Soldier Ride Day 2

Busy, busy day today.  Started with a 20 mile ride which was hotter, hillier and a little longer than yesterday according to some GPSs we had with us.  There were a couple crashes, some dehydration and one guy went into seizures.  After the ride we went to an adaptive sports center and did wheelchair basketball and seated volleyball and rock climbing.  The wheelchair basketball smoked my shoulders, I could feel the not just the muscle pain, but also the injuries.

When I got laid off this spring I took myself off of all my meds.  I wanted to give my body a break from all the stuff I was taking and slowly take only what I felt was entirely necessary.  Between that, and the fact that my working out/running has been pretty sporadic this year, my run is in pretty bad shape as is my cardiovascular health overall.

We got back to the hotel with almost two hours before our next hard, the time to get on the busses for dinner.  I had fantasies of a nap after the early, long, physical and packed day so I was really surprised when the words “Sure, I’ll meet you in the lobby at 5:00pm” came out of my mouth when one of the other guys asked me if I wanted to go for a run.  He told me it’d be a short, easy jog, maybe 1.5 miles.

When I got to the lobby one of the Wounded Warrior Project’s athletes was down there with my buddy.  He regularly runs races, triathlons and competes in obstacle course races.  The three of us set off and I was immediately thinking that if we went to far/fast I’d have to walk.  Instead those guys got me through a very quick (especially for me) almost 4 mile run.

I’d been an Non-Commissioned Officer/Senior Non-Com for so long that I’d forgotten what it was like to be pulled along.  I’d been the one who would circle the formation of soldiers around to pick up the stragglers, to run alongside a soldier to pace them, to help an overweight or soldier recovering for an injury with additional runs.  I’d talked them on, bullied them, shamed them…  whatever it took to get them to finish.

These guys didn’t have to hurl insults at me.  They’re professionals and so am I.  But because they believed in me so much, I just didn’t want to let them down and dug a little deeper than I’d been forced to in awhile.  It was a great experience and I was grateful to them.  Not only had it been awhile since I’d been pulled along like that, it’d been awhile since I put myself into a position where I might have NEEDED to be pulled along and accepted/submitted to the help.

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