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Last Sunday’s PT was simple in the extreme. I was so inspired by my OJ imitation attempt at the airport on Friday that I decided to duplicate it Sunday.

I have a bag of gravel that I keep in a old internal frame backpack of mine. But I wanted more simplicity so I put it in a smaller backpack, basically a rucksack, and then went for a walk/run in it. Not too bad. About a 28 minute trip up and back my running road, alternating between a brisk walk and a nice run/jog. It was a nice 90 or so degree day with about 100% humidity, and about noon, too. I did, in fact, experience some sweat. 😀

The bag, with rocks inside, weighs 29.0 lbs, according to my bathroom scale. So it’s a nice weight to go running or walking with.

After a decent time to cool down and shower, it was off to my friends Cass and Eric’s place, where I got to meet Cass’ dad, an Air Force employee who’s been living and working in Germany for the last several years. Meat was eaten, wine was consumed, stories were told, fire was made. ‘Twas a good evening.

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This one’s perhaps a little hard to understand without context, but here it is anyway:

Bill answers the Great Y

Bill answers the Great Y

I made it, then posted it on Facebook–and it amused me so much I made it my profile picture. Basically it representatively encapsulates a couple of conversations I had with a friend, lately.

But anyway, in other news…

Back from C Springs finally. I worked in the office there on Friday, then finally took off for the airport. However, the plane was delayed getting there, so we waited… It finally arrived an hour or two late, so we took off hoping we could make up enough time to hit connecting flights. My connecting flight from Chi-town to Richmond was waay gone by the time I got there, so after some dealing with a very nice United rep (thanks, Steve!) I got a free night in a nearby luxe Marriott, to await my next flight at 0718. Which meant that I got to bed around 2330 and got a wake up at 0400 to get ready and get to the airport on time.

An uneventful flight later and there I was at Richmond, Saturday morning, around 1030 or 11. Made it home a couple of hours after that. Yay!

Whilst in the Springs, I started staying at a different, cheaper hotel, the Quality Suites, where I got a two room suite for about 60 bucks less than the one room at Antlers Hilton. And it’s only an 11 minute walk to the office, so I didn’t drive at all (there’s also a shuttle from the hotel to points about town) except to arrive, and to depart to and from the airport.

Much more livable space for a week. The pool’s inside, but much more crowded with kids and families, so I didn’t get to swim, though I did do a morning at the jacuzzi. The “fitness room” is just newly made, small, and sparse. But I got use out of it anyway, of course. Tuesday, I think, I did a pretty decent workout on the cable machine–one of those you can configure for about any resistance exercise you can think of. Then that evening after work I did my good ol’ standard UAW (see right link for details). It felt good, blew the carbon out, etc. and was sorely needed after the flight there the day before.

Sometimes you just feel like packing two good PTs in the same day, you know what I mean? And I try to manage my week not to overdo it. Right now, I don’t think I’m in too much danger of over-training :D. (Though with the intense travel sched, maybe my instincts to not hit it hard as much are on target). And I did get a good ruck sprint on Friday night when I was trying to get from the C concourse to the end of the F concourse at Chicago O’Hare. No–not exaggerating. I picked up a flying partner while waiting for the plane at the Springs. A female Army Captain (who went to the Citadel on a full-ride soccer scholarship, by the way), who was there for a week-long class. She was flying back to Norfolk and we both had to be at F gates. Hers was F 1, and mine F 14. Her plane was supposed to leave before mine, but was delayed. Because we ran, she made it, but as previously stated, mine was long gone, alas.

And there you have it!

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I’ve been rather… delinquent, of late in updating this particular blog of mine. I’ve been off to the wilds, so to speak, traveling frequently between here and Colorado (and in one case, Wyoming) after having taken a new job with an small company headquartered in Colorado Springs, CO, last month. Good stuff, but a lot of traveling, and I’ve been keeping my friends up-to-date with my Facebook page, vice doing it here.

Nonetheless, I wanted to get back to the blog, and keep active on here, mostly cataloguing my physical training and whatever else suits my fancy.

In Colorado I did in fact learn of the difference altitude can have on your performance… 😀 I didn’t have access to my beloved kettlebells–but that’s okay, other training opportunities abounded (when indeed I had the opportunity), and I suppose I need to take a kbell break every now and again.

My first week there–well, as soon as I arrived at the office, I was introduced to everybody, then was whisked away by my Springs counterpart, Bob, on a mission up to Wyoming (nice five-hour drive), to help with training some Army National Guard Special Forces in pre-deployment phase. The training was actually given by two government instructors, with Bob there to help them, and me to learn and see in-person the folks using the product and how they do it. Most instructional.

