The pick up

Starting is not where this post begins, it picks up where I left off sometime last year.

Well, one marriage, 1st grandchild, a few permanent departures (deaths) some expected, while others not so.

RuFF has grown, shrunk, and maintained an even keel through it all prior to Lockdowns and thereafter. Winter storms, snow showers, ice, slush, sand, and ice down into the nape of the neck at times felt oddly good just to cool off.

Now that the cold, dreariness of winter has passed us we of course in Chicagoland have two seasons. If you didn’t know already.

Season 1 is winter. Love it. The slowness of the days trying to get started, the gloominess of an early morning Ruck workout, dragging ourselves out of a warm bed to be exposed to a harsh and at times unforgiving wintry morning is always a battle. Internal at first, then external once we’re in process of moving during the WOD.

Season 2 – Construction and Heat waves. I still don’t understand how in the Midwest that is know for having four seasons we only get two in Chi-town? Either way we get through it with a lightheartedness. Joking about how it is an only Chicago thing.

It is at times I contemplate the facilities I was provided so must ask myself- am I doing this really for me or is it for a bigger purpose?

I always have a dual purpose response- Lead by example for they will follow so they can be guiding lights in their circles of influence be it work, home, church, etc.

Secondly, I do it to see the future my children have made for themselves. As adults they are making and have made decisions to be better individually and as a whole for the family, and/or community at large.

I do not live vicariously through my children. I want share their experiences they have when they have a chance to share with me. If they seek advice I want to be humble enough to have the capability and capacity to give it to them when the time arrives and they are ready to receive such advice.

It can be a learning experience for me also for communication to happen it starts when they are just babies so nurture and communicate with your little ones. So, when they reach out at that time they know that those lines have always been open.

In RuFF communication as a group, and per individual is constant, and at times very frequent. Some not so, but we make ourselves available for it. Communication, Communication, and Commitment is key. Honor them, and honor yourself.

Have you ever heard of the term -“sweat equity”?

It is an eye brow raiser for sure and the crew gets it when a new person joins us. At first getting into the group and groove / vibe of working out with a Ruck is something they have to get used to.

Thus you must earn your slot for everyone is welcoming, and supportive but they expect everyone to get down,dirty, sweaty, snotty (farmer John time), and ice/sand/water everywhere to be entered into the RuFF fold as a true member.

I believe there have been only two occasions where we all had the Oh, 💩 moment! Thunder and / or lightning while we’re in the middle of a workout. Yes, shorts bunching on the butt cheeks event.

A few of our outing s from last year to present from our Workouts/ Ruck outings.

Gallery 1 – Oct 20221

Gallery 2 – Oct cont’d

Gallery 3 -Nov-Dec ’21

It’s a twisty thing

Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t. Well, that jingle made its way into my subconscious recently while trying to find a direction for writing. Not where to, but where from. Make any sense?

Let me elaborate. Family happens. Life happens. Tragedy, celebration, death, birth, and the glorious stuff in between we call Life. Not a single person alive escapes unscathed. Some have scars that we see, while others have scars we can not.

Why scars? They tell a story. A profound story that at times needs to be shared. Some stories are long for a single scar is deep, while others are short both in length and depth. Each one tale may be cleansing, and only when told will the teller be released to heal if healing is needed. Other times it is just something that needs to be shared to impart wisdom. Sages, all of us are.

These past couple of years loss has hit everyone on so many levels, and some very close to home. Losses of friends, family, and pets. Some relationships develop and become fruitful while others just are ugh. Growth, pain, and breath. We do that every single day.

Where ever you find yourself with a scar showing, or hiding try to isolate it. Focus energy on it only so far as to give it a voice. If a voice is needed, language is to follow. Speak its language for you to accept, heal, grieve, celebrate, and let the scar be a badge. One you can carry knowing you have grown past it and made you stronger.

Not withstanding the pain of loss, but acknowledging that healing must take place in order to be able to move forward and become whole once more. Time is on your side if you let it help you. On the sidelines you’d be pleasantly surprised that you have help. From family, friends, and professionals to assist you.

Heal up. Life is never a straight line, it’s a twisty thing. You never know what’s at the end, or in the pathway as you trudge forward.

Here’s to Healing. Living. Loving.

This picture on the website shows a fallen Sequoia Tree. Laying on the ground it is still around 10 feet from the ground to the top of the root system you see here. I fell in love with this root of the tree because it’s gnarly, and it withstood eons of weather changes and challenges before it finally gave. Located within the Yosemite NP system, I walked into this Forest of Sequoias and my neck hurt looking up as I walked a mile down this trail when I found this log across the ground. I was impressed by its sheer size, and depth.

It made me realize that it had to grow both in diameter and depth to withstand what the Yosemite weather throws at it. Snow, ice, wind, fires, water…. You name it, it took it!

I have this picture of it I share with you now, and remind me and hopefully you that we must keep growing to withstand Life. You will make someone be in awe on day, so grow.

Until next time, and hopefully you join me on my fitness adventure if you decide to try some of the exercise routines you find on this blog I’d love you to join in and see how you fare.

Sequoia Tree Root, Yosemite NP 2016

Summer heat, sweaty mornings

Amongst the throngs of people working out early mornings I’ve ascertained that not many really can be comfortable being outdoors for prolonged periods of time due to the weather. Yes, fair weather athletes come in all shapes and sizes.

