I run.

In the past two months I have moved to a new state, bought a house, got a dog, and become a runner.

This post is really only about the last thing there. I have done something that I did not think I would ever do. I run now. Not because someone is telling me to, but because I think I enjoy it. Well I think I enjoy the moment I finish a run the most. The feeling of accomplishment, the feeling of beating a new record, sweating through another shirt, burning calories, improving my overall health and getting out of the house and completing something tangible.

Growing up I worked most summers cutting grass either with a lawn care business or on a golf course and I think I found a lot of enjoyment out of it because when I was done I could sit back and look at the task I just finished. I could physically see what I did, where I messed up and fix it next time. That’s what running has become for me, and what lifting always has been for me. It’s all very numbers based and undisputed facts. This is exactly what you just did and it is better by this much from last week.

I think it started because I had way too much time off in Captains Career Course, my wife wasn’t around, and the weather was nice so I just ran. One or two miles at a time with the goal of being better on the PT test, and losing some belly fat. Fast forward to today. I have moved. I have started my new job. I am taking two online classes. I have a house to upkeep and a dog to entertain. My wife and I are reunited again and yet I’m still running. Albeit, the weather is still great and I have the perfect park to run in next to my house, but I never saw this coming. I used to run two miles and my knees and ankles would ache for days.

The key was developing a pattern in Oklahoma. It forced me to constantly compete against myself. My watch tracks way too many stats than I would ever need to know, but it helps me keep a log and see my improvements. I set small and attainable goals before every run. Usually pace and distance based. I want to run 4 miles at a sub 7 min pace. Beat it. Ok now I want to run 5 miles at the same pace. I also have some long-term goals, like I want to run 50 miles this month.

It really is a great feeling. I stretch more, rotate my shoes every run and my knees and ankles seem to be holding up well. I would argue I even sleep better at night now.

Run

(Pic: Last two weeks worth of running, tracked with the Garmin App)

I’m a runner. This is weird.

-CS

Full disclosure: I know I haven’t been writing a lot lately…. Well I have been writing more than I ever have in my life, but it’s for my Master’s degree. I’m ok with this excuse. I guess I could publish my thoughts on dialogic vs diagnostic organizational development approach, but that’s just not entertaining.

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A new memory.

A new assignment.

A new duty station.

A new state.

A new job.

A new car insurance policy.

A new boss.

A new office.

A new climate.

A new neighbor.

A new home.

I have been in the Army for 4 years, 1 month and 22 days. In that span I have lived in 3 different locations and one of those locations twice (OK, Korea, WA, OK). Tomorrow I am driving a loaded truck for 12 hours to my 5th home in 4 years. Some would pity this reality, but I pity those that aren’t as fortunate as me. I have experienced more in the last 4 years than many will in a lifetime. Nothing is more exciting, hectic, and stressful as moving across state (and some times international) borders. The opportunity for a fresh start is addicting. I fear it is almost a crutch in the military as it can force a lack of responsibility mentality.

Tomorrow I drive to Clarksville, TN and move into the first house I have ever bought. The excitement surrounded by moving into a new city you have never stepped foot in is monumental. The unknown of unchartered bars, restaurants, grocery stores, gyms, gas stations, coffee shops and candy stores is unlimited as I drive a truck though the middle of America packed so full of my life’s work that I can’t see out the back window; a sort of metaphor for leaving my past in the past and not looking back.

The life in the military is not for everyone, but to some it is a necessity. Some strive on change. Some strive on consistency. I didn’t know it until a year or so ago, but I lean hard on the former.

Tomorrow I get my fix.

A new memory.

(Pictures: Top Left: FT Knox, KY, Gas Chamber. Top Middle: FT Sill, OK, FABOLC Graduation with Nick Smith. Top Right: Camp Casey, Korea, Farewell from my KATUSAs. Bottom Left: FT Lewis, WA, Yakima Training Center with 1SG Huy. Bottom Right: FT Sill, OK, FACCC Graduation with my Small Group.)