Once back, two days later, (Thursday, ’round midnight), I was able to check-in to my hotel, the Antlers Hilton. Fairly nice place, but, importantly–complete with jacuzzi and indoor pool (with a nice view of the Front Range of the Rockies, including Pikes Peak and Cheyenne Mountain).

Friday evening, I finally made it to the gym, and had a good workout using De Vany’s protocol of 15/8/5, mostly with the dumbbell rack and a couple of machines for the legs. After the workout, whilst stretching no less, I twisted my left knee. By twisted, I mean I was in a kneeling position, and leaning back, and the leverage of my sandals (I normally PT barefoot) was enough to slightly dislocate it out of joint. I felt it, but it didn’t hurt–it never really does… but I can feel the twinge, and then I know I’m in for stiffness, weakness, and limping for a week or two as it recovers.

However, I was not deterred from getting some exercise after that. I’ve noticed that if I have some injury, major or minor, a hop in the pool seems to do me a lot of good. One may recall from a few years back that that’s why I got the YMCA membership in the first place–just to get to the pool for the time I really twisted my knees.

So, after the PT I went to the jacuzzi and then spent a few minutes lightly swimming the pool. In subsequent days I went directly to the pool, and over the course of my several trips there, I’ve been trying to keep going. It was especially helpful when I remembered to bring my swim goggles… 😀

My swim strokes and water endurance have greatly improved. Imagine that. I’ve also been back to the weight room a few times, mostly using the dumbbell rack. On my second week there, I was asked by my lovely co-worker Yvette if I wanted to join several members of the office and their friends/SOs to play beach volleyball. Beach volleyball in Colorado? Sure enough, there’s a place called Porky’s that used to be called the Sand Pits–they trucked in 2000 tons or so of sand, just to make a beach-type place with several sand vball courts. There’s a league, and several my company play there. I went, had a blast, and every time I’m back, I try to get there. Last week, we engaged in a three-hour practice session with one of the other, related teams.

My first game was exactly seven days after I had arrived, and people were seemingly amazed that I was able to perform as well as I did (not that I’m saying that I’m super-skilled at it, mind you) for only having been there a week. I did notice getting out of breath a bit, but I was able to recover pretty well–maybe better than I expected after what everyone had been telling me. Then again–I’m used to being out-of-breath from training… maybe that had something to do with it.

So, it’s been a few weeks back and forth between here at home and there in CO. After a torturous return trip home from this last trip (I finally made it back 0630 or so Saturday morning) I got back on the kettlebell wagon.

Saturday afternoon/evening saw me lifting away in a sprint pattern similar to what Rob has mentioned, snatches for 15/15. In this case it was not super-high volume. I just did 15 seconds of snatches left hand, then 15 seconds rest, then 15 seconds right hand, 15 seconds rest, etc., for five minutes, using the 16 kg bell. Then after a touch of rest, I went and did five straight minutes of LCCJ with the 24, alternating hands every minute.

Today (whilst taking off from work), did a wild CFT-type protocol. I did five four-minute rounds consisting of four different drills at one minute each.

Round 1
1 minute, sword strikes (bokken), heavy bag
1 minute, two-hand swings (32 kg)
1 minute, empty hand/foot strikes, heavy bag
1 minute, Turkish Get Up, alternating hands (32 kg)

Round 2
1 minute, sword strikes (bokken), heavy bag
1 minute, two-hand swings (24 kg)
1 minute, empty hand/foot strikes, heavy bag
1 minute, Turkish Get Up, alternating hands (24 kg)

Round 3
1 minute, sword strikes (side-sword waster), heavy bag
1 minute, two-hand swings (16 kg)
1 minute, empty hand/foot strikes, heavy bag
1 minute, Turkish Get Up, alternating hands (16 kg)

Round 4
1 minute, sword strikes (bokken), heavy bag
1 minute, two-hand swings (24 kg)
1 minute, empty hand/foot strikes, heavy bag
1 minute, Turkish Get Up, alternating hands (24 kg)

Round 5
1 minute, sword strikes (bokken), air
1 minute, two-hand swings (32 kg)
1 minute, empty hand/foot strikes/throws, air (mostly)/heavy bag
1 minute, Turkish Get Up, alternating hands (32 kg)

Round 6
5 minutes, cool-down/stretching

As you can see, this session turned out to be around 20 minutes of pure effort. Although I did slack off a little on that last intensity round. Fortunately, I’ve been fasting all day–or whatever food I would’ve taken might’ve come back up to haunt me! 😀 I’m writing this as I come down from it, and I’m getting ready to go hit he steam room and jacuzzi. Yeah, that’s gonna feel good!

