Every morning, on my drive to work, I pass the Fort Meade parade field. Nearly every day, I see many soldiers out on the field, doing their required physical training (PT) and it motivates me. Sure, there are those that will only do the bare minimum to pass their standards, but that's not what I see. Take this morning, I watched five soldiers running along the path that surrounds the field. This isn't unusual. At any given morning, I probably pass 25 or more soldiers running along. These soldiers were taking it up a notch, they were wearing full-face respirators. That's right, restricted breathing runs. Most definitely not the bare minimum. Other days, I might pass soldiers on a "ruck march" carrying 50 lb bags, in full uniform. If you've ever really looked at combat boots, you can appreciate what it takes for someone to march in them for 13 or more miles (a requirement for many field schools). In addition to runners, I see many units doing various exercises from push-ups and burpees, to playing a rousing game of flag football. It's always a motivational boast, but an even greater motivation is knowing the soldiers I work with, and how dedicated they are to their own physical fitness.
Two of my co-workers recently ran in the Ragnar series. I got to watch (more like hear about it) their training progressing. Early morning runs and weight lifting, but in addition, but are avid bikers and many days they will take a bike ride during lunch. That's after doing a morning of PT. They're no leisure riders either. It's strap-the-feet-in butt kicking rides. Other soldiers I work with are just as dedicated to training. Some day's there might be as many as five bikers at lunch. It's amazing, come lunch time, to see many people dressed out for exercise. We work in preventive medicine, and many of us are leading by example when it comes to physical fitness, and it's not just my military co-workers either. Quite a few of my fellow civilian employees are also dedicated exercise aficionados. One co-worker and I frequently head to the gym together. If it wasn't for her, I most likely would not have become a gym rat recently.
I'm talking about The Army and physical fitness because this coming Sunday is the Army Ten Miler race. This will be my third straight year running it, and I'm excited, but nervous as well. A month ago, I was looking forward to the race, and planning on kicking some butt compared to the last two years. Life was good, my running was going well, and I knew I could do a sub 10:00 pace no problem, probably closer to a 9:00. I'm not so sure now, with having some knee concerns of late. I've not gotten in any good paced runs in awhile. Training for a 50 mile trail race is much different than a 10 mile road race. It's not about speed, but endurance, and I've been training hard for that.
I've given my strategy a lot of thought the last few days, and I've settled on shooting for a 10:00 pace. Not too difficult considering some of my recent speed runs. Heck, on August 31st, my last race, I ran 6.5 miles at a 9:33 pace, in near complete darkness. I should be able to handle 10 at 10:00. Especially with the amazing atmosphere of the Army Ten Miler. There it is, my simple goal. 10 at 10:00, along with no knee troubles before, during, or after the race. :)
Oh, and to tie it back to work. Myself, those fellow co-workers that ran Ragnar, and a few more will be running ATM as Team Tango Sierra. We had a much cooler name, but it was struck down by our Commander.
Run on and, Hooah!