Monday, December 30, 2019

By the Numbers

Image result for 2019 pictures 

Sixth annual yearly numbers recap

Physical activity

738.04 miles ran,rucked or walked. Hit my goal of 700 miles. That's about 300 more miles than last year. Next year I hope to hit 1000 miles for the first time in about 5 years.

165 workouts that's an average of 3.17 a week, Hit my goal of 3 workouts per week. Next year will raise the goal to 4. 

10,000 push-ups and sit-ups and 5000 burpees for the year.  Hit my goal on this. I will keep this goal for next year and add 2500 pull ups.

69 BJJ sessions and 156 hours of training. That's an average of 1.32 sessions/3 hours per week.  Hit my goal of at least 1 session per week. Currently on a 125 week unbroken attendance streak. I will set my new goal at 2 times per week.

18 No Gi BJJ training sessions for the year. My original goal was 2 session per month. I averaged 1.5 times. I will keep this goal the same.

2 BJJ competitions. Got a 1 gold and 2 silvers. I am probably on hiatus from competition for awhile.

4 GoRuck events 3 Lights, 1 Tough and a 26.2 mile Star Course

1 25K Race. I rucked it with 30 lbs 

Mental Activity and Personal Training

13 books read. My goal was 20. I will keep this goal the same. 

1 BJJ Seminar. Week long seminar and got certified as a Gracie Survival Tactics Instructor 

1 Home Defense Tactics Class

1 K9 TCCC course

1 Land the Plane session. I have probably attended this curriculum at least 10 times. Still the best bang for the buck in the self defense realm. 

My own training suffered a bit this year, since I took a full time teaching position. Ill try to do better.  However teaching is a form of training so there is that. 

Teaching Activity and classes taught

3 Community Stop the Bleed classes 

3 CPR classes

1 Pre Hospital Trauma Life Support Course

1 Advanced Medical Life Support Course

1 Emergency Medical Responder Course

2 Emergency Medical Technician Courses

1 Advanced Emergency Medical Technician Course

1 Paramedic Course

3 Active Shooter Response Courses

6 Casualty Care 1 Courses

1 Casualty Care 2 Course

3 Introduction to Defensive Pistol classes

3 Intuitive Defensive Shooting classes

1 Intuitive Defensive Carbine classes

3 Seminars spoken at- Hiawatha EMS Day, Jones County EMS Day and Critical Care Paramedic Refresher

Writing and Podcasts

2 Podcasts episodes produced

14 Personal blog entries

19 Professional blog entries

Slow year on the writing front. No published articles for the first time in a few years. Will get back up to speed in 2020. My personal blog will hit 10 years in 2020. Are blogs still a thing?

EMS and PD

246 EMS calls. I took a full time job as an EMS instructor at a local Community College and quit my full time Paramedic job. This caused my personal call volume to drop some. I also took over as Service Director of a rural ambulance service. Still working about 24 hours a week as a Medic.

116.5 hours worked as a Reserve Police Officer. 

Random Numbers

37 years since Army enlistment
15 years since Army retirement

31 years since Ranger School graduation

29 years since Special Forces Qualification Course Graduation

13 years since becoming an EMT

5 years since becoming a Paramedic

32 years since marriage

That's it. Another great year

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

12 Months 12 Pictures 2019

I started this last year. This will be the second annual













Saturday, December 7, 2019

I love GoRuck I hate GoRuck

GoRuck is a gear company that has events. GoRuck is a event company that sells gear. Its the age old chicken and egg controversy.  GoRuck was originally a company making high end backpacks( rucks) that started using events to market their product. The events took off and then so did the gear and so on and so on. From the Goruck website . I originally heard about GoRuck around 2014 and looked at their original "Radio Ruck" as a everyday carry bag. I didn't buy one quite honestly because it was pretty pricy. Fast forward 6 years and I own 4 GoRuck backpacks of different sizes, A GoRuck Kitbag, a GoRuck gymbag, 2 pairs of GoRuck boots, and a GoRuck pullover. They saw me coming a mile away. I have almost $1000 in GoRuck gear in my house yet I don't consider myself a GoRuck fanboy. That is the dichotomy that is GoRuck.

