Memorial Day Workout AAR

Our 2017 Memorial Day Workout to honor those who served and sacrificed and to wish Mike Drew well on his future endeavors

Our 2017 Memorial Day Workout to honor those who served and sacrificed and to wish Mike Drew well on his future endeavors

It is 10:50 am and I have been working at a serious pace since 7:30 am.  So far, we have run 11 miles,  3 sets of stairs, 5 runs up the steepest hill in town, 30 burpees, 30 clap pushups, 200 weighted pullups, 400 weighted pushups, and 600 weighted squats (2 Murphs and a bunch of running). I have already consumed and sweated out over a gallon of water, but right now, I am just staring at a barbell and wondering if I can pick it up.  
The barbell was 155 pounds and was the single implement to a classic CrossFit hero workout called DT. With this single 155 pound barbell, DT calls for:

12 Deadlifts

9 hang power cleans

6 Jerks

x 5 rounds for time.

The workout is simple, effective and punishes athletes who have neglected olympic lifting strength in favor of endurance or gymnastics. DT is hard for me when fresh, and I am anything but fresh right now.  Over the past few years, I have completed this workout and logged 8 results on my digital workout journal, each with steady improvement from the time before, but it still hurts…a lot...every time.  This is precisely the reason that I find myself just staring at a motionless 155 pound barbell in my driveway at this moment.  It was there for a reason, a serious challenge placed strategically within a long workout to see how we would react.
I walked around a bit, drank more water, even changed shoes and tried to find the switch in my head that would allow my mind to overtake my body… but it was hiding.
Finally, I decided to take things one step at a time. I would try to complete just the deadlifts.  I did 11 deadlifts, but each one was brutally hard for me.  My hip flexors were screaming, my knees creaking and my entire upper body revolting in pain.  It was heavy, really heavy.  After a break, I decided to try to deadlift the final rep and go into the hang cleans.  I was barely able to hold onto the bar and dropped it immediately after 8 reps. It was strategic. I did 8 because I knew I would have to clean it the 9th time to get to the jerks.  Patrick was next to me and started on his cleans.  He was not able to clean the Rx weight of 155 lbs and quickly dropped to 135 pounds.  Keith dropped to 95 pounds and was on the other side of me. (I am a little ahead of Patrick, Mike and Keith in Olympic lifting.  To my knowledge, none of them had done a DT at 155 lbs so they scaled back to the weight that challenged them equally to my 155 lbs.)  Doubt crept in.  I did not think I could complete this workout at 155 pounds and thought that I would also drop to 135 pounds.  Matt Green was my swim buddy and he is very strong.  Matt would have no trouble with this workout so I decided to try the Jerks and just make it through 1 round before reducing the weight.  I picked it up, cleaned it and managed 6 ugly jerks before dropping.  1 round complete.  Matt grabbed the weights and moved them like a PVC pipe.  Feeling better, I decided to give the deadlifts for round 2 one more shot and completed them.  
“Ok, that went ok, so Ill try the cleans.”  a voice said inside my head.
Surprisingly, I did get 8 cleans this time.  Then the Jerks.  It was heavy and I really didn’t think I could do it, but I kept chipping away. Any concern over the amount of time it would take me to finish was gone.  This was survival.   Before I knew it, I had turned the corner from serious doubt to acceptance that I was not going to reduce the weight, but complete this as written. Finally, I found the switch.

This moment was the best part of the day for me and the entire purpose of this extreme workout for all of us.  Rarely in today's society do many have the opportunity to voluntarily face something that looks impossible and choose to take on the challenge.  For some people this impossible challenge may have been a 5k run, a yoga class or a single Murph.  I can certainly remember the first time I ever saw "Murph" written and wondered if it would be possible for me to complete it.
“Could I possibly Run a mile and then do 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups, 300 squats and run another mile all while wearing a 20 pound weight vest?” I wondered.
Eventually, I did complete a few Murph workouts which increased our confidence and we later strung 2 of them together. With that challenge complete, I wondered if I could do 3 in a row. I decided to do a Triple Murph for my 45th birthday and a bunch of us, including my 16 year old son completed the entire workout.  We continued adding to the challenge with the hope that we would have the opportunity to be in exactly the same position as I found myself this morning while preparing to lift 155 pounds.  Each of those challenges were completed and with each victory came increased confidence that we could use that experience to accomplish anything using the same strategy as Murph, Double Murph and Triple Murph.  The way to get through all of those is simply one rep at a time.  Never quit, never look at the entire workload, never get overwhelmed.  Simply do one more round, one more pullup, one more pushup or one more squat and soon, you will have accomplished this giant thing that seemed like a complete impossibility just 2 hours before.  A 50 hour camp run by Navy Seals called SealFit Kokoro taught me that when you feel like you have given it all, we are capable of 20x more than we think we can do.  With this philosophy, I have been able to start businesses, win tournaments, build teams, lead my family and make it through 50 hours of training on a cold California beach at an intensity similar to today’s workout.

DT, however, presented a slightly different challenge for me.  Most of the other challenges were endurance related but upon picking up this weight, I did not seem to be physically strong enough to complete 1 round, much less 5 rounds.  I had done this workout many times before… but always fresh.  However, I began to think that if I could do it fresh, there was no reason that I couldn't do it now and I broke it down in my mind as to how this could be possible.  While a 155 lb hang clean or Jerk is very heavy for me, a 155 lb deadlift is not.  So, why not just get the deadlifts out of the way and then see how the cleans go.  If I had focused only on the cleans or become overwhelmed by the looming 5 rounds, I would have given up right then.  Once the deadlifts were complete, I didn’t rush it.  I dropped the weight on the ground, got some water, chalked up and tried the hang cleans.  As with so many other things, what seemed like it was going to be impossible actually wasn’t.  It was certainly difficult but not impossible.  Soon, I was chipping away at a goliath obstacle one rep at a time.  The turning point to this stage of the workout and to so many things in life was when I committed to completing this workout.  No more thoughts about reducing the weight.  It might be slow and ugly, but the work was going to be completed if it was the last thing I ever did.  This is the key to accomplishing anything of value in life and this lesson is amplified in physical training through sweat, grit, pain and misery.  These same feelings are available when starting a business or making a difficult parenting decision, but they are never more clear or obvious than when using your mind to overcome the storm of pain going on inside your body to complete something that seems physically impossible.  It is a cathartic experience.

 With a piece of sidewalk chalk I made another hash mark on the driveway;  four rounds complete…I knew I had it.  The last and final round felt better than the first and I was more confident than at any other time of the morning.  It didn’t matter if it was ugly or slow, I was going to finish … one rep at a time.

At 11:16 am I dropped the barbell onto the driveway for the final time and felt a sense of accomplishment having faced the challenge and pushed through.  I still had a mother of a workload to go to complete today’s workout but it was all downhill now.

By the end of this workout we will have completed:

13+ miles of running
1.3 mile Assault Bike
2000 m Row
2000m Ski
300 pullups-200 of them weighted
600 pushups-400 of them weighted
900 squats-600 of them weighted
155 burpees
60 Deadlifts @ 155
45 Hang Power Cleans @ 155
30 Push Jerks @ 155
30 clap pushups
25 Waterball over the shoulder
8 runs up Woodhill
5 Tire Flips
5 runs up the steepest hill we can find, Kent
3 Stair runs

At this point in the workout, my mind was right, and nothing would stop me.  The experience of overcoming this doubt in myself was worth this entire year’s training and I gained as much out of it as finishing SealFit Kokoro.  A group of friends had come together to wish one of our own goodbye and good luck. There was no better way to say those things than to break down the body so we could open up the mind. The ones who had done the work to prepare their bodies for this test and then overcame all the voices of doubt and insecurity finished this giant physical challenge. Each of us had to face those voices and each of us had to go to a very dark and lonely place to figure out just exactly what we were made. Then, one final step had to be taken and that was to go directly into the fire and commit to finishing, no matter what.

As I accumulate more experience and overcome more self imposed obstacles like this one, it becomes harder to achieve a cathartic experience like flipping that switch on this day. The challenges become bigger, longer, more difficult but the rest of things in life become easier.  So to answer so many of my friends and relative’s questions about “Why are you doing this?”  That is why. 

Today…mission accomplished.  

Gus surveys the schedule for today

Gus surveys the schedule for today

I have compiled some notes in an after action review (AAR) of exactly what this workout looked like for those who are interested:

The official start time was 7:30 am, but a few people got started earlier.  Several of the early starters chose to do just a portion of this workout while a couple just got a head start.

I warmed up as usual and by 7:15 I was ready to go.  There were around 15-18 people going for the first part of the workout.  5 of us finished the whole thing.  For those who may be interested, here is my AAR of the event:

7:30 am- Strapped with 20 lb vests or rucks, we left on the first run of the first Murph of the day.  This Murph was done with a 20 lb vest and non partitioned.  This means that we had to do 100 pullups before we moved to the 200 pushups and complete all of those before we move to the 300 squats and then go on the mile run.  All of this is done with a vest.  Non partitioned is definitely the hardest way for me to distribute this workload, it was nice to get that out of the way first.  This Murph took me 41:02 to complete.

8:11 am- We drop the vests and pick up a Camelbak full of water and run 1 mile to the Normal Park Stairs.  This is a common workout for us that includes running, burpees, clap pushups, and stairs.  We simply run 1 mile to the stairs, run up them, do 10 burpees at the top, 10 clap pushups at the bottom and complete this 3 times before running back to the garage.  Today, we took a left out of the stairs instead of a right and ran to another common workout destination for us. is 2 miles.  We ran 2 miles from the stairs to the bottom of Kent Street, behind Publix and then started in on the Kent/Hartman workout which is 5 rounds of running up Kent (the steepest hill we could find in town) and down Hartman.  When finished with the 5 rounds, we ran the 3 miles back to the garage.

9:30 am- We return to the garage and put the vests back on to start our 2nd Murph of the day.  This Murph is the same as the first with a 1 mile run, 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 squats and run 1 mile and was done with a 20 lb vest, however, the reps were partitioned.  A partitioned Murph means that you can break up the reps in different ways to get the workload done as you like.  The most common way is probably a 5 pullup, 10 pushup, 15 squat round done 20 times to complete the work followed by a run.  Others may like a 10/20/30 x 10.  I did the 5/10/15 x 20 on this 2nd Murph and I was back to the garage at 10:23 am.

The second Murph was tough, but I still felt pretty good at this point.  Many people were having issues with cramping calves, arms and quads and had to walk or stop and work the cramp out.  Cramping is an electrolyte issue that seems unpredictable to many, but can be solved with diet and nutrition.  From my experience in SealFit Kokoro and Goruck Selection, I had ideas on how to fuel for this event.  First, drink a TON of water.  Cadre Bert called Goruck Selection a "water drinking contest" with some work in between to illustrate the importance of hydration when pushing your body to this point.  To give you an idea of how much water we are talking about, I woke up at 6 and drank 2 8 oz glasses of water.  I had a 1/2 gallon Yeti and a full gallon Yeti ready in addition to a full Camelbak with a 3 Liter Source bladder, 6 gatorades and 6 Coconut Waters.  By 10:23 am, I had finished:

2 8 oz glasses of plain water-16 oz

1/2 gallon plain water-64 oz

3 Liters plain water- 100 oz

18 oz Gatorade-18 oz

2 Endurolyte pills-

1 8 oz coconut water- 16 oz

Total= 214 oz

A little of the liquids consumed...certainly not all

A little of the liquids consumed...certainly not all

I did not cramp the entire workout.  I was sweating heavily but the air was drying my skin off on the runs.  The tell tale sign that I was not drinking too much was that with over a gallon of fluid taken in before 10:30 am, I had not peed yet.  I didn’t pee until 1:30 in the afternoon.

10:49 am- 2nd Murph Completed and the vests are dropped, another coconut water drank, 1/2 a gatorade and I started on my second gallons of water. I left for the next phase which was Woodhill street where we simply run up and down a steep hill 8 times.  Woodhill is about 1/2 mile away and when I got there, I started on the 8 rounds.  I was able to run up and down the hill most rounds but did walk up a few times.  When finished, I headed back to the garage and arrived at 11:16 am.

11:20 am- Changed out of the running shoes and into a training shoe to start DT workout. This was also a good strategy to avoid having to pick up the bar for a few minutes.

I have no record of the time at the end of DT- DT was complete and it was time to move on to the next phase.  I named the next one "Mike" and the one after that "Drew" for our friend Mike Drew that is moving.  Mike is a team workout where the team of 2 has to complete 25 burpees, throw the waterball over the shoulder 5 times and do a 2 man 700 lb tire flip x 5 rounds.  I was ahead of my swim buddy by a few minutes so I went ahead and knocked out the 25 burpees and 2 waterballs.  He finished the waterballs and then helped me flip the tire.  We broke up the burpees 10/15 and alternated each round.  We made it through the 5 rounds and moved on to the next phase.  I did not look at the clock at this point.

The next phase "Drew" was an endurance portion that consisted of

1.3 mile Assault Bike

2000m row

2000m ski erg

This was the easiest portion of the workout for me because we could take it slow and just get through it.  The bike was actually very nice to move the hip flexors and helped me to feel better. I made it through the rest with the rowing being the most painful for whatever reason.  At this point I was almost finished with my full gallon of water as well, putting me at about 350 oz so far. I was sweating heavily and felt good.  No cramps at all.  I still had not eaten anything.  Michael Lebovitz brought 2 dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts for us and as I was leaving for my 3rd Murph, I grabbed 3 of them.  As it turns out, I like running while eating doughnuts.  It is fun.

There was some walking on the 3rd Murph for sure, but I was able to get moving and run down the hill despite serious argument from my knees and hip flexors.  Once back to the garage, I drank as much water as I could get down, 1 gatorade, 2 Endurolyte pills and dunked my head in the ice bath.  I looked at the bar and wondered if I was going to be able to complete it.  The first 5 rounds of the final unweighted, partitioned Murph went brutally slow and were painful.  Everything hurt.  I was light headed and got an Rx bar from the garage which was the first thing I ate besides the doughnuts.  While there, I grabbed another doughnut, why not?  I had not had sugar in 3 months and these things were delicious!  I took a bite, did some pullups and completed a few rounds while chewing.  More water, the doughnut and Rx bar down the hatch and I felt much better.  10 rounds in, I felt better than I did on the first Murph. 15 rounds in, I kept drinking and going 1 round at a time until I was ready to mark the final round of 20 with my sidewalk chalk.

I grabbed 2 more doughnuts and dreamed of the ice bath that I was going to sit in after this final run.  You could call it a run, but it was more of a walk/limp at this point.  I ran downhill after being passed by Patrick St Charles who looked about as fresh as he did on round 1.  I made it back to the garage at 12:57 which was about 20 minutes longer than I had forecasted for this workout.  I thought that was pretty good.

It's over! 5 of us finished the entire workout!

It's over! 5 of us finished the entire workout!

5 of us finished the entire workout.  Patrick St. Charles, Keith Gray, Mike Drew, Matt Green and me.  Many others completed parts of this monster and all had personal records for volume.  Excellent job to everyone!

I sat in the ice for 10 minutes and finally had to pee at about 1:30.  I kept drinking water until I was peeing regularly through the afternoon.

I laid on the couch for a while and watched Shark Tank.  It was on and I did not have the energy to change the channel.  After a while I moved to the floor because I couldn’t get comfortable and finally to the bed for an hour of rest.

5:30- Party at Rusty's with Beer, BBQ, Banana Pudding and good friends.

I looked around and enjoyed seeing everyone communicating on a different level than in the dark at the garage.  I am so fortunate to have so many good friends and it was so nice to see wives and kids all getting to know one another.  They all had good conversations wondering why their husbands or dads were so crazy.

Next Day- I took the day off and slept til 8.  This really helped the recovery.  I was slow to get out of bed, but I felt better than I thought I might.  My ankles, knees and hips were arguing with me but I made it out of bed and started moving around.  Lower back tightness and the standard soreness from doing over 200 pull-ups was definitely there, but I felt pretty good.  I started drinking a lot of water early and followed that with coffee and my vitamins. I didn't feel like eating anything right away.  After walking around for a while, I felt much better.  Life called and I had to take my son’s boat to the mechanic, mail some packages and go to work.  I took my son, Hayden who completed his first Murph the day before, to Whole Foods for lunch and indulged in way more carbs than normal.  Mashed potatoes, Lasagne, fried chicken, plantains and whatever else looked good went down the hatch chased by a Turmeric milk and another 64 oz of sparking water.  

By now, I was feeling really good and went home and took a 10 minute ice bath followed by another 5 minutes about an hour later.  Light stretching and more water had me ready for a dinner date with my wife and friends at 6:30 pm.  I was even able to stay up and watch an episode of the 3rd season of Bloodline with my wife.  That show is awesome.

Wednesday- I designed a light workout to rid our bodies of lactic acid.  It was simple
1000 m Row
1000m Ski Erg
1 mile Assault
20 KB swings @ 53
100 m Farmers walk with 2 53’s

Not for time…

We concluded with some breath work and 10 minutes of still water meditation.

Back in the saddle!

March 3, 2017

Below, I have copied an email that I wrote to my group this morning:


I found this article and thought I would share with you guys. It is about wrestling, but it can easily be applied to virtually any sport that you or your kids are involved in.  Reading this was important to me because I have been a wrestler, a wrestling coach and a wrestling parent.  Without a doubt, it is the toughest of the 3 positions to be a wrestling parent.  Im sure that the same can be said for other sports as well.  

As a parent, you are often in a position of simply watching.  As my children have grown, the days of actually being able to say something that would make a difference during the match or game are over.  Now, our influence on the kids comes at other times.  The kids have coaches who teach them technique, they don’t look to us for that any more.  In fact, they don’t look to us for anything.  So…in order to help them, we try to stay out of their way, insure that they are on the right course, offer bits of wisdom when the opportunity presents itself and lead by example.

This short piece reminded me how important it is as a parent to take a BIG step back and look at the bigger picture.  What really matters?  Is it a State Championship or is it the entire process?  I could not have summed up these thoughts any better than the gentleman who wrote this article.

If you were a wrestler, even for a season, you will understand this article immediately.  If you were not, simply substitute wrestling for virtually anything else and it will still have a profound effect.  This substitution also includes our daily workouts and the challenges that they present.  This is definitely not and article only about being a wrestling parent, but also about the process of developing yourself.  Our workouts are not just about how we will look this summer, rather they are about a development process of your entire being.  Setting goals, working hard, failing miserably and publicly, then getting up and trying again, and again, and again until you accomplish something that once seemed impossible is more the point.  Once that goal is reached, the experience of overcoming an obstacle is carried with you to your family, your business, and your relationships.

I hope you find some value in this.  

Have an excellent day, gentlemen and an even better weekend!


The Pursuit

For the longest time – I got it wrong…

I thought the ultimate achievement in wrestling was to win a State Championship…

It is not.

The ultimate achievement in wrestling is to prepare a young man for his life by having him become the best person he can be by acquiring the “Qualities of a Wrestler” while in pursuit of a state championship.

Acquiring these qualities is more important than winning a state championship.

They are what is needed to become happy and successful in life.

These qualities are acquired during the pursuit, and not in the winning.

It is in the pursuit that a kid transcends into a man.

It is in the pursuit that a kid is prepared for what life will bombard him with when he becomes a man.

It is in the pursuit that this sport is at its finest.

Winning a state championship doesn’t teach these things.

The pursuit does.

It is setting a goal that is more than you think you can ever achieve, and then achieving more than you thought you ever could.

It is in overcoming any and all obstacles that may be in your path in pursuit of that goal.

It is in the agony of learning how to “figure it out” on your own.

It is in making the necessary adjustments even after you “figured it out.”

The hard adjustments which will require supreme sacrifice that will only make a small difference. Which will happen to be the difference between winning or losing.

It is in working endlessly and seeing no results and still continuing to work because your will is stronger than everyone else’s doubt.

It is in learning that one man with belief is worth a thousand with only interest.

It is in failing miserably and very publicly in front of your peers and everyone who is important to you. It is in learning to master the concept of “Again” – the ability to muster up a little more when the world would understand if you quit.

It is in not achieving your desired goal after a very long hard season, one in which you bled to do so, and then making a personal decision to work even harder for another season with absolutely no guarantee of success.

It is in the knowing that you did everything that you could to achieve your goal and the understanding that sometimes it will be enough, and sometimes it won’t.

You can’t control that.

All you can control is to be as well prepared as you can.

It is in the understanding that when it magically is enough, you are humble because you know the feeling of being on the other side of the win.

And when it is not enough, you know to dig down and inspect and analyze your performance because there is something within the loss that you need to learn to help you achieve a greater goal in the future.

And you find it.

And you turn a weakness into a strength.

And you keep doing that until you have no more weaknesses.

This is the process of becoming a man.

Some wrestlers who went on to win a state championship are now jerks.

Many wrestlers who took 2nd, 3rd or never even placed have become great people.

So it is not winning the state championship that is the difference.

It is what you take away from this great sport that is the difference.

It is in the pursuit.

If one’s idea of achievement is to win a state championship, then logically there can be only one winner per weight class throughout the state.

There is not.

Because the real winners in this sport are the wrestlers, who acquire the traits which will be necessary for their success and happiness in life.

And those traits all can be found in the pursuit.


This article came from


Today's workout

40 Wall Balls

30 burpees

20 bar muscle ups

30 burpees

40 wall balls

For time

August 31, 2016

What no one could have realized at the time was how much Jeff and his team’s ignorance of the sport would turn out to be an asset
— But Now I See by Steven Holcomb

This quote is from a book I am listening to and quite interested in.  The book is But Now I See by Steven Holcomb.  Steven is the driver of USA 1 Bobsled and an Olympic Gold Medalist.  He was diagnosed with Keratoconus which degrades vision and became legally blind (while still the driver of a sled going 90 mph).  Not only is this book a great story about overcoming a condition to restore sight, but it also has a parallel story about USA bobsledding that is fascinating to me. 

The USA at one time had to buy their sleds and equipment from the Europeans.  There were no sleds built in the USA.  It was no wonder that we consistently finished poorly, not only off the medal stand, but really never having a chance as we were using outdated equipment and no one was really taking the sport as seriously, in a gear or technical sense, as our competitors.  This all changed when Jeff Bodine of NASCAR was watching the Olympics when Herschel Walker was a pusher and the commentator pointed out this flaw in our team's equipment.  Jeff Bodine decided that he was going to change things.  

He didn't know anything about Bobsledding, but he had tremendous pride in his country and he did know about racing.  He did have a complete garage that could build a NASCAR vehicle overnight.  He committed to a task and got it done...eventually.  

I LOVE this quote above because it embodies my own career and what I have seen from so many others as well.  What may seem like the biggest weakness, challenge, hurdle, or giant mountain in front of you will turn out to be your greatest asset if you stick with it long enough.  In my case, I grew up in Tennessee and had never seen a bonefish, tarpon or permit in my entire life.  I had never been on a guided trip and had never once been to the Florida Keys.  There is no way that you could look at this situation and conclude that I was operating at a distinct advantage over my competition in my quest to become a bonefish, tarpon and permit guide in the Florida Keys.   It certainly wasn't an advantage...for 10 or 12 years. My competition grew up in Key West, they had fathers who were guides, they had been on the water their whole life.  My situation was one of almost complete impossibility, but I did have one crucial ingredient, passion and determination.  I simply wanted to be a fishing guide in the Florida Keys so bad that nothing was going to stop me.  One other asset that I had was a work ethic, an ability to endure pain and a never quit attitude forged by my wrestling background. 

I knew that I had to work harder than everyone else, 10 times as hard, because I had no idea what I was doing.  I had to learn more, faster than everyone else, because I knew nothing. I knew that I had to treat my customers better than they had ever been treated before, because they were the only ones that I had.  This developed a work ethic and passion for learning that became the normal, every day operating procedure.

In Steven Holcomb's book, the fact that Jeff Bodine knew nothing about bobsledding certainly wasn't an advantage at first.  His first sleds were slightly better than our old ones, but still no medals.  However, because he knew nothing of protocol, the way it had always been done or tradition, Jeff did what he knew how to do and used his resources to get a job done.  The result was something that the Bobsled community had never seen before.  Pit crews, engineers, the ability to change things instantly or rebuild the entire sled overnight became their normal operating procedure.

At first, this looked like a circus act and all the competitors watched in amusement, but Bodine and his team stayed with it and did what they knew how to do.  They knew how to make instant corrections toward improvement and they knew how to make things go fast. 

It didn't work right away, but eventually the fact that Jeff Bodine knew nothing about Bobsledding became the Team USA's biggest advantage.  In 2014 at Sochi, the Team USA sled, driven by Steven Holcomb won the Olympic Gold Medal.

Take Home Value:  Do not let ANYTHING intimidate you from doing something that you want to do.  No matter how impossible it seems, if you commit and stick with it, whatever your biggest challenge is today will become your greatest advantage.  This might be your health, your location, your education, your upbringing or your experience level.  It is definitely not going to happen overnight, but any of these things can be corrected and in that process, you may discover your advantage and dominate your competition. 

Do you have a story about how this has been true in your own life or in the life of someone you know?  If so, I'd like to hear it.  Send me an email at


This morning 5:45 am

6 Mile Run as fast as possible

I finished 48:32, slower than I had anticipated.  PSC came in around 42:00, Mike D and Alan L beat me by a minute or two.  Good work!

Do expectations define our reality?

It has been documented that other people's expectations of someone have a profound effect on performance.  Maybe you have experienced this...I know I have. 

Go to boot camp and find yourself in front of a drill instructor who expects high standards, within a few days, your performance increases to the expected level.  Sign up for SealFit Kokoro and find yourself working out at high intensity for 50 hours without sleep and performing better at the end than at the beginning despite never having done anything like that previously.  How is it possible?  It is possible because the instructors expect you to do it and dont tolerate anything else.  Walk into a wrestling room where everyone is better than you and expects you to perform at a high level.  You get into the mix and find yourself wrestling better than you ever have.  Walk into a CrossFit gym where everyone is stronger and faster than you.  Workout there for a few days and you experience a PR in almost every area.

Hang out with a bunch of world class guitarists, you become better.

Go to any place where mediocrity is not tolerated or accepted and you will not be mediocre...or at least for long.  Go where the standards are high and your performance will rise to meet the standards, if you want it bad enough, despite physical ability or skill.

A sign I saw at St Edwards wrestling room.  Mediocrity is not tolerated there. 

A sign I saw at St Edwards wrestling room.  Mediocrity is not tolerated there. 

Is this real?  Yes it is real.  It is a part of life that is evident in every activity.

If we all can agree that being around other people who are better or smarter than you can make you increase your performance because of their expectations of you, how far can we take that?  Can you learn a new language in record time by immersing yourself in a foreign culture where everyone expects you to speak the native language...yes.  Take it further...can you become an olympic athlete, a Navy Seal, a world class violinist, a better businessman, a better father, by training or being around people who expect more from you than you even expect from yourself?  There are many examples of all of these things happening.  So what is the question, really?  Is it what can we do or what can't we do?

Do you think it is possible that a blind person could see because of expectations of those around them?  Or can the expectations of those around that blind person make them think or become convinced of all of the things that they can't do?

I recently listened to a fascinating podcast about this exact subject.  I encourage you to give it a listen and when you do...think about a couple of things.

On the simplest level, this podcast might make you wonder whether you need to reevaluate who you spend your time with.  Are these people expecting big things from you or are they helping you to be mediocre?   It has been said that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.  Are you being pushed to excellence or coddled toward mediocrity?

On a deeper level, maybe it makes you think about how you are raising your kids.  Are you smoothing the road for them and therefore lowering their expectations of themselves? 

On an even deeper level you may contemplate whether or not there are any limits on the human being.  Are there actually limits or do we create limits by our own and/or society's expectations?

On a personal level, after you listen to this podcast, maybe you contemplate your own expectations for yourself or your children.

Tony Robbins has always said that we are limited only by our own beliefs.  He also said that the key to success is to expect more from yourself than anyone else could possibly expect from you. 

Dan Gable said:

“I’m a big believer in starting with high standards and raising them.

We make progress only when we push ourselves to the highest level.  If we don’t progress, we backslide into bad habits, laziness and poor attitude."

I have tried to live by these principles and can credit much of the success that I have created to them. 

The story of "Batman" as told by NPR's This American Life is amazing to everyone but the subject of the documentary, a blind man who has learned to operate as well as a person with sight. He taught himself echolocation at a very young age and is completely comfortable riding a bicycle through traffic.  He doesn't see his ability as anything special.  He says that a blind person riding a bike through traffic is something that any blind person can do, but few do.  His mother began his life with high standards by raising him as if he had sight and he raises them daily.  The result is him defying and shattering our societal expectations of blind people.  His new objective is to show the world that we have to change the expectations that the world has of blind people.

In my own life, I have seen something like this one time.  I have a friend named Kyle Maynard.  He is a congenital quadriplegic amputee who wrote a book called No Excuses.  Kyle went to a regular school, played football and found his place on the wrestling mat.  His parents and those around him raised their expectations of him and helped him to understand that he was not limited.  Recently, Kyle just climbed Mt Kilimanjaro.  He has visited the RRL and I took him fishing once and had an opportunity to talk to him extensively.  One thing that stuck with me that he said was, "I don't have a disability.  People who have confidence issues, or issues with negative self talk have a disability.  I just don't have arms or legs.  I can do anything.  Those people are the ones with a disability".

I urge you to listen to this podcast.  You can listen here or you can get it through the iTunes store by searching This American Life and downloading episode #544 Batman or simply listen below.

I would like to know what you think about this podcast.  Leave a comment or lets find some time to discuss.

Just do it

You can do anything that you decide you want to do.  Make the commitment and do it.  Burn the boats, go for it!  There are few things more unlikely than my story of how I became a professional fisherman and television producer.  If I can do can do anything.

You can do anything that you decide you want to do.  Make the commitment and do it.  Burn the boats, go for it!  There are few things more unlikely than my story of how I became a professional fisherman and television producer.  If I can do can do anything.

I came across this email response that I wrote to a fan of our fishing show.  It is a very common question that I get and I thought I would post it here.  I know that most who read this blog are here for both mental and physical training information but this advice would go a long way towards making any dream come true.

It is my hope that anyone can take something away from this response.  If you have a dream, go get it.  Go after it and don't let anything stop you.  If you are not a fisherman, substitute fishing for whatever it is that you are into...the advice is just the same. 

Find your passion and pursue it.  Do whatever it takes.

#1 question...How do I fish for a living?

August 27, 2012 at 12:21pm

A fan writes:

Hi Captains, I love the show. I'm 42 years and have a deep passion for fishing. Until recently, I worked 10 years for UM. But, I was never really happy because I wasn't doing what I love. I am interested in working on a charter boat. How difficult is it to begin this? Do you have any tips? What is the average salary? Do you know of any captain's having any openings, maybe even you guys? Thank you.

Robert Miranda

My Response:

I get this question all the time.  When I say, "this question" and "all the time" I mean that I get some form of this question at least once per week and I have since reached the "tipping point".  The tipping point (read Malcolm Gladwell's book with the same title) is when things just change and tip in the direction of success.  For me, I reference the tipping point here as the moment when the outside world quit asking me when I was going to get a real job, or If I really thought I could make a living fishing, and started asking me questions like Robert just did. 


I guess that if you just continue to do what you love long enough, people just kind of figure that you are doing ok, or maybe it was the infectious positive attitude, or the 14 hour days that I never complained about, or that I was always doing 14 hour days for months at a time, and on the one day off that I might have, I would do an 18 hour day just for my own enjoyment.  Behavior like this is so contrary to the 9-5 punch a clock mentality that is so prevalent in our society.


Robert, I promise that I am going to answer your question...hang in there.


Sometimes, I find it a little funny that anyone would ask me for advice on how to get started.  It is funny because I did virtually everything wrong that can be done wrong and continued to do that until another "tipping point" where people just started assuming that if I had been doing it that way for a while, maybe it was the right way.


My father was not a professional fisherman or guide.  I did not grow up in the Keys or near the ocean.  I did not know anyone who had ever been a professional guide and I had only taken a couple of guided trips in my lifetime, from guides who were not people that I had any desire to emulate. 


No, I just started fishing and loved it.  When I say that I loved it, I mean it.  Fishing became everything to me.  When I was fishing, I had complete tunnel vision and laser focus.   Was able to learn at a rate that I never knew in school and for the first time ever, I had a passion, an unrelenting desire to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible in the shortest amount of time.  This was new to me.


High school was tough for me.  I had no idea what I wanted to do and even less of a desire to figure it out.  College was even worse.


However, I did take a risk and applied for a job in Yellowstone National Park for a summer.  I got the job and found myself packing for a summer in a place I had never been before.  One thing that made the backpack was a 8 1/2 foot 4 piece 6 weight Western Series Orvis fly rod.  It was cool.  I had no idea how to use it.


Once out there, I found my way to the Yellowstone River and managed somehow to tie a fly onto a leader. Having no idea what I was doing, I walked down the bank of the river  and looked into the water.  Floating 2 feet above the water was the most beautiful fish that I have ever seen.  It was a Yellowstone Cutthroat trout and it was precisely 19 1/4 inches long. 


As I stared at the fish and tried to understand how and why it was floating above the water, it hit me.  Far from the muddy TN waters, I was just beginning to understand the beauty of the Rocky Mountains.  The fish wasn't floating above the water, I had just never seen water this clear.  It was as if there was no water at all.  Confused, I started to put things together and the bottom, fish and surface of the water all began to align correctly and I realized that the fish was holding in the current about a foot below the surface.


Somehow, I managed to get my fly upstream of the fish and watched as he would not eat it because it was dragging unnaturally.  I tried for about 2 hours until I changed flies, moved and finally was able to get the right drift to the fish.  As Yellowstone Cuttroats do, he tilted toward the surface, and began to slowly rise toward the fly.  This fish knew something was not right and he drifted under the fly for a foot or so before actually opening his mouth and eating it.  Miraculously, I set the hook and caught the fish. 


When I landed the trout, I experienced an inner peace that I had never felt before.  As he slipped out of my hands and back into the river, I knew that I would be a fisherman forever.


So Robert, the answer to your question comes now, in sort of a Yoda type way.  Once I decided that I was going to be a fisherman in that moment on the Yellowstone River, I was committed.   So committed, in fact, that I probably should have been committed.  Nothing was going to stop me...nothing.


Not only was I willing to sleep in a car, scrub toilets, travel, work 18 hour days, make a fool out of myself, ask stupid questions, clean boats, hang around fly shops until they wanted to kick me out, work for free, be a camp cook, wash dishes, build fences, change bearings on trailers, take boat loads of firewood down class 2 whitewater, fix cars, teach flycasting for free, live in a commune with 20 other people, and many many other things to make it happen, but I did all of those things with a giant smile on my face.


I of course, like you, asked for advice and got plenty, but none that ever helped.  I looked for any help to try to make my dream a reality.  I am sure that some people probably gave me some great advice or contacts that may just not have made sense to me at the time.  The fact is that my story of how I was able to become a professional guide is quite the same as others I know that did it and continue to do it well.


Want the secret?  Well, here you go.  First, determine what you want.  You say that you want to work on a charter boat, others say they want to be a flats guide, an offshore guide, a tug boat captain, a trout fishing guide, an elk guide, a professional bow hunter...You name it.  The method is all the same.


Just do it.  That's it.  Just go out there and do it.


You are not happy with your job, your life, your situation?  Change it. 


Want to work on a charter boat...ok.  Go where there are charter boats.  Walk the docks.  Talk to the Captains and tell them you want to work for them.  They wont hire you?  Of course they won't.  You just showed up!  Stick around and take their shit until they do (you will be tested, because they will dish out ALOT of shit ).  Work for free, clean fish, scrub toilets, sleep in your car, LIVE in your car.  One day, someone wont show up and you will be in.  Then, you better work your ass off and make sure that the customers are happy, the boat is spotless and then clean it again.  Be the best mate that has ever been on that boat, on that dock, in that town, in that State, in the United States, in the World.


I cant tell you how long it will take or if that first dock will be the right place, but if you are committed, it will happen for you.  Make your decision and do it.  In my opinion, being happy, hungry and doing what you want to do is better than being safe, fat and unhappy.


That's my advice.  Take it or leave it


-Tom Rowland


Lessons Learned-Goruck Selection 015 AAR

Lessons Learned-Goruck Selection 015 AAR

Today is Saturday, Oct 11 and it is the morning after Goruck Selection 015.

Out of 278 people who signed up, 162 RSVP'd to show up...out of those, only 82 actually did show up.  There are various reasons for that, namely that the training for an event like this is really hard and injuries do happen.  (Out of our group of 5, only 2 of us showed up injury free to the start) ...

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