Thursday, April 17, 2014

Marion Marathon: The Second Running



So for my second running of this local marathon I was asked to be a pacer. If you don't know a pacer is a experienced marathon runner who leads a group of other runners at a specified pace so they can finish in a specified time. I guess after 27 marathon or longer races I was considered "experienced" and I was flattered.

Problem was I had been battling a injury all winter. A nagging slow to heal Achilles injury. I did manage to complete a 50K trail race in the weeks leading up to the marathon but it was not without issue. I was concerned about even finishing the marathon after my lackluster training cycle. Because of this I asked to pace the 5 hour and 25 minute group.This would be my slowest marathon ever.


The day of the race came and myself and all my friends that were pacing showed up to a cold rainy and sucky day. We talked and milled around the start line until the National Anthem. I then lined myself up in the back of the pack. Brian was going to accompany me. He had decided to run the race at the last minute and asked if he could co-pace with me. I was happy for his company. Jenn was also there with few new friends. 

The gun went off and we started off at the planned 12:23 per mile pace. I had my Garmin set to the proper pace and a pace chart taped to the back of my pacer sign. I was nervous because I figured the hardest part about this race was going to be running slow enough. We settled into a pattern of running easy and walking at the mile markers. It was raining at the start but eventually it stopped. I took off my rain jacket and tied it around my waist. Other runners passed us and we passed them. I continued to keep pace even when no one was with is because I knew from past experience that others would use us as a guide even if they weren't with us. About mile 17 it started pouring rain and we would finish the race in the downpour. Brian and I kept on pace but we had somehow built a 3 minute buffer. Our plan was to walk off the extra at mile 25 and then run it in to the end. So that is want we did. However we didn't count on the course being half a mile too long. Our finishing time wa 5:26:12. Not my best effort but next time I will do better and lessons were learned. Enjoy some photos






Saturday, April 5, 2014

PTSD: Are We Damaged

So another shooting at Fort Hood. This time by someone the media is labeling as having mental health issues and possible PTSD. They are not focusing on the victims but are pushing the narrative of the damaged perpetrator that must have something wrong because he was in combat for 4 months. Of course he was mental and violent he was in the Army wasn't he?

Post traumatic stress is experienced by many people after many traumatic incidents. Rape survivors,firefighters, police, car accident victims, and of course military and former military members. Out of all these groups why are military members looked on as "crazy" or damaged goods? Why are veterans killing themselves at the rate of 21 individuals daily? This perception and it's results are a national tragedy. A unfortunate genocide of some of our nation's best and brightest. 

I think this is happening because the public generally and our media and politicians in particular have no common ground with the all volunteer force that is our nations armed forces. It has been well documented that the amount of veterans in Congress has dropped from a majority in the late 60's and 70's to a small fraction currently. Veterans are perceived as being outside the herd. Additionally,the circumstances from which most military PTSD results, are subconsciously not acceptable to the general public. Rape victims or car crash survivors have support and sympathy from the public. They are usually blameless and unfortunate victims of circumstance. Law enforcement and Firefighters are for the most part looked on as heroes and rescuers. The events that cause PTSD in these folks on looked on as righteous and good. Society needs these actions and there are generally no arguments about their validity or necessity.

Military members on the other hand do not fit into these convenient categories. The mission of military members is to close with and destroy the enemy. This is the crux. For good or bad, military members are ultimately killers. That is their job, the job they are asked to perform so the rest of us don't have to. The job that is necessary in the defense of this nation. 

Killing is anathema to most in society. Only psychopaths kill without remorse so those in the military that do kill must be victims and should be pitied. If they are not victims then logically they must be psychopaths. So no matter how many disingenuous Pavlovian utterances of " Thanks for your service" are heard, the underlying societal vibe is one of disgust and disconnection. Soldiers themselves often feel guilt for their actions wether they ever killed anyone or not. Deep down they realize the revulsion that society has for their mission and the fact that the emotions they feel cannot be accepted or supported by the general public. This coupled with the loss of the close personal ties associated with military service often causes despair and depression. But not permanently unless we allow it.

