This one does not even do her justice

If there’s one person that can be credited with the existence of this blog, and my desire to get back into the classroom again it is this person right here.  The amazing and talented MochaMomma, between her and the rest of her very special family I found myself wishing that I was in that house everyday.  And I still maintain that if she’d find me a spot at her school I’d be there in a heartbeat.

Kelly

If there was one person that this blog owes its existence to it is Kelly. Thank you Kelly for that last little push to start writing and for the information on being successful at it. I’ve tried to follow your advice and do the kinds of things that will make people actually want to hear what it is that I’m talking about here. You have helped me in many areas and I have to thank you for being a role model of what I can be as an educator when I get back into the classroom. The dedication that you have for the kids in your school inspires me and the way that you go about taking on challenges to make their lives better is crazy and awesome. I love the passion you bring to life and your family is pretty awesome too. I don’t know that I would have done as well in the classroom had I not had your example to try to follow in caring about my kids. The laughter that you have brought into my life via messages, conversations, and even witty twitter remarks has brought many a smile to my face over the last year. I couldn’t sum up how I feel about having you as a friend. Thank you for everything, you’ve been a huge part of where I am now.

 

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One half of my favorite set of twins

Henton I have to include you in this list.  Not only because you’re one of the few that has managed to keep in pretty constant contact with me throughout the summer, or because you are one of three people not related by blood to send me mail but because in general we have some pretty funny conversations and you’ve made me laugh all the time.  This summer wouldn’t have been quite as enjoyable without the texts that I got from you over the summer, the witty comebacks and general snark in our exchanges made the slow days more entertaining and generally lifted my spirits when I was feeling a little down.  We didn’t always have the greatest of conversations sometimes but such is life and we always bounced back onto lighter subjects.  You even got me to send mail, and even talk about feelings, although those were discussed begrudgingly.  It really is weird that we have such a friendship and that we can talk about the weirdness of life and know what the other is thinking so often.  I’m looking forward to getting back and picking on you in person and causing you even more grief than I already do.  You better have a good break and enjoy those shifts at work because you’ll need the cash for an adventure in the near future.

Love from an Outlaw

I owe a big thanks to Rudy and his programming The Outlaw Way.  From the time I started following his blog in May to today I have been changed by his hard work programming and the challenge of taking on his challenges in the gym.  I owe you more than these few words of thanks, but I hope this can at least serve as a beginning to let him know how he was able to change my life this summer.

Without Rudy, his programming The Outlaw Way, and the people that follow it this summer could have turned out very different. Instead of having a summer of doing whatever and just kind of trying not to lose any of my skills from the first nine months of Crossfit I found a new determination to continually transform myself. Following The Way has given me confidence in my abilities to work out no matter where I end up and continue to get better at Crossfit exercises. It has also inspired me to do more competitions, because if there’s anything I’ve learned it’s that it is my duty as an Outlaw to win everything. Rudy manages to get to the point and direct his coaching to whatever is happening with the group of followers and do so in a way that usually also brings a few laughs. He also gives programming that is rough, but somehow pulls you into it to see where you are at on that day. Going into the programming I had never really done a lot of Olympic lifting and even today my numbers aren’t impressive. But what is good is the confidence that the work has given me, the way in which my strength numbers have gone up, even while I’m leaning down. And the way that I was able to feel some sort of community from the comments on the board when I had no one here to offer that kind of support. It helped that I went to visit and the man welcomed me in and I had a good workout. Even mentioning my visit, and then later when I hit a week worth of crazy PRs sent me an email about it. Rudy I owe you a lot, I’m sure that many people say that but I have to offer my deepest thanks, for the programming, community, and even an awesome picture. You deserve all the attention you get and the appreciation of all of us over on the blog. Keep it up.

Why would I be thankful for the pull-up?

