Monday, March 29, 2010

Day 88: Ready to Rumble?

Well, today is Day 88 of my running streak and I am pleased to say last week's field exercise did not break the streak. (Click on this link to see pictures from the field: FTX) When resolving to run everyday this year, I don't think I fully appreciated the sacrifices that would be necessary to maintain the commitment ... especially during our 4 days in the field. For instance, getting a run in on Day 82 meant a 3:30 am wake up for a quick rendez-vous with the treadmill before our ruck march out to the field. Day 83 meant volunteering to do special PT when most everyone else was calling it a day. And Day 84 meant figuring out a way to run a mile ... in my tent. Suddenly something occurred to me: If I can be this determined and disciplined about running, why can't I be that way about things that really matter?
"For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." (I Tim 4:8)
  • When was the last time I got up at 3:30 am to be sure I had quality time with God?
  • When was the last time I delayed rest, no matter how fatigued, because there was spiritual work to be done?
  • When was the last time I exercised God-given creativity to honor a spiritual commitment instead of justifying my failure to follow through?
This was later emphasized all the more when we were surprised by an unexpected training exercise. Having just completed my 1 mile "tent run", I had just started to change and get cleaned up for bed, when suddenly an explosion went off outside. "Gas! Gas! Gas!" was being yelled indicating this was a simulated chemical attack. Everyone had to don their gas masks and get to their designated bunker. As I stood there with my belt unbuckled realizing what was happening, I was faced with a decision: get on all my gear or get to the bunker ASAP. I compromised a bit between the two grabbing some (but not all) of my gear and heading to the bunker. Once the cadre began making their rounds to the bunkers they informed anyone that did not have gas mask, IBA (individual body armor vest), AND kevlar helmet to come out because you were dead. My platoon had 2 survivors.

Just 2.

The instructors reminded us of the seriousness of this training. "This is not a game," one said. "This could be the difference in life and death someday. The enemy will attack when you least expect it so you've got to be sure you are always ready and your equipment is never more than an arm's length away."

Isn't this also true in life? Is it sufficient to grab my helmet of salvation, but leave the shield of faith in my tent? Shouldn't we all take great care in being prepared at all times? Life comes at us fast, and we're kidding ourselves if we think we'll know when something is about to hit, or that there will be time to go back and grab what we need. But if we train ourselves everyday, diligently connect ourselves to the protection of a Mighty God, and stay alert, nothing will be able to defeat us.

So how 'bout it ... are you battle ready?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 81: No S'mores in the Army

Today is Day 81 of the running streak, but many miles still to go.

This journey has already seen a number of accomplishments and red letter days. Last Friday I passed my PT test ... this is the one that I had to pass in order to graduate from Ft. Jackson in good standing. To have that behind me is huge. But there is much more still ahead.

Tomorrow our entire class departs at the crack of crack via a 5.5 mile ruck march to spend 4 days out in the field. This is where all of our training comes to a head. And just in case we had the idea that this would be a glorified camping trip, we were reminded today that there will be no s'mores. No, there will be no bonfires or s'mores, no card playing or singing. These 4 days are where we have the opportunity to put all we've learned to the test. Instead of cards, mass casualties. Instead of singing, memorial services. Instead of campfires, middle of the night mortar blasts.

No fishing.
No canoeing.
No s'mores.
And very little sleep.

Please be praying for us over the next few days. Pray for stamina, clarity, wisdom, passion, and a good healthy dose of patience. (4 days with each other 24/7 will be a bit trying especially considering how fried everyone is at this point in the course.)

Oh, and odd as this sounds, please pray for me to figure out how to squeeze in a run each day while out in the field. This could prove to be extremely difficult with all that will be going on.

I look forward to following up after we return. No doubt there will be stories to tell and pictures to post. And one more HUGE hurdle behind me.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 76 and Day 1 - Roughing it is relative

Day 76 of the running streak ...
Day 1 of my final stretch back at Ft. Jackson ...

