Friday, April 20, 2007

Easter 10K (pic)

8 Apr 07
Windy day today and no flying. Heard an explosion at 1540 followed a second later by the “attack” alarm. Seems the warning system isn’t very reliable in the wind. Another alarm at 2150.

I ran the Basrah Easter 10K before going to the Easter service this a.m. For the first 5K I fought back and forth with two RAF blokes. Every time I would get at their shoulder they would surge ahead to keep me from passing or if I passed them they would race past me at the next corner. I kept a steady pace and likened it to the Tortoise and the Hare. After the first 5K lap, their faces were beet red. As I approached them the final time, I decided I’d strike up a conversation with them to get into their heads…“not bad weather for a run is it?” A few seconds and a couple of grumbled answers later they gave up the fight. From then on, everyone I caught up with I’d say “how’re you doing?” or some other greeting and ask them how they were feeling. They might not have thought of how they were feeling until I asked and they knew they weren’t feeling as good as me.

The route went passed our squadron and the Iraqi pilots had all come out to cheer on the runners and pass out water. As I came past they all started cheering for me. It was great and a big boost but the hardest 3K was yet to run. One long stretch was down a gravel road and was very busy with traffic. The dust and sand beat me down.

Back on the main road I finally saw the finish line and realized I had nothing left for a kick. But in the final 100M the guy behind me appeared at my shoulder pushing hard. His sudden presence startled me and I bolted for the finish line. I beat him back and even caught the guy ahead of me. Unless I missed someone not in a service issued PT uniform, I was the first American across the line. I came in 37th in a field of 110 but more importantly I beat the two British guys that came to the run dressed in full drag. (Who brings a wig into the field?)

As we gathered around for the awards ceremony after the run, the Queens Royal Lancers (QRL) passed by in convoy in their Challenger fighting vehicles and Warrior main battle tanks headed downtown on patrol which brought us back to the reality of our location.

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