Saturday, 28 March 2009

The EOD Memorial 5k...Iraqi Style!

This morning I participated in the EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) 2nd Annual Memorial 5k. The run was intended to raise money and awareness for the families of those who had lost a servicemember of the EOD. The kick off was 6:30am this morning.

As always, working the night shift makes for some crazy sleeping adjustments and this was no exception. I got up yesterday at 1:00pm for my shift that begins at 3:00pm. I worked until 11:00pm and then had the unfortunate task of trying to keep myself awake for another 7 and a half hours until the race started. I decided it would be better to keep myself awake and active at the end of a long day, then to go to bed and get up in the middle of my "night" to run the race.

I headed to midnight chow with my teammate, went to the gym, biked 2 miles to warm up my legs and did some abs. Then I headed to my CHU and decided the best way to stay awake was to watch scary movies. I put on "Stay" and after it was over and my heart was racing, I put in my iPod, stretched and danced around my room until I went to meet my other teammates at 5:45am.

In true Murphy's Law fashion, what was once a clear night a few hours before, had developed into a full blown Iraqi sand storm. The wind was blowing fiercely kicking up tornados of dust that glazed your eyes like hubcaps, dusted your eyelashes like white mascara, caked your hair so it looked like a wig and infiltrated your lungs so you were coughing like an emphazemic. Lovely.

The guys drove me over to the start of the race which is actually a place of some historical significance in Iraq. For those not aware, Uday Hussein, the oldest son of Saddaam, had an affinity for beating and torturing the Iraqi National soccer team when they did not perform to his expectations. It is purported that the remnants of the soccer stadium on base are one of the those prior locations of evil. I will do a more indepth blog post on this soon after I can do some research, but suffice it to say that the bombed out stadium has a haunting aura and coupled with the impregnable haze of dust, the morning felt surreal.

Despite the eeriness, I was excited to race and having my teammates there to support me was a blast. My teammates acted almost as my coaches, carrying my water or my fleece and taking lots of pictures. We had some great opportunities to enhance the visibility of the Red Cross on base and our team leader even ran over to our office so that we could donate 25 calling cards to the raffle.

The race got started right on time and despite the quality of the air, I ran the best time of my pitiful distance running career. My last teammate, Deb, had gotten off the night shift a bit early so she could also watch the finish and take some pictures. Ultimately the entire Red Cross team turned out to watch me race which was really special.

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