2013 Goals

Everyone that has a blog like this does one of these posts for the year, and I decided that I should include myself and put out in public what my goals are for the year.  In crafting these some are carried over from last year because I didn’t accomplish them in 2012, although I came close, and some are new.  I didn’t do a fancy 13 goals for 2013 or anything like that but I did try to make goals for all parts of my life.  So here’s the list:

CrossFit Goals:

-Place in competition

-Run a 5k

-Run a Warrior Dash

-Perform a true Squat Snatch (fix mobility issues)

-Perform a Muscle Up

-Perform a Handstand Push up and Kipping Handstand Push up

Paleo Goals:

-Eat one month completely grass fed/pastured/wild caught with no exceptions

-Source local pastured eggs and eat only those

Life Goals:

-Land a job in my career field

-Volunteer more

-Be an awesome uncle doing something with the nephews each month.

-Go on a real date with someone I met either through a web profile or in person.

Writing goals:

Write everyday for two months.

-Connect with two companies through the blog.

Well that’s my goals for this year, I think it’s a list that I can achieve all of them and really looking forward to the chance to do some fun stuff in the coming year.  On Monday I’m taking on a Whole 30, so daily blog posts will come about that, and I’ll be getting on the scale for the first time in 98 months for my initial weight since it’s a group challenge at CrossFit DNA.  I’m excited for the challenge, I’ve not taken on the program before and I’m really looking forward to seeing how I feel.


End of the year, what comes next?

Well here I sit, it’s early afternoon I’m in a Brooklyn apartment in NYC, I’ve been cleaning and packing and listening to some of the shows from the last couple nights again.  It has me wondering what this year has been, and with a blog title such as mine this time of year means something special I guess.  The last year has been one that did not go anywhere near the way I thought it would.  Had you asked me on 12/31/11 what 2012 would have been like I would have talked about finding a Ranger job, moving across the country and settling in.  I would have mentioned something about settling down with someone and looking to start what I likely would have called “grown up life” but that’s not really the way it worked out.  In 2012 I returned to customer service work for a short time while I was a barista for Starbucks, a job I would like to go back to at some point I might add.  I did move across the country for a job, but only for six months and I learned much about self motivation, self discovery, and what it takes to keep going when there’s nobody there to keep you’re slacking in check.  I studied more about the science behind the Paleo Diet, I had a date with a fellow paleo eater.  I did not however settle down, and my love life continues to taunt me with it’s failures.  I made many new PR’s I was published in a magazine, hung out with Rudy and became an Outlaw.  I learned that I have lots to work on if I really want to push it to the next level.  I also learned that I have come a very long way in a very short time and sometimes I need to let myself catch up to that fact.  There are many times that I still have the fat kid image in my head, and that’s not what I am anymore.  So what’s in store for 2013, well that’s a good question.

-Becoming an L1 CrossFit coach


-Being an awesome uncle

-Taking time to appreciate the new life that I have.

-Lifting lots of heavy things

-Getting better at MetCons

-Passing on this amazing transformation in my life to others.

-Being thankful for everyday.

Hard to believe that this year is already over, best wishes on 2013, and have a safe night celebrating everyone.


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.



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.


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.

Interview for Crossfit Radio

My interview is up on Crossfit Radio.  It was great talking to Justin and then to top that off I got a PR on my box jump.  Another 5 inches and I’m so close to hitting a 40″ jump.  Can’t wait to break into the 40s.  Take a listen to the interview and hear a bit about my story.

