impactful? Yes. This experience made me question my leadership abilities, my knowledge, even my own self worth. I was so shaken by this terrible time in my life that upon return from deployment I put in my retirement papers. Maybe that's what they wanted all along.

Through the lens of hindsight I see that I had a lot of positive experiences as Team Sergeant. I have friends and old teammates from that ODA that I still stay in contact with. In the past 12 years of civilian management experience I have been quite successful and can dispel any myths that I am not a good or effective leader. But I still wonder that if I would have had a better Team Sergeant experience if I would have stayed in the Army longer. I guess I will never know. One  thing I do know is that wherever that guy is I hope he somehow reaped what he sowed.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

So Prince Died and Veterans are Pissy

So the legendary pop artist Prince died unexpectedly a few days ago. I wasn't ever a great fan of his, however I can appreciate his virtuosity, showmanship and talent. I do have two of his albums on the original vinyl, because who didn't in my generation? Anyway I have been seeing a lot of chatter on social media decrying the fact that the general public is making a big deal about his death but not mentioning anything about the multiple deaths our military has experienced recently. Some folks are getting downright pissy and saying that they are glad Prince died or that it doesn't matter. Not only is that classless but it is irrelevant.

Prince's death and the subsequent media coverage and outpouring of sorrow has nothing to do with the respect or lack of respect being given to those in the military that have given the last full measure of devotion. One of my saner colleagues remarked how ironic it is that veterans were expressing self absorption while they mocked self absorption. You can feel sad about something and feel equally as sad about something else. It is not a zero sum game.

Truthfully though besides bitching on the Book of Face I would like to know what some of these folks have actually done to help mitigate veteran suicide or help support a gold star family? Have they attended an Honor Flight or joined a Veterans Service Organization? Volunteered in the community to take care of grave sites? What have they done? The sensitivity and entitlement sometimes exhibited by the veterans community occasionally gets out of hand. Sometimes I feel like certain former military members are afraid of losing relevance. I read a good article the other day that stated that our time in the military should not be the end all be all of our lives. We should be that shining example not the stereotypical joke. Educate those you feel are deficient but do it in a tactful and professional manner. Invite one of your Prince loving friends to a community veterans event. Be a good community member. Mostly quit being a dick its OK to like a lot of things everyone appreciates your service.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

CVO Gun Talk Episode 001





Our first episode. 3 guys talk guns and training. Download here http://www.tpspproductions.com/cvo-gun-talk-1/ or subscribe on itunes

Hawkeye 50K: 6th Consecutive

I ran and completed the Hawkeye 50K for my 6th consecutive time yesterday in 7:52:24. Over an hour slower than last year and 2 hours slower than my best time on that course. I was severely under trained, oh lets be honest I trained none for this race. I ran a long run of 15 miles on the course the week before and averaged about 15-20 miles per week total leading up to the race. But I had to run it. This was my first ultra back in 2010 and if I don't run another race all year I will run this one. I am going to complete a streak of 10 years and see where it leads form there. I have written 5 other race reports so I wont go into the course much.

I ran most of the first loop by myself, leapfrogging Kris and Marci two friends on there first 50K attempt (they smoked me by 12 minutes hurrah!!). I spent the second lap pacing a young lady named Hillary who was also on her first attempt. In all honesty motivating her to continue also motivated me. It was a win win.

I learned a few things. #1 you can finish things if you put your mind to them.#2 pain is relative. I didn't feel any better or any worse really than the other ultras I have raced. I was just moving slower at the same perceived effort. So that is what training does? It lets you move faster at the same perceived effort, eureka!!!

My friend Brian was the Race Director and I had many friends out on the course and volunteering. They all did a fantastic job. I would like to give a shout out to my cousin Mark who spent all day at the stream crossing making sure people were safe. #3 I still love trail running. Multiple people greeted me by name and waved throughout the race. Very cool.

Well I need to think about what the year will bring. Now that the Hawkeye monkey is off my back not sure what is next. Some pictures.