Pull-ups

Why would I thank something that I’m pretty horrible at even now? Well it’s simple; when I got my first one a year ago it pushed me forward with new confidence. And while today I’m struggling with them again they are still a part of my days in the gym that push me forward to be constantly improving. Such a large part of what is done in the gym is all about your mental toughness and there are few things that will push you to be tougher than a lot of pull-ups. Just staying on the bar is hard work sometimes, when your shoulders are shot and you’ve been pushing hard to get through the other movements. Sometimes just staying up there on that bar is the hardest thing, you just want to let go, shake out your arms and take a breath. But you hold on, and get one more, and then another. Constantly proving to yourself that you are better than you were last time you had pull-ups in the WOD. This is why I’m thanking something that I’m not very good at, something that constantly beats me and something that even after a year of being able to do them feel like I’m just getting it. The pull-up has given me confidence, and checked my ego, pushed me to be better, and humbled my attempts to jump to the next level. I have a lot that I owe to the days when I go in and have to hang from that bar, and I’m only going to get better.

Thanks for the Park Service

Although as of late I have had some issues with the NPS in terms of struggling to compete for jobs in the highly competitive atmosphere that the Park Service has today I am still very thankful for the experience and the people that made each park so special.  I wanted to thank them as a whole and mention a few people by name. I owe the staff at each park a lot and the people that made the experiences so great have done much to shape me into the interpreter that I am today.  Thank you to everyone at LIHO, ALPO, and JOFL.

 

LIHO

My first ranger job and such a group of people to work with. David thanks for getting me to try this Paleo thing you had been doing and lending me the book. Also thanks for all the help along the way and the encouragement to keep pursuing a career in the Park Service. To all the interp staff from those two years, it was great getting to know all of you and learning from you as well. Administration staff, thank you for everything you did for me over those two years and for your support as I searched for a new park. Sue and John you two are great and the work you do to keep the Home running is impressive. I thank you for all the Curatorial info for my social media work and for the friendship. I wish everyone there the best of luck and a great holidays this year and going forward.

ALPO/JOFL

This post here in PA has done so much to help me to “grow up” coming out here far away from the people that I knew and the support of others helped me to change in many ways. I feel like I’m a much more complete person since coming out here. The challenges of learning a new area, the information needed to work at two parks, and how not to set off the alarms everyday has been great. The people here have been awesome too. I couldn’t ask for a better group, my roommates at quarters, the permanent staff, and the other seasonals have all shaped my summer here. Some of you I may see again next year, but if I don’t I wish you all the best of luck going forward.

Students and former students

SHS classes

My student teaching experience was both awful and amazing at the same time. I had a lot of growing to do and I had a lot of pain during that semester. All of my classes had a lot to teach me and I want to express how thankful I am for their understanding and some of the great times that we had while we tried to get through the material at hand. All of my seniors I don’t know what I would’ve done if I had a different group, you were great people and I hope that as you take on your Freshman year of college you are all doing well. What would our semester have been without the jokes and funny videos, I don’t know but I can tell you that it definitely would not have been as good of a semester. Juniors you guys pushed me in many ways. I doubted myself many times because I couldn’t seem to figure you out for so long. But in the end we did figure it out, and I hope that you guys got something from me more than just a few notes and some funny stories. Have a great senior year and go SHS. I wish both groups the best and I want you to know that even if none of you see this, I appreciate all of the time that we had best of luck.

Former students that have kept in touch

For those of you that have kept in touch since I left your classrooms almost a year ago, thank you for keeping me posted on how your life was going. Our conversations, some normal, some rather ridiculous have been a source of laughter this summer and I hope that someday we meet up again. Proofs that teachers and former students can be friends are found in our tweets back and forth. You are all amazing people, and I’m proud of what you are doing. Keep it up, and finish this semester strong, you can do it.

Down to the last few days

It’s odd realizing that the day that I’ve looked forward to for so long is almost here.  I  will be hanging out with my family by this time next week.  Seeing the people that I haven’t spent any time with since the spring and getting giant hugs from my nephews who I’m sure have grown to be gigantic in my absence.  Time here in PA has been really good for me and I’m appreciative for everything that I’ve learned about myself and where I’m headed.  I’ve accomplished a lot while I have been here, met new people, and been a part of the growth of a new Crossfit Affiliate.  I’ve also learned new skills in the workplace and taken on some things that I didn’t know that I could master.  I’m looking forward to getting back with the family, establishing myself with a new group of people at Crossfit DNA and looking into what the next big adventure will be.  I’m not entirely sure what it will be yet, but there’s lots of doors I’m sure one will open.

