It was another awesome week of running considering a tuff work schedule. My five night 12 hour shift was most demanding this past week with the refueling outage coming to an end and startup currently in progress. Nevertheless, I was still able to log over 50 miles for the week including a 30 mile long run. I spent the weekend trying (operative word) to transition back to being awake while the sun was up. Transitioning to nights is easy for me, but transitioning back to days usually takes me a few extra days and some sleepless nights to get turned around again. It’s even worse considering I’ve been on nights the past 4 weeks. After working in the yard all day, running 10 miles, and some weight training, getting sleep tonight will be challenging along with getting up at 4AM to start my week.
Last Saturday was my long run day and what a mental hurdle to overcome. I went to Fort Gordon to run repeats on a 3 mile dirt track. I watched the cold rain, 49 deg temps, and gusty wind roll across the track as I sat in my nice toast warm truck. I waited for about 30 minutes hoping the rain would stop as I started to convince myself to wait for tomorrow for the long run. The thought of getting out and run repeats on a muddy track in the cold rain for 5 hours started to consume my thoughts as I tried to justify putting this off for another day. I finally pulled myself together, told myself to suck it up, focus on how good it will feel when this run is over and heading for a hot shower knowing I did it. Besides, my next race very well could be in conditions like this and would be a perfect training run. Out the door and into the rain I was with my new attitude as I started to head straight for the first mud hole to get my feet wet and muddy.
Now that I’m wet, cold, with mud from the knees down, I might as well make the best of this. After running for 15 minutes, I started to get some heat generated which helped to get the chill out of my bones. I also found my pace faster then normal but my heart rate was still down in my endurance zone which is a good thing. Shortly after, I saw another runner (Marine) out on the track going in the opposite direction which made me feel good knowing I was not the only one outside putting myself through this miserable weather. After another one and a half miles, I ran into a different runner (Soldier) also going in the opposite direction. I also noticed these white square signs facing the opposite direction. So as I passed the next sign, turned to read what was on it, and became very humbled the next second. >
I reflected for a moment and knew exactly why these marines and solders where outside running – It was the annual 24 hour non-stop running to honor our fallen heroes. A different person runs the 3 mile dirt track loop and hands off a baton to the next running volunteer. I thought back to my 24 year of service in the NAVY and my brothers I lost in my career. I thought how fortunate I was to be running in this cold rain and what an honor to be doing it on this special day. I changed directions and ran a total of 10 laps with each volunteer as we honored those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to our country so we can enjoy the freedoms we have today. After a couple of hours, the rain stopped, the wind less noticeable, and the track had a few less mud puddles. Afterward, I was so thankful for the moving experience and so glad I didn’t cave-in to my inner thoughts of delaying this run for another day. I felt great afterward as I thought about that nice hot shower and fresh Pizza Hut ham & pineapple pizza waiting for me at the house. Life is good.