Character Building

You  cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself.   -James A. Froude

I have been blessed with the health and ability to complete workouts in honor of our Country’s finest people and fallen heroes.  I am one that is still here with the ability to drive on using the gift of movement and the strength of mind to appreciate the moment.  I am bathed in humility by the character of heroes that have given their lives in service to others, and I am sensitive to the lasting impact it makes on their families.  I revere them and I’m forever grateful.

Lt. Michael Murphy is one of those heroes. When Michael Murphy completed the workout that was eventually named after him he called it “Body Armor”. I think the workout not only makes your body stronger, it makes your spirit more resilient. It’s a character builder. The grind we go through in this particular workout is universal yet so simple. You learn to drive on through the doubt and pain while encouraging your teammates around you.  That is beautiful pain.

This year I wore some old body armor and carried the Sisu Hammer for the entire workout. I carried it on the run, held it on top of my feet while doing strict pull ups, and held it in my hands during the squats and push-ups. The hammer simulated a protection weapon that men better than me aren’t here to carry anymore. It represented a weight that I felt honored to carry, and no matter how heavy it was, it was a gift of burden that shows I am alive and can feel pain.  How lucky am I? Continue reading

Strong Willed – Part II

 

*Three months after the words of Part I.

Its not what happens to you, but how you react that matters. -Epictetus

Every obstacle is an opportunity. I truly believe that. In this case, the obstacle gave Connor the opportunity to live.  At this point we have been through five intrauterine blood transfusions and have kept Connor alive. The doctor has successfully transfused Connors blood through a long needle that went though Amanda’s stomach, into her womb, and into a vein in the umbilical cord. We were very fortunate to have this option.  Here’s why.  During this process, we were getting regular ultrasounds to check the status of Connor’s hydrops (cranial/body swelling and heart size). At one of our standard ultrasounds he switched over to a type of ultrasound that shows blood flow.  What he saw was another very rare condition called Vasa Previa. Vasa Previa, in our case, was a fetal blood vessel from the placenta that was crossing the entrance to the birth canal.  If that vessel ruptured, Connor would suffer from rapid fetal hemorrhaging and die within minutes.  The fetal mortality rate is estimated to be as high as 95% if not diagnosed before birth. Amanda was immediately put on bed rest, even though she had been CrossFitting almost daily till then. We needed to restrict her movement as much as possible and for as long as possible. We prepared for the worst and hoped for the best. The doctors wanted her in Labor and Delivery for seven weeks antepartum, in Continue reading

Strong Willed – Part I

This story may bring you thoughts of sadness or grief, but I want to change your perspective on that. Connor’s story is a launchpad of strength, triumph of fortitude, and a celebration of resilience. I spent some time marinating my thoughts on how I and if I wanted to share this deeply personal information, but I think it is important to tell this story. I have talked about it before on my social media (#connorstrength) and on podcasts, but this is different.  I am going to share the story from letters I have already written to both of my sons.  This is a lesson I learned from the experience I wrote about in, “For Dad.”  This letter was written the day we found out Connor (only 22 weeks in utero) was very sick. This is the beginning of The Sisu Way for me. Continue reading