Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why is my hut shaking?

Just last week in all of one day we went from having daytime temperatures in the 90s to all of the sudden it's not getting above 72 degrees. This sounds wonderful, but it's actually been quite cool around here. The nights are similar to what we experienced when we first arrived in country, hovering in the 50s. We have still been able to spend a little time clearing our minds every couple of nights sitting outside on top of the bunker watching the planes land...we just have to wear more clothes now.

Earlier this week I experienced my very first real earthquake and had absolutely no idea what it was. Once while in college I was awakened around 3:00 a.m. to what I thought was an earthquake, but it turned out there was a cave-in at a coal mine in a nearby town. I think I remember the cave-in registering around a 3.0 on the Richter Scale. The earthquake we had this week registered 6.3 on the Richter Scale and was centered about 125 north of us and apparently the epicenter was 120 miles deep in the Earth's surface...amazing how technology can pinpoint such a thing. Anyway, around midnight the b-hut I'm in started shaking like crazy...I thought someone was just playing a trick or something. Mom basically told me that me being in a war zone is bad enough, she can't deal with that plus earthquakes!

We're working like mad right now as September 30th is the end of the fiscal year, which means all of our contracts must be complete by then. This will keep us really busy for the next week or so. On the other hand, the General is coming in tomorrow (allegedly) so we've been busy cleaning for that as well...good times.

The 1960th as a whole is feeling pretty good right now because we can actually see the light at the end of the it's not the end of the deployment, but rather our R&R is coming up. CPT Campbell will be heading home in the next week or so, the rest of us have about another 80 days or so. College football season will get us through those 80 days much quicker than expected.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

More running and a prayer request

I'll start on a serious note tonight by asking for my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to lift up one of our Airmen. As I've mentioned, the place I work is a truly joint environment with all services represented. The female Air Force troop that sits beside me at work begun feeling ill two nights ago; loss of vision, numbness, incoherent speech, and dizziness. She was taken to the base hospital and subsequently flown to Germany for further observation. I ask each of you to lift her up in your prayers.

Now, on a somewhat lighter note, this past week was the 9th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America. Here on base we had the 9/11 Never Forget Run which just happened to be 9.11k or 5.65 miles. Just like my last run, my goals were to (1) finish, and (2) keep all miles less than 10-minute in pace. Right off the bat I realized that my legs were not quite 100% recuperated from the half-marathon the previous week. I felt really sluggish!

Let me also say that Ramadan ended on Thursday night before our Saturday morning run. The 3-5 days immediately following Ramadan are called the Eid holidays, which is like rolling Christmas/New Year/Mardi Gras/4th of July all into one big holiday. The locals basically eat, drink, and shoot rockets in a drunken stupor for 5 days or so. The rockets changed our running route on Saturday morning, we weren't allowed to run close to the perimeter. Anyway, the last minute change also changed the run distance from 5.65 to 6.4 miles without any of our wonder my time was horrible. In the end, I met my goals once I found out the distance changed so drastically.

Other than running a lot we're still working crazy hours and staying extremely busy here at the end of the fiscal year.

More later.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Air Force Marathon

Each year in September the Air Force along with a few corporate sponsors hosts the Air Force Marathon. This is the half-marathon that I've been writing about over the past month or so. Saturday, the 4th, was the half-marathon and along with myself there were at least 999 more knuckleheads silly enough to run 13.1 miles in the name of fun. The size of the base determines whether they host a 10k, half-marathon, or full marathon...thank the Lord Bagram could only withstand the half!

We began our run at 5:00 a.m. on the nose and the course took us 6.55 miles out around the airfield and then back. The north side of our base actually has some pretty views of the countryside, we could see the mountains really well in the distance as well as a few of the local homes/huts. Since we ran around the airfield we had the opportunity to see quite a few really interesting aircraft take off and/or land.

Before I began I established two goals; (1) finish the race, and (2) average 10 minutes per mile for the duration of the run. I somehow managed to do both! An exact 10-minute average would have been 2:13:00, it took me 2:07:18. When I finally did come to a stop I wasn't sure that my legs would support me all the way back to my hut, they were quite wobbly and weak. Today is Tuesday and my legs are at 90%.

The most interesting thing that I heard while running was from a young Sergeant whom I kept passing and subsequently being passed by. He would run and then walk, I felt like he was the hare and of course I was the tortoise. Anyway, he passes me once while I'm jogging along and says "come on Sir, only 5 more miles!" If I weren't so weak I think I would've kicked him, but I'm pretty sure my legs wouldn't allow it.

As far as running goes, this coming Saturday is the Patriots Day 9.11k (just over 5 miles). Only two of us ran in the half-marathon from my office, I think there are six planning to run in this one. If nothing else I'll have extra t-shirts when I get home!