Always Running

Hard to get back to get thoughts on paper when so much happens each week. After NYC, Las Vegas, Texas, California  … hurricanes, travel, meetings …. When I need the endorphins,  I kick up my running. So far, more like a slow jog, but been here before so I know where to go.  Each time I get out of shape, I swear I’ll never do it again because it is so much work to get back in shape. My excuse this go-around is work on my knee, but really I am just lazy and soft. Grew up running track and field. Fifth grade teacher got me interested, and that’s the first time I experienced “rig”, what we call the rigamortis of major lactic acid buildup, and my first race win.  Still enjoy the feeling of the race, the competition – lining up, mano-a-mano (and, women), first to finish wins, everyone else loses. Towards the end of my Army career, began training and competing in 5k and 10k races, still keeping a hand (or foot) on the track in the 800m and 400m. At the Pentagon, ran with the Potomac Valley track Club, in Hawaii trained and ran with the Hawaii Master’s Track Club. Got tired of getting beaten by folks who shouldn’t be beating me, I changed my lifestyle for a couple year, and added serious training. Once you experience the “high” of shorter distance races, you begin considering going longer. You may not do so, for many assorted reasons, but all of us consider it. Testing myself as I entered my 40’s, decided to run a marathon. Trained for eight months. Did all my own research, training, trial & error, but it wasn’t as if I hadn’t been running all my life. Did well in the Honolulu Marathon but cramped at 24 miles going back over Diamond Head. Pretty much limped to the finish. Think I ran a 3:45. Spent the rest of the day in the fetal position in pain.  Knew I could do it better, so I began training for the next year.  1o months, seven prep races of 10k’s, a couple half marathons, a couple 20k races, two 5k for speed work.  Training is important but races get you ready for a race – the jostling, the crowds, the adrenaline, the pre- and post-race timing.  Best workouts: 16 x 6-min miles on the track at Punahou HS in Honolulu, 4 min interval between miles seemed long at first, by the end of the workout time flew by right up to the next 6 min mile. Another was a Virginia 20-miler morning run on the W&OD bike trail from Arlington to Vienna and back, then off to work that day.  Race date dictates your preparation: when to work at which distance or speed, where to run (I run the entire marathon course in pieces to know the route and surface and chokepoints and such). Typically, I’ll drop body weight (slowly, to maintain strength) more for a marathon where you don’t want to lug around fat-weight than when we run on the track where you need a little bulk for the close-quarters and jostling.  Each race is different: start time and weather dictates last meal, what to eat, hydration, when to arrive, when to line up.  Nailed it. Ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 3:12 (which was actually like a 3:12:50).  Beautiful day – had been training in Hawaii 80 degree temps so the race start at 58 degrees in less humidity was perfect. Tied up going over the 14th Street bridge. Finished strong, then went to a family party, no pain because I was prepared and training properly. A month later for fun cruised the Honolulu Marathon again, this time in 3:30. The challenge of racing a marathon isn’t in the race. It is in the year or more of training, preparation, proper diet, sleep, cross training, cold- and hot-weather runs, bad weather, family events, travel, work.  Racing a marathon is actually anti-climatic. I knew my body so well by race day, that each time (except that first time) I predicted within 90 seconds my finish time.  Met my running goals, so I slacked. My body was tuned enough that I ran two more marathons after with little to no training, both around 3:30 going out and back over Diamond head.  Same time frame, won the Hawaii State masters 800m in a pedestrian 2:18. Never been about running for me.  Now, it is about having somewhat relatively clear lungs, maintaining my weight. Always been about the competition- against others and myself.

Racing on the track is a completely different animal.

Last year, got my left knee scoped. That’s my excuse for not running for a year. Just getting back, putzing through slow 2-3-4 mile runs, hardly a jog and what I would not consider a run for my run log just three years ago. .But, it feels good to be out again. I don’t think I’ll compete again. The pain, work, commitment is more than I have time or desire to endure. I am glad I competed. Normal people, mortals, cannot understand the need to line up, put yourself out there, go down on record – you win or you lose. Winning is best, but either is better than never trying.

