Friday, January 27, 2012

Extracurricular Activites #3 :Reserve Deputy Sheriff

As I have written before besides my regular job I also work/volunteer at a few other activities. I officiate high school sports and work as a Emergency Medical technician. Another activity on my ADD inspired list of tasks is I am a reserve deputy sheriff in a rural county in northeastern Iowa. How I got hooked up with this activity was a somewhat long process. I happened to be talking to one of the security officers that works for my company and he mentioned he was a reserve officer in this county and that they were hiring reserves. This interested me for several reasons. This county is the county where my family is originally from and I used to visit it quite a bit when I was young. I have always been interested in law enforcement and I also thought it may give me a more well rounded approach and add some credibility to my day job as operations manager for a contract security company.

So I obtained and application and turned it in. And I waited and waited and waited.. eventually I forgot about it entirely. One day over a year after sending in the application I got a call from the reserve captain inquiring if i was still interested. Although I had forgotten all about it I told him sure. He arranged an interview and once that was done, I completed my processing,fingerprints,background check etc.. Then I was a provisional deputy. In the state of Iowa to become a fully qualified reserve deputy you have to finish the reserve officer academy in 18 months and attend and pass weapons training. Each individual sheriff then can designate how he wants the reserve deputies used in his county.

At this point I am one module from completing the reserve academy and I have completed the weapons training etc.. The sheriff in my county allows reserves to augment regular deputies for special events such as fairs, rodeos etc.. I have participated in several of these events. He also allows reserve deputies to operate independently once they are qualified and have a certain number of hours spent as a rider with a regular deputy. I currently am still conducting my ride time and may get on my own sometime this summer. Honestly I am not in too much of a hurry as I enjoy riding with the other deputies and  seeing how they operate.

As I mentioned the county I operate in is rural and it has the normal rural law enforcement issues. Animal versus car accidents,speeding,OWI,drugs etc.. There are only two towns in the county that have their own police forces, the rest of the small communities contract with the Sheriff's Office to patrol their towns and provide law enforcement support. So much of my time on duty consists of patrolling these towns or checking for speeders on one of the two highways that bisect the county. I try to work 2-3 times per month and so far I really enjoy it. Eventually I may try to get on as a reserve in a department a little closer to home but for now I like where I am at

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Triple D Winter Race

So the Triple D Winter Race is the first race in what I have named my Winter/Spring of Awesome. I was looking for a January race and it came up on a Google search. It is held in Dubuque Iowa which is only about 90 minutes from where I live.Not sure why they call it the Triple D but it sure is a cool race. I choose to run the Half Marathon (13.1 miles) because frankly I was a little apprehensive about running a trail race in the winter, would I need snowshoes or what? The Triple D is actually 4 events there is the Half Marathon, Full Marathon and Ultra Marathon and a 100KM Mountain Bike race. All these races where held on the Heritage trail system which is a rails to trails system that follows the valley made by the Little Maquoketa River in Dubuque County Iowa. I was a little worried the week prior to the race that it wouldn't be a true winter race as it hadn't snowed yet this year. Not to fear though, we got about 6-8 inches dumped on us the Thursday prior to the race so there was plenty of winter for everyone.

So I got up early the morning of the race and made the 90 minute drive to Dubuque. On the way I did my traditional crappy job of fueling up by eating an egg mcmuffin and a small coffee. One of these days I will do things right but why mess with tradition? Packet pickup was at the Grand Harbour Resort in Dubuque and I arrived about 0815, early enough to pick up my packet and get dressed prior to the pre race briefing at 0900.  This was a self supported race so what I carried would be what I had. I was dressed in layers, long sleeve tech shirt, running pants, stocking hat, gloves and my old Army PT jacket (hey it is free and it works) with a GU Gel and some GU shots in my left pocket, and my iphone, emergency numbers and inhaler in the other. On my feet I had my gators and Yak Trax.I was also carrying 2 hand bottles full of diluted Gatorade.

After the pre race briefing we loaded on the Half Marathon bus which would shuttle us to the start point out near Farley Iowa. The trip to the start took awhile, long enough for me to take a little nap. Eventually we turned off the highway and down a gravel,snow covered road. I wasn't sure the bus would make it up a few of the hills but it was fine. The bus dropped us off at a point where the trail crossed the road and we all piled out. There was probably about 20 runners in our group. In front of us heading back towards the east was the start line spray painted on the trail.

So we all kind of milled about for about 10 minutes or so and I took the opportunity to relieve myself in the woods.