Military members do not consider themselves victims nor do they consider themselves heroes for just doing their job. They see themselves as professionals and protectors. When they do return home it is our job to accept and support them in a meaningful and tangible way. We need to engage them, not label them. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Grandma Mac

Marshmallows and chocolate chips in one of those little Dixie cups. You know the kind you used to pull out of the dispenser by your sink? And a wooden chair on a wooden floor. Those were my first memories of my Grandmother Mary McElmeel.  I never knew my Grandpa McElmeel, he died in 1952, 11 years before I was born. Grandma died yesterday. She was 98. We were all by her bedside at the end. I got to hold her hand as her heart beat slower and slower and her respirations became more irregular and farther apart. She never regained conciousness  in the last hour of life. I like to think she knew we were all there. And then she stopped.

My Grandma was a widow for 64 years, she raised a family mostly by herself in a time when that wasn't as easy as it is today. She was a teacher for over 30 years. She was a farmer. She lived alone and independent until her last day on earth. She never suffered from any of the altered mental status issues that plague so many folks as they get older. My Grandma loved to play cards and Yahtzee. She didn't like to lose at cards. She was stubborn. She never criticized anyone that I know of. The most you might get out of her was a " I don't care for that." My Grandma had grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren. My Grandma used to smile at me. She sent me a birthday card every single birthday, my whole life. I wasn't the only one, she did it for all her grandkids, great grandkids and great great grandson.

Marshmallows and chocolate chips in a Dixie cup. Her apartment under the Post Office. Shooting cottage cheese out my nose at Thanksgiving because she made me laugh. Our lunch time card games. I will remember those. Goodbye Grandma you did your job.

Mary McElmeel Obituary

Monday, March 17, 2014

Hawkeye 50K: The 4th running




I hadn't run a race since back in November when I ran the Wildcat 50K. Hell, I haven't  run a single run of over 14 miles in all this time. My training has been spotty at best. I had been ignoring it for months but I had to admit after Wildcat that I was injured. How could I be injured? I had set personal bests at the 50K and marathon distances in back to back weekends. I had run over 14 races of marathon distance or greater in 2013 including my first 100 mile finish. But my Achilles tendon who I affectionately named Chucky was having none of it. During Wildcat it tightened up so bad that my right leg felt like a rubber band about to snap. The pain was not debilitating but it felt like a cattle prod was massaging the entire length of my right leg anytime I ran over 8 miles. Not a big deal for some but to me this was bad news. I would run 20 miles on a whim. Running long distances is what I did for relaxation and social activity. But for the balance of November I quit running, I tried again in December and no go. It was still painful. I tried Yoga, I tried lifts, I tried a compression brace. Nothing helped. Finally I put on my heart rate monitor and forced myself to run below my aerobic threshold. This resulted in short slow runs but it also resulted in Chucky starting to heal. I did this during January and February. I barely ran 100 miles for the month but at least I was running.

Then March came and the 4th iteration of the Hawkeye 50K. The first Hawkeye 50K had also been my first ultramarathon back in 2010. I had run in and finished it in every year since then. I had a streak going. I was going to run this race even if I had to walk it. So I registered and hoped for the best. I was cautiously optimistic in the 2 weeks before the race as I was able to run 10 miles or more on a few days without a lot of issues.

Finally the day arrived. The night before I was nervous. Nervous as I hadn't been for a long time before an ultra. I arrived early for the start and to help set up. This year and organization I belong to Team Red White and Blue was manning an aid station. So I helped them get there supplies together and then hung out in my car until the race start. The RD let me say a few words about TeamRWB before the race and we got a group picture with some of the local vets. This race had a lot of my friends present. Ross was running this 50K for the first time but not his first 50K. Jen was running her first 50K, Bennie and several others were running the 25K. Brian was acting as co race director. It was great to be back amongst my peeps.


In the past the 50K had been two laps around the Coralville Reservoir but this year snow melt denied us the ability to cross the spillway that separated one side of the reservoir from the other. So we would head out on the regular route until we hit the spillway only to turn back and retrace our steps until we arrived back at the start finish at mile 22.  These 22 miles were mostly on road or flat gravel trail. The last 9 miles would be a small out and back and several loops on the trails. More on this later. When the race began I continued to chat and started out intentionally slow. Pretty soon though I found myself alone. I hadn't run an ultra without the company of my friends in over a year. I wasn't sure how to handle it. So I slipped in the headphones and cranked up the metal. That seemed to work. I kept it easy and relaxed and I hit the gravel trail at 4.5 miles feeling very fresh. I chatted to the aid station volunteers at the TeamRWB aid station and thanked them.