Not judging at all since they give a good ribbing as well as take it. Once the frost clears, the grass is growing with flowers to boot. So the interest of doing work outdoors increases. The next step is getting them to commit to a schedule and then to commit to the varied weight loads and types of movement included while wearing a ruck.

We typically use the ruck as primary tool for resistance and exercises, and not limited to sliding down muddy slopes without much of a second thought since it’s a benefit added once we get rainfall (dry now), while working out at our favorite hill. Going up is tough, going down fun. So it’s a ying yang type of thing. We adapt accordingly.

Recognizing that every time there is a plan of action we must be fluid enough to adapt to a plethora of circumstances like construction here. Our staging area is beside an under pass where we get some of our work done. It’s being fixed and bricks, rock, and steel can fall on you so we’ve staged further away to keep our nuggets safe.

Then, there is bright sunshine! I love it. Early light means no headlamps, and no reflective clothing for our dreary dark workouts. Shorts, tanks, and bug spray has replaced much of our attire. Not complaining one bit. Except for areas near the river where we ruck the mosquitoes are huge! So, spraying bug juice will continue until we’re comfortable with the bugs everywhere. Then spray some more so you don’t get mugged by them.

Am I the only one that looks forward to a hot cup of coffee on a Hot day, with my favorite cigar to boot after a workout? What is your go to post workout in any temperature or time of year. I’ve been very consistent without losing a beat on endurance.

There is heat then there is-Humid heat! Sweating while thinking of working prior to getting to our workout location is something to ponder if you consider going outside in the summer. In the Midwest, more like Chitown there are two seasons, 1) Winter, + 2) Construction.

You fight the battle in front of you one at a time. Keep hydrated, and smile knowing you can do the things many more can only dream of doing. Complete each evolution, set, rep, workout in the knowledge the the discomfort you’re experiencing is temporary and the benefits outweigh your exertion. Heat subsides, sweat cools you down unless it gets in your eyes then it’s a blistering paragraph of expletives! Speaking from experience here.

Oh let’s not forget the little snags or cuts out in the field you get while crawling around like a mad person doing your thing. Searing hot burning is a threshold you need to learn to appreciate. Swear, scream, laugh, cry, just don’t quit! The high fives and funny post workout pics are well worth it.

I’ll leave you with this.

Get up, go outside and move. No matter how uncomfortable you become just keep moving. The chemistry involved between your ears is what we’re trying to change. Change it will, and for the better.


1) 210611 – RED Friday partner WOD at our hill. Video included of my partner in crime and I

2) 210604 – RED Friday WOD at our Sandlot

Got pretty sweaty, scratched, itchy, and encouraging everyone to get it done!
Sandy WOD with squats, sit ups, bear crawl ruck drag, low crawl-ruck press, flutter kicks, leg levers, walking lunges, mtn climbers, hello dolly’s, 200m ruck run, prone flutter kicks, crab walk. Yes, hot, sweaty, and sand everywhere!

Get some!

See you out there! Hopefully with us soon!


Blocked, but not out

As the temps have gotten a tad warmer say 20F to 38F (yes, that’s a jump) shedding of heavier clothing items and / or less clothing to wear is a break from the norm. It also means a brighter morning workout due to the start of Daylight Savings Time.

DST as it’s termed is this – Spring time jump one hour forward on your click so less sleep. Fall jump one hour back so you get an hour more of sleep.

Notice I did not say more time for work. Sleep is the issue. So plan your work times around such a break in your day. Rest periods are available to you so take them. Whether or not you nap just rest often. Keep a period of constant rest in your schedule to recharge and help you out.

Rest/Work ratio in practice is harder than planning it. It’s always a habit forming event for you so take the time to initiate the beginning of a lifestyle habit.

Along the line of habit forming acts there is a particular one that I struggle with and it’s simple in nature once you read this paragraph. It’s writing. Yes, re read this paragraph and maybe it makes sense to some about a writers block. No, I am not comparing myself to book writers they’re a breed of their own. However there are times when I have the urge to write my thoughts down and fall terribly short of it.

What helps me take this bull by the horns is coffee, no other humans around and coffee house classics or even Americana on the speakers. It’s also enjoyable with a cigar and sunshine since it makes me feel good.

Subject matter always falls on the particular of exercise, well being, mental health, nutrition and such. Then getting other titles to add to my repertoire helps when I’m writing about cooking. Yeah, cooking! I’ll have to make time to just dedicate a page on this blog of mine to post a few of my favorite recipes.

Writing has become a way to direct energy into action and mental prowess to make what I write come to fruition. There are times when you wish for something to appear and manifest itself without much ado. However the energy it must have to manifest itself from a desire, to action and finally end up with the final product must not skip the act of writing down the steps to help you visualize the progress, and hiccups that may happen.

Every plan must have alternate plans the meld well to progress. Plan A fails? Go plan B, C…. get it? Write down the steps to success. There will be Blocks and how you overcome these blocks is what the end product will more rewarding knowing that you had a vision, wrote down the plan, executed the plan and made adjustments accordingly.

Now, a successful plan really is a haphazard line going upwards and never a straight line at all. Just the ability to keep moving and reassessing when necessary.

Writing on subjects as stated above is not any different and I give a shout out to all of those authors that have made a commitment to their trade by continuing to make progress and have entertaining subjects to write about.

Those of you struggling keep moving forward. I’ll plan more rest times myself to make thinking and focusing much easier and be able to pen more often.

I’ll leave you with some of this –