My Interview

Box Jump PR


Home is where the whiteboard is

What is it that makes a gym feel like home?  I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, trying to put my finger on what it is about a place that can make it the place that you belong, rather than just a place that you show up to.  I’ve been blessed that I’ve found multiple places over the past year that have really felt right to me.  Capital City Crossfit, the place where I started this crazy journey and the place that I still think of as my home affiliate.  When I traveled to see the family I visited Crossfit DNA and one visit was all it took to see that there is a great group of people there, and that I would be coming back to see them over and over again.  When I get back in a month I’ll be officially putting my name down as a full-time member there.  As my life transitions back to me being a Chicago area resident I can’t wait to be a part of this group and see them day in and day out again.  Coming out here to PA I met the guys from Crossfit Iron City, and more than once I’ve made the trip back to Pittsburgh to work out with them.  They are a great group of people there as well, and spending time with them I’ve been lucky that such a great group of people would welcome this Midwestern kid to be a part of their group.  Last but definitely not the least in this list is my newest group of people, Sports Evolution Crossfit.  This group transformed my experience in the gym here from a single pursuit to get in and get the work done, to a place where I look forward to going in everyday.  And a group that I’ll put off dinner for an extra hour so that I can stick around and cheer them on through a WOD, even one as fun as tonight’s, burpees and Kettlebell swings.  I’m sure they loved that one.

So what is it that has made me love each of these places, defiantly I’ve been blessed in this group that they are all led by great trainers, Brian, Zack, Jake, Blake, Jerod, and Allen you are all amazingly talented people, you know your stuff and you know how to communicate it well.  Your determination to get the best out of everyone that walks through the door, and accept no excuses for slacking off has driven me forward.  Having all of you in my corner has been a huge help to me and I owe a lot of my success over almost the last year and a half to your hard work.  The atmosphere that coaches like these have created also goes a long way to making the place feel like home.  I’ve been to each of these affiliates multiple times, and every time I show up I feel welcome, sometimes I recognize people from previous visits sometimes most of the people are new to me.  But always I hop right in and get to work, and spending time with the people there.  Everybody at these workouts have welcomed me into the group, even if it was my first time and we got down to work together as a group, not the group and that guy from out-of-town.  The last part of transforming an owner, group of people and a facility into a place that feels like home has to come from you.  I believe that it has a large part to do with you and how much of yourself you’re willing to put out there for others to see when you show up.  Embracing the people and tearing down any walls that you may have develops that sense of family and home, Crossfit is great for that.  The workouts we do are really good at breaking you down to your core and it’s in that moment where you’re struggling and exposed that those people around you see the person that you are, and you see who they are, and together you push forward to finish closer to one another than you could have ever become any other way.

Some of the things that have happened in the last year.

I wanted to take a moment and just write a list of all of the things that have happened to me in the last year, some good and some not so good but all essential to getting me where I am today.   It’s going to be quite a list I’m sure, so let’s get started.

-Finished Student teaching, after five years I graduated college.

-Earned two Bachelor’s degrees and a teaching license.

-Left my first Ranger job at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site.

-Spent six weeks unemployed.

-Went to work for Starbucks, met awesome people and learned a bit about myself.

-Applied for over 200 Ranger positions all over the country, spent nervous days hoping to hear back.

-Competed in the Crossfit Open, was shown that I am definitely not elite.

-Started going to Strongman Sunday, embraced lifting odd heavy things a lot.

-Flipped my first tire

-Ran my first mile.

-Came in second in my first Paleo Challenge

-Did my first pull up.

-Spent New Year’s in NYC with some awesome people and a band called Phish.

-Accepted a Ranger job in PA, moved myself 700 miles from home to work for six months at Allegheny Portage National Historic Site and the Johnstown Flood National Memorial.

-Attended my first Paleo meet up.

-Visited numerous other Crossfit Affiliates, met great people and learned about how other people have been changed by Crossfit.

-Was interviewed for a yet to be published article for the Crossfit Journal.

-Met Rudy from Outlaw, tried not to Fanboy out too much.

-Had The Outlaw Way kill me day in and day out and keep going back for more.

-Lived by the phrase Moar Squatz and embraced the idea of Lift Big Eat Big

-Visited Richmond for the first time.

-Saw Washington D. C. if only through the eyes of my windshield as I made my way through traffic.

-Wrote my first book review, and was asked to do a second one.

-Started this little blog and got into the habit of writing almost every day.

-Went strict paleo again and experienced the effects of putting more structure in my life.

-Learned to sleep on a twin size bed again.

-Had three shots at dating different ladies, all did not end well.

-Rode my first roller coaster in over eight years.

