*BONUS EPISODE: 15-minute Guided Meditation with Ocean Sounds

Today’s bonus episode is a guided meditation to help you notice thoughts and feelings that are present. This will help you to gain better control of your actions when things get stressful. Many of us tend to push away thoughts and feelings that are unpleasant. Other times, they can seem like the only thing happening and cause us to lose focus on anything else happening around us. Practicing this consitently will help you to let these feelings come and go while you are better able to concentrate on what you are doing in the moment.


Ocean sounds were recorded by Mike Koenig and uploaded to soundbible.com and used in accordance with Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

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Transitions from War – Episode 4 – How do I get started?

In this episode of the podcast, Mike and Rich talk about pratical ways to get started living an active lifestyle.


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Article links:

3 Steps to Your First Triathlon

5 Bad Fitness Habits I learned in the Marine Corps

Transitions in life are rarely easy. They require us to change. They throw us off balance and by their nature force us to adapt. Coming home from war is among the most difficult transitions one can face. That’s what we talk about on the TFW podcast. We will talk to vets who have successfully made this transition into a fulfilling life, experts in the fields of health and wellness, and our own experiences on this path.

Mike started the Transitions from War blog to talk about his struggles getting home, PTSD, and addiction and then finding endurance sports to really begin feeling whole again. Breaking the stereotype of Marines being illiterate, Mike and Rich met up in college at UC Berkeley. A few years after graduation they teamed up again, this time to discuss and promote a topic blatantly absent from their college days: healthy lifestyle and fitness.





Music by The Marine Rapper

Intro: March – The Marine Rapper

Outro: Blood, Sweat, Tears – The Marine Rapper



Cowboy Crickets

Sustainable, Montana-raised crickets. Veteran-owned and Ironman approved! Enter promo code VETS to save 15% on all orders.



Zinc-based performance sunscreen along with chlorine-removing hair and skin products. Use the promo code VETS to save 20% on all orders.


Green Wolf Tactical

Marine Corps Veteran-owned business specializing in Paracord gear, custom Embroidery, bracelets, key chains, survival gear, PVC patches, & more. Save 20% on all your orders with the promo code SEMPERFI



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Transitions from War Podcast: Episode 1

Taking to the Air Waves

Rich Dreyling and I  are both excited to share the newest branch of the TFW media empire, our own podcast! After doing a few interviews for the blog, it became apparent that so much is lost in the transcription of a conversation into text.  Besides listening here, you can find us on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and eventually YouTube.

The Marine Rapper nightmrica album cover

Our music is provided by none other than The Marine Rapper. If you haven’t heard his flow, you’ll wonder what rock you’ve been hiding under. I’ve been a fan for a couple years now and he’s kept me going for those long training rides for both Ironman triathlons in 2017.

All his albums can be found on iTunes, but check out his own website to get yourself some TMR gear like the G.I. Flow sweatshirt.


In our first episode, Rich interviews me about growing up, getting quarterdecked in boot camp and finding my way to Iraq. If you like what you hear, please share it with friends. Leave us a review on iTunes. So enough reading already. Enjoy the show……


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The Sea Bag: January 2018

What’s in the Sea Bag?

I’ve written a handful of race reviews, wellness and nutrition posts over the last couple years. They all fit neatly into specific categories in the main menu and don’t stray too far outside their scope. But what about all the smaller, more random stuff?

They get thrown into the sea bag.

Sometimes they just seem like the random stuff jammed into my sea bag on deployment. Not on the packing list, but jammed in there between your poncho liner and extra canteen. You might not have thought too much about it at the time and you mostly find them when you’re looking for something else.

Marines Carrying the sea bag January 2018

Each month I’ll unpack some of the things I’ve stumbled upon. One form of media I regularly consume is podcasts. Mostly free and covering the most fringe of topics, I am still surprised when I meet someone who doesn’t know what a podcast is. Maybe the name throws people off. Either way, I have found great information and entertainment. For January, I took stock of 5 podcasts that keep me company during my commute or washing the dishes.