My first GoRuck Event in 2016 GoRuck Light 1264

One of my issues with GoRuck is the gear. And really its not the gear. Its me and the gear. GoRuck brilliantly markets their gear and events to the GoRuck community. They have built up a community of "GRT" around their events and gear that is vocal and loyal. Its built on a feeling of exclusivity that I will talk about later. However lets be honest GoRucks gear while very durable isn't really the best thing for the actual task at hand. I also own an actual OSPREY backpack for hiking and it is infinitely more comfortable and utilitarian than my GoRuck bags. GoRuck uses a frame sheet rather than an actual frame which provides some support but essentially you are just carrying a large bookbag. However when I am hiking for training it is my GoRuck bag I use. Why? Because they make it so easy to just throw some weight in it and go. Its simple.

I own 2 pairs of GoRuck Macv-1 boots. I don't use them to ruck in even though GoRuck claims they are the best for that activity. Why they are very comfortable, the soles are flat much like sneakers. The lack of aggressive tread keeps them out of my rucking rotation. I prefer to ruck in trail shoes. I wear the boots everyday to work however. So why if the gear is pricey and not really the absolute best do I own so much. In a word..Sales. GoRuck a few times a year launches incredible deals where you can get their $300-$400 items at 30-40% off. That is about $100 on most items. They also offer a year round 25% discount for active,retired military, and first responders. That's how they get me. They allow you to stack discounts and it makes you feel like you are getting quite the bargain. So even though you know that they are treating you like a 17 year old Private buying from a used car salesman you buy anyway. It makes you feel kinda dirty.

My second GoRuck Event in 2017 GoRuck Light Class 1487

Lets talk about GoRuck events. GoRuck says their events are modeled on Special Forces Assessment and Selection. All events are led by Cadre that have served or are serving in US Military Special Operations. Green Berets, Navy SEALS, Air Force PJ, Marine Force Recon/Raiders and many other "Special T shirt" units are represented. Some true American Heros. The founder of the company himself spent 2 years in 10th Special Forces Group my old unit. However this is my problem with the events. The events are definitely "modeled" on SFAS but it is not SFAS and that is the rub. I get irritated when a "GRT" that has drank the koolaid ( many out there) acts as if they have completed selection when for the most part they have completed the equivalent of a hard workout. They main difference is that there are no real consequences, You quit or fail at a GoRuck event you hang you head and go home. You quit or fail at SFAS and your military career takes a 180 degree turn never to be the same. GoRuck  is not real life and it definitely is not living and working as a special operator which I did for 14 years. As I always say "Everyday is a selection event."

What those events are very good at, if you keep them in perspective, is building teamwork and getting folks from different demographics to work together. The mainstay of most events is the equivalent of activities I did during "team week" of selection. Carrying lots of heavy shit, never taking your ruck off. Paying attention to detail, solving leadership issues, completing seeming insurmountable team tasks and staying awake. I recently completed an event where through out the wee hours of the morning four of us carried a 400 lb log for 5 miles. As the log was crushing my soul I looked up at the moon and started smiling. This moment frozen in time reminded me of other similar moments in my life. I was totally happy in that moment. Total teamwork and happiness is something missing from most of our everyday lives. With less than 1% of the US population serving in the all volunteer military its something people crave but may never have experienced prior to GoRuck.

GoRuck Light 2496

GoRuck Light 3038

Naperville 630 Ruck Club Custom Light

Minneapolis 26.2 mile GoRuck Star Course 
GoRuck Tough 3258
GoRuck Light 3320
I joke with my friends that I have "retired" from GoRuck. However  I ruck all the time and my entire workout program is based on sandbag and ruck workouts, bear crawls, burpees, pushups, and other stupid shit that they make you do at events. Recently in silent protest I bought nothing on the most recent sale. I didn't register for any events in 2020. But I have my eye on one this summer none the less. It is what it is.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

15 years

15 years ago today I officially retired from the US Army. Left a job I had been doing since I was 19. Poof done! 

I was lost for a few years after. Did some jobs I didn’t like but I fed my family while finding my passion. Fast forward to today I am a totally different guy. In fact I almost forgot what day it was. I am now an EMS educator and EMS Service Director. I am a leader in several volunteer organizations. I serve on a city commission . I am a reserve law enforcement officer. I am a college graduate with a Masters degree. I am a martial artist and a published author. The list goes on. I was none of these prior to my retirement. 

I spent today teaching some new shooters how to use their handguns and teaching them what to buy. I played frisbee with my dog and watched some college football. My military service will always be a huge part of me but it doesn’t define me. I have made a new equally as successful life. The saga continues.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

International Metal

Everyone who knows me knows I love Metal!! Here are some of my international favorites

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy Treason Day!!!

