Monday, December 17, 2007

A fun run: my Oxymoron

It was shortly before 5am when my alarm went off this morning. The Everly Brothers sang me to life with the tune 'Wake up Little Suzie' and though it is a fun, catchy tune, it was way too early. It was a full 4 1/2 hours earlier than my normal wake up time. This morning it was a crisp 55 degrees and in my PT shorts it was a little colder than I would have liked. I knew it would be hard to loosen my muscles up for the 3.5 mile run ahead of me.

As I headed over to the rally point, I was all alone. The walk over made me a little nervous. No one was in sight which made me check my watch a few times to make sure I wasn't too early, or even worse, running late. One thing about the Army, there is no such thing as 'fashionably late'. There is usually much physical pain for the tardy and with a battalion run this morning I wasn't in the mood for extra pain.

I crossed the parking lot of Living Area 4 (LA4) and finally saw signs that others were awake before sunrise as well. It again caused me to check my watch and make sure I was on time. The silhouettes of the other soldiers in the battalion were outlined by the bright lights of the volleyball court. I mingled around until I found the rest of Charlie Battery and conversed with the others about how early it was, how cold it was and sarcastically spoke of how excited I was about the run.

Our acting First Sergeant, Sergeant First Class Evans, formed us up and led the warm-up exercises and stretches. Warmed up and as motivated as possible for the run, we waited. In the classic Army tradition of "Hurry up and wait", we "hurried up and waited." The wind was light, but cool and my muscles quickly tightened again. I continued random stretches and ran in place as the other companies in the battalion formed up around us.

Command Sergeant Major Reid put the battalion "at ease", rallied us with a quick motivational speech and assured us this would be a fun, short run; only 10 miles today; thankfully he chuckled. With that, he called us to attention, yelled the commands of "right face, forward march" and Task Force 11 was on our way.

We marched across the awkward, unsteady gravel parking lot to the paved road and once we were all on the blacktop, the order of "double-time" was shouted loudly from the front. Suddenly the soldiers in front of me sprinted forward and as I too let out my stride to keep up, I knew I was in trouble. The pace had started off almost twice my normal speed and I knew it was going to be a long, winded run for me.

As I expected, I didn't finish first or last, but I did finish. A few post-run stretches and another motivational speech by CSM Reid and we were released to go about our daily business. For me it consisted of a shower, a nap and then off to the Operations Center; one more day in the life of a Fobbit.