Thursday, August 18, 2016

Go Ruck Light Des Moines 8.13.2016 Class 1264





I first heard of GoRuck about 2 years ago. GoRuck is a gear company founded by Special Forces Soldiers that primarily specializes in guess what? That's right rucksacks. To better promote their product through "good livin" GoRuck "cadre" facilitate a variety of rucking/selection style events around the country. The events are patterned on Special Forces selection and are of varying lengths and time durations. Check out the website at  http://www.goruck.com/ . Anyway ever since I heard about the events I wanted to try one. So finally I signed up for the shorter event the GORUCK Light. It is billed as a 4-5 hour event where you will ruck 7-10 miles. There is a minimum packing list and ruck weight requirement. There is also the requirement to bring a team US Flag with a pole that can support "the weight of freedom" and a team weight. About 2 days before the event our cadre, Cadre Cleve posted a overhead photo of our starting point along with the departure time. Thats it, reminds me of when I went to selection and they would write stuff on the white board with no explanation.

Google maps made it pretty easy for me to identify the start point as the beach at Greys Lake in Des Moines Iowa, and off I went. I arrived about 30 minutes early and saw a few folks that were obviously there for the same purpose. I got dressed, peed about 30 times because I was hydrated,nervous or old. I leave the reason up to you to decide. I grabbed my ruck and the flag that I had brought and went to the formation area. At 1400 15 of us lined up in two ranks and laid out the contents of our ruck for inspection. Cadre Cleve and Cadre Zak inspected us and told us to ditch any watches or phones. They would not be needed. Once we were packed back up two Team Leaders were designated and off we went. I was carrying the flag initially. I forgot to mention that our instructions were to get to a certain way point about 2 miles distant in under 40 minutes. Also in addition to our rucks we had a 120 lb sandbag, an 80 pound sandbag, two 60 pound sandbags and our 15 pound team weight that also needed to accompany us for the entire journey. We also had to stay within one arms length of the person in front of us.

I won't describe every step but suffice to say that many memories were brought back as we constantly rotated through carrying the heavy sandbags in addition to our rucks. I truly felt as if I was back in selection at least for those 5 hours. The crushing weight got heavier and heavier as we marched farther and farther. We eventually incurred the additional task of carrying one of our teammates and their ruck as a "casualty." I could see fatigue starting to make cowards of a few people as they were slower and slower to rotate in. Taking just that few extra seconds of a break. I also saw some studs who stepped up and shouldered more than their fair share. about a third of the way through we stopped for a PT session which culminated in about 100 yards of bear crawls and crab walks. This kicked my butt and it ended up for me being crab ass drags.There was also a brief talk about leadership during this "break."

A little further along the cadre stopped and had us link arms. We all walked about knee deep in a random pond. There they had us do more PT in the water or a "hydrological survey". I actually enjoyed this as the water did wonders to cool me off on a hot day. Little by little we wound our way back to the start point. About a mile out the cadre informed us we had 8 minutes to make the end point. So after pushing along for 4 hours we had to push harder to make the linkup time. At that point I was again carrying the flag and I was running with it like a guidon as my teammates followed close behind carrying the sandbags on their backs.

Once we finished we again lined up in ranks. The cadre handed us our GoRuck patches and we took a team picture. After I got my patch I coined Cadre Zak. All Go Ruck Cadre were in Special Operations as I was. Cadre Zak in his intro talk had said he had spent his career in 10th SFG(A). My old unit. He was shocked. Cadre Cleve looked at me and said "way to be the grey man." This was a compliment as it meant I had not been a spotlight Ranger nor had  I drawn attention to myself by being a slacker. No higher praise for a special operator. After wards Cadre Zak and I exchanged bonafides,war stories and "hey do you know this guy?" until I had to leave.

All in all this was a fun event. I will probably be doing another one in the future. I am looking for competitive events to replace my ultrarunning as it looks like my body won't allow me to do that any longer. But I still have the desire to compete if only against myself. As Cadre Cleve said "Just because it is light doesn't make it easy."




















Monday, August 8, 2016

There is a Funeral Today



 There is a funeral today. A funeral that I should be at but can't. A funeral that shouldn't be taking place. My friend Grahm Geigle is being laid to rest. Grahm left us a week ago suddenly. I am not sure why what happened, happened but it was life cut short way too young. Grahm was a Father, Service Connected Disabled Veteran,Volunteer and he was my friend.