Finally someone yelled " Is there any one from the race here?" No one answered, we were on our own. See what I mean about self supported? After figuring out there was no official starter we all just hit our watches and started down the trail.

The race itself was pretty uneventful. I was listening to metal tunes on my iphone and every 5 minutes my running app would inform me of my current distance and pace. The snow got a little slushy in the sunny areas but I found if I took smaller strides and turned my feet over quicker the traction was improved. Since the course followed the river bottom, winding in an out of the large bluffs in the area I think it was slightly downhill the whole way with only one uphill in the whole race. Snowmobiles also used this trail and if you kept on the spots they had packed down the traction was pretty good.

About mile 7 I started bonking a little due to my lack of nutrition but the Gu took care of that issue pretty quickly. I stopped a few times to take pictures and pretty much decided to just enjoy the scenery and the nice sunny winter day. About mile 8.5 we passed the base of the Sundown Ski area and seeing all those people waiting on chairlifts got me daydreaming about when my Special Forces team was doing winter training near WinkleMoos in Bavaria. We were ski touring around the area and one night we stopped at a Hutte and drank way to many Weisbieres. We then had to ski back in a blizzard a couple of kilometers to our hooches (tents) that were set up in the woods on the mountain. Good times. I wasn't really passed by anyone and I didn't pass anyone else after the first few miles. Everyone just kept moving it down the trail. There was one poor guy who  was using cross country skis but the gravel base on the trail was messing them up as well as the snowmobile tracks. He also had to take them off everytime we crossed a gravel road. He made it though about 15 minutes after I came in. 

Towards the end as the temperature rose to about freezing I started getting hot as I was just a tad overdressed. I took off my hat and unzipped the ventilation ports under the arms of my jacket ( reason I wore the jacket). I quickly cooled back down. The finish line was just as unceremonious as the start, we crossed a bridge and stopped in the parking lot of a bar. You walked inside told them your name and they wrote it down. There was a bar tab established for racers however which was a plus.

Unfortunately I couldn't stay to long as I had a family event going on later in the afternoon, so I grabbed the first shuttle back to my car. All in all this was a good race and fun. I finished in 2:16:49 which is not a PR but is 15 minutes faster than the last half marathon I did. That last half marathon was also on dry pavement so I felt pretty good about my time. I think next year I will probably do the Marathon.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Wrestling: Opportunities to Succeed

University of Northern Iowa Assistant Wrestling Coach Mark Schwab wrote an excellent article on winning themes in the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships.

Check it out here .

As I read the article it came to me that theses themes dovetailed nicely with my theory that wrestling is the sport that causes us to achieve the most in life no matter our level of expertise or ability. I have borrowed Schwab's 10 winning themes and expanded them to regular life.

10. Stance Mobility and Discipline- Schwab makes the point that those who win are those that stay in an athletic stance and employed correct repetition. This is also true in our everyday employ good habits and keep themselves positioned to win at all times. Losers let themselves relax and get out of the correct position. Life's winners keep their eye on the ball.

09. The winners moved forward or circled- Controlled but not reckless, successful people show relentless forward progress in their affairs. Winners continue to set goals for themselves on a daily, weekly, and yearly basis. When you quit moving forward you lose.

08. The winners have a defense that is rarely penetrated- Our defense means a strong financial situation, family, and faith life. Being able to fall back on these strong defensive measures in bad times will separate the winners and the losers.

07. The winners wrestled through the period and kept their butt to the center- Essentially this is telling us to fight to the end, never quit and always look to go on the offense. If you get knocked down look at it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Quitters never win.

06. The winners attacked the bottom position- When you are down you need to explode from the bottom. You need to be aggressive and persistent in facing life's challenges.Make it hard to keep you down.

05. The winners kept their opponent down- Once we have surmounted an obstacle or problem we need to keep it from reappearing. keep the pressure on and learn from your mistakes so as not repeat them.

04. I cannot tell you how many points were scored on the edge of the mat or in the closing seconds - Once again never quit. Also never relax until the problem is solved don't let your guard down and get an unpleasant surprise.

03. The athlete who tried to hold on to or protect a lead often lost- Relentless forward progress. Everyday is a job interview as I like to say. You cannot rest on your laurels because our society is very much what have you done for me lately. Prove yourself everyday.

02. The winners are physically strong and conditioned- Keep yourself in shape both mentally and physically so that you can handle issues as they arise.

01. Strong Body language- Those that appear confident and expect to win often do. Mental focus and a strong desire coupled with the confidence to realize our goals eventually result in victory.

Wrestling instills these values. Winners in wrestling and life attempt to use them constantly.