Saturday, November 7, 2015

New York City Marathon

While I was still stewing in the sands of Kuwait, Alita and I passed some of our phone conversation dreaming up a fun fall trip. We settled on trying for a week in New York, anchored on the New York City Marathon. While neither of us desire to live in a large city, we both love travel and doing touristy things that a city like New York has to offer.

Such as posing in front of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline
At over 50,000 finishers, the New York City Marathon is the largest marathon in the world. In spite of having more spots available than your average race, there are still more willing runners than spots. New York does a hybrid approach of a lottery and a qualifying standard. Sadly, my training for the Boise Marathon was so-so and my time was about 30 seconds above the qualifying time*; so, into the lottery it was. Fortune smiled on my hot and dusty circumstances and in a few weeks I got the email letting me know that I would get to be a part of it.


One of the first things that you are asked to choose fairly early in the process is a checked bag versus a space blanket. Most marathons that handle a mere thousand or so runners offer both, but in New York you get one or the other. In the numerous races and marathons that I have done I have had pretty good luck with getting my bag. I felt it would be nice to have my cell phone for linking up with fellow runners before the race and my wife after the race. I opted for the checked bag.

The other choice was what ferry you would take to Staten Island. There was a definite benefit to signing up for your transportation option early as the later ferries filled up first leaving the procrastinators to get a 5am or earlier ferry and have a little more time with their 50,000 closest friends at the starting area.

For our lodging, we went with Air Bnb. Hotels closed in on $200 a night pretty quickly so these were out for us. While there were some Air BnB places I saw in the $50 – 60 range they did not have the queen bed we were looking for or they did not respond**. We decided to stay in Brooklyn near prospect heights (partially because it was near a friend). It was a 30 minute train ride to the start and many good rooms were available for $100/night. Had we been able to snag a Manhattan room for around $100 that would have been better for post-race site-seeing though.

Training for this race started about when I got back from Kuwait. I was able to get in almost all of my long runs. My biggest deficiency was that my family took two separate week-long trips that cut into my overall mileage and speedworks. I ran one trial 10-k about three weeks out in 36:11. I was fairly happy with this race and my pace although my splits faded a little towards the end. I would have preferred to do a 10k and a half marathon as warm-up races but it was a busy summer and fall.

Expo and Packet Pick-up

By total luck, I ran into one of my good running friends from Maine on W 46th street on the way to the Expo. He mentioned that he was going to a Broadway play in the afternoon. If I do New York again I think a 2 p.m. matinee would be a great way to relax before the race. You can get half-priced tickets at the TKTS booth in Times Square on the way to the expo if you hit up the expo in the morning.

The packet pick-up was well organized and pretty easy. I went around 1 p.m. on Saturday and had my number and shirt in less than 10 minutes. The expo itself was unremarkable. There was 50 percent off Asics gear but the line was rather long and I did not need anything in particular at the moment. There were the usual plethora of energy gel, gummy and bar samples.

Entering the Expo

The one thing interesting for a first-timer like myself was the course strategy talk that they gave every hour on the hour near the entrance.

The worth-attending strategy session

One really neat discovery that I made just before the Expo was the TCS New York Marathon app. Among its coolest features, this app allowed you to track up to 10 runners. It would not only give you about 10 splits on the course but it would use this information to predict their finishing time and location on the course – both of which proved pretty accurate. It also had a neat course map that let you jump to various locations by touching the point on the elevation map.

Tracking friends in the marathon

Nice way to preview the course

Race Morning

The one drawback to using Air BnB (as opposed to a hotel) was that this year Halloween fell on the Saturday right before the marathon. There was a mild party (and I do actually mean mild – think normal music and talking, not keg stands) above the apartment that we stayed in. Fortunately, the hosts were nice and turned down the music when I talked to them in my running shorts and shirt at 1 a.m.

In spite of the festivities, I managed to get enough sleep (and had enough adrenaline anyway) that I felt pretty fine as I walked to catch the R train from Brooklyn to the Staten Island Ferry. While it would have been bad form to go at a time other than the one I signed up for, it was good to see that no one really checked us as we got on the ferry so were an unfortunate runner to miss the time he or she signed up for, they would still get to the start.

