Sunday, June 5, 2016

Life Changes

This weekend I had the great opportunity to see three of my Scouts graduate from High School. It is a huge reminder about how old I am getting. It is great to see these three become men and make decisions on what they want to do with life whether that is mission or college. I am very proud of all three. We are getting close to changing what I am called - Brother Fisher to Chad. It is weird when it happens but I have had Scouts move to being a peer. It is great to see it.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to a funeral outside of Dallas for a co-worker's son. It is tragic what happened to him but this funeral gave her the opportunity to sort of put closure on a horrible situation and gave some of my co-workers and I the opportunity to support her. She doesn't ask for help ever but during this time she allowed me to me to serve her through making her a bunch of meals and bringing them to her. I am glad she let me serve. It was interesting to see and hear stories of her son. I had only met him 2 or 3 times and he was going through a rough spot in life at the time but it is clear that he was on the road to getting things back together. He looked like he was fun to be around and always had a smile on his face.

After the funeral I was able to celebrate with two of my Scouts at a graduation party. It was interesting to see them walk around and interact with people. Another almost Eagle was there hanging out with them (reminder to self - help fill out his Eagle Rank Application). Eagle is no measure of a boy's greatness for sure but I am glad they saw it through. I am struggling with the fact that my oldest chose not to get his but the choice was his - I think I will always struggle with this. It is very clear that the Scouting program is doing good things and working to make these boys better men. I am actually seeing it. I think about the all the young men that have entered "my" Scouting program and how they have all gone on to be productive and awesome.

One of my graduating Scouts will be having his Eagle Court of Honor this Thursday. Really proud that he finally earned it. He was constantly working on it through the help of awesome parents and a gentle reminder here and there from me to help nudge him to get it done. He did the work. We sure didn't. His project was PERFECT for who he was. I am working on his Trail to Eagle presentation and minus some crappy production value I might not be able to overcome it will be very personal to who he is. I may post it here after the event.

I have a lot to be grateful for. I look at these young men and couldn't be more proud of who they are.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Uber Ride from Hell

Uber is a cheap alternative to a cab. I have never taken a cab before due to price. When they cancelled Carry the Load, they wanted us to hike back to basecamp to hide from the storm.  If you tell me I am done, don't then make me walk back in the rain. I decided to hire an Uber to carry Christi and I back to our cars since David was gone - I was going to have them drop Christi at her car and then proceed to drop me off at my car. I ordered the Uber at 3:05 AM. The Uber that was dispatched was 4 minutes away.................

30 minutes later I had watched this cab drive literally all over but not to the spot where we were waiting. Then I noticed she had already started to bill me for the ride....... My first Uber wasn't going well.  So finally she found us which with Google Maps isn't really that hard. I mean seriously. It isn't that hard. The app loads a map in for you to use not only to get to the location for pick up but to then get them where they need to go. Ezzy peazzy.

So when we got in I typed in the location of where we need to go and lets just say a 4 minute drive became like a 12 minute ride from hell. Our driver admitted she didn't know the area and then admitted she didn't know what she was doing. We kind of figure that. Then she proceeded to drive like a frackin' bat out of hell in the rain. I seriously was scared for my life. She almost ran 2 stop signs. I look over and Christi is laughing and I am almost crying.

I tried to be nice and offer suggestions. They were sort of overlooked.

A $4 fair ended up bring almost $15. I contacted Uber and the changed the fair to $7. Still not really happy about the whole situation. If I were a driver I would be mortified if I did this.

Needless to say we got to our cars. We survived but I want my $2 back*. Uber I will make you pay!!

* I have been back and forth with Uber all day yesterday. They finally agreed to refund the whole ride. They said this isn't normal or customary but neither was this ride. Thanks Uber for making this right. I mean I almost died!!!!!!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Carry the Load 2016 - After Action Review

These backpacks spent a ton of time together!!
Man, this year was awesome!! The weather was GREAT! I raised money this year thanks to a singular Wood Badge friend. And I did so much better than last year. I was hot and tired but I wasn't forced to take 83 naps throughout the night. It was a great, humbling, fulfilling experience that I recommend to all.

I was honored again this year to walk for Sargent Enrique Mandragon from The Colony, Texas. This years goal was 30 miles with 30 pounds. When I weighted my pack at home I was at 34 pounds. When it was weighted at the event is was a straight up 40 pounds. After last year's beating physically I had mixed emotions when I heard that. I contemplated getting rid of some of my stuff but elected to try it. I met up with my friend David who I met at last years event and we proceeded to walk the first 16 miles together. I got to admit the first 10 miles was an absolute mental battle with my brain. I had not slept well the night before and my neck and back were hurting from the horrible night sleep I had but I was stubborn enough to know that I had to wait to get into the zone. And it hit about mile 10. David was the only reason I got to mile 16. David has heart!

I finally got to carry a fire hose!!
Field of flags!!
I love this shirt!!
During the event people carry different things to symbolize carrying other's load. Firefighters usually carry fire hose. I ran into a female firefighter who is almost done with the Dallas Fire Academy and asked her if I could carry her hose for a bit. I carried it for about 3/4 a mile before she had to bolt to walk with friends but I was finally glad to be able to say that I was able to carry a fire hose at Carry the Load.

Saw some of my fellow Goruckers out there. Glad to be associated with such great people that actually care about veterans.

At mile 16 I met up with Christi. I wasn't very talkative nor was I very fast. Sweating from me eyes because I was so hot is partly to blame. Who knew you could sweat from your eyes? I had slowed way down but didn't need naps like I did last year. I think the better weather was the reason I wasn't wanting to pass out. I was pretty overheated last year. Plus the use of a cooling towel helped a TON. Almost every aid station I dipped it into the buckets of ice. My back was wet from sweat and my front was wet due to the cooling towel to help fight the heat. I was wet a lot during this event. I got two of the best blisters ever. One on the ball of my foot and the other on the top of my toe. Painful but worth it.

We had seen some awesome lightening and a little bit of rain all night. We were told storms would hit about midnight. I wasn't scared because the water would have cooled me down even further but the lightening became an issue. At about 2 AM it started to storm decent. The volunteers at aid station #3 told us they wanted us back at the Park. We elected to just go to our cars. One very long Uber ride later we were at our cars (more to come on this ride later). 

Final distance and time was 25.5 miles at 10 hours. For a fat guy with a 40 pound ruck on his back, that really isn't the bad. I would have really liked to have hit my 30 miles but it was not so this year. It doesn't really matter. it was more about honoring Sargent Mondragon and his sacrifice. 

I would encourage you to do a Carry the Load. You don't have to walk miles and miles like I do. You don't even have to carry a load. Just being there shows that you care.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

All I want to be is a Dad

All I want to be is a Dad. I want to be involved in my kid's lives. Harder for a divorced dad when kid's are in two different locations but still do-able. And I would do anything for them!! When I get last minute notice, I drop whatever I am doing to show my kids I am interested in them and love them (yes, I actually am). I shouldn't be excluded from piano recitals, concerts, get last minute notice on stuff, not be involved in decisions that effect the kids when they are in my home just because I don't live with them. I beg, I plead. I want to be involved. I have the right. I clearly can't be that horrible of a man.

So I wait till they need me..........and try to ignore they only want me when they need me.

To single dads out there my heart breaks for you. Especially if you give half a crap about your kids. My heart is broken.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Carry the Load 2016

I again going to be doing Carry the Load this year for Memorial Day. This is last years experience. This year I am not doing as many miles with as much weight but 30 pounds for 30 miles is still a shock to the body.  I am hoping my daughter K will be joining me as she has expressed interest in going this and Goruck events with me. I am sure she will do fine. She is pretty physically stubborn when she puts her mind to it.

This year I have thought and thought about who to walk for and I just keep coming back to Sgt. Enrique Mondragon that I walked for last year. I am friends with this wife and mother on Facebook though I do not personally know them. It is very touching to see their posts often about how they miss him throughout the year. He is obviously very loved and very deserving of having my ruck dedicated to him. 

So earlier this week I decided again that I will dedicate my Sunday afternoon, evening, Monday very early morning and Monday to Sergeant Enrique Mondragon. He should be remembered especially since he grew up right here in the area. 

Memorial bracelet I will be wearing!

Look for an AAR (after action review) after the event!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Dialogs with a Dad - Me, Scouting, Wood Badge and Being a Single Father

My friend Josh has a blog called Dialogs with a Dad. I really enjoy the podcasts. They are great to listen to on an hour commute one way. In this episode he interviews me and Scouting is a huge topic. I hope you enjoy. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Reading This Blog

Thanks for reading this blog. I know that sounds lame from some dude on the internet but a lot of people have been reading my thoughts and ideas on LDS Scouting and Varsity Scouting recently (and compared to when I started) and I appreciate it.

I am grateful!!!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Wood Badge 117

If I think back to Wood Badge 91, it was a blur and probably the reason I have said yes so many times to staffing a Wood Badge course. It is a chance for me to review the syllabus and relearn the things I was taught on my course. I semi-recently had to drop out of staffing a course due to a divorce. My kids needed me more than the course did. It was heart breaking to make that call even though I know it was the right choice. I was pretty sure that was going to put a black mark on me and it was going to be years before I staffed again but luckily I have awesome friends. David the course director who I had served on previous courses with invited me to serve and I was glad to do it. I taught the Servant Leadership presentation. You won't get any of the Wood Badge secrets from me but I will share one of the videos I used in my presentation along with some ideas.

  • Don't limit those we serve. Don't tell them what they can do and what they can't. You will be surprised what they can do when you expect great things!
  • We should grow just like those we serve grow. 
  • We should never assume those we serve can or can't do something.
  • Those with "disabilities" are resources and can do many and great things!
  • Encourage the heck out of those you serve.
  • Don't ask those you serve to do anything you can't or wouldn't be willing to do!
  • Love those you serve!
  • Love those you serve!!
  • Love those you serve!!! (If you don't love them, find a way to love them!)

The blindfold in this movie was used to remove our own expectations of ourselves! We can go further than we ever imagine. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together!!

Staff and participant water bottles.

I served as an assistant quartermaster on Wood Badge 117. I know everyone works hard but I have never been so tired on a course ever. Not even as a Troop Guide. The kitchen is no joke. The food was ridiculously good even if I say so myself. I made close to 100 pounds of Dr Pepper pulled pork. It was so good.
I was surrounded by some really good people. Some I knew and some I got to know. Wood Badge attracts some really good people. Really good.

Wood Badge and Goruck go together.
Kathy and I in the kitchen.

Is that Lord Baden Powell?
Dr Pepper Pulled Pork. Oh ya.....
My presentation.
Campfire time!!

Digging flag pole holes in the mud.

Flag poles complete!!

And to think I will be the Quartermaster on Wood Badge 120. I couldn't be more EXCITED by be staffing my 4th course!!!

You will hear more from me on Wood Badge soon. I want interviewed for a buddy's blog about who I am as a Dad and Wood Badge came up.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

What is Goruck?

Goruck. What is it?:

Goruck is a military style event based off of military special forces training through rucking, moving with weight on your back (hiking). One of Goruck's tag lines is to "Build better Americans". This is through introducing you to working out in team-based training similar to those who attend Special Operations training in the Armed Forces. These events are social events and team building events. They are also leadership events. They force you to forget about yourself and worry more about your team.

There are 4 typical types of Goruck events:
  • Goruck Light - 5-7 hours covering anywhere from 7-10 miles. Carry weight depending on body weight. For me (a big guy) I carry a base weight of 20#. Pass rate average is 100%.
  • Goruck Tough - sometimes called Goruck Challenge is 10-12 hours covering 15-20 miles. Carry weight depends on body weight. For me (still a big guy) I carry a base weight of 30#. Average pass rate 94%.
  • Goruck Heavy - 24+ hours covering 40+ miles. For me I would carry a base weight of 30#. Average pass rate 50%.
  • Goruck Selection - many have tried and many have failed. Average pass rate is extremely low. Usually 1-3 people pass in a class of 30-40.

    My 30# cast iron plate.
    The base weight you carry is literally just that - brick wrapped in duct tape and bubble wrap to give you a base weight to start with. You can also use a cast iron plate or a sand-filler bag (I don't recommend the sand bag as most events end up in some form of water and this would create extra weight for you). It ensures that everyone is at a similar level. Bigger people carry bigger weight. Smaller people carry smaller weight (if you weigh under 150 pounds you only carry 10# during a Light and 20# during a Tough and a Heavy). 

    Add water and other items on the packing list and you can easily have at least 30-40 pounds of gear. That doesn't sound like a lot, but I encourage you to try to ruck with 30 pounds. It might appear easy at first but it will start to wear on your feet. Try doing a push up with an extra 30-40 pounds on your back or a bear crawl or a duck walk or a belly get the idea. It can be hard! It is hard.