-Visited my brother at school, got closer with him over the rest of the summer.

-Competed in my first Beard Competition.

-Learned to hew logs and cut stone by hand.

-Bought a used car, learned the joys of used car ownership firsthand.

-Tackled the highs and lows of being far away from family, grew to appreciate them much more than I have before.

-Lost a friend to an ultimatum.

-Learned that an on and off ex of mine is engaged to her current guy, still processing that one.

-Experienced jealousy about another friend that I didn’t know I had feelings for.

-Went back to NYC, saw some stuff, got a parking ticket.

-Had my first real paleo date, that’s a topic for another post.

-Attended the September 11 commemorative service at Flight 93 National Memorial, sat next to the representatives of the flight crew.

-Found a new Crossfit Affiliate to attend here in PA, met a whole new group of people to struggle with day in and day out.

-Starting to do double workouts to try to push myself even further.

-Turned 30, became an old man.

-Learned to coupon and work inside a budget.

-Stopped drinking, don’t know that I’ll go back.

-Rediscovered my love of cooking.

-Lived with a cat again, why do people do this to me?

-Was in only 1 wedding now that I’ve lost all this weight.

-Went to my first Major League Baseball game since I was a kid, had great seats and went with my parents which were the best company for the game I could have asked for.

-Attended concerts, slept in my truck, and enjoyed the best of Pittsburgh life more than once this summer.

I’m sure that there are many more things worthy of this list, this past year has been full of an amazing amount of experiences that I can’t even think of them all.  The people in my life have managed to help me to get the most out of every one, there’s too many of you to list, maybe I’ll get to a post where I thank each of you. But you have all been a huge part of my last year, I can’t say thank you enough because I owe you all a lot.

This is my confession…..

Lately I’ve come to a realization about myself that I need to confess.  Well it’s a realization about myself and how I view you.  To put it simply chances are that I’m judging you.  I don’t consciously do it, but it is a solid bet that when you turn into McDonalds I’m judging, when I see your cart as we walk past one another in the grocery store, and if I see you taking the elevator between floors 1 & 2 I’m still judging.  It’s hard after the last year of my life and all that I have overcome not to judge, these days my tolerance for excuses is very low because I felt like I had them all.  When you’ve walked that road and then completely changed your life it becomes hard to see others falling into the same traps that you did.  So I’m judging all those little unhealthy choices that I see around me.  I’ll catch myself doing it and remind myself that I shouldn’t be that way towards people.  That I was there once, and that there are days that I’m feeling lazy and take the elevator for one or two floors instead of the stairs.  There are days that I have foods that aren’t the healthiest choices for my body and that I have my own issues that I should work on.  The hardest changes in life are internal.  It’s far too easy to judge you, I shouldn’t do it.  The act comes from pride, look at how far I have come; you wouldn’t see me at a McDonalds.  Look at me I don’t buy that kind of crap from the store, and I’m not lazy I walk up the stairs.  That kind of attitude is not the way that I should feel towards the people around me.  It’s far too easy to take a mental boost off of comparing ourselves to others.  But the people I should be comparing myself to are not the general American public.  I have left that lifestyle behind; my comparisons should be against myself.  How far have I come in the last year, am I getting better every day?  Do I constantly work to make sure that I’m giving my best towards the challenges that confront me?  And if I must compare myself why set the bar low, I should be comparing myself to people that are exceptional? How do my strength numbers match up with the likes of Marshall White? Can I do Crossfit workouts with the kind of never give up attitude of Chris Spealler? Looking to people that are exceptional should be the goal, trying to become more like those that are better than me.   So I confess, all those times I’ve seen you doing something that I think is a poor choice mentally I’ve been shaking my head at you.   I shouldn’t judge you and I’m sorry, because before last July I was right there with you.

Summer lessons part 3

This is going to be the last section of the rambling thoughts that I’ve split up into the two other posts.  Just like the other two I’m just going to put them up here because I thought some of them might be worth sharing.

-When I open up to people it’s good for me and them, I should do it more often.

-No matter what the park you’re going to get some interesting visitors.