Pre dawn Manhattan skyline

The Statue of Liberty lit up with the morning sun
New York has three starting areas organized by color (corresponding to three slightly different but equidistant courses over the first three miles). I drew the blue village. This was especially fortunate as one of my friends who served with me in Kuwait also drew this corral and we were able to pass the time before the race together.

KRM reunion
He also showed me a rather underused set of latrines in the blue village that I was very grateful for. The ones right before entered the starting area were mobbed within an hour of the check-in time, but these ones (just a 5 minute walk away) had virtually no line.

Less used latrines shown on the right of the Blue Village
I stuck to my usual pre-race strategy of oatmeal when I got up at 4 a.m. and I stopped drinking water about two hours before the start (to ensure that I would not get caught in the long pre-race lines). I was well hydrated from the days leading up to the race and it was not overly hot for this November race so I figured this was reasonably safe. While I was far enough up to not worry, another good piece of advice from my friend Bret for this race (and Boston) was to carry your own water bottle for the first few miles so that you do not have to fight your way through the earliest water / Gatorade stations.

Just before the 9 a.m cut-off I dutifully went into the Blue A1 corral. There I truly randomly met up with a fellow Tuesday Tempo Runner, Brian MacPhearson, from the Boulder Trail Runners. Around 9:30 or so, we started moving towards the start.

The one thing that I would do differently if I do this race again is to take advantage of the one open area on the way to the start to jog as far to the front as possible. Instead I simply stayed ahead of the 3 hr pace sign, figuring that most of the runners around me would be running in the 2:45 range (or a close enough pace at the start). Instead I found the pace off the gun to be oddly slow for the A1 coral and I am pretty sure I lost about 90 seconds off my finishing time. While not a big deal in the grand scheme of my race, I would have been rather sad if I had been within 90 seconds of my PR.

Here the crowds open up on the way to the start and you have a brief chance to get further forward

A Course is a Course, of course, of course

NYC Marathon Course (courtesy of their site)
After the first half-kilometer things started to open up. My ambitious goal was to get close to a 2:40 which translated to a 3:47 kilometer. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have switched to using kilometer splits on my watch for races as I like the faster feedback and the feeling of seeing milestones (or kilometer-stones) go by faster. To keep on-pace I set up a watch screen with my split time, split pace and split distance. By glancing at the average split pace from time to time I was able to nail my kilometer splits right up until about kilometer 25 when the wind and the two missed weeks of training started to catch up with me.

The course through Brooklyn and Queens was fantastic. We had a light southwesterly tailwind and great crowds. My good friend who lives just west of Prospect Park got my attention and gave me a good boost at mile 7.

Unfortunately, I missed my wife at mile 8. She had a good course watching strategy though. She saw me at mile 8 and would have made the subway stop to see me at mile 16 but got caught up by some weekend subway route changes. Instead she went to mile 25 in Central Park (which I think she could have made even if she caught me at mile 16). She able to get up to the front (and thus get a kiss on the way by) and provide some much-needed support.

For me things started getting tough around kilometer 25 (mile 16). My splits started to inch up into the low 3:50’s. Then we crossed over the Queensboro Bridge and the nice tailwind became a headwind. Suddenly the overcast conditions which had been a blessing combined with the wind to make me feel a bit cold. My splits broke 4:00 where they stayed for most of the remaining 15 kilometers. While I had fallen off my goal pace, I was heartened to feel that I was not falling apart (I did fortunately get in all but one of my long runs). My legs were tired but my mind was still in the game.

At this point I must also confess that I goofed with my shoe management. The two pairs that I had trained up in were too old and I ordered my new pair too late. While I managed just fine in my Gel-Lyte 33’s with only 25 pre-marathon miles on them, I did suffer through some minor hot-spots. It was an embarrassingly rookie move.

The Gel-Lyte 33's have served me well, but they do need some seasoning. . .
The legendary crowds on First Avenue kept my splits near 4:00. Even the light hill at mile 21 did not throw things off more than 10 seconds a kilometer. When I saw Alita at mile 25 I made a beeline for her (the throngs of runners were not too bad) and gave her a quick kiss. Armed with the energy of seeing my favorite person in the world I pushed though the last two kilometers and apparently made the TV coverage. I was happy with my time of 2:47:42. Even though it was 6 minutes off my PR, I was happy that I kept mentally together and I still felt I ran a reasonably smart race.

