Sunday, January 07, 2007

Nothing in Particular

It's a nasty day in Balad. The temperature is in the low forties and it is raining. When it rains here the water pools in the living and work areas and the ground quickly becomes a quagmire. The mud isn't the type you can hose off and be done with. It's the kind of clay mud that Georgia red clay can only aspire to be. Walk across the street and you may be six inches taller than when you started if you're not careful. Of course that means that you track the mud into offices, the chapel, your hootch; wherever you go. Imagine the fun of waking up in the middle of the night and slogging through that mess in your shower shoes to use the latrine. When I return home I may need to put a portajohn in the backyard just to feel at home!

I have a bit of a head cold at the moment. The only symptom is blocked eustation tubes, and that's driving me crazy. It feels like I am under water all the time, and my right ear vibrates at certain frequencies. The most frustrating part is talking with Soldiers who are depressed and speaking quietly and I have to constantly ask them to repeat themselves. All I can do know is treat the symptoms and wait for the virus to work itself out.

My running is going well. I am currently in the eighth week of a 12 week half-marathon training schedule. I ran a 9 miler on Saturday that was too easy. I'm running 5 days a week or so and am doing speed work and tempo runs in addition to one long run a week and some recovery runs. After I finish this schedule my plan is to ramp back for a month or so and then start a full marathon schedule. It's been a little over 5 years since I have run a marathon, so I'm excited about having that mountain to climb again. You need some kind of project here to keep you sane and doing something other than the mission.

Finally, let me say "thank you" again to all the individuals, churches, work teams, and groups that supported Operation: You've Got Mail. We received well over 1,000 boxes valued over $50,000. Fortunately the stream has diminished and we are receiving 25-30 boxes a week instead of the peak of 225 that we had prior to Christmas.

I hope the first week of 2007 has been a good one for all of you, and that you are keeping your resolutions.


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