The trail around the lake was wet,muddy and icy. But it was flat and easy enough to negotiate. Not to much wind off the lake and I continued to cruise along. About 8 miles into it the lead pack blew past me going the other way. The had already hit the turnaround at 11 miles. Ross was in this group of 4 so I shouted some encouragement and kept going. I hit another aid station at mile 9 and filled up my bottles etc.. I could see the large hill that marked the turnaround in the distance. I headed toward it and climbed to the top to touch the flag. I then headed back retracing my steps hitting all the aid stations until I hit the pavement again at roughly mile 17.








Once I hit the pavement I was able to see some other runners in the distance. By keeping my pace steady and relentlessly moving forward I  passed two of them in the 3.5 miles of highway. When I turned left off the pavement to head back to the start /finish my first issue developed. The trail was muddy,wet and steep. The churning footsteps of all the 25K runners and the other 50K runners ahead of me had made the trail into a cow pasture. Try running uphill in ankle deep cold mud and you know what I mean. For the first time, since the Dances with Dirt 50 mile in 2011, my right leg started cramping. I felt a small twinge of despair. But I gritted my teeth and started walking. Eventually the cramps subsided and I was able to start running again. Once I got back to the start/finish I stopped briefly at the aid station and headed out on a short 3 mile out and back section. This trail headed to the spillway from the other side. It also turned out to be an asskicker. Up and down and MUDDY. But I made it through and back to the start of my first 3 mile finishing loop. I would have to cover this loop twice in the next 6 miles. The loop started uphill, hit some pavement, hit a long snowy part and then through and around a steep muddy slippery ravine.










Its hard to capture all the emotion of this section. At times I was tired and slogging and other times I was full of energy and motivated.  I also experienced a cramping recurrence. This time in my left leg. But I walked that off as well. Towards the end of the last loop I was loudly singing for anyone to hear my version of Whisky in a Jar by Metallica. This seems to be a habit for me in ultras. Some people sing in the shower I sing in the woods.  It took me 2.5 hours to cover the last 9 miles. But I had a great race. I experienced all the ultra things. I was gloriously wet, cold, tired and hungry. I was back and my streak continues!!!




Sunday, February 23, 2014

Favorite Podcasts

Been a busy month. I have sat down to write a few posts multiple times and got sidetracked. But I thought I would sit down tonight and share some of my favorite podcasts and Youtube channels should you care. So without further ado

Podcasts

UltrarunnerPODCAST.com:  This podcast is about...duh ultrarunning. This is one of the first podcasts I started listening to back in 2011. I take them along on my long training runs. I have gained a lot of knowledge listening to hosts Scotty Sandow and Eric Schranz. These guys are two Northern California everyday guys who just happen to love ultra running and beer.  www.ultrarunnerpodcast.com

TrailRunner Nation: Don Freeman,Scott Warr and Faith Goss host my other favorite Ultra running podcast. Don and Scott were original members of the Ultrarunnerpodcast.com before they started their own podcast. This podcast is a little more commercial than the other but still pretty good. www.trailrunnernation.com

Endurance Planet: Although this podcast focuses alot on triathlons host Tawnee Prezak makes things interesting. I mostly listen to the nutrition and running segments. www.enduranceplanet.com 

Marathon Training Academy: Host Angie Spencer and husband Trevor talk about marathon training. Angie is a nurse and certified coach so has an interesting perspective on training. The easy conversational tone and Angie's infectious laugh make this podcast one of my favorites. http://marathontrainingacademy.com/

Roadgunner Podcast:  The Unamed Trucker (Chaz) talks about shooting,guns and driving a truck over the road. Somehow he makes this niche podcast both interesting and motivating. Every time I listen to it, it makes me want to shoot more and the truck talk makes me laugh. It reminds me of my days dispatching 18 wheelers. http://roadgunnerpodcast.com/

NPR: I listen to multiple National Public Radio Podcasts. All interesting and informative in that understated and slightly twisted NPR way. The Writers Almanac: Daily Poetry with Garrison Keillor http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/  Planet Money: The Economy Explained http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/ This American Life: Interesting stories about America Life (duh) http://www.thisamericanlife.org/

The Roadhouse Podcast;  I have a personal connection to this podcast. My friend Tony Steidler-Dennison of this podcast. Tony plays the finest blues you have never heard on this weekly hour long podcast. Its great to listen to at work. http://roadhousepodcast.com/

Youtube

Yankee Marshall: Host david Atkinson puts out short 305 minute videos on firearms,self defense, prepping etc.. He never takes himself seriously and often makes a good point or gives good advice. http://www.youtube.com/user/TheYankeeMarshal/featured

MBEST11X- Former Ranger and maker of hilarious videos Mat busts out some really funny stuff goofing on the Special Ops community. There may or may not be gratuitous shots of his hot girlfriend in a bikini http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCre2GibO9Vdb3C59VzDsFxQ

Well that's it. These are my favorites. Check them out  

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Officially done?

I started officiating high school sports in 2005. I got the idea in my head that I would like to be a wrestling official after my retirement from the military in 2004. So I went to a local kids wrestling tournament and asked one of the officials how to get started. He gave me a phone number and the next season I found myself on the mat wearing the stripes. I was so nervous and probably wasn't very good but I learned and by my second or third year I think I turned into a competent wrestling official.

Some of the other wrestling officials  suggested I try other sports. So my second year I started football and the third year I added baseball. I was now officiating High School sports year round. I threw myself into officiating. I learned, I studied, and I officiated at every level in all three sports. Little kids,Junior High, High School it didn't matter. I prided myself on not being a snob and taking every assignment. I officiated hundreds of games/matches. I was mentored in all three sports by some outstanding officials.

Then came the beginning of what might be the end. 3 years ago my mentor and baseball partner retired. That sort of took the wind out of my sails as far as baseball. The next year I only umpired 4 games and then this past season I took what is probably a permanent hiatus. Similarly I started cutting down in football. I quit doing youth football two years ago because the parents just pissed me off. I was tired of dealing with the stupid comments and poor sportsmanship. Last year I only did Varsity football because my work schedule didn't allow anything more. This year I had to resign from my Varsity football crew due to my school schedule and other responsibilities. So no football for me at all this season, although they have asked me to come back for next year.

Then there is wrestling my first and most favorite sport. Last year I probably cut my officiating dates in half and this year I just finished the last of only two dates this season. Once again this was due to my school and work schedule. I felt like I was on the verge of getting a post season assignment in wrestling 3 seasons ago. Now I will basically have to start over. If your name is not out there coaches don't nominate you.

So I have been setting myself up to quit officiating for a few years now. I really enjoy some aspects of officiating still, but some parts really irritate me. My original motivations for becoming an official no longer exist and my life has changed in the last 9 years. I have more job responsibilities than 9 years ago and a lot more other activities crowding my schedule. Maybe it is time to move on.

I am not totally out the door but it is wide open.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Gerry

I just found out my friend Gerry "pronounced gary" passed away last October. Obviously we were not everyday bestest buddies but his passing saddens me deeply. I met Gerry when I was a Fleet Manager for a trucking company and he was one of the drivers I dispatched. Unlike most of the other drivers Gerry actually treated me decent and we had many conversations about his life in the military compared to mine. He had spent 3 years as a draftee in Vietnam era Germany and I had retired after 22 years of voluntary service. We also talked often about the other things Gerry had done in life. He had been a corporate manager, a writer and even done my job for a spell. When I quit dispatching trucks we quit talking daily but still kept in touch. He eventually retired and got a job driving day cabs back home in Virginia. Besides being a truck driver Gerry was also a musician. By also I mean he had played old time string music for years. I still remember the day he talked to me about the time off he needed to go back home to the mountains of Virginia because his band was going to play at a reception for The National Geographic in Washington DC. He gave me a copy of his CD for the "Boozy Creek String Band" which is still one of my favorite things to listen to. Gerry had been acquainted with John and June Cash among others but he never hit the big time, just playing his music for the enjoyment of it. I would like to share with you some of Gerry's music. RIP Friend

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Former Action Guy by the Numbers: 2013


Without further ado the 4th annual by the numbers post:

Officiating by the numbers

Wrestling matches- 100.
I didn't do any Baseball or Football this year due to the Paramedic course, apathy, and the fact that my Football crew chief went to Federal Prison (oops). I am probably done with Baseball for good as it was never my favorite, but I might pick up Football again next year when school is done. Wrestling..well wrestling is wrestling.

Running

Miles Run- 2299 ( really you couldn't get 2300?) This is 280 miles less than 2012, which coincidentally is roughly my average monthly mileage, which is also coincidentally the time ( about a month) I spent on injured reserve do to my Achilles. I call him Chucky and he is still bothering me.

Races run-22 quite an increase from 2012

Ultra races/Marathons  run- 11, 1 100 mile, 2 50 mile, 5 50K, 3 Marathons

Personal records-3 .. I PR'ed at the 100 mile, 50K and Marathon distances

Races with Jay- 3.. Jay really brought it this year

EMS

If last year was the year of the Ultra then this year was my year for Emergency Medicine. I started the Paramedic program and have one semester left.

Finals agonized over- All of them

Clinical hours- so far 394 I have about 300 more to go

EMS calls gone on- I have no idea but probably over 100 because I know I have started over 100 IV this year.

I really enjoy EMS I wish I could somehow make a living doing it.

I hope every one has a great 2014. On my bucket list for next year is to pass the National Registry and become a Paramedic. I also want to complete 2 100 mile races and return triumphant from the Ozark Trail 100, the only race I have never finished after I started.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Training timeout

I have been on a training timeout for basically about 40 days. I haven't run seriously since my last 50K race in early November. It was during this race that I finally got it through my thick head THAT I WAS INJURED and needed to rest. I have been battling Achilles tendonosis in my right Achilles tendon for over 6 months and it came to a head during this race. The pain would cause my entire hamstring and sciatic to cramp up the farther I went. I could not comfortably run over 10 miles without pain. That may seem like no big deal but I am used to running 10 miles at a minimum and I was training for a 100 mile race in February.

Well I had to do the adult thing and pull out of that race and for the last month I have joined the ranks of the sick,lame, and lazy ( also airborne crazy). I tell you once you stop working out it sure is easy to sit on the coach. Between my injury and the last year I have spent in Paramedic school I have also gained back about 20 pounds of the 40 pounds I lost in 2011. I also think after constantly training for over 24 months I was probably over trained.

But there is light ahead, although I am scared to run on it at this point my Achilles is feeling better and I am starting to wish I could run again. I plan on starting soon and rededicating myself to weight loss and smart training. I am going to run easy and crosstrain often. I have a 50K scheduled for March and I have another 100 mile race in the works for June. I will keep you updated.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Defense Authorization Bill

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/12/22/veterans-retirement-paul-ryan-budget-deal-column/4164713/

I know this may be old news or unimportant news to some. To me this is extremely indicative of our government and both parties. First they are using the Wimpy principle and promising to pay our medically retired veterans later for a reduction in their pay now. " I will gladly pay you on Tuesday for a cheeseburger today!" This is shameless. Ryan mentions the costs were unsustainable. You ass clowns should have thought of that before you committed us to constant battle. What did you think was going to happen? You were warned about this by many many people but instead of changing things then, you choose to take from veterans and specifically those veterans that need it most.

Ok lets talk about "working age" veterans. As I have told every private sector employer I have had in th 10 years I have been retired. "You don't get to use my retirement as an excuse to compensate me less!" Same thing goes the other way. The government doesn't get to use my current situation to penalize me. My retirement was earned fair and square, this is not an entitlement in which nothing was exchanged. I exchanged 22 years of my life. I exchanged birthdays, my health ( I am also a disabled vet), and my family life to do the bidding of our government. In exchange I expected a retirement that was consistent and now the goal posts are being moved.

This is pandering to special interest groups so they can get reelected. This is also a result of the dwindling veterans population in Congress. Term limits need to be enacted so others have a chance to serve and fresh ideas can be presented. Also we need to get rid of the strangle hold these two monopolistic and tyrannical parties have on our government. I do not propose to let them hand me the crumbs they deem I deserve. I propose to demand the things I have earned

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Paramedic update

Just a short update for those that care. I am entering into my last and final semester of the paramedic course. It has been a long haul with just a few more hills to climb. I am hoping in May I will be able to write a post on how I passed the psychomotor and written exam. At this point clinicals are consuming my life but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Wish me continued success and a bright future full of many routine transfers and naked old people

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Things Coaches Say at Wrestling Meets

I have been a High School sports official for about 9 years now. I have semi retired this year due to attending the classes to become a paramedic. Even though I didn't do any baseball or football officiating this year, I am doing my favorite sport, wrestling. Wrestling coaches are a different breed, I would say the majority of them are former wrestlers themselves and a lot could still compete. What they also are is intense. I like intense, however as an official sometimes hearing the same old comments gets old. Sometimes I think coaches say them as a Pavlovian reflex, just seeing what they can get away with. Here are some of my favorites.