I’m so glad to be back to the bells! But we’ll see what happens as I go back to Colorado. I’m supposed to be there about two weeks or so out of every month until I’m really trained up. Maybe I’ll hike Pikes Peak… then again, maybe I’ll get more trained up in altitude, first! 😀

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SP-03

Some explanation–since I’ve been getting views on the SP-03 videos over in the video “widget.” In September 2003, I and many of the members of our Reserve unit packed up and went to Oahu, Hawaii to participate in a training exercise for the 25th ID (Infantry Division).

They are stationed on Oahu, and were to be deploying to Afghanistan six months or so later. So they wanted to train up. As with most units in the United States military, they are already well trained in military operations–how to shoot stuff, how to blow up things, how to organize and supply and conduct themselves in battle.

However, in the world today, there’s much more going on than the proper way to clean your rifle and keep the sights on the enemy.

This training was all about conducting they type of warfare we’re all familiar with nowadays from the news–fighting a minority of bad guys while not hurting (at worst) and helping (at best) the good guys.

So for this kind of wargaming, there are now places to train troops before sending them to a destination. The most sophisticated use ultra-accurate mock-ups of villages and terrain, and well-trained personnel that know the culture and hopefully speak the language to teach the troops what to look for and how to most effectively interact with the local populations.

In the case of the 25th, the training was not quite as fancy or total as some of the current simulation villages. It was conducted on the island, and we Reservists provided the warm bodies to be the local population.

We were given personas to play out. Mind you, we were not Army, nor were we Civil Affairs types. But we did the best we could, acting out either hostile, neutral, or friendly local characterizations. So, apologies to anyone of those intended cultures, we tried–and for most of us neither knowing the language or the culture in depth, we did a fairly effective job of providing push-back to the troops.

I’m very proud of what we did. We helped the troops fail. Yes–fail. By failing at several spots in the training, they were able to look at what they did wrong and rectify it. I like to think that we therefore saved lives by doing so–both our troops and locals as well. After a particularly bad incident, the commanding General stopped the exercise and called a reset–just like a video game.

The troops learned that: it’s BAD to blow up the mosque of a village that you want to be friendly toward you and your cause; it’s BAD to kill all the villagers to save the village… etc.

One of our unit, Frank (and not remembering his last name right now–sorry Frank!) brought a Sony videocam, and filmed several days worth of action, mostly at his village, the MOUT that was named Kardez in the exercise.

I think he did a great job with a hand-held, non-commercial video camera, and I hope you’ll forgive some of the darkness of the night attack. The little camera was doing the best it could!

Others of us were stationed up in the Kahuku Mountains at a village called “Piersonville,” and still others were at a displaced persons camp, also in the Kahukus, a little ways from us.

The slide show was put together from digital photos from many members of our unit. I believe it was Jason Stahl that put the slide show and the movie together. For what he had–some random imagery, music off the ‘net, and a laptop, I think he did a great job! Jason is an old buddy of mine I was stationed in Iceland with. He was enlisted as a maintenance guy there. Then he show up in our unit as an officer. Gosh–there’s no telling with some people… 🙂

He showed the slideshow and movie at the end-of-training awards banquet, which was really cool and quite moving.

Standard disclaimer #1: As far as I know, there is no copyright on this stuff, and copies were given to anyone in the unit who asked for them. But if you see this footage anywhere else, just know who actually created it, and neither claim false credit for its creation, nor accept false claims of credit.

Standard disclaimer #2: Yeah, Hawaii. Beautiful. But if you’ve ever been there, then you might know how rugged the mountain terrain is, and how hot, wet, and nasty it can get up there (as you might notice from some of the footage in the movie and slideshow). And this was no pleasure cruise. Mind you, many of the Reservists brought family, because most nights we got to go back to the hotel. No family members were hurt in the making of this flim… 🙂 And I’m sure they had a good time while we were all sweating our tails off with those Afghan hats on and fighting off mosquitos and centipedes.

That’s not to say that we didn’t have time off about half-way through when they reset the training. So I did get to go down and hit the beach one day, and again the day we were done. And I did get time when the day was done to go to a few places to check out the island. I have to say, I really like the island! Though having lived on a tropical island for a couple of years beforehand, I understand how people say they can get “island fever,” and need to finally go somewhere else.

All in all, I’d say that it was worth it, both on a professional, and personal level. I feel that I both got a lot, and gave a lot, and that’s a win-win that I can live the rest of my life with proudly.

*SP-03 — From our unit’s perspective, the trip was called SP-03 for “Special Project 2003.” If I remember correctly (and I could be wrong) the exercise was called “Night Viper” by the 25th ID.

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