Photo courtesy of Cathy Sibly

Post race

Stop twisting my arm, we'll go, we'll go!
The one disadvantage of using the bag-check is that I had about a mile walk ahead of me once I finished. On the other hand, I like to walk a lot on the afternoon following a marathon and so even this detail was actually a bit of a blessing.

Alita and I stuck to the advice from the expo and picked a link-up spot a couple of blocks west of Central Park. As a bag check runner I left the park around 85th Street. We linked up at Zabar’s at 4th and 72nd. After a spinach knish and cheese blintz we met up with Bret and his nephew.

From there Alita and I walked the Highline Park. This converted above-ground train track is a great example of urban renewal at its best.  We were treated to great sunset views as we lounged on some wooden lawn-style chairs near the southern end.

Our favorite post-race sites

If you can spare flying back on Tuesday, New York has more than you can do in a couple years’ worth of weekends. We took a week to explore, but if we only had Monday I would have done one or two of the following:

1.       Statue of Liberty / Ellis Island: Tickets to the crown disappear months out and even the pedestal tickets go a few weeks out. However, I think a pretty good tour can be done without either of these perks (after all, you can’t see the statue from her crown). I would go early as the statue and Ellis island can take you well into the afternoon. We skipped the audio-guide for one of the ranger tours and it was a good call.

2.       Broadway show: if you don’t do it on Saturday afternoon, an evening show would be fun. The TKTS gives out some pretty amazing seats. When they said we were in the orchestra section I did not realize we would be able to pat the conductor on the back.

3.       Tenement Museum: This museum is by guided tour only and most tours run around $25, but it’s worth it. We did both a walking tour and a building  tours (Hard Times).  We both  liked the building tour  better.

There were, of course, other places that I would recommend with more time and there were many more restaurants with yummy food than I feel like covering. While I remain convinced that the city is not for me, New York was definitely an amazing race and some of the best post-race fun that I have had.

15 states down, 35 to go.

* Someone told me later that the qualifying time does not necessarily guarantee you entry – it just greatly increases the odds.

** Had we been staying for just the weekend I think we could have nabbed a couch surfing room, but as we wanted to get a week of New York in we were not able to find any takers.

 [KAH1]Look into what my algorithms predicted for this race

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Run-Fishing 2: Flyathlon

Among the many things that lay dormant while I was deployed was my fly fishing. While there might have been salmon fishing in the Yemen for Ewen McGregor, there was no trout fishing to be had in Kuwait (although some friends did catch fish at the Kuwait Naval Base). One concept that I had been looking forward to reviving was the idea of combining trail running and flyfishing. I had done a test run before I left last year, but I never got around to running up to a high mountain lake and really taking advantage of a trail run to get away from it all.

So when I finally got back to Colorado I started reviving the idea. Along the way I discovered that I was not only not the first person to think of this idea, but that someone had come along and done it even better. A fisheries biologist and trail runner came up with the brilliant concept of a flyathlon: run a trail to some high lake or stream, catch a fish, run back and drink a beer. I could identify with this guy.

Refining the Packing List

But before I started doing some serious climbing I wanted to review things a bit more. I did one run down to Walker Ranch (which was just a mile, but featured about 600 ft of vertical) and a fish / run / hike in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. These two trips proved useful in refining the packing list from what I had developed last year. I realized that I needed some snacks if I was going to be pushing myself for eight plus miles often over 1,500 vertical feet. I dropped the sandals – for most high mountain lakes I realized the fishing could be done just as well from the shore. I also finally got  fishing lanyard and ditched my trusty but bulky chest pack.

But most importantly I added a leave-behind kit for the truck. This included a cooler with snacks, frozen water bottles and beer for when I get back (running and fishing at altitude works up a healthy appetite and thirst).

So the new list came out to:

Running pack
Running bag (7.0 lbs, minus the handheld water bottle)
Water bottle
GPS / maps
Fishing Lanyard
Water purifier
Fishing license
Toilet paper

Stay behind stuff
Stay behind bag:
(2) water bottles
Change of clothes

Frozen water bottles

All the gear, ready to go!

