Thursday, November 28, 2013


Had a pretty good Thanksgiving today. Went over the the parent's house and had brunch. Saw all the family then came home and had a little GBNT. Watched some football and then ate the turkey dinner my wife prepared. She makes the most awesome rolls. I couldn't run today due to an injury I have been nursing but thinking about it counts right?

As I sit here on the couch my mind wanders to a Thanksgiving I had about 12 years ago. I was deployed to Kosovo with my team and we were living in a house in a small village called Kamenica. Since we were far from home but had access to a kitchen we had decided to make our own Thanksgiving. We went to the mess hall a few days prior and grabbed two turkeys and the fixins. Our senior engineer put himself in charge of making the chow.

We woke up Thanksgiving morning and decided to do PT for most of the day as we waited for the meal to be prepared. So we went for about a 15 mile ruck march, did some rock climbing, lifted some weights, the normal. About 1500 we were told the food was ready. We all grabbed a huge plate of food and went to the common room of our house to watch football on AFN and eat. The turkey looked great. I took a big old bite and got the disgusting taste of pine needles. It reminded me of when I was doing winter survival in Canada and we had to drink water we made from melting snow. Never could get all the pine needles out.

Anyway we were all saying "What the fuck?" Turns out that our cook tried to get fancy and grill one of the turkeys. Unfortunately the only wood he had were scrap 2 X 4. So you get the picture. We ended up ditching the first plate but fortunately there was another turkey he had prepared more conventionally. Morale of the story never let an SF guy grill a turkey

Keep our deployed troops in your thoughts today as you spend time with your families and they are missing theirs. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

You are not a Badass

I have a few pet peeves ( who would have thunk)? I don't like tomatoes on sandwiches, disingenuous people, or fish. I also don't like the overuse of words or phrases to the extent that they become meaningless. I have written before about the overuse of "thank you for your service" or that everyone that does anything special is a "hero". Please refer to my former statement about being disingenuous. Along these same lines I hate it when people throw the word "bad-ass" around. The word used to mean something, just because you managed to finish a 5K run doesn't make you a bad-ass. Determined, goal oriented, physically fit but not a bad-ass.

I think this comes form my personal experiences. I "grew up" in a place where elite warriors doing elite things was common place. I myself have a decent resume of multiple cool guy merit badges and skills. I am not a bad-ass. In fact within the realm of special operators I was pretty middle of the road, average if you will. However I know some bad-asses. Men that command the room by their very presence, men that do things so epic you cannot imagine how a human could accomplish these feats.  But these individuals would tell you they are not bad-asses. Because they know of individuals like these:

Robert Lewis Howard (July 11, 1939 – December 23, 2009) was a highly decorated United States Army soldier and Medal of Honor recipient of the Vietnam War. He was wounded 14 times over 54 months of combat, was awarded 8 Purple Hearts, 4 Bronze Stars, and was nominated for the Medal of Honor three separate times. He was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on February 22, 2010.

Col howard.jpg

Basil L. Plumley (January 1, 1920 – October 10, 2012[1]) was a career soldier and airborne combat infantryman in the United States Army who eventually achieved the rank of Command Sergeant Major. He is most famous for his actions as Sergeant Major of the US Army's 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, at the Battle of Ia Drang (Vietnam, 1965). Lieutenant General Hal Moore, who, as a Lieutenant Colonel, was Plumley's battalion commander during the Battle of Ia Drang, praised Plumley as an outstanding NCO and leader in the 1992 book about this battle, We Were Soldiers Once...And Young. The book was the basis for the 2002 film We Were Soldiers, in which Plumley was played by actor Sam Elliott. Plumley was known affectionately by his soldiers as "Old Iron Jaw".
CSM(R) Basil L. Plumley at West Point 10 May 2010.JPG

Salvatore Augustine "Sal" Giunta (/ˌsælvəˈtɔr ˈʊntə/; born January 21, 1985) is a former United States Army soldier and the first living person since the Vietnam War to receive the U.S. military's highest decoration for valor, the Medal of Honor. Giunta was cited for saving the lives of members of his squad on October 25, 2007 during the War in Afghanistan. He left the U.S. Army in June 2011 and is currently attending Colorado State University.[1]
Salvatore Giunta portrait.jpg

Robert James Miller (October 14, 1983 – January 25, 2008), of Company A, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), was a United States Army Special Forces soldier who posthumously received the Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony on October 6, 2010.[1]
Robert James Miller sitting.jpg

I could continue for a long time but bad-asses are not self proclaimed. Bad-asses often defer the praise and give credit to others. Bad-asses put the welfare of others before themselves. The next time you tell someone running 100 miles or finishing a triathlon makes them a bad-ass. Think about the folks above and maybe you can just tell your friend..nice job!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Return of the Turkey Trott

This was my 4th running of this race since 2004. It was Jay's1st. He is starting to turn into an Athlete. 8 months ago he couldn't run a mile. This month he finished a 3 mile trail run in 44 minutes and finished the Turkey Trott 8K in 56:06. We ran together and I enjoyed every mile. We talked about a potential half marathon in the future. It was a good day and pancakes were chewed on.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Wildcat 50K

This was the 4th running of the Wildcat 50K at Wildcat Den State Park Muscatine Iowa. I had missed the other runnings due to not knowing anything about the race before 2012. In 2012 I was recovering from my 100 mile attempt at OT100 but I had heard from several friends that this was a great race. I had also heard that the course was tough, consisting of 5 hilly,rough 10K loops. I was looking forward to the race but was a little nervous as I had been told that the course was challenging. I picked up Ross early in the morning and we headed down to the race. I, of course ate my normal pre race honey bun and gatorade. When we arrived we checked in and dropped our donation. This race was a very very low key affair. You showed up, signed in,ran as many loops as you wanted, ate some food and went home. Great food and great people.