1. Yogi Triathlete Podcast

Yogi triathlete podcast- the sea bag

I found out about Yogi Triathlete via Instagram. Cohosts Jess and BJ Gumkowski bring two of my worlds together: Meditation and Triathlon. BJ finished Ironman Santa Rosa and had probably already showered and napped by the time I crossed the finish line. I remember seeing Jess along the run course with their dog, Clark, both cheering him on.

Based out of Carlsbad, California, the two have backgrounds in both wellness and endurance sports. What I love about the show is the deep discussions about how their guests have overcome the darkness in their own lives and connected with endurance sports. It was through the Yogi Triathlete Podcast that I learned about the M21 Mindfulness Challenge. Enjoy the #HighVibeLiving.

A great show to start with is Podcast 79: Tawnee Gibson, Holistic Endurance Coach on Mindshifts and Transformations

2. Daniel Vitalis Presents: Rewild Yourself

Rewild Yourself - The Sea Bag

Don’t let autocorrect fool you, it is in fact “RE-WILD” not “RE-WIND.” Daniel Vitalis is modern day hunter/gatherer in Maine who has documented his journey from Raw Vegan and self-described “New-Age Health Nut” to a different understanding of what it means to be a conscious participant in the world. Daniel’s show has opened me to trying my own hand at foraging, collecting my own spring water,  and even reconsidering the idea of sustainable agriculture and whether such a thing really exists.

The show that has had the most impact on my life recently is #143 The Hidden Cost of Veganism – Lierre Keith. This one sent me into a complete funk. I was seriously considering going vegan and had started abstaining from meats to lessen the impact of factory farming and animal cruelty. I still do not agree with the cruel practices within industrial farming, but Lierre Keith presented a convincing argument on how a strictly plants diet can be even worse for the planet.

A controversial topic if there ever was one.

Listen to Episode #143: The Hidden Cost of Veganism – Lierre Keith

3. Your Mom’s House

Your Mom's House - the sea bag

There’s only so many serious things I can do or listen to in a given day. Sometimes I need comedic relief. I learned about stand-up comedians and co-hosts Tom Segura and Christina P. from the Joe Rogan Experience (a podcast that needs no introduction). They tackle the difficult issues like “How do blind people pick up dog poo?” and things dads get way too excited about.

It’s definitely safe for work. In fact, play it full volume in front of old people and those easily offended.

Come on over for some Moose Soup in Episode #403

4. Waking Up – Sam Harris

Sam Harris - the sea bag

Sam Harris is arguably the most rational man alive today. Sam has degrees from Stanford in Neuroscience and is passionate about the idea of consciousness. He’s published several books about religion and faith. Sam argues that many values ascribed to deities in formal religions are shared human values and accessible to everyone. What makes this show intriguing is Sam’s ability to talk with people he does not agree with.  He provides a calm and rational format that allows his guest to build their case with logic. Sam’s show has forced me to reevaluate what I believe and why I believe it. This introspection can bring up some fear or even anger, but ultimately if one is seeking truth then there is nothing to fear.

A great show to start with is Episode #31: Evolving Minds: A Conversation With Jonathan Haidt.

5. Flip TurnsFlip turns - the sea bag

Flip Turns is a brand new show put on by fellow Walnut Creek Masters swimmer, Chris Conner. Chris strays from the typical question-and-answer interview format and produces a show, not unlike NPR’s Radio Lab or This American Life. The show is a great blend of narrative, music, and sound effects that connect people to stories of how swimming has changed the lives of his guests. Whether you currently swim, used to swim, or have never taken up the sport- this show is for you!

Listen to Chris’s his first episode: Patti Zuppan-Hood: 5 Gold Medals at the World Transplant Games

What podcasts do you listen to?