-CS

Building My Own Home Gym

What it takes to build a home gym

For the past 4 years I have had a gym membership and before that I lived next door to my college gym. I’ve basically always had a gym very accessible to my house and as I begin my next move and the next step in life, I did what I always do during a move; once my new home is picked out, I start to look around the area for a good gym to join.

My lifting style or preference includes mostly free weights and occasionally cable workouts. For cardio I basically just run and hate every second. I was having trouble finding the right gym I liked. I don’t enjoy group lifting or classes or for a gym to give me workouts to do for the day. I like to put headphones in and lift for an hour or so without talking to a single person. So many gyms these days are moving towards the group dynamic and that’s ok because I get the appeal.

With my new house having a great garage/shop area, I’ve made a big and exciting decision in my life. I’m going to start the process of building my own home gym.

A couple of things have driven this decision. As I move up in my career, I find myself spending more and more time at work, resulting in me not wanting to drive to a gym when I get home late, nor do I like going to the gym straight from work. Lifting during the day or during lunch has never worked out well for me. I spend more time worrying about what time I have to stop lifting and I can never get fully immersed in a lift.

The next driving force is there are children in the future. I currently spend too much time at work followed by too much time in the gym resulting in too much time away from the house, the wife and future kids. Having the gym at home can help alleviate this. Bonus: as a kid I always wished I could have lifted more than the once or twice a week at school. So maybe this could be beneficial for them some day.

So I have started the process to purchasing equipment and I have found that Amazon is far and away the best place to get good quality and well-priced equipment. The next best would be craigslist or Facebook marketplace for some older maybe cheaper equipment but the price is usually the best.

So far I have gotten two dumbbells with adjustable weight ranging from 5-100lbs (5 lb increments) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01EBU7SMC/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

A curl bar with 95 lb in weights

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079ZV49L1/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

An adjustable bench

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N983R0N/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

So far all of these have been great buys and I can already get a few good lifts in (shoulders and arms).

Next I plan on buying a rack, an Olympic bar, and a lot of weights. With these few things I can definitely start getting great workouts in, but I plan on adding more equipment slowly as I go. I plan on getting rubber lifting mats, a preacher curl seat, some medicine balls, and some other small equipment to further round out my lifts.

Starting your own home gym sounds really expensive and intimidating, however once you figure out your goals for the gym, you can start getting pieces of equipment one piece at a time and it will start to come together over time.

If you have any advice for me I would love to hear what has or hasn’t worked for you.

-CS

Fly Ball.

For as long as I can remember I have had a ball in my hand. It was my favorite toy growing up and quite frankly, I still have a hard time not picking one up and tossing it in the air when I see one. This led to my deep passion of baseball as a boy and ultimately to this very day. I never did pursue baseball past the high school level, but I did get into playing slow pitch softball, which has scratched the itch quite well. There are still few moments like being in the batter’s box with all eyes on you. What will your next move be, how far will you hit the ball, how fast will you run, will you strike out, will you have the discipline to wait for the perfect pitch? But this is still not my favorite part of the game…

I have been an outfielder for as long as I can remember and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There is something so blissfully peaceful about being alone in your position in the outfield. You are one of three that control the most real estate on the field. As I get older I find myself alone like this less and less. If the ball gets past you, YOU have to go get it. Unlike the infield that always has that security blanket of the outfield to catch their mistakes.

Than there is the fly ball.

You stand there in the outfield watching from a distance. Almost lurking to steal a hit away from the batter. Never allowing the ball the opportunity to sniff the scent of the freshly cut grass. You see the ball leave the bat…and everything goes quiet. Your heart drops as you immediately know it is your time to react. This is yours and only your moment. The ball always seems to hang in the air for an eternity, allowing you to reflect on this opportunity the baseball gods have blessed you with. The thing about a fly ball is it takes away ALL worries in the world. While it soars through the air, you forget about all financial issues, your homework, your job, you relationships, your demons escape you for those few seconds when there is only one thing on your mind. Fly Ball.