After a short speech and a group picture  Myself, Ross, Ross and Kelly started off in a small group. Rob also said he was going to run a few loops. Kelly and Ross K were going to run just a few loops as well while I and Ross S planned on doing the 50K.

The course crossed a road and immediately headed up a long gradual ridgeline. As usual at the start of a race everyone was jockying for position on the single track and it was back to front for the first mile or so. Eventually we headed down hill over a set of railroad tie steps then back up a small set of steps and across a level area next to a large rock formation. The course then headed up hill across another ridgeline. Then down a steep hill and up another one. This hill was one of the few I found it necessary to walk up, the angle was significant. Then the course continued over some fairly rolling terrain to a campground at the 3.1 mile mark. The campground had a small aid station where we turned around and headed back. The trail was mostly single track covered with leaves. Not very technical but the hilly up and down was constant and unrelenting. The out section was generally up hill which made the return section generally a net downhill, however there were ups and downs both ways.

We all ran the first two loops fairly effortlessly treating it as a normal group run. The conversation was great and the miles flew by. After the second loop Ross K and Kelly called it a day and Ross S and I continued on. On our way out on the 3rd loop we saw Rob heading in and feeling strong. At the top of one of the large hills a bandit aid station had surfaced giving out delicious, yummy bacon. I told them I would grab a piece on the way back as we headed down the hill. It was about then that my achilles started acting up. I had been having issues with it since July but today it really started to irritate. I think it was the camber of the trail and they constant up and down that irritated it. Eventually the pain moved up my leg all the way from achilles to lower back. My right hamstring felt like a rubberband about to snap and I couldn't take a full stride. I started falling back off the pace. I could tell Ross was getting restless as he would run ahead and then wait for me to catch up. I felt bad but I couldn't go any faster, I just tried to keep moving forward. On the way back, on the 3rd lap I grabbed a piece of marvelous bacon which lifted my spirits immensely. The 4th lap was more of the same as I struggled to run through the nagging pain that made running uncomfortable at best. The high point was seeing Rob a few more times, surprisingly he seemed like he might be running the entire race after running his first marathon just a week before.

Ross and I continued and started the last lap. I told him there would probably more walking involved. There was more walking as I declined to run up some of the larger hills I had managed to run up earlier. Truthfully though at this point I was probably walking uphill as fast as I could run uphill. So we made it to the turnaround and headed back the last 3 miles. I started feeling better somehow as the miles clicked off. Finally we hit the last downhill and headed into the finish tent. I hit my stopwatch at 6:31:49. Not my best 50K but certainly not my worst and surprisingly good enough for 9th place overall. Given the terrain and my injury I was happy with that. Immediately post race I ate a few chili dogs and had some Coke Zero. Then Ross and I drove home. It was a great day. Oh yeah and Rob finished the entire race.. UltraRob the animal!!!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Fairview Farm 5 Mile Trail run

Well..I have no pictures for this post because I had intended on posting a video log of the entire race. But my technological inefficiency showed through and my Go Pro battery was drained when I got to the race. I guess I must have left it on after I charged it. Anyways this was a good race and a great day.

The first great thing was, it was the end of Daylight Savings time and I got to sleep in an extra hour. The second great thing was I able to get  in 11 pre race trail miles at Beverly park and got to see the usual squirrels but with the additional bonus of the 6 point buck that hangs out in the park. He is usually pretty elusive and its only the 3rd time I have seen him. The third great thing was my son ran the race also and my wife was able to watch. She doesn't go to a lot of my races so that made me happy.

This race is literally a block from my house but I have never run it before because of scheduling conflicts. So after I got done with my warm up miles the family and I moseyed on down to the race site and checked in. I had tried to scope out the course prior but wasn't 100% sure on the route. We hung out for about 40 minutes talking to a lot of my running friends and introducing them to my wife. My son Jay was going to run the 3 mile race and I would be running the 5 mile.

Eventually we all lined up for the start and wouldn't you know it my GD Garmin wouldn't work. I have never had an issue with it before but I just decided to go without it. Once we started I tossed it to my Wife as we ran past. I ran pretty hard the first mile and my breathing was pretty ragged. I am not sure if that was because I wasn't in rhythm or because the first .5 to .75 miles was mostly uphill. I tried to keep some runners  I knew ahead of me in sight but eventually I slowed slightly to a more manageable pace. My legs were really dead going uphill and as this course is nothing but rolling hills that was a problem.

I just decided to run comfortable and hard without redlining it. At about mile 2 we did a short extra loop that included a small obstacle course of a waist high tree log contraption. That was exciting (insert sarcasm here). I had run most of the trails obviously but this course was new so I wasn't quite sure where we were at most of the time as far as distance.

At what I thought was about mile 3 we did a lot of climbing followed by a down hill and some more climbing. At mile 4 we headed back into familiar territory so I picked it up, knowing there was only about a mile left. The last .5 miles is deceptive as you can see the finish but there are about 3 or 4 switchbacks before you actually hit the finish. I hit the last straightaway with my normal energy and finished in 46:33. Not sure where that put me age group place wise as I forgot to look at the results..meh.

Jay finished his 3 mile run just ahead of me and he looked strong. We all hung around to cheer on the rest of our friends as there were quite a few of us at the race. Post race I had a cookie and then Starr,Jay, I and our 2 dogs walked about a mile or so back home taking the scenic trails instead of the straighter paved route.

Trail running is probably my favorite thing to do at this point in my life.