Wednesday, March 7, 2007


Monday- 5 miles- easy jog (stiff)
Tuesday- 12 miles- 1:32 w/ 6x 100m striders in the last mile

I suppose I am as moody as the next guy, but some days I can just get in a funk. The little things tend to tick me off, and I am eager to bite someones head off. Of course I am pretty non confrontation so usually don't do so, but think about it just the same. Usually a good run will take it all out of me, but last night I was still off the "peace and love happy train" even after what was a fine run. I am still bothered by the fact that I am not very fit or fast currently. Why do I have to press pretty good to merely maintain 7:45 pace? Part of the reason is that I simply have been out of touch with my true running pace for a good number of years. I have been (prior to coming to Egypt) running almost exclusively trails which are by nature slower, and not measured. And if a trail is supposedly measured or marked, 9 times out of 10 it is inaccurate anyway. So now that I am running a set measured course the reality of my lack of speed is even more alarming.

I think too, that the reality of the huge life changes about to take place for me is starting to settle in. In July I will be returning back to the USA, leaving the Army, moving with my wife from Arlington, VA to Richmond, buying a new car, finding a new job, starting a new job (both my wife and I), adding a dog to our household/life's. That is a decent amount of change I suppose. And I am, like most people who are runners and very schedule/ritual driven. I (gasp) fear change!

Maybe I am just really getting tired of being away from home....

Studies have shown that the maximal time for a soldier to be deployed and remain optimally mentally alert and on task is 7 months. (Thus the US Marines do 7 month deployments- smart ones them, The Army is more about budget...and 12 month deployments means less money spent on mobilization) although I did take a month of leave back in the states...It has now been 9 months since I left last June.

Blah, that is about all I have to say....except, then I remember perspective:

This is Misha a soldier from the Republic of Georgia (one of the few "Coalition Force" Nations) and a former USSR territory that is now an independent country that has troops in Iraq. Misha's vehicle was hit with an IED killing the other 4 soldiers (Americans) in it. He survived with injuries that included the loss of one eye, one arm, a destroyed knee, fractured femur, fractured tibia, nerve damaged ankle, and an incredibly destroyed right hand/arm that was miraculously rebuilt using a nerve from his left leg, bone from his left hip, muscle from the right side of his stomachs "six pack", and skin from his left thigh. Luckily Misha was allowed to come to Walter Reed for 8 months of surgeries, recuperation and physical rehabilitation. (Say what you want about Walter Reed's administration...but the medical care is as good if not better than any place in the world.)

He did not know any English at all and the first word the poor guy learned was PAIN! All he could do was sit in his bed and cry. I still can't imagine what those first few weeks on the wards of Walter Reed must have been like not being able to communicate and going in for repeated bouts of surgery (he had 24-28 total, I lost count) and feeling loopy from pain meds. Misha's wife was 7 months pregnant when he was injured and thus could not be flown in to see him. Sadly she lost the baby in a late miscarriage. Eventually she came to stay with Misha and together they learned enough English to get by. For the first 2 months I treated him I would call the Georgian Embassy in DC and ask a man named Gocha to translate for me..... "tell Misha I want him to try to sit up today, wait a few seconds and then let me help him try to stand is important" Then I would hold the phone to Misha's ear (as he had no usable hands to do so himself) When it looked like he was no longer listening I would take the phone back and ask..... "does he understand?" It was a long slow process, but look at him now! He emailed me recently and sent these pictures. Looks like he's having fun on some natural water slide.

The human body (and spirit) have amazing recuperative powers. I helped Misha on a daily basis for months, but I think I got more out of it than he did.


Trail Goat said...

Za vashe zdorovje i schastye, Mishu! (Pardon my grammar and word order, my Russian's a bit rusty... and pardon the Russian... I definitely don't know Georgian!)

loomdog said...

Impressive Bryon, you are a man of many talents. Funny how people would approach Misha and ask are you from Russia? and he'd get PO'd and say NO, USA me friend, Russia NO! Guess that whole being taken over and oppressed thing will get to a people.

Bryon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trail Goat said...

Hence the reason for my pardon, Loomdog. :-D I figure Misha must have heard a Russian toast or two in his day.

ultrastevep said...

Thanks for the perspective, Greg....We need that daily.
How lucky we are to be Americans and to be able to run!


David said...

I suppose I won't whine for the next couple of days after reading this. My life's not so bad when compared to some.