Sandbeach Lake Flyathlon Training Run

From the Flyathlon website I found a “training course” inAllenspark that was a reasonable drive from Boulder. The excellent guidebook Fly Fishing in Rocky Mountain National Park suggested that it was a greenback cutthroat fishery with some good potential.

After dropping of my son at child care I left Boulder and made the trailhead by 10:45 am. On a Tuesday there were only about five other cars in the parking lot. The trail featured a steady climb that was (for me) runnable for 90-95% of the way. 

Some nice views on the Sandbeach Lake Trail
It climbed 1,979 ft over 4.3 miles according to Strava. The technical running was minimal and the views were good. On a Tuesday I encountered only three other hikers on the way up. Once at the lake I had the place to myself for all but a few minutes when a few other hikers stopped by.

Images courtesy of Strava
The lake did not feature the steep rock scree side that most high mountain lakes have, but it did feature the namesake sand beach. 

Mount Meeker and the namesake sand beach
I decided to first go right and try what I hoped was the steeper side. I did not catch any fish there but as I was changing my fly I heard some grunting behind me. I turned around to see a black bear about 100 feet behind me. I suspect he saw me first because he was mercifully not that startled by me. I was not sure how fast I could swim and was a bit worried that I was about to find out. Fortunately, the bear was in a decent mood and more concerned with fattening up on berries than fishermen and hikers. I took off my shoes and waded into the lake and walked along the shoreline until I felt I was sufficiently far away. I made a mental note to add bear bells to the packing list.

Black bear, black bear what do you see? I see a tasty fisherman looking at me.

I much prefer to see bears from this distance
I then fished a jut of land on the other side of the lake for the remainder of my time. Fish started rising in the center of the lake but they were mostly beyond my casting reach. Finally around 2:45 I decided to call it so that I could get back in time to pick up my son from child care. If I come back again I think I will bee-line it to the outlet, but that will have to wait for another day.

Looking north from the west side of the lake
I filled up the water bottle and ran down. The non-technical trail made for a fun and (for a less-coordinated person like me) pretty safe run.

Nice view of the valley on the way down
It was wonderful to have cold thawed water and food waiting at the end. While I missed the “fish” leg of the flyathlon I decided to celebrate not pissing off a half-ton-plus omnivore by drinking a Denver Pale Ale anyway.

In spite of not catching any fish, trail running and fishing worked beautifully together. While I think I can get my set-up lighter, its current weight of 7 lbs was just fine even with climbing around 500 ft per mile above 8,000 ft. I figured running bought me close to an hour extra fishing time. On the way up I averaged 12:12 minute miles. I figure with walking I would have, at best, probably done 20 minute miles. Over 4.3 miles (one way) that is over 33 minutes saved. And I got in a good run on a beautiful trail. Success.

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Standing Desktop Experiment

The idea of using a standing desktop had been on my mind for a while. I think it started when I read Scott Jurek’s book Eat and Run where he noted that even active people could suffer adverse effects from sitting too long. This got my attention as I had assumed that my active lifestyle would mitigate less healthy things I do – such as eating any snacks that showed up in the office breakroom. The various articles that I looked into seemed to confirm this: while exercise was good, it did not quite make up for sitting all day.

Initial Research

Some folk at work had adjustable standing desktops and so I asked our HR about getting one. Unfortunately, I was told that this well had dried up – well, sort of. My company would provide a standing workstation if I had a doctor’s note for back pain. I could not bring myself to do this route - I like to think that I am too honest, but it was mostly pride.

My dream set-up that I could not sell our HR on (for me)
[Photo from Ergo Desktops]
So I looked into getting my own. I quickly learned why our company only got standing desktops for thosse medical conditions – they are expensive. I wanted one that could switch from sitting to standing plus accommodate my laptop monitor and a second one.  Desktops that met these criteria started at $400. . . and quickly went up. I guess the craze is still mostly in the realm of hip millennials. I assume that if it ever becomes big enough for Wal Mart to become interested then we will be able to find them for prices closer to $100. While my health is certainly worth more than $400 I felt there must be a better way.