-CS

Seattle Mariners: Through 61 Games

After a quick 61 games played by the Mariners, they stand at an incredible 38-23 (.623 win %) and are holding down 1st place in the AL West with a one game lead on last years World Series Champions, the Houston Astros. They also have MLB’s third best record trailing only the Red Sox (.694) and Yankees (.690). There is a lot of criticism about our current run differential being so low at a +21, contrary to the Astros and Red Sox who are both over 100 already. The reason for this is all the 1 run and extra inning games they have played already. We have played a league high 27 one run games where we won 18 of those and we are currently 6-0 in extra inning games.

Another criticism we are getting is that our schedule is not tough enough. To argue that I would present that we are 14-10 against teams currently over .500 which is second best behind the Yankees who are 17-7 while the Red Sox are only 12-10.

One of the biggest surprises in our great season so far has been the pitching *gasp*. The leader of the pack being James “Big Maple” Paxton who has been ripping up the league with a 2.95 ERA, 101 K and only 25 BB in a team best 82.1 innings pitched. With the recent pick up of Alex Colome from the Rays, the back end of our bull pen is, dare I say, the leagues best with Colome, Nicasio and Edwin Diaz all pitching lights out this year.

paxton2

(Photo: James Paxton celebrates after a complete game no hitter against the Blue Jays in Toronto on 08MAY2018. The first Canadian to do so in Canada.)

On the offense, Jean Segura is leading the club in hits, doubles, triples (tied with Dee), batting average, and OBP. He has been hitting every single day and coming through in really clutch moments. Dee Gordon saw the DL for 10 games with a foot injury but has made a nice recovery and has been holding down 2nd base since the suspension of Robinson Cano.

segura

(Photo: Jean “Jean Jean Hitting Machine” Segura continues to be one of the best hitters in base ball with 83 hits (2nd in MLB) and a .339 BA (2nd in the AL)

There is a long hard road ahead for the Mariners to make the playoffs. It seems like I find myself holding my breath every game, but they some how pull out a win night after night and at some point you have to stop doubting the fact that the Mariners are a legitimate ball team and could make some noise if they make the playoffs this year. This team has more character and charisma than any other team I have witnessed since the 2016 Cubs and we know how that team fared in 2016.

cruz

(Photo: Nelson “BOOMSTICK” Cruz celebrates after another one of his iconic towering Home Runs.)

With 101 games remaining, the name of the game is staying healthy. The players seem to be taking good care of their bodies so far and honestly it could never get as bad as it did last year.

The Mariners have a 4 game series in Tampa than it’s home for a tough 4 games against the Angels followed by the leagues best Red Sox and Yankees. If we can make it through the next 2 weeks still on top, people might start to give the Mariners the recognition they deserve.

(Quick Ichiro Update: Still in uniform to include cleats and batting gloves every single game and he has even started throwing BP. Ichiro Forever.)

-CS

Robinson Cano Tests Positive For Illegal Substance: Suspended 80 Games

Fan favorite Robinson Cano has tested positive for an illegal substance. His punishment is set at 80 games. This news breaks just 1 day after being placed on the 10 day disabled list for breaking his hand. This is not an easy article to write and I don’t even know what to think of this yet, but I need to get these emotions out. Robinson is one of my favorite players in the game. He is a great team player that always has the biggest smile on his face and seems to be everyone’s friend. He is always the first out of the dugout to congratulate a teammate for a good hit or great play.

I am not going to share my opinion on steroid use in the MLB because it is an unpopular one, and quite frankly it doesn’t matter. The bottom line is that it’s illegal and everyone knows it. Robinson broke the rules and the punishment fits the crime. I will however share my theory about why Robinson would risk the Mariner’s season with this seemingly selfish act.

Last year was an extremely aggravating year for Robinson Cano. He saw the disabled list multiple times, with most of the issues coming from muscles strains to his legs. He was moving slow. He could barely run to 1stbase and wasn’t covering his position as well. It wasn’t the same Robbie we had seen in the past. It had looked as if the end was nearing for Robinson at 2ndbase and he would play out his time as a DH in the very near future. Fast-forward to this season and Robinson is a new man. He is running better than he has in years and covering second base like the All-Star he is. Could it be possible that Robinson turned to steroids in the off-season to try to get back to 100%? We have heard of many athletes turning to steroids, not for bigger muscles and an edge, but to simply deal with injuries. Being a professional athlete can cause a lot of stress on your body and you don’t always have the proper time to recover.