-I should really start working on a “bucket list” to start tackling new goals.

-Spending time alone has been good for my personal growth, I’m more well rounded today because of it.

-I believe that I’m a more thankful person today because of this summer.

-The pace of life in Illinois was more my style.

-This summer I have self motivated, not gained the weight back, and learned a lot about myself from doing Outlaw.

-Going back home I have a new set of shortcomings to take on.

That’s it for the list I don’t know how that reflects on my time sitting at the desk on slow days.  It’s great to be able to have time to think about where I am, Wonder what the next six weeks will show me.

Date is Set

My final day working here in PA has been set, I’m here through November 17.  I’m really excited to have the certainty that comes with an end date.  I have enjoyed my time here and I really have gotten to the point where I’m comfortable here, but that means that it’s time for me to experience something new.  For now I’m headed back to Illinois to spend time with the family and apply for jobs.  I’m excited to see them again and spend some time as “Uncle Steve” instead of Ranger Steve for a while.  I’m also looking forward to the adventure that is going to come next.  This goes along with the plans that are coming together for another great time in New York seeing Phish play Madison Square Garden and hanging with friends.  It was a great day, lots of news and a chance to think about spending the holidays with people I love and getting to relax a bit.  Also today I was asked to work the ghost tours next Saturday at work.  It means a crazy long day, but for the tours I’ll be doing my stone cutting demonstrations at night.  I love my job so much sometimes.  I can’t wait to take on the next six weeks.  Wonder how many cool things I can do before I head back.

Overdue update

Wow how have I not written anything in two days.  It seems like the past couple days have gone by without a lot of memorable events yet were filled to the point that I didn’t even think about writing down what was going on.  I the hopes of covering a lot of stuff in a post that’s not horribly long time to dive right in.

It’s hard to believe that it is October already, seems not that long ago I was packing up the Explorer saying my goodbyes and coming out here.  Yet here I am,, having taken on all the various hurdles that have come up this summer, and in many ways it feels like I have passed with flying colors.  The news on the job front is that the park wants to keep me as long as possible.  Right now I know I have another month, I might even get till Thanksgiving, but who knows right now I’m just thankful to have a job.  I’m also still getting to know the people that are at Sports Evolution Crossfit and enjoying my time with them more and more.  They’re a great group of people and find myself having a hard time leaving after doing Outlaw without staying around at least for a while to hang out and chat while they get ready to warm up.  This leads to me doing a number of the WODs they’re taking on each week.  Today was one of those day, I walked in the door and warmed up just before 4, finished my workouts and hung out a bit and found myself taking on the class WOD at 6 because it seemed like a good one.  I’m really thankful that I have this group of people around now.  It’s been a huge improvement to my life here and it makes me think that if asked I would stick around through the winter if they found the funds to pay me.  Also over the last couple days I’ve played around with new recipes and tried my hand at making a Butternut Squash Soup, it was delicious.  I really like the flavor and it is a great part of a meal on these cooler fall days.  I have a feeling that it will show up more and more as the fall goes on.  I may even have to introduce it to the family at the Thanksgiving meal.  They make me cook my own Paleo offerings since they don’t want to have the entire family eat the food I do.  Don’t know why, my food is delicious.  Then this weekend I’m on the road and headed to NYC.  This is going to be a great trip and I’m really excited to see the city and have a good time.  Other events from the last couple days include:

-Starting to get a handle on packing some stuff into boxes now that the weather is changing.

-Rocked my way through season one of Prison Break, forgot how much I liked this how.

-Managed to still have Pumpkin Pie from last week’s baking extravaganza, it’s still awesome and I’m working to limit my intake since I could eat the whole thing at once.

-Cleaned the house like a boss, love having a clean place.

-Made plans to meet a Paleo lady while in NYC, should be interesting I’m really excited she’s very cute and I hope we hit it off.

-Trying to be patient while I wait to hear when the article about me for the Crossfit Journal is going to be published.

-Hoping to make it to Pittsburgh in two weeks for the Practical Paleo book signing.

Update Pictures: