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.

    Thursday, May 12, 2016

    High Highs and Low Lows

    I haven't blogged a ton lately. Busy, kids, work transition, life transition, Church responsibilities and Wood Badge course.

    The past month have been filled with some very highs and some very lows.

    Wood Badge was a high. A HUGE high. I will blog about that this weekend. I will just say this -- I made more awesome friends and connected with existing friends more. Hardly any sleep but it was GREAT!!!

    One of my co-worker's son was in a car accident where he left his vehicle and was disoriented enough after the accident that he jumped into a river. It has been 6 days. We haven't heard from him. I still hold out hope. I even spend a part of my day off yesterday looking for him with a coworker. The poison ivy, black berry thorns and cat's tails were crazy thick. It was some major bush-wacking. Leave No Trace didn't happen. I was blazing a trail like no other. This breaks my heart. No parent should ever have to worry about their child like this. Because of this, it has created an opportunity to serve. I told my coworkers I was going to do some freezer meals for the family and they handed over some cash. I was only going to do 2 but I think I have enough resources to make about 6. Maybe more. I am glad my coworker accepted help. She generally doesn't. I am glad my coworkers want to serve our friend.

    I got to spend some time with my sister's family. Two 4 year old twins and a one year old. I wanted to lighten my sister's load while there. I think I did. My nephews are AWESOME! Smart and funny. Hilarious even. Every time I leave from visiting them I cry a little. Not sure why other than I am an emotional dude. I love my family a lot. A ton! I wish they lived closer. I wish I was less busy with life. Being called Uncle Chad is awesome!!

    Recently I have transitioned to working back in the office. I have been put in charge of some employees. It has been interesting because I know all the employees but this is the first time they have worked with personally in years let alone let me manage them. Inter office personal relationships are interesting. Employees with rough edges have come to head quickly but I have decided just like I did at Wood Badge as a Troop Guide I am going to find ways to serve at work and make sure they know I love them. I think it is working. I have already been offered another promotion with more people work. Today I scored major points when both the front and the back of the office was short handed. I bounced between sides and made sure jobs that would not get done were done to make stress on others was lessened. Hopefully I am putting trust in our relationship bucket. Some day I might need to use that trust and love to help "correct" issues. Yesterday while searching for a coworkers friend I discovered why one of the challenging employees might be taking life's frustration out on others. I don't want to share it here but it is serious. Our personal lives do effect our work life. 

    My sister and I were almost in a car accident. In fact, I should start in December. A close friend and I were coming home from visiting some of my family in the area and we witnessed a drunk drive CREAM another car. I jumped out with my first aid kit and Anna called 911. It was crazy insane. The drunk drive actually had hit someone else a mile up before creaming the other car. That didn't stop him. Jump forward to this past week and a honking horn saved us being t-bones. I jumped out again and my sister Christy called 911. Fast forward 25 minutes an the police showed up. Everyone was safe but we were literally inches from being involved in this accident. Everyone involved in the accident was fine. No air bags deployed which I found odd as they were going fast enough for airbags to deploy. My sister would have been hit right in her door. I am very grateful to not have been involved in that accident and also grateful to be able to help in some very small, small way.

    I am working out more. I hate it. I love it. Some day I will be skinny.

    Relationships are hard. I suck at them. 

    Monday, November 16, 2015

    Why I Quit My Goruck Tough Challenge - AAR

    My Goruck Tough Challenge was a beast. I am spent 2 days later.

    9 PM is way past my bed time. I am old, fat and I love my sleep.

    Most of this event was a blur but I will say that I had many on my team checking on me constantly to see how I was doing. They were caring and funny. They were foul-mouthed and hilarious. They were problem solvers and great Americans. They shared their Veteran's stories with me and I was proud to be with them. I saw parts of Downtown Dallas that I have never seen before. We rucked through a lot of it at not very safe hours.

    So 14 hours later at about 11 AM on Saturday morning we were hiked across a creek, over a fence and over a pedestrian bridge. We then were put in bear crawl position and told to bear down a hill. My arms and shoulders were so spent I could not keep myself up. I ended up dragging myself down the hill. Not even close to good form. We were given 5 seconds to run back up the hill to get to our rucks and I just couldn't do it. I got back to my ruck and we were put in bear crawl position again to crawl down the hill. I couldn't do it. I grabbed my pack told the guy next to me I was done and walked away from the group. Within seconds I was surrounded by my newest 17 friends begging me to stay and telling me I could do it. I was pretty sure I couldn't. In fact, at that point I knew I couldn't do any more. Even having lost 70 pounds I am still a big dude and not in the shape I want to be, though I am heading in the right direction.

