Thursday, March 8, 2018

My Beginnings...From Little Kid to Retired Army Guy

I started running when I was eight year old.  That day was my first race, the MidSummer Morn 5k, which I learned has now been renamed to the Woodstock 5k.  My parents always joked about that race.  Not because it was my first time running, but because I finished... dead last. In fact, I was so slow that the announcers were calling my name over the speakers and a trail ambulance offered me a ride because I was walking after hitting mile two.  But at the last quarter mile, I got out of the vehicle and finished the race, with a time of 45 minutes.  Most people probably would have quit but after a couple of weeks, I jumped back into it. You see, my dad was a career Army guy and was in pretty decent shape and he liked to run; my mother was getting into running as well, and I watched her rack up trophies and medals at the local races.  From the time I first raced until four years later when we left Alabama, I would join my parents in any 5k race they did, and even attempted a 10k but only finished four miles of the 6.2 total.  When we moved to Texas, I pretty much stopped running.  Sure, there was P.E. and joining the high school basketball team, but as far as races and doing anything over a mile was not going to be a part of my childhood any more.

  Fast forward five years, and I join the Army.  I go from a scraggly 17 year who ran a 17:50 2-mile time to six weeks later where I could run a 13:20 2-mile time in Basic Training.  From that point on, I loved running but I never thought of running in a race until almost two decades later when a tragic gun shooting happened the day after I got back from my fifth deployment and Fort Hood hosted a memorial 5k race one year after that shooting.  While the event sought to have people remember those who lost their lives to Major Nidal Hasan's actions, it made me realize that I missed that feeling of being in a crowd and running alongside other people.  Running in Army formations do not count, though I loved doing that as well.  Throughout my Army career, I was consisting running between 14 and 16 minute two mile time but I  was getting the bug to run further and among a bunch of people.

  A few years after the Run to Remember race, I ended up doing a few obstacle races in Texas before we moved to South Carolina (Army commitments).  The first race I did in South Carolina was the Jailbreak 5k, which was a two person event; you and your partner had to do each obstacle together and cross the finish line as a team.  It was pretty much at that point, I would run races with my wife.  While I'm more comfortable with 5k runs, I do like 10k races, and I will occasionally dabble in the 15k, 10 miler, and even a half-marathon or two.  The Cooper River Bridge Run is a fantastic, memorable run and I suggest anyone and everyone do it at least once in their life.

  In my last assignment, the Army sent me on my sixth deployment to the Middle East, and while I was in Kuwait, I would run in the base's monthly 5k or 10k races.  They even had a color run and an obstacle course race out there. Yes, we carved time into our schedule out there to do a fun obstacle course race that service members from multiple countries participated in.

I left the Army after a 25 year career, and running will be a connecting factor to in my life. While living in South Carolina, I joined Team Red, White, and Blue and the Columbia Running Club. Team RWB is a great group of people who are or support veterans and want to give back to the community. The Columbia Running Club is a group of runners who enjoy... well, running.  These past few years have been a big transition time for me, not only in run time, but life in general as I said good-bye to the military lifestyle.

  I may be a bit slower now, but I will be writing about my exploits, adventures, and mishaps here. Join me as I go running... after the military.

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