"LOCKED HANDS!!!"

"How is that a takedown?"

"There was no control there!!"

"You shoot!!!"

"LOCKED HANDS!!!!"

"That was terrible"

"No backpoints?"

"TWOOOOOOO!!!!!"

I love wrestling

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sycamore 8 Trail Race























This was another little trail run that I was turned onto by Ross. He is a master at finding this runs. There are more here in Iowa than you would think. We had also designated this run a "meetup" between our chapter of   Team Red White and Blue and the Des Moines Chapter. Even though I have been battling some Achilles issues this was a must do for me.


So I woke up about 0430 and made the 2 hour drive the start in Johnston Iowa. When I arrived it was minus 2 degrees and it wouldn't get much warmer. I checked in and got my race number etc.. Then everyone sat in their cars until it was time to get into the school buses for the ride to the start. I did make some small talk through an open car window with Ross and Julia. I also saw and introduced myself to Brandon the Chapter Captain from the Des Moines Chapter. Eventually we piled into the buses, continuing the small talk until we got dumped off at the start. The RD made a small speech and he also allowed Brandon to plug Team RWB. All the Veterans and Team RWB members huddled together for a quick picture as we shivered in the sub zero temps.

With a Ready, Set, Go!!! the RD set us off on our journey. Initially we ran about .5 miles through the grass and ditch on the side of a road, but then we popped up into a small gravel parking lot at a trail head and we hit the single track. The race course would end up being relatively flat and non technical. A really fast course as trail runs go. I had hoped to break 80 minutes for the course but I finished the first 2 miles in sub 8 minute pace so I was looking faster. The race was pretty uneventful I passed some people and others passed me. It was so cold that I had to use my asthma inhaler for the first 5 miles as my chest kept getting tight and then relaxing. I set my sights on this guy ahead of me in black. My mission was to run him down. At one point he was probably about 30-45 seconds ahead of me. I eventually passed him about mile 6.5.

We did hit a paved section for about 1.5 miles that really aggravated my Achilles/hamstring. I felt like I should be running faster on that segment but I decided to keep it steady. I was glad to hit the trail again with about 1.8 miles to go. I was breathing steady by this time and as I saw the bridge across the river and the building that I thought was by the finish I picked it up as I could. I burst out of the trees and headed the last 50 meters across open ground to the finish. I did get passed int hat last 50 meters by some guy who came up huffing and puffing behind me. I hate when people do that. Put out an effort during the whole race don't pass someone at the last minute unless you have been neck and neck the whole way. Just irritates me for some reason. Anyway it was a good effort as I finished the race in 1:01:28 and came in second in my age group. Ross won the race out right and Julia also won her age group. We got these cool little logs as prizes. I will do this race again next year.








Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving

Had a pretty good Thanksgiving today. Went over the the parent's house and had brunch. Saw all the family then came home and had a little GBNT. Watched some football and then ate the turkey dinner my wife prepared. She makes the most awesome rolls. I couldn't run today due to an injury I have been nursing but thinking about it counts right?

As I sit here on the couch my mind wanders to a Thanksgiving I had about 12 years ago. I was deployed to Kosovo with my team and we were living in a house in a small village called Kamenica. Since we were far from home but had access to a kitchen we had decided to make our own Thanksgiving. We went to the mess hall a few days prior and grabbed two turkeys and the fixins. Our senior engineer put himself in charge of making the chow.

We woke up Thanksgiving morning and decided to do PT for most of the day as we waited for the meal to be prepared. So we went for about a 15 mile ruck march, did some rock climbing, lifted some weights, the normal. About 1500 we were told the food was ready. We all grabbed a huge plate of food and went to the common room of our house to watch football on AFN and eat. The turkey looked great. I took a big old bite and got the disgusting taste of pine needles. It reminded me of when I was doing winter survival in Canada and we had to drink water we made from melting snow. Never could get all the pine needles out.

Anyway we were all saying "What the fuck?" Turns out that our cook tried to get fancy and grill one of the turkeys. Unfortunately the only wood he had were scrap 2 X 4. So you get the picture. We ended up ditching the first plate but fortunately there was another turkey he had prepared more conventionally. Morale of the story never let an SF guy grill a turkey

Keep our deployed troops in your thoughts today as you spend time with your families and they are missing theirs.