Today is my birthday. I've managed my third birthday away from the country that I call home. I decided to do something interesting for this day.
Typically, my coworkers would have a special cake prepared for me and we would drink what passes for real beer in this part of the world. Distilled near beer, gratis French or British contractors.
It's a harh drink. Requiring a type of patience...or desperation...not normally witnessed in America. Men do strange things when they are far from home and in pursuit of a cheap buzz.
Unfortunately, General Order No 1. states that, as a soldier, I am not permitted to partake in distilled alcoholic beverages. I'll have to settle for O'Douls.
In the past, I was exempt from this policy due to my contractor status. In any event, I heard there was a "duatholon" to take place a day or so prior to my birthday.
This event entails an 800 meter swim and a 10k run. A captain in headquaters mentioned doing a team version of this contest and he needed a runner.
At the time, I was thinking "What the heck! I used to do 5 miles a day in high school and 4-13 a day my junior year of college!" - note...it has been almost 4 years since my junior year of college.
The Rat Race
The race started off with the captain completing his 800 meter swim in, roughly, 12 minutes. I waited his finish at the starting line for the run...two gentlemen passed me as I stalled for the captain.
He appeared, tagged my hand, and with a loud hollar, I sprinted off after the two men who were, quickly, leaving me in the dust.
I passed the first one at the half mile marker. He looked to be in his fifties. I later discovered he was 53. This guy was in superb shape and as I passed him, it would anchor my pace and place in the race.
So I thought.
The man in the lead was a exceptionally lean individual who, by the end of the race, would have a whole 10 minutes on me.
I kept, what felt like, a good pace. By the mid-point of the run, a lady about my age passed me with a strength and confidence that told me she wasn't giving an all out effort and was saving her energy for this last half of the race.
She would have a good 400 meters on me by the time I finished.
My final time was a rough, 47 minutes and we completed the event in just over an hour and 4 minutes.
Keep in mind, we were the only team effort in the event. Making us first place for the team competition and 4th in the real race...if you counted us as contestants.
I was shocked at the atheletism displayed by the top three competitors. These people swam 800 meters and ran t0k (~6 miles) in less time than it took me to run my part of the race.
Oh the Pain!
I'm now writing this journal log and my legs are exceptionally tight. I stretch them every 30 minutes or so but there is some pain in my mid and lower back (poor posture, running long distances always corrects that for me), my quads burn near my knees, and behind my legs by the ham strings, there's a deep muscular pain.
I've learned a valuable lesson from that race. Treadmills and lunges can get you far but...sometimes not far enough.
It was a refreshing way to celebrate my birthday and I plan to spend more time at home training and participating in this type of contest.