It might seem that way, fewer posts lately. But I have an excuse: I’m walking 100 miles in November wearing a heavy pack, editing a book I’ve cowritten with my friend Rodger Ruge, and living life in addition. Tomorrow I start a new audio book. And Santa started last weekend.
Needless to say, that’s kept me hopping. Also, doing the mentor thing. But it’s not that I am purposely neglecting the blog, it’s just that it fell through the cracks.
There will be a piece of flash fiction next week. In the meantime, here’s a dog picture.
Last week I announced that I was doing a 50 mile ruck march to Stop Soldier Suicide. I challenged the world to exceed my $1500 goal by last Saturday and I’d double the miles I walked. (My personal link is down below.)
Well, that means that instead of having 17 miles left to walk, I’m behind by 67 miles. Yes, you all met the goal. And my back, legs, and feet all want to thank you. I’ll be in great shape when this is done!
Now, another challenge: Let’s see if we can raise $2200.00 and make it $100 for every military suicide each day. Yes, that’s a grim reality, but I hope it drives home the tragedy of military suicides. Each day 22 of my brothers and sisters kill themselves.
Now, my bumping around with a giant bag on my back and raising money doesn’t stop it by itself. But it’s a start and it makes people aware of the problem in a way that gives them a chance to help out. That said, here’s the link to contribute:
That’s the name of the program. They get a good rating by the charities watchdogs. So, figuring they include Sailors as well, I am doing the fundraiser for November.
Now, before you ask, you have to donate on the link I’m including, and that means Facebook. Life isn’t always fair. But so it is.
I am promising to walk 50 miles during November wearing a 41 pound backpack. That’s a jumbo bag of dog food for comparison. My goal is to raise $1500 for the cause. If everyone gets hot and donates the full $1500 before 2359 Eastern on 11-5, I will double the miles and walk 100 miles. With a 41 pound pack.
You may be wondering why I am doing this ruck march: the answer is too many friends gone. I have a lot of military friends that have killed themselves, or have tried it. If my walking around on the backroads with a heavy pack means that one person gets saved, I am going to do it.
I hope you will click on the link and donate. If nothing else, you might get to see me walk an extra 50 miles this month.
I hope that got your attention. I’m starting this blog on the 21st around 1800. I’ve just finished my half of a book I am writing with my friend Rodger Ruge. Maybe writing isn’t the correct term at this point, as it was a final set of edits on my part of the work. I finished the writing a few weeks ago, with but a week’s delay from my goal because of Hurricane Ian. It’s good. I think people will like it, as it’s not my usual stuff. But more on that once we put a title and introduction on the thing and publish it, probably in time for Christmas. Still have to do the voice over for the audio book.
I am celebrating on the patio of the hotel where I’m staying. I’ve driven to Sebring, Florida to do a 1/2 marathon in the morning. My last marathon was a tragedy of circumstances that left me finishing it about half-dead. I’d done good work training in the leadup to November of last year for the February 1/2 marathon, but then Kip was struck down with multiple emergency surgeries in late November. No training the next 30 days as I was nursing her back to health and trying to finish a couple of audio books. I started training again for real at the end of December and then got very ill with a virus for the entire month of January. I had no energy, etc. To summarize, I only got 10 days of training in before the race and it wasn’t enough.
Now, however, I really pushed to train for this race. I started Memorial Day. Kip had to come fetch me, I managed to give myself a mild heatstroke that day. But I got back on the horse and kept my training up all summer, including daily walks with an ever increasing weight in my pack. I finished that part of the training a week ago, and was doing 6 miles with a 41 pound pack in about a 20 minute per mile pace. That’s pretty good for an old guy in the summer in Florida.
I will be at the starting pen tomorrow before the sun goes up and my goal is to do the race in under 4.5 hours. That’s an hour off of my time last February and just 1 hour longer than my best time ever 20+ years ago when I was but a spry youth.
It’s beautiful out here on the patio at the hotel, which is adjacent to the race course. Really nice place and my room has a view of the track. It would be cool to stay here during a race and watch from the balcony sometime down the road.