    The Cadre separated me from the group and I told him I was done. He had asked us at 9 PM the night before that if we wanted to quit to think about all those who had passed during military service and to think about how they would want to be in our shoes and able to see their loved ones. I had but I was so very tired. He told me he knew I could do it if I would just come back to the group and asked me to give it a try. Cadre CT had been extremely nice to the group. Some Cadres physically smoke classes but CT had been fair. He talked about an exercise we had done in the wee hours of the morning where a classmate had jumped up and placed a sticker on a wall and then with our encouragement had been able to jump higher and place a sticker higher than her original. Nothing had changed except the group encourging her to jump higher and she had been able to jump higher. I agreed to go back to the group even though I was embarrassed as hell and I was humiliated by my actions, but I wanted to complete this event as much as my fellow GRTs wanted to complete it. I didn't want to throw 14 hours away even though I was so very tired.

    I returned and we were put in bear crawl position again. We bear crawled halfway down the hill and told to lay on our stomachs and then the song below was played for us. 

    I love this song. I have known it for a long time and there is some great history about it. It is worth the read. I sang along with most of the lyrics. It is a touching hymn to military sacrifice. At that point, I would have done anything we were asked to do.

    My biggest disappointment in myself out of all of this is the 5 minutes of feeling sorry for myself, feeling like I couldn't do this and feeling like I "should" be done. In that moment it became about me instead of about my team. I didn't put them first, I didn't communicate with them where I was at physically and mentally, and I just gave up.

    Some in the GRT community may think I am a quitter and don't deserve my patch, to which I would reply,  I 100% agree with you. I honestly don't feel like I deserve it. I made a 5 minute bad decision following 14 hours of physical, mental and emotion stretching. I am sure most GRTs have thought of quitting at some point during an event, but haven't done it. I, on the other hand, have quit. I regret it but I hope to use it as a learning opportunity in the future.

    To Cadre Chris (CT) - thank you for believing in me and seeing where I am at physically and stretching me from there instead of holding me to someone else's standard.

    To my fellow GRTs who suffered right beside me and probably picked up a ton of my slack - thank you from the bottom of my heart for believing in me when I didn't believe in myself. Everywhere I went you helped me. You extended your arm to help me. Thank you.

    Tuesday, November 10, 2015

    12+ Hours of Mental Toughness

    Friday night at 9 PM I know where I will be...... And I know where I will be all night. It won't be in my bed.

    It will be a long, sleepless night and morning with heavy weight on my back and about 20 of my newest friends to celebrate Veteran's Day in a very special way--by being tortured physically. I regretted signing up for this event as soon as I paid half price for it. I will not be in my comfort zone.

    Unlike my last event though, I am less scared even though I know I am going to get physically smoked more than ever I ever have before.* I am a smarter packer, a better foot taper (to alleviate blisters) and more strong willed. The Cadre will not get me quit. I will not quit on myself or my team.
    I won't be the fastest. I won't be the slowest.
    I won't be the strongest. I won't be the weakest.
    I won't ever give up on myself or my team.
    This isn't about me.
    Grateful for those who served and grateful for those who I personally know that served me.

    So here is to hoping it is only a 12 hour event instead of 15 but either way I am smashing it even if I have to crawl to complete it.

    *I am pretty sure it will be worse than Carry the Load but ready to embrace the suck.

    Monday, October 26, 2015

    Unknown Forgiveness

    Sometimes you just don't think you can forgive others because they wronged you. You know without a doubt that you were purposely wronged.

    Other times you don't know you need to seek forgiveness because you have unwittingly made mistakes. Maybe because you just were not aware.

    Sometimes you want to be forgiven because you know you screwed up big. Whether purposely or through an oversight, you see you made a mistake.

    This week has led to some interesting feelings in my life. Feelings that occur even though I was the one that was purposely hurt. I want things to be right. Even though I know I have done nothing wrong, I know saying, "I am sorry" will go a long way. Forgiveness means being interested in people instead of  feelings.

    I didn't know I had the capacity to forgive some but this week, with the help of two family members and my Savior, I have the desire to forgive others. Today I have unknown forgiveness.