Saturday, 6 June 2009

Holy Cow! It's June Already?

Sorry for not doing this more. I can't believe that my last post was 27 November. Time flies when you are stuck in the desert hunting down insurgents with the Iraqis. I have had time to work out and I'm thankful for that. I have been running regularly both outside around the FOB (Forward Operating Base) and on the treadmill when it's dusty outside. My bike got crushed by a safe when my team made our last move, so I've been forced to ride on the exercise bike. I actually got to swim last week while I was at BIAP (Baghdad International Airport). There's a pool at Camp Victory and I swam for 2 1/2 hours. I just kept going back and forth switching from freestyle to breaststroke and back. I felt great. The water was perfect. I was worried about my swim coming up in August, but after last week, I know that I will be alright. Swimming is like riding a bike, except you're in the water and you don't need a bike.

I already signed up for my first race when I get back. I'm doing the Xterra Indian Peaks Offroad Triathlon 1 August up in Nederland, Colorado. It's northwest of Boulder. I can't wait. The water is supposed to be 50 degrees, in August! I'm glad I bought a wetsuit. I was going to do an Olympic length Tri in Denver, but there is a Century ride in Boulder a week later and I am training up for that. It's the Colorado Tour de Cure. I'm raising money for Diabetes research. It will be my first century, but I'm getting a new bike when I get back to Houston, so I'm pretty stoked. I will try and find some tri’s in September, October timeframe, but I have to keep my schedule open for Gavin. He should be popping out about that time. I'd like to do the P.F. Chang Rock n Roll Marathon in Phoenix in January with my family, we will see. I also wanted to do the New Orleans Half Ironman in April. Hopefully, I'm not in Afghanistan by then. We will see. If I am, I will be better at blogging. I will change it to Kandahar Multisport, though. High altitude training; you can't beat it. LOL.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Sorry For Whining

Ok, I had a pretty good thanksgiving. I took my guys to the nicest mess hall in Baghdad today. I grabbed a takeout plate and went back out and guarded our trucks so my guys could enjoy thanksgiving inside. They had the place crazy decorated. They dressed the soldiers doing headcount like pilgrims. They had ice sculptures and mounds and mounds of dessert. They had smoked turkey and prime rib. I had to grab another takeout plate to fit it all. After we ate, we headed back to our big base and went back to work. I got to talk to my wife, my girls, my mom and dad, and brother and sister-in-law. I miss everybody, but I am not as bummed out as I was yesterday. I can't wait to come home on leave in January. I didn't run tonight. I'm still too stuffed. I'm proud of my mom and dad, though. They both ran a 5K today. You go guys!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Happy Turkey Day!!!!

Well, tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I'm glad that November blew by. My team has been so busy, but tomorrow is going to be tough. I miss my wife, I miss my son, I miss my daughters. It's easy to be idealistic and have a sense of duty without sacrifice, and although this is a small one compared to some, it still hurts and it still sucks. I am taking my team to the nicest mess hall in Baghdad tomorrow and giving them the rest of the day off, and I am going to do my best to stay positive for their sake. Sometimes, it really sucks to be incharge. What we are doing is important, and if I didn't do it, some other poor bastard would have to. I am proud of what I do, I just can't wait for it to be over. On a positive note, I will be back at my old room tomorrow and I will have internet, so I will try and call everybody. I also plan to go for a long run tomorrow night, after my food's settled of course. Peace, out!

Monday, 10 November 2008

My Midlife Crisis Only Lasted A Second

So I am talking with one of my soldiers yesterday. He is a 23 year old medic from Colorado near Gunnison. He's a really cool kid that has a lot of the same interests as me, snowboarding, mountain biking, etc. He is Stop-Lossed for this rotation which means he was supposed to get out of the Army by now, but because of Iraq the Army is involuntarily keeping him for five more months. I ask him what he plans on doing when he gets out of the Army, and I'm ready for my reinlistment speech about how bad the economy is and how "I don't know" is not a good enough reason to get out. Then he surprises me. He tells me that since he's been in the Army he has saved up about $30K and is going to live down in his uncle's cabin in Mexico for the next year and kayak, scuba, mountain bike and fish. I think wow, that is really cool. After a year in Iraq, why not take a year to just chill out. He's young and single and why shouldn't he do that. Looking back from where I am now, I realized, that I never did take a break when I was younger. Ever since I could remember, I had ambition and I was in a race to grow up as fast as I could. I worked all through High School, went strait into the military and college. Spent my summers preparing for my military career and I've been working my butt off ever since. I can't remember ever just taking a break. For a split second, I envied him and regretted never taking a semester off to just bum around, back pack across Europe or ride across the US on a motorcycle or mountain bike. Then, I realized that I was fine with that. In fact, I can't believe how good I have it. I have the most beautiful woman in the world as my wife. She gave me the most awesome son I could ever ask for. Everybody says he looks like me so He must be pretty good looking. I have two beautiful daughters that both have stolen my heart. I can't just take a year off to go down to Mexico, but I don't want to. My wife and I both enjoy adventures together and now we have a son to enjoy them with too. Instead of looking back at all the stuff I didn't do, I am looking forward to the time I can backpack with my daughters, take my son fishing, and take my wife to some exotic places to race and camp in the mountains. I might not have done anything like live in Mexico and surf for a year, but if I did it would have been over by now anyway, so what. I sit here in Iraq looking forward to when I can be with my family again and start our new adventures.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

My Inspiration

I have been so busy this last week. I have basically twice the workload now. I have only been to the gym twice this week. My poor bike has been hanging up in my room untouched. When I did go to the gym, I only had time for cardio. I felt really guilty when I dropped my clothes at the laundry today and I had a weeks worth but only two sets of PTs instead of the usual 5 or 6. I haven’t given up hope, though. My wife just walked a 5K on Saturday with my son, Reilly. She would have run it, but he is too young for a jogging stroller and she didn't have anybody who could watch Reilly. He needs to be 6 months. She has been working out like a champ in addition to studying and taking care of my boy. She is truly my inspiration. If she can do it, I can pull myself up from my bootstraps and still hit the gym. I can't wait till we are back together and we can work out together. I have been on craigslist looking for jogging strollers and bicycle trailers for Reilly.