Missing the next 80 games almost guarantees Robinson will not hit 30 doubles this year. When he would have hit 30 this year, it would have passed Stan Musial’s previous record of 12 consecutive seasons of 30 doubles or more. It looks like the record will stay at 12 seasons tied between Cano and Musial. I also have to believe this is going to put a damper on his Hall of Fame bids when the time comes. He currently has 10 which was well ahead of pace

I am disappointed, angry, concerned and confused. This is going to be a rough time for Mariner’s fans, but we will get through these 80 games, and welcome Robbie back to the lineup when he has paid his dues.

In the mean time who will fill his position? I don’t think Andrew Romine, Gordon Beckham or Taylor Motter will be able to fill this void and Dipoto already said Dee Gordon would be staying in center field. We may need to make a trade soon if we want to stay in the playoff hunt.

:::::UPDATE:::::

Cano just released this statement:

Media preview

 

If this is all true and I sure it is, this is a huge bummer and miss communication. Cano seems to not be fighting this “technicality” at all because he is not denying the fact that he took this substance. he is however pleading ignorant to the fact that it was illegal when the doctor prescribed it. As a professional athlete I fell like you have to be a little more cautious about what you are taking.

Robinson, we are not mad at you, just slightly disappointed and upset at the situation. Get better and we will see you soon.

-CS

10 Ways To Not Cheat On Your Diet

Being on a diet is one of the most life intrusive, self-inflicting, eye opening choices you can make. It can immediately takes over every decision of your life. It is constantly on your mind and you never forget you are on a diet. Social gatherings are a nightmare. Being extremely busy can make it almost impossible to eat well on the go, and it drives your mood.

Now, I am not a hardcore dieter and I do not let it completely dictate my life (sorta). I do think it is important to understand what you are putting into your body. That way, when I decide to drink 10 bud lights at a baseball game, I know exactly what I’m doing. I’m not going to give you advice about what to eat and what not to eat because I am not a nutritionist, scientist, dietist (right click: add to dictionary) or any other kind of ‘ist’.

One of the hardest parts about being on any kind of diet is getting over the hunger and taking your mind off all the food that we constantly have at our disposal. So with my expertise in this field I will provide you a list of activities you can perform when you are feeling the need to break down and eat the entire bag BBQ Fritos because “it’s basically just corn”:

1) Get a haircut. To this day I have never eaten anything while getting a haircut.

2) Go to sleep. No convincing needed here. Bonus: Sleep in as long as possible. Before you know it, it’ll be lunchtime.

3) Exercise more. This could include going to the gym, going for a run or simply leaving the house to go for a stroll. Be sure to plan your route accordingly and do not pass any establishments that have a drive thru. Also, you may pass out from lack of nutrients, but that’s ok, it really makes time go by quickly (see step 2).

4) Paint a picture. With your fingers. Be sure to use toxic paint. You know… to fight the urge.

5) Conduct personal hygiene. Sometimes I will take 5 showers a day, but I stick to my diet because I don’t have any food in my bathroom, and neither should you. This also works with brushing your teeth, shaving something, flossing or a number or other bathroom tasks. Caution, this can cause an above average shampoo bill.

6) Make a list. Of anything. Doesn’t need to be a good list. Trust me.

7) Watch those pimple popping videos on YouTube. Appetite will be gone.

8) Get arrested. Be sure to set up auto pay on your bills beforehand.

9) Drink water. No really this can work. Try putting some mio or some other calorie and sugar free mix in it and drink away. I’m sure you have drank at least a gallon of alcohol in a day, so just do that, but with water. This will cause you to feel bloated, but don’t worry; you won’t need to sweat those pounds off. Or maybe you do. Again, not a doctor.

10) Go to the dentist. They frown on eating there.

There you go. 10 things to do to fight the urge to cheat on your diet. I’m gonna go take a shower.

-CS