Deciding to get back in as winter comes to the east coast isn’t particularly good timing.   It’s been cold, windy, rainy … “No need to give me excuses, I have thousands of my own.” Just do it.  One thing you get in distance that you don’t on the track: yesterday, I stopped at a small bridge over a creek while a deer (sort of oddly shaped three-point) crossed not six feet from me. In the city/suburbs, they are, obviously, pretty unafraid.  

Fav gun show, friends

Being on the NRA Board isn’t about me, it is about all the great people in our #2A community. Such a fun day for me. Hadn’t been to one of Annette’s shows in a bit. Good to see friends, meet more vendors, talk to people/customers.  Showmasters Gun Shows Chantilly VA,  #TheNationsGunShow. Vendors say sales are so-so, but in the meantime saw lot of firearms going out the door. Hung out at the Arsenal Attorney’s table with Jack Conroy, which adjoins the VCDL table with their great volunteers. Shopping for an AR, but didn’t find what I “need”. While I was there, I also did two hours of Saturday Symposium Contending 4 Truth Radio w #2A protectors Gary Edwin Rumer Dan Wilson. Sort of different and interesting orchestrating the radio while at the show, trying to find folks I wanted to have a shout out. Got Arsenal AttorneysNRA Museums, & showmaster’s boss Annette Elliott on radio for their plug. Worked so well, may try that again, thankfully Gary and Dan were fine with me putting others on… and it isn’t as if I picked out lightweights or folks we didn’t want to hear about and from. Hung out w Maryland BFF Kat O’Connor w TomKat Ammunition/TK DefenseVCDL Page – Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. crew, Republican Party of Virginia team was light following the election, & BFF patriots Flags of Valor. On the other hand, as Kat noted, being a Board member in public also opens us up to a lot of complaints and criticism, and some compliments for what NRA does. I want to hear it all, and have always prefer that people don’t try to blow smoke up my ass. Open Sunday for Christmas gifts! Last stop of day was a block away to see experts at F3 Tactical, Inc. to stock my go bag & range bag. Fun to visit and more folks dropped by after their time at the gunshow.  #2A #NRA #NRABoard #M2AGA#keepshooting #guns #firearms #nocompromise #guncolllecting#gunowners Willes Lee NRA Board of Directors @WillesLee

Nation’s Gun Show, Chantilly VA
BFF Kat O’Connor slid out to the left of the photo. Fun firearms, great subsonic ammo.
VCDL crew – Virginia Citizen’s Defense League
Gotta stop at F3 Tacitical


Shooting Committees, the way forward

Spent last weekend, with the NRA – National Rifle Association of America Shooting cmtes at NRA HQ in Fairfax VA.  During meetings of the full Board, I am conflicted out by my cmte meetings. Just a matter of timing (I’m on on five, mostly legislative: NRA Institute for Legislative Action w Legislative Affairs, Grassroots, Federal Affairs, also Outreach, Military & Veterans Committees). NRA President Pete Brownell focus is “To promote and foster the shooting sports…” To listen & learn, I asked to ‘audit’ these committees including Pistol, High Power Rifle, Action Shooting & such. Good to see friends & understand issues/direction for trigger-pulling side. Superb survey info from National Shooting Sports Foundation | NSSF, & competition schedule for 2018 is done. This is an exciting, challenging time for shooting sports and competitions with so many legacy activities & many new and popular ways for folks to enjoy our lifestyle. Budget is tougher this year (always after winning an election, thank you Donald Trump).  Several committees discussed changes to procedures or rules for competitions. While we conduct local, state and national championships contests, we want more people to enjoy firearms. We’re meeting on weekends such as last weekend so you can be out #hunting, shooting, plinking, competing or whatever you want to do. We want to see more people out pulling triggers. We do this meeting stuff so that you don’t have to worry so much about the bureaucratic stuff. I also got a lot of side work completed out of the meeting rooms. Long as I’m in Virginia, stop to NRA Museums with two new displays & NRA Headquarters Range sneaking an hour of pewpew with my carry guns. Long travel, long weekend of meetings, very well worth it. See more at  Twitter and Instagram @WillesLee and Facebook Willes Lee NRA Board of Directors.  Got home in time to carve a pumpkin.