I first met Grahm through a veterans service organization called Team RWB. I was one of the founding members of the eastern Iowa chapter and Grahm contacted me after he inquired about joining. We conversed over email and phone and eventually he became a field team leader in his area and our Veterans Outreach Director. We would meet every few months and go for a run and talk about life. Usually we ran along the Mississippi River early in the morning before the sun came up. It showed Grahm's dedication that he would meet me at 0430 in the AM before he had to go work at the Rock Island Arsenal. After Grahm's military service he worked as a civilian on the Arsenal still helping military members.

And that is what embodies Grahm's life. I have not found one person he ever interacted with that has said anything but what a wonderful guy he was. And he was passionate about our nations veterans. Besides Team RWB, Grahm was also involved with Team RubiconWounded Warrior ProjectLive Uncommon and other charitable organizations. Grahm was a force of change in his community and in the veteran's community in eastern Iowa.

I am going to miss my friend. I feel that I should have been there for him and somehow we have failed him. I charge you to get involved in your community. Do it for Grahm, do not let his memory fade away.

Blues Skies my friend see you on the high ground.




Thursday, August 4, 2016

Privilege

They use the words like a club. "White Privilege", the very mention of the two words negates your opinion. You can't possibly be correct, because you have privileges that you don't even realize you have. If you deny it then you are ignorant or worse a racist. It must be true just look at the definition.

"White privilege is a form of racism that both underlies and is distinct from institutional and overt racism. It underlies them in that both are predicated on preserving the privileges of white people (regardless of whether agents recognize this or not). But it is also distinct in terms of intentionality. It refers to the hegemonic structures, practices, and ideologies that reproduce whites' privileged status. In this scenario, whites do not necessarily intend to hurt people of color, but because they are unaware of their white-skin privilege, and because they accrue social and economic benefits by maintaining the status quo, they inevitably do."

Crom help you if you are a white middle aged male. You are surely the devil in that case. Individuals that fall in this demographic have no valid opinion. This is the state of our society. Where even good people must somehow be evil due to circumstances of their birth. Isn't that what the fuss is about? But its ok if you are evil and white. So evil you don't even realize you are evil. And ignorant because otherwise you would know what is good for you. Although we do not intend to hurt anyone we obviously do because we exist. The so called discriminators have become the discriminatees.

I spent 22 years of my life in service to this country. As the saying goes I wrote a blank check payable up to an including my life. I served with many individuals of all colors and ethnicities. I never had any issues. I wonder when it was I became a racist?

I currently still serve in a public service capacity. I spend my days and nights responding to calls for emergencies. I take care of people. I patch them up and comfort them on what for many of them is the worst day of their life. They call I respond. It doesn't matter what color or ethnicity they are.I wonder when I became a racist?

I patrol the streets in a squad car. I try my best to make the streets safe for citizens.It doesn't matter what color or ethnicity they are. I profile criminal activity not skin color. I wonder when I became a racist?

I have worked hard since I was 14 years old. When I was 14, I had 2 jobs. It has been a rare occasion in my life when I worked less than 2 jobs. Currently I see my family only a few times a week as I work overnights and days to provide for them. I wonder when I started taking opportunity away from others?

I have 4 College degrees. I have 2 Associates, a Bachelors and a Masters. I got them all while going to school nights and weekends at the same time as I was working fulltime and providing for a family. I completed some coursework while in a hostile fire area. I drove 250 miles to turn in my homework over spotty internet in a third world shithole. I wonder when I became ignorant?

It is pretty obvious that my privilege got me where I am. Heck being able to write this blog post shows my privilege, as people of color surely cannot freely express their opinions with out being in fear of retaliation. Some will read this and call me racist, some will say I don't understand the term. Some will claim that all cops are targeting minorities. Some will claim that until wealth and power are redistributed they will not stop protesting. Some will ask if I fear for my safety every time I interact with law enforcement.

I say all those people are self absorbed,self hating assholes. I say those people are dividers that have no intention of working to make things better. I say those people look at everything through the lens of black and white and perpetuate the racism by applying race to every scenario. They want to rebel against "the man". They want to be hip and stylish and condemn police brutality even if they have to manufacture it. I say this because that is my privilege. 

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!!!!