I did something really cool today. The Iraqi unit that I am working with delivered much needed school supplies to an all girls primary school today in our area. It was very nice. The little girls all were all formed up and they sang songs and then the National Police Commander I work with handed out backpacks with school supplies in them to orphans and low income students. It was a great mission. My team helped them plan the mission and we resourced it, but then they executed it. I would much rather do these missions then the search missions we do all the time. My Iraqi unit looked really good today and they had the Iraqi TV reporters there. That is what my team is there for; to help the Iraqi security forces become capable units.

It made me miss Lexi and Maddi today. It didn't help that there was this little girl that looked just like Maddi kept coming up and flirting with me this morning. She came up to me, waved, and said "Hello, mister" I had my sunglasses on and my full kit, so I probably looked really intimidating. I replied back to her "Sabah al hahr, habeebtee" Arabic for “good morning, sweetheart”, and then she ran off. She would keep looking back at me and would smile and wave. With all the crappy missions we have been doing lately, today really made up for it. I wrote previously about my experience here being a year in empathy. Well today, if I could have adopted all these girls I would have.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Biker Build-off Baghdad Style

I can't believe an Iraqi would throw this away! This is great stuff!

Ok, next year, Katie and I are moving to Fort Carson, Colorado in Colorado Springs. Maybe it's not the mountain bike capital of the world, but could be. So Katie and I want to do some serious mountain biking when we get there. A serious mountain bike is serious cash. To get a good mountain bike with all the quality bells and whistles you are going to spend about $3500 at the local bicycle shop. You could get the same quality bike at a fraction of the cost if you had countless hours to comb the internet and look at bargain deals on components and looked for second hand frames and wheels that still have some life in them. Of course you'd have to spend hours doing research on what components are the right ones to get and to get them cheap, you'd have to spend countless hours hoping to win them in an eBay auction or find a steal on craigslist. Most people don't have the time to build a $3500, full-suspension, disk-brake, Shimano XTR derailers, and carbon fibered seat posted all-mountain, mountain bike, BUT I DO! HELP ME JOHN KERRY, I'M STUCK IN IRAQ!!!

So there you have it, I've thrown my hat in the ring of the first "build a $3500 mountain bike for almost nothing" (I'm thinking for around $800-$1000) biker build-off. I invite anybody else to rise to the challenge and build a bike. I warn you, though, today on my cordon and knock mission with the Iraqis I found this awesome full suspension frame while searching for weapons in a trash pile. It cost me nothing so I've already saved $900 for what I'd have spent on a good frame. Watch out! I'm on a roll.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

MTV Cribs Baghdad

Ok, I havn't blogged in a while, so I thought I should say something, and oh, boy, I'd like to start out by congratulating my brother-in-law and sister-in-law on their beautiful baby girl, Natalie Elizabeth Adams. She is awesome! I saw the video of her today. Way to go, Adams Family! I can't wait to see my new neice when I go on mid tour leave.

I havn't blogged, because I've been very busy. I can't talk about it, but I will just let you all know I barely had time to chat with Katie on the internet. I talked to my girls, and I was falling asleep while I was talking to them. It's been a long week. I ran 8 miles last Friday, and I was sore the next day. I didn't have time to workout Saturday or Sunday, but that was OK. I needed to rest. I did bike 5 miles last night, but it was dark, and I got tired of dodging tanks and MRAPs with my little headlamp, so I finished early. I woke up early this morning with the plan to ride 20 miles. Well, this FOB is big, but not on a bike. After the 5th or 6th time around the same route, I was bored out of my mind. You aren't aloud to run or bike with headphones here for obvious reasons (tanks driving all around), so it gets old quick. I looked down at my Garmin and it said I'd gone 15 miles. Good enough. I will probably run intervals and lift at the gym tomorrow.

I figured you all were wondering, so I added pictures of my room. Trust me, this is the penthouse suite compared to what I've been used to living in here in Iraq. I have my own room. I got a stocked fridge, microwave, TV, DVD player, and internet! In my room! Last two times I was here, you had to wait for hours in line at the internet cafe to just check your email. Now I can webcam with Katie and Reilly in my room. Awesome.

A lot of my guys got rid of the bunk bed in their room if they didn't have a roommate, but I kept mine. It helps keep the dust off of my bed and it is a great place to store my vest and helmet and stuff.

Here is where I like to spend my free time, when I'm not at the gym. I'm usually chatting away with Katie, calling the girls, or downloading itunes. My escape.

Here's a view from the other side of my room, you can see my bed and the door to my reality.

I keep pretty busy. It helps this year go by fast. Now you've seen my little fortress of solitude. It's not as grand as Superman's, but it is good enough for me. I'm living good. Like I said, I have internet, A/C, and all the Gatorade and Rip-its I can drink.