Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Close to Normal

I’ve been away from the blog for a while mostly because I’ve been busy, gone and busy. During the month of October I ran the Bear Chase 50K which was my last post and after that I was consumed with the task of getting ready to travel to San Antonio Texas for a month of Basic Officer’s Leadership Course. Of the various things I do in life one of those things is that I serve in the New Mexico Army National Guard as a Clinical Psychologist so I’m a Behavioral Health Officer and it’s one of those schools that everyone is required to attend.

Part of those preparations involved spending a hideous amount of time doing online training about all things Army. I’m certain it would have been very valuable training had it not been such a vast sea of knowledge crammed into a thimble of time but as it was I just struggled to retain enough to take the next test and move on. However, I have since discovered that I retained more than I thought but the knowledge is kind of insubstantial like the memories of someone with early dementia. Many things are recalled vaguely and some memories can be grasped while others float away just beyond my reach.

However, the BEST part of getting ready to go to Officer’s basic was the weeklong vacation the GeekGrl and I took to Seattle. I won’t try and recap it all here but suffice it to say I spent the week wired trying to visit all the finest coffee houses in the city. We tried many and much to
my surprise the best of the best coffee in Seattle was to be found at Top Pot Hand Forged Doughnuts where I went for doughnuts, not coffee. The doughnuts were the bomb too! While in the area we also traveled to Vancouver, BC for a day where I ran the Grouse Grind, which was a freakin’ grind, and I think I made it up in 57 minutes. A pretty average time I think but I wasn’t really trying to push it. I then rand back down a dirt access road until I hit the Baden-Powell trail, which I took back to the base of the Grind where I was parked.

While in Seattle I also ran the Defiance 50K which took place on Point defiance in Tacoma. It
was an awesome race and ended up being harder than I was expecting but I had a
great time none-the-less. I ended up placing 18th overall and second place in my age group. The GeekGrl ran too but unfortunately twisted her ankle so had to drop. Other running we did in Washington included Cougar Mountain and the Hoh rain forest in Olympic National Park. That too was an awesome experience.

So the month I was away for Officer’s basic was pretty weird. The actuall stuff I did there was
all field exercise type stuff, things I had been doing back in the day when I was in the Marine Corps as a young enlisted man, stuff like shooting rifles and pistols, marching, doing land navigation with maps and compass, doing hand-to-hand combat and I even went through a gas chamber again. The gas chamber is kind of a right of passage in the military and nobody but nobody escapes their tenure in the armed forces without at least one trip to the chamber.

While in San Antonio the GeekGrl flew out twice, once to run the Rock-n-Roll San Antonio marathon with me and once for the Thanksgiving holidays. The San Antonio marathon was uninspired at best. I’m not entirely certain that a really cool course could be developed but I think a better one would have been fairly easy. That race also got really hot, really hot, and pretty much everyone melted down. By the half-marathon point I was on pace to run something in the ball-park of a 3:25 but I ended up finishing with a 3:42. I think at the half-way mark I was already flagging pretty seriously and I just decelerated from there.

The weekend that the GeekGrl came for Thanksgiving was one of the best weekends of our marriage. We stayed at the Westin on the River walk and we did nothing but kick back and
relax. We had leisurely morning coffee at Sip’s coffee house, we visited a comedy club and we had a couple romantic dinners. It was well worth the expense. I rolled back into Albuquerque on December 6th having driven straight through from San Antonio into the mouth of a winter
storm that had blanketed Southern and Eastern New Mexico with snow and ice. It was a brutal drive but I got home at like 2 in the morning and slept like the dead. Since I’ve been back I’ve just been playing catch-up at home and at work. When I logged on to my computer at work I had 980 e-mails in my in-box, I had to immediately start interviews for a position I am hiring and I was given a major work assignment that is due “at the first of the year.” I’m hopeful that the first of the year refers to the first part of the year like the first couple weeks of January and not literally the first work day of the year.

Anyway, I’m now pretty much back and settled into my routine and am engaged in planning my 2012 season and what a season it will be, a dream season. More on that later. Suffice it to say I’m back on a diet, I’ve started some strength training and I’m starting to work on building my running base.

It feels good to be back!

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