Carved it, then stuck a fork it it.

Sneaked in some range time when a meeting ended early.
Always check the museum for new displays.
Top Shot season 4 winner Chris Cheng is on shooting committees and Outreach.

Looks Like Outreach: HRA with BSA Event with Union Leaders

this post begins w this entry at “BSA & #NRA have a long history, as do state affiliates & state BSA organizations. Hawaii Rifle Association president Harvey Gerwig invited me to view an event on the Oahu North Shore. FB Live video is at Willes Lee NRA Board of Directors. It is a Boy Scouts of America development (read $$) activity w community leaders competing for bragging rights & prizes in 10 interesting events. All fun, but got competitive. The leaders, donors, are almost all from union organizations in Hawaii. Unions are the strength behind the heavily liberal agenda in this blue state. In general, that flows into some strong anti gun sentiment. (Keyword, one of the NRA committee on which I sit is Outreach, so this seemed appropriate). This is where this post get interesting – sorry to ask you to do this, if you want more, check the blog at It is too much to cover here. Short story – some diverse folks in a community come together to allow less-privileged children to participate in BSA thru the Scoutreach Program. Stations include Rifle, Air, Shotgun, black powder (substituted w .22) rifle, Pistol, also archery, slingshot, knife throw, tomahawk throw, spear throw, & ninja throwing stars!! This post focuses on the HRA piece. #HRA #NRA #NRABoard #MAGA #outreach #keepshooting #pewpew #guns #commonsense Willes Lee NRA Board of Directors @WillesLee” 

This is the 12th year for this event. The Scoutreach program funds membership, uniforms and more for children who can’t afford it. I appreciate the aspect of more children participating in scouting, more liking that it kept some from perhaps participating where they can get into trouble. Participants in this event are mostly construction union-leader guys & gals so they aren’t shrinking violets, afraid to chuck a spear or blast away with a shotgun.  Intended strictly to support the BSA effort for Scoutreach, it certainly serves as many purposes for HRA and 2A. Over a good cause, gun and non gun folks get to play together. The funds support BSA, i.e. another generation, which get much of it’s firearms training and safety training from HRA members who are mostly NRA instructors and safety officers.  Especially in such an antigun blue state this, this collaboration with liberal (not necessarily antigun, but certainly liberal-minded) leaders and the tie to firearms awareness for the next generation is great outreach.

About 40 volunteers, 20 HRA and 20 BSA organize, set up  and run the event over three days.

Side notes. Outreach-style. The new young-lady BSA development director had never shot, and openly admitted being afraid of the prospect. i.e. not just afraid to shoot, but afraid to think about shooting. After watching many others take a shot (no pun), HRA instructors (all NRA certified) had her headed to the air rifle, then .22.

Less than usual events. Sucked at knife throwing.  Stuck three of ten attempts.  This was fun enough and challenging that I’ll set up something in my backyard – where unlike some of you, I cannot use firearms. Spear throwing was harder than it looks. I would have been a terrible Spartan. One of five. Harvey Gerwig replaced the cheap, breakable wooden shafts with metal poles. Yeah, they were heavy, but still. I do a little work at home with a slingshot so that isn’t unfamiliar. Didn’t try the ninja stars. With the real ones, think I’m afraid of sticking myself.

On the North Shore, the shore is right THERE. Summer is flat & smooth, winter comes & the waves get to 30+ feet.
Easy venue for beginners over a beautiful gorge w the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop.
Knife throwing crew. This was enuf fun, may get a set for my backyard.
Spear throwing. Uh, ok, harder than it looks in the movies.
All volunteers from HRA come up Friday for set up, and leave Sunday after teardown.
BSA food and volunteers. Wow, for a simple lunch, all cooked on the spot, nice.
Harvey Gerwig, longtime HRA President.
Couple months ago I posted a photo from the distance looking to where I stand now.
Not much, but still some limited fields of pineapples.

From my NRA FB page: MUSING About NRA

MUSING About NRA – National Rifle Association of America Statement. Caution, Caution: Long read, so friggin’ long.  MY thoughts. Don’t know if other #NRA are opening their page like this. Will pin for a couple days, do my best or will find answers. Responded to many w same questions, still getting to Groups. Know this is important to you.
-Encouraging input, even haters. I respect your opinion, even to disagree. If you’re not a member, please hold off a day. I value your input, but you don’t have standing. Will see if I am preaching to the choir, & of course you may UnLike. (Cursing is allowed by me. FB, dunno.) OK?
-NRA statement, Hammer’s email, & LaPierre. I canNOT & do NOT speak for the NRA or Board. It’s just ME, & what I read online.
-NRA statement is our statement. It is good. Don’t misinterpret it. Some want to make waves, or money, off it. If you read it, some haven’t, please read again … w the eyes of a congressman.
-I am politically (read the bio) #nocompromise, … but, I am not the decider. Congress is. I didn’t elect them, you did. Same folks we’re asking to pass #reciprocity & #SHARE. Some are scared by bump stocks. If they get involved, anything can happen. Wrap your brain around that – anything.
-I am right-wing. Read TWT article about my weekend speech (hint, he uses ‘fire-breathing’ for sweet ‘ole me). The hard right must counter the unconstitutional voices of the hard left who want to take all your firearms. But, neither side decides, nor does NRA (nor #GOA, nor #SAF). Congress does, & anything can happen… unless ATF reviews, where it should be.
-Some want a public internal-to-2A fight, maybe for legitimate reasons & maybe not so much. That’s your right. If you don’t support NRA or don’t have skin in the game (member), you have no business complaining, or for that matter, taking advantage of anything NRA does or has done (think #CCW, semi-autos, competitions, training, & more). It is a gift.
-Many members don’t care about the legislative side & wish we’d just let #shooting, safety, #hunting#conservation, shows, sales, meetings, manufacturing, competitions, collecting, training, & certifying simply silently perform.
-For the legislative ‘shall not be infringed’ folks, of which I am one, imagine your gun safe/closet in four years if NRA did a ‘screw you’ & closed shop. Imagine if a few tough 2A guys hadn’t begun NRA Institute for Legislative Action in the 70’s. No FB discussion, bc you wouldn’t have a gun. ILA is a professional political organization, not blustering activists like us. Not a branch of gov’t. Not a political party. Not a multi-billion dollar corporation. Yet, they’ve saved us through repeated, huge, costly anti-gun attacks… & won.
-I’m in politics, & appreciate good political work even by liberals. They got us distracted, fighting, bailing. We’re frustrated the congress we elected won’t act, then distracted by an NRA statement. Don’t be distracted.
-Marion Hammer’s email, which not surprisingly leaked. Of course, there shouldn’t be dissent on the Board, nor employees. Nor members, but you want to vent. Never been on a team – military, business, political, family, anywhere – where we publicly dissent after a decision. No Coke Cola director complained about Coke Zero. Zuckenburg fired an employee for disagreeing w ideology. Not on the Board & not an employee, go ahead & complain. If you are, once the decision is made, move forward w all your energy & determination to #M2AGA. Sort of think you want folks at your office to do the same.
-I am full-spectrum: #guns#life#taxes#immigration & more. Love our movement. I am a member of some, & very much appreciate the value of all, #2A & #conservative groups. But, opponents don’t mention them. Only. the. N.R.A. A friend wrote “hard to continue supporting the NRA”. Latest is anti’s call to abolish the 2nd. Who you gonna call? 2018, ’20 elections coming. You got a friend who does what the NRA does? Weekend w friends who carry long-haul “I do not support the NRA”. Really? Think your CCW & 13+1 double stack is here bc Ds want you to have it? Nat’l competitions, your next range upgrade, plinking in your backyard, saving our hunting culture… who are you counting on? Complain? Sure. Walk away? Maybe you don’t have the stomach for this business. Just sayin.
-Another. “LaPierre needs to go”. Don’t know where I saw that so this isn’t personal: Gotta be the dumbest thing all month. I’m strapped, CCW in my pocket from another state bc mine won’t issue. Three ARs on my backseat w a box of 30 rnd mags to go hunting on a Sunday in another state. Then, take guns & ammo on a plane to yet another state to compete in a national 3-gun, before an elem school w #EddieEagle to teach gun safety to the next generation…. bc Wayne LaPierre is giving his adult life fighting for my rights …. even before I knew they were being taken. No, I’m riding the horse that got me here & we will never, ever be able to repay Wayne (& family), Chris Cox & the tough bubbas before them for getting us this far. Do we have disagreements? Sure, but I’m not telling you. You can argue we’d be better if he’d never been here …. ha, ha ha, ha. Sorry, I shouldn’t make fun of your argument.
-What we can do: 1. Have a US Senate & two Gov races right now. Get involved. 2. About 38 are competing for 25 #NRABoard seats in 2019. Vote. 3. Support ILA, we’re in a fight.
-Now, you’ve been distracted by me, & I’ve used three hours writing. You’re reading instead of calling 535 congressmen, & all your state legislators. #Reciprocity. #SHARE. #Guarantee.
Thank you. //s// Lee, law-abiding, private citizen.
#gunrights #gunowners #DefenderofFreedom #Guns #patriot#commonsense #noexcuse #DTS #M2AGA @WillesLee Willes Lee NRA Board of Directors