Well today I arrived back at Ft. Jackson, and in preparing for that I sent out the mailing address for while I am here. (Thank you all you faithful mailers!) And for the second time in a row, my housing is off post in a hotel. You may recall the swanky digs I had last time at the Staybridge. Unfortunately said swanky digs may have ruined me for Army life forever. Here's how I know ...

When I arrived today, I was appalled ...
  • that my room didn't have a separate living room.
  • by the absence of a kitchen much less one with granite counters. (Will I really be expected to survive with only a dorm fridge and a microwave??)
  • that there's no DVD player anywhere in sight.
  • that there are no free dinners catered by area restaurants.
  • that the hotel is not preparing special brown bag breakfasts for us hard-working soldiers who will leave too early to enjoy the hotel's morning buffet.
  • that I will actually have to pay to use the laundry facilities.
What is this world coming to!!?!?

But then I was reminded of the absurdity of such complaints when my friend, Kristi replied to my mailing address by simply saying, "Hotel? The Army has changed." Oh yeah. I'm in the Army. Guess I should shut up with the complaining and get some sleep in this comfortable King-sized bed.

So my first lesson of CH-BOLC Phase 3?
"Roughing it" is relative.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Day 61: 100-38-31

What's with the title of numbers, you ask?
Hmmm, are the numbers ...
  • The combination to my high school locker? Like I'd remember that.
  • My measurements? The first number should CLEARLY indicate otherwise.
  • Perhaps winning lotto numbers ... which by the way will turn out to be cursed and cause me nothing but grief. (Shout out to all you LOST fans on that one.)
So, what ARE these numbers??

3/2 marked day 61 of my running streak and I'm proud to say I'm still streaking right along. In fact, as of 3/2, I've run 100 miles this year. It's not as impressive as it sounds when you do the math, but I'm pretty confident I would not have run 100 miles thus far had I not committed to this streak. Just goes to show you even a little bit at a time does eventually get you somewhere. And, kinda cool that this distance milestone landed on my birthday. Which brings me to the next number ...

Today was my 38th birthday, or, as I more commonly describe it, my 9th anniversary of my 29th birthday. I decided I wasn't having any more birthdays after that. How did I spend it you may ask? Well, eating for one. I enjoyed lots of food throughout the work day (thanks to my co-workers), including Krispy Kreme donuts, red velvet cupcakes, and chips and homemade salsa. Good thing I believe celebratory calories don't count. I took a break from all that eating to ... well ... eat some more, when a dear friend took me out to lunch for my big day. Feeling strangely full from the morning "grazing" I opted for a salad for lunch. As the lunch was coming to a close, I realized I couldn't find the card my friend gave me earlier. (I hadn't even opened it yet.) Turns out the card was accidentally collected with the menus, later discovered by a waitress who set it aside, where it was later stolen by a customer who pillaged the gift card and trashed the rest. She did so not knowing she was being recorded by cameras in the restaurant. They say it's the thought that counts. As in I thought I could experience a theft-free day today. Oh well. It makes for a good story. Upon completion of my work day, I hit the gym to get in my run. NOTE: While celebratory calories may not count, they do affect celebratory workouts. The aforementioned diet is not running streak friendly. Just FYI. So, after a side-splitting run, my day was concluded with side-splitting laughter over sushi with 3 of my favorite people in the world. Love you girls! Thanks for celebrating with me.

And perhaps the best number of all ... 31 is the number of years I've been a Christian. On my 7th birthday I entered into a relationship with Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the best friend I've ever had, the Author and Perfecter of my faith, and my Lord and Savior. And in 31 years, I've never regretted it once. Just as my friends and I laughed and shared stories of memories together, so I reflect back on 31 years as a Christian. Mr. Toad ain't got nothing on this Wild Ride! But I'm strapped in and ready for every twist and turn still to come.