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Toxic Heroism

Many  have heard the oft overused phrase "toxic masculinity". We could argue the merits of that phrase ad nauseum but that is not what this post is about. I want to talk about the culture of "toxic heroism" that has found its way into certain parts of the military, emergency medical services, law enforcement and fire services among others. First I want to start out by making it clear I am not disparaging the work done by these entities. I want to make that very clear. This is not a bashing of our public servants who often go in harms way for no other benefit than a meager paycheck or sense of accomplishment.

What I do want to talk about are those that make sure we know that is what they are doing. The humble braggers, the "thank me for my service" folks. I spent 22 years in the military in a unit many consider "elite". I thought of myself as such and treated others accordingly. While there was certainly justifiable pride in my accomplishments as I matured and particularly after I retired, I realized that I was but a small cog in the great machine and truthfully my contribution was no better than anyone else's. This became painfully clear as my career came to an end and I felt myself being brushed aside as the operational pace kept moving forward without me.

I have spent the last 13 or so years involved in public safety both as a EMT/Paramedic, private Security Manager and a reserve Law Enforcement Officer. In those capacities I occasionally come in contact with the " We do everything a Doctor does but at 80 MPH" crowd or the " You will respect my authoritah!" folks. So what do all these groups have in common?

First there is a large dose of the Dunning Kruger effect at play here. In a nutshell Dunning Kruger is a cognitive bias where people mistakenly assess their abilities as greater than they actually are. Unfortunately those that seek the most attention normally deserve it the least. Secondly due to this cognitive bias these individuals look down on or discount the contributions of others as part of the whole team concept or chain of events. Thirdly and most importantly the news media and present culture have co opted the word hero and applied it inappropriately so often, its very meaning has changed. Webster's defines Hero as  "a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities" By applying the word hero to every service member who completes an enlistment or every EMS provider who transports a sick/injured person to the hospital the word has been cheapened. And this very cheapening has encouraged further abuse of the term.

Is every individual who finished basic training and spent the rest of their enlistment training stateside a hero? Is every volunteer firefighter a hero just because he responds? I would suggest that these folks are just doing their job and doing your job does not make you a hero. And by suggesting they are it simultaneously cheapens the word and fosters an aggressive culture of "look at me."

We need to do better

Armed Home Defense Tactics 6.13.19

Attended my annual Personal Defense Network your class at Rob Pincus came through Iowa. This year was all about home defense. Some old information and some new information. Thoroughly enjoyable class. I have some things to work on.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Gracie Survival Tactics Instructor Development Course Level 1 5.20-23.19

In May I attended at law Enforcement only Gracie Jiu-Jitsu survival tactics instructor certification course. Although the instructor certification was a plus I really wanted to attend to broaden my knowledge of jiu-jitsu in the context of my work as a reserve law enforcement officer and paramedic. I met that goal. It was an extremely intense course run by Evandro Nunes and Howard Steele. Both of these instructors were top notch. Over 90 law enforcement personnel attended this 4 day training. Training consisted of multiple techniques and survival strategies for law enforcement. The course overview can be found here:

The last day consisted of teach backs and learning the method to teach these techniques to fellow members of your department. I have been training Jiu Jitsu for almost 3 years and most of the techniques were not unfamiliar. But to see them taught with a different nuance and also learning the "why" behind each technique was very enlightening. Great course which hopefully I can use to spread this knowledge to my co workers.

BlackBeard Challenge 5.18.19

This was my third year of participating in the BlackBeard Challenge. I felt significantly stronger and faster this year due to the ruck/sandbag workout program I have been following. The BlackBeard Challenge is a ruck/bodyweight WOD style workout that honors SSG Matthew A Pucino. A Green Beret killed in action in 2009. There are 4 levels. Beginner, Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. All have different weights, distances and reps. I did level 2 this year which consisted of:

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Hawkeye 50K/25K 4.13.19

Sorry for the lack of posted material. I started two new jobs simultaneously in March and I have been overtaken by events. I will post some catch up now and some more original material in the next few days. Back in April, I participated for the 8th time in the Hawkeye 50K/25K. This was my inaugural ultra marathon back in 2010. I have ran the 50K 6 times and rucked the 25K twice to include this year. 30 lbs plus water. I bested my ruck PR by almost 50 minutes. It was a fun day.