I’m going to leave this until after the race. But I’m very optimistic about how it will go. I’ve been working on my physical and mental resilience for quite some time and I’m actually looking forward to this challenge.
AFTER THE RACE
Races in Florida start at sunup, because otherwise it’s way too hot to have any fun. This race was out in the boonies, so you parked on a gravel road and tried to walk in without breaking a leg to the starting area. This photo was snapped just as the race was about to start.
almost time to start
A few minutes later we started the race. As usual, I was the last guy in the pack. That’s okay. I have to walk these as I have a steel rod in one leg that prevents actually running. I’ve gotten used to this view of the race:
As you can tell, it was way out in the boonies. It seemed like they’d laid out subdivisions 50 years ago, put in all the roads and nobody came to live there. They advertised the course as paved and gravel, but the gravel sections, for the most part, were just paved areas that had gone to hell over the last half century. Tough footing and beat up everyone’s feet.
But perhaps the hardest part of the race was that it was a two-looper. You had to do the course twice for the 1/2 marathon, and four laps for the full marathon. So after 6.55 miles of trudging down these roads, you do it again. It’s hard to muster enthusiasm, but I actually did the second lap faster since I knew where the best footing was on the bad stretches.
I only checked my clock once as I hit the 1/2 way point because they had a timer there I couldn’t miss. I kicked up the speed a notch and motored off.
So, by chip timing, I missed my goal by just 14 minutes. That was pretty awesome for my money. I was pleased with the result. Best of all, I’d mentioned the day before that having a finisher’s medal was a big deal. I usually get mine about 6 weeks later, since most races have run out of medals by the time I finish. A young woman hung it around my neck, handed me a water bottle, and put an ice-cold wet towel on my bald noggin. It was absolutely magnificent. Cooled me down fast after a hot final few miles. Race temperature at start was 65 and by the finish it was 80. But we had good breezes and it was tolerable.
An actual finisher’s medal!
What’s the moral to the story? I didn’t give up in my training. I stuck with the plan through a hot summer and almost made my goal. Next race is in February and I plan to beat that goal. I can do it. It’s what I teach: resilience.
So, I’ll be the guy with the 41 pound pack wandering on the edge of the everglades. Stop and chat if you see me.
Today I was taken to task for being angry by a long-time friend because I related a story rooted in reality. They wanted to know when I became so angry.
Well, I deleted their comment. Hey, it’s my timeline and I’m not hanging out to be judged by someone with all their own issues.
It was the second deletion of the week. I was deleted from a Navy group (just the comment, not my membership) because all the old codgers were bemoaning the Navy changing uniforms again.
Now, to be fair, my beloved Navy changes uniforms like some people change socks. But aside from their reckless waste of money over the years, this change at least introduces fire resistant uniforms into the fleet.
Style isn’t my forte. While I think the last few uniform changes were silly looking, I have to endorse not having your uniform melt to your skin in a fire. At any rate, all of the old farts were crying that they should bring back the dungaree uniform.
I liked the look of dungarees: prison chain gang with a Dixie Cup hat. Seriously, we looked like felons out for a day’s work. Best of all, they had pockets you were not allowed to use – we did anyway – for wallets and smokes. They always looked like hell when you travelled, and without a thorough ironing you seemed a mess at all times. But other than the fact they were flammable, looked like hell without a lot of maintenance, had crappy pockets, and were worn in several major correctional institutions they did have the joy of having been worn in countless motion pictures in the 20th century.
I remarked that if they were so wonderful (and made the points above) how many of the old men whining were wearing them that day? I personally wore jeans and a blue cotton shirt for over a decade as a work uniform in civilian life, but it was all cotton and didn’t stick to your skin in melty globs when you got near a fire. Fire is a big issue on ships – nowhere to run, you have to fight it.
Anywho, I had my comment deleted within hours. Fair enough. Similarly I am the moderator of my own page. I delete people as well. Sometimes because they are crude (funny, on the money, but not fit for the consumption of some of my current friends) and occasionally because they question my character. I am a sensitive, caring, urban male (now rural) and object to anyone saying I’m intolerant. So I delete them.
That about sums up this rant. Now, back to my usual Sunday activities.