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5 Lessons I learned in 2017

Ironman World Championship swim start 2 lessons

It is no surprise was my most productive year yet. There were many firsts. My first full Ironman( which was also my first marathon and first century ride), first 4-mile swim, first triathlon relay, first time at Kona, first podcast appearance, first appendectomy, and first red carpet event. Lots of highs and a few lows. But the big lessons were learned in between these big events. It’s easy to train when a race is around the corner. It’s much harder on a cold, winter morning when the sun won’t be up for another hour. Below is a list of my biggest takeaways from last year.

1. Find the way

To finish an Ironman, one needs to put in the training. That training takes time. To set Continue reading

The M21: A Daily Meditation Challenge

M21 and Adventures in Mindfulness

A few weeks ago, I began the M21: a twenty-one-day mindfulness challenge. Jess Gumkowski of Yogi Triathlete and Goldyn Duffy offered the opportunity to start or deepen a daily meditation practice.


Twenty-one days for $21. I took a chance and bought in.


Meditating on Mt. Diablo


The practice of meditation and mindfulness is nothing new to me, but the consistent and daily implementation was lacking in my life. From what I know about behavioral psychology, having a financial stake in a given activity increases the odds one will value it more and use it. So will positive peer pressure and support.

Each day, Jess and Goldyn would post something new in the Facebook group. Every few days they would add a video explaining the importance of being mindful throughout the day and what it means to be fully present and experience each moment as it is happening. Jess and Goldyn also recorded guided meditations for us to try in order to get deeper into the practice.


Before we go any further, let’s clear up some of the confusion.

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Ironman Santa Rosa Race Review

Ironman Santa Rosa

My phone alarm jolted me out of unconsciousness. It was race day. Strangely, I woke up feeling at peace. I had been training for almost a year for Ironman Santa Rosa. My first full Ironman. Still dark for a few hours, I turned on the lights and changed into my triathlon suit that had covered my frame through three Half Ironmans and a handful of shorter races. The race day checklist stared back at me from the breakfast table of my grandparents’ house. First on the list were affirmations. Stay grateful, let go of negativity, find steadiness in success and failures. Then I sipped my Green Shake, chocked full of vitamins.

I filled my water bottles and loaded the gear in my pack. My Iron-sherpa, Chris, started the truck. We were off. The drive to Lake Sonoma passed uneventfully as we talked over the steady pulse of my race day playlist.

Maybe I knew that today was more than just a race. Ironman Santa Rosa was a day to celebrate the journey of transformation that started five years ago when I started to face my PTSD head on in full sobriety; this triathlon was an opportunity for me to give thanks for my growth in Mind, Body, and Spirit. Or maybe my meditations and deep stretches had calmed me. Perhaps my body was also ready for the race, having gone through the race day morning rituals many times before. I reminded myself to let go of the outcome and simply be in the moment for each stroke, pedal, and stride. Like Mark Allen said, “transcend the numbers”.  After all, whatever my finishing time, it would be a personal best.

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The Biggest Race of My Life

Until Chaps connected with the right hook, I thought I was well-prepared for the interview.


Lindsey Schmidt from Ironman’s PR firm reached out a few months ago to say they heard my story. Ironman wanted to get me on a cool, new veteran podcast to talk about why I race. It would be a chance to talk about the Marines on my jersey that keep me moving towards the finish line. I agreed to do the interview.  I wrote an eBook  about the Mind, Body, and Spirit. Finally, a chance to talk to a larger audience about a great way to deal with PTSD!

zeroblogthirty logo

The interview started out great (listen to it here). We talked about how I went into the Marine Corps, ditched the band and joined the infantry, and shipped out to Iraq. He asked me what house-to-house fighting was like in Fallujah. Chaps was there in 2007 and has walked the streets of the former Baath Party hub. And of course, we chatted about how triathlon has helped me deal with the demons of PTSD and turn it into something positive. So Chaps throws the verbal jab and I take the bait.

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