Like pretty much everyday I did my workout for Outlaw, today we had a number of things programmed including some pause front squats,  I filmed myself today just to see how it looked and here they are, I hope they don’t look too horrible, I actually think they look alright.

Sometimes you just have to do something weird

Today was one of those days for those of us that follow Outlaw.  Five over the box jumps with lateral jumps between.  I’m not going to talk too much about the workout, it was hard, I didn’t have a lot of fun and it was one of those days that my inner fat kid came out and decided that I wasn’t going to be able to do this very fast.  I did however take video, but didn’t get the shot of me basically landing in a sit on top of the fourth box.  So here it is, enjoy and please remember that we need to have fun.  Sometimes our coaches take that to heart and program things that make us look pretty ridiculous to remind us of that.

Two more

JTol

Man you make this list because you are an awesome guy and because of you I’ve been thinking more and more about getting back into the classroom.  I’m looking forward to seeing you and spending some time at C3 but also a possible classroom visit.  You’re what I would like to be as a male teacher, the things I hear about your dedication to your students makes me think that there might be a place for me in that environment someday.  Now if only a school would take me on.  Doing the partner WOD with you was one of the better memories of my time at C3, and taking it to those boys in Bloomington with BC is going to be a highlight of my return home.  Grow that moustache proudly, let’s get to this.

Cummings

So since you two are married you have lost individual identity in this post.  I will only refer to you both as a couple but you are two amazing people that the last year would have lacked something major without.  I owe you for getting me to do the Open, for pushing myself day in and day out, and for looking forward to eventually finding someone that can come alongside me and totally change my life someday.  Seeing you two in action was great, the way that you both cheer each other forward in competition and are supportive of one another was really great.  For a person as myself with little faith in relationships and leaving the single life, a big part of my growth in the last year was opening myself up to deeper relationships with others.  Although we only did the one Sunday dinner, you better believe we will be setting up another one when I get back.  You two are a great pair, a great set of individuals, and great friends.  I’m lucky to have known you in the last year, and the way that you take on challenges inspires me to be better at taking on the ones in my life too.

Getting set for my first local Competition

Moustache Clash 2012

Well I’m registering for my first local competition this week.  I need to figure out if I’m going Rx or Scaled so I haven’t filled out the form yet.  I really want to jump in Rx because let’s face it, you need to Go Big or Go Home.  If there’s one lesson that I can take from my Outlaw brothers and sisters  it is that I need to dominate everything.  So I’ll likely put on my big boy pants, jump into the deep end and see if I can swim.  So far the first two events are announced.  First is Bombs Away, sounds awesome right? Well it is, have you ever been so frustrated you want to throw your kettlebell across the room, well now you can, except it’s not across the room but rather in a field event style outdoor area.  Stand in a 4x4ft box, and throw your kettlebell for distance into the cone shaped area.  Longest throw wins, as a former field athlete I kind of think this might be something I’m good at.  But I don’t have a place to practice throwing kettlebells right now so I’ll have to figure that one out.  I don’t think I’ll be shotputing it, but I’m thinking the double handed over the back launch might be the key.  Here’s the demo video:

 Second event was just announces yesterday, thanks to Zack and his Strongman Sunday programming I’ve got some experience with heavy Farmer’s Carry.  Zack’s determination to make me better at picking up heavy stuff off the ground is going to go a long way in this one.  Rx for men is 112lbs in each hand, so 224lbs total.  One attempt, walk as far as you can.  I need to get in some practice with this in the next couple weeks, but I don’t see this being a problem for me.  Here’s the demo video for this one:

 The last three events are, The Big Move, Sled Dog, and X + Y those will be released in the next few weeks and I’m interested to see what they are, but I’m really excited to take this on.  And let’s be honest, who will bring better facial hair than me to this thing, nobody.  The Red Sea will be in full effect on December 8 when I bring my Outlaw mandate to Crossfit Bloomington Normal and show those midstate kids what’s up.

I’ll leave you with last year’s highlight video: