Wednesday, December 16, 2015

What I Read in 2015

It's clear from this list that 2015 was about War, Violence, and Power. I didn't intend it that way. In fact the goal for the year was to read more fiction and great literature. The last few years were heavy on public policy and economics to the point that I felt like I was reading the same book over and over again. For 2015, I really wanted to branch out which happened but not in the intended way. Perhaps the lesson is not to try and predict 2016's destination but just see where the year takes me.

The entries are categorized simply by "Best of", which I can almost universally recommend, and "YMMV", your mileage may vary. "YMMV" does not imply bad just not for everyone.

Same rubric as before, books on this list were not necessarily published this year but read for the first time in 2015.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Crush the Run on Your Next Military Physical Fitness Test

(Mo Farah and Galen Rupp go 1-2 in the 2012 Olympic 10k. Many years, thousands of miles, lots of heartache and self-doubt proceed Olympic victory. You don't need to do any of that to run your best 1.5 mile PT test.)

Two years ago I was overweight, out of shape and had developed permanent plantar fasciitis in both feet. This didn't happen overnight, over one month or one year. For ten years, my times had slipped little by little until I was running nearly three minutes slower. And I was caught in a vicious cycle. Unable to run much because of the pain in my feet I got heavier. The extra weight added more stress to my injured feet and made them even less able to sustain the impact of running; more pounds-->less running-->more pounds-->less running, etc.  

Thanks to some good orthotics I approached my most recent fitness test with some ability to run and a few months to train. From October 2014 until my fitness test in Jan 2015 I followed the program detailed below. Being fat and injured forced me to think about training in a different way. When I was 20 years old and a college cross-country runner I could have fixed my problem by running 60-80 miles a week with intervals, hills and strength training. That was untenable for lots of reasons. The program below worked for me and I think it could work for a lot of other military folks looking to do better on their 1.5-3.0 mile run (Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines). It's simple and efficient but it's not "easy". Running focused workouts that are typically less than 30 minutes a couple times a week will give you all the boost you need to crush your next physical fitness run.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Best Reads of 2014

Confession: Last year's reading year was paltry. At first I struggled to recall what happened such that I could only get through 10-12 books. Then I remembered: we had a baby in the spring (Yea!!), the summer was mostly tied up with GRE studying (Boo!!), learning Portuguese (Yea!!!) and the autumn with a Game Theory MOOC on Coursera (Yea!!!) Sadly, I did not get to much of what I intended to read for 2014. In fact, looking back on what was read I found that I strayed widely from what I intended. The war maxim "No plan survives first contact" holds in life as well.

Again, these books weren't necessarily published in 2014 but I happened to read them for the first time. They were new to me...perhaps to you as well. Happy reading in 2015.