Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Keeping Fit; Staying Sane

Many of you have asked me if I am able to run over here. I am glad to report to you that I am.

I run mostly at night, which makes for very interesting runs! There is really only one road I can run on, and it goes down to a "T" intersection right near the wire. Now the fact that this is a road that snipers have targeted before makes me a little nervous from time to time. The only recourse, however, is to stay inside, never venture out, and live in fear. I'm not about to do that. So, I run down to the wire, then back to our area, then back to the wire, etc. It's about 1.5 miles one way, so I can do 3, 6, 9 miles or more, in 1.5 mile increments.

Did I mention that it gets very dark for about the last half a mile before I hit the wire? The good thing about that is that it makes me harder to see, except for the reflective belt I am required to wear. I figure if thebad guys can't see me, they can't shoot me, unless of course they are using night vision optics. The problem with it being dark, however, is that it is difficult for me to see. That became a painful problem a few weeks ago. Have you ever seen, or heard of, a bollard? Bollards are placed in driveways, or wide sidewalks that you don't want vehicles driving on. Our bollards are permanent, four-feet high, and made of poured concrete. I am very careful when I run at night to avoid them. They can ruin your whole day, not to mention any chance of future procreation.

Did I mention that it is very dark in the desert at night?

You guessed it. Two weeks ago I plowed right into one. I didn't see it just a minute before I hit it; I didn't see it until after I had hit it. Full steam ahead. Chest first (at least I know my running form was good). Smack dab in the middle of the chest. The good news is that Doc Kelly noticed my discomfort one night when we were watching a movie. He palpated, squeezed, and kneaded (actually I think he was just missing Patty a little too much!) The good news is that he thinks it's a deep contusion, no broken ribs. So, heat, ibuprofen, and no more collisions are the doctor's orders.

I am currently following one of Hal Higdon's running schedules. I had the opportunity to run with Hal in Atlanta a few years ago when he was running 7 marathons in 7 months, to raise $700,000 for charity for his 70th birthday. What a running stud. I'm shooting for a sub 42 minute 10K. After that I'll work on a half-marathon, then probably a full again. It is a great stress reliever.

This Sunday morning there is a 10 mile race here on Anaconda. A few of our younger soldiers are running, so I'll probably run it with them as a training run. Mainly I'll run it for the t-shirt. That way, when I'm back racing in Atlanta, I can wear a race shirt from Iraq. That should be a conversation starter!

All is well here. It's a balmy 100 degrees at 1:45 p.m. We are beginning to see some clouds for the first time since we've been here, a sure harbinger that the rainy season can't be too far away. I stay plenty busy with our soldiers; 16 hour days are the norm. The running provides a nice relief, and a nice release.

Take care, and God Bless,



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