    Most of my gear for my September 11th Goruck Event.
    Attention to detail is important during these events. Come with the items listed on the packing list and not much more. Pay close attention to instructions. Check your ego at the door. No joke. Trying to understand why you are doing something isn't important. Just doing it is more important. As you and your team (referred to as a Class) receive instruction from a Cadre (the trainer for the event who is either ex-Special Operations military or current Special Operations military). Pay attention to detail. Act with swiftness. These Cadre are no joke and they will prove it. They can appear mean with no sympathy, but every instruction comes with purpose. They are trying to teach you something. I have often asked, "What am I supposed to learn from this?" They are there to push you to your limit and then push you further. (I left my last event feeling like I wasn't extremely physically challenged UNTIL I woke up the next two mornings. I was sore all over.)

    Sometimes you get to play in a pond with your heavy backpack on.
    Goruckers (often referred to as Ruckers or GRTs after your first event, which stands for Goruck Trained) are a salty bunch at times. You may not approve of the language, but they have the softest hearts in the world and often would do anything to help you out during an event or in life. Being GRT makes you a part of a family.

    During the event your team will carry flags and a team weight. You get a lot of funny looks when a group of GRTs are walking down the road with an American flag and heavy rucks. You usually get honks and glares (of the good variety). 

    Your patch is just a piece of cloth you earn at the end of your event. For me though, it is a key to memories. While the event lasts just hours, I have put long hours of preparation into an event by working out, packing and repacking my backpack, and sometimes picturing the worst while hoping for the best. I am not in perfect shape. In fact, I am usually one of the bigger people there- but that doesn't stop me. It never will. Physicality is a huge part of passing any of these four events, but mental toughness is probably the biggest part of being endex'ed (passing the class and getting your patch!). There will be plenty of times during these events when you will ask, "What am I doing here and why am I doing this?" Push through it. Don't let your brain tell you what you can and can't do. There are plenty of things I thought I couldn't do, but with a little motivation and a little yelling, I was able.

    I have attended 2 Lights (Class #675 and #945) and am scheduled to do a Tough in November 2015. November's event will be my first 12 hour event and, to be brutally honest, I am a bit intimidated. 

    Why I Started Rucking and Attending Goruck Events:

    My Goruck journey started about 3.5 years ago. I battled with my weight as a Scout leader. I had been overweight for about 20 years. Hiking with my Scouts was an extreme chore. For years my weight would yo-yo; I would lose 20-30 pounds and then put it right back on. To save my soul from dying while hiking, I looked into light- weight backpacking and came across Brian's Backpacking Blog. Seeing that Brian had done a Goruck event inspired me to want to do a Goruck event, but didn't provide the motivation to start losing the weight. Brian is a stellar athelete and a dang good hiker. It took me almost 3 years to get up the nerve to actually put foot to sidewalk to attempt a Goruck event. I had to get my mind right.

    Goruck Light Class #675. The young lady to my right told me humbly she had the month before broken the US Female record for 100 miles race. She ran it in 14.5 hours -- that is a 14.5 minute miles average. She was physically challenged during this event.
    So about 18 months ago, realizing my life was a mess because of my addiction to food, I started attending the LDS Church's Addiction Recovery class. I hoped to focus on what food really was after 2 failed marriages and a lifetime of not liking who I was. I started my journey at 367 pounds in August of 2014. As of September of this year, I am down to 295. I have not put any weight (other than 5 pounds back and forth) back on. I am most proud of the fact that my weight is not yo-yoing this time. Taking off weight can be easy at times, but keeping it off can be extremely hard. I actually started practicing portion control as well. At times I still eat stuff I should avoid, but I am not eating tons and tons and tons of it.

    While working on the outside by attending the LDS Addiction Recovery class, I started working on the inside. I read The Continuous Atonement by Brad Wilcox. I have always had self esteem issues and this book convinced me that while I make mistakes in life, the Lord makes all the difference in my life. I knew that previously, but I had to put my beliefs into action. I am doing that with reasonable success.

    Two of my closest friends are also my workout partners. I workout with one at 5 AM and the other at night. My get-healthy journey could not have happened without them. Exercise is more like therapy to me as we talk about life, discuss and solve the problems of the world, and sometimes just vent about life while walking, running or yes even doing yoga when the weather is bad--I can't believe I am admitting that.  Accountability partners have also been key to my success in losing and keeping off weight. My local friends have seen the challenges I have been asked to endure and surrounded me like family.

    I have a lot to be grateful for. Setting my ship right, knowing where the Lord wants me and being there, losing weight and having friends and family that love me close, especially when I struggle. Other than winning the lottery and an eternal companion, I have everything I need in life. 

    Duck walk......

    This post was written for to introduce people to Goruck events.