NFRA Convention

This was a biggie. My own convention to host. National Federation of Republican Assemblies, NFRA.

Freedom Caucus Trent Franks, Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs

Dick Morris for lunch.


Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the house.
Protesting white oppression. Silent when they saw my face.

Corey Lewandowski for dinner.

That’s not to say I did the work of making it happen, absolutely did not. Mostly stayed out of the way of convention chairman Lori Urban and our great team and they did produce! This one kept getting better. First panel was three Freedom Caucus members – Franks, Gosar, Biggs! Judicial Watch, American Majorities, Joe Arpaio, Richard Mack, Jeanne Finicum (husband killed by FBI over property rights).  NRA sponsored a lunch with Dick Morris. Even had a touch, just a bit of, in 98 degree weather, protest. ACU Foundation sponsored the reception with

Sheriff Richard Mack

AZ Treasurer Jeff DeWitt. GA Alex Johnson was awarded NFRA Activist of the Year. Corey Lewandowski did keynote speaker for our banquet. Were there glitches? You bet. Our crew handled every one, and the public never knew there was even a slight hiccup. Same weekend, we hold two NFRA board meetings. Friday generally closes out old business, and prepares us for Sunday.  Sunday is election of national officers, by laws review, adopting resolutions. Unfortuantely typical board meeting complications, all my fault. We got through business, cut out to catch our flights. A full and fun weekend with like-minded, hard right-wing conservatives. Check The Washington Times October 12 Ralph Hallow article for his mention of conservatives and our event. National Federation of Republican Assemblies meets every other year in convention. I was pleased to be reelected to President of this growing movement, with TN Sharon Ford Executive VP, AZ Lori Urban Secretary, AZ Wes Harris Treasurer. Appointed TX Steve Thrasher General Counsel, AZ Alex Melusky Sergeant-at-Arms, Mark Spencer Chaplain.  Great set of national Regional VPs for this term. Lots to do for 2017, ’18 and next convention is the Presidential Endorsing Convention in 2019. We’ll soon select the site.