A baseline adjustable desk - with the monitors still a little low
[Photo from Amazon]
Fortunately, the same quick internet research also revealed that I could build one for much less. One popular (and much referenced) site claimed that one could be “hacked” for $22 worth of parts from Ikea. However, at this point I was deploying to Kuwait rather soon, so I shelved this plan and just took my turns at one of the common standing desks that our company was cool enough to get.

Once I got my room in Kuwait though, I was pleased to find that I could stack two of the desk cubes together and make a reasonable standing desk for the evenings. This was much better than using either of them as a desks anyways since the height was not right and would have just strained my back hunching over a nightstand desk. 

Useful re-purposing of Army provided furniture
According to the Mayo clinic’s guide the keyboard was a bit low (should be at elbow height) and the laptop monitor was therefore much too low (the top should be at eye level).

Proper proportions
[Photo credit: Mayo clinic]


So the next round in the experiment came about trying to make one for work. We had a self-help wood-working shop on camp, but I was once again stymied by bureaucracy. The woodshop did not have a lot of storage space (to put projects in between work sessions) so there was a blanket policy again building furniture. As the organization that oversaw the woodshop I probably could have bullied my way through, but it did not seem like the right battle.

Initial designs

Testing things out in Sketch-up

But then I found a desktop that someone abandoned when they went home. I measured the height and cut it to the right length to put the tops of the monitors at eye level. I have to admit that this at first seemed too high (especially compared to the set-up I was using in the room) but I eventually realized this was probably because my other setups were just promoting bad posture.

Good on the monitor height, but two stacks of water bottles was too much. And one stack was not enough.
The final step was to get the keyboards right. This was a bit trickier to fine tune. I was quite happy to discover though that some O’Douls cans and cheap paperbacks did the trick. It was worth the effort through to get the keyboard at the right height as this made typing a lot easier.

Everyone appreciated the awesomeness that the O'Douls added to this set-up

Verdict. . . so far

It took about two to three weeks for my legs to adapt to the standing desktop. They would be pretty tired at the end of many days. The problem with DIY solutions is that you are kinda all in. Going back and forth between sitting and standing is an annoying effort – especially with a second monitor. Part of my research found that some of the same people who sang the praises of standing desktops still recommended being able to sit sometimes during the day. In a rare silver lining for meetings, I found that they provided nice sitting breaks.

Some physical pluses were very obvious. At one point I went back to the normal sitting set-up for one day (I wanted to rest my legs before a half-marathon that I was going to do the next day). I found that I could definitely feel it in my back (making me realize why my civilian company would pony up for a standing desktop if you have back issues). I was also annoyed that my monitors did not have the ability to adjust to the ideal ergonomically ideal height that I had become accustomed to.

There were also subtler benefits. I found that it was easier to justify going over to talk to people when I did not have to overcome the comfort of sitting. It was also easier to stay alert after lunch (or at least easier to fight nodding off).

One ultra-runner that I follow claimed that his standing desktop had let him really bump up his weekly mileage without suffering his usual injuries. I did not significantly increase my mileage during this time though and I did not find amazing or immediate results in my running. I did however manage to shave four seconds off my 5k PR though, so the standing desk at least correlated with good running and did no harm.

I ended up using the standing desktop for three months in Kuwait. Overall, it was a success and I plan to try and implement some form of it when I am back at my civilian job. So far, it is an experiment worth continuing.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Kuwait Running Mafia

Even if one is blessed with a good job (as I was) during a deployment, having weekly milestones give you something to look forward to that is closer than the return home. During my first deployment I was fortunate to find a group that did long runs at 0430 every Sunday and finished with drinks at the Green Bean. I met some great people and even got to run on the 101st 10-Miler Team as a result of meeting these folks.

Camp Stryker Striders after a Sunday Run

With memories of these good times, I determined at the start of this deployment that I would find or start a running club. So I was very pleased when I discovered a flyer for the Kuwait Running Mafia in the USO of Camp Arifjan in my first week.

At some point a few months into the deployment, though no real maneuvering or planning, I found myself as one of the leaders of the club. These are some of the lessons and history for those that come after or want to start their own deployed running club.


The Kuwait Running Mafia, or KRM, was founded in October 2012 by four members of the 38th Sustainment Brigade from the Indiana National Guard:

W01 Moriah Addington (Running Queen)
1SG Jeramie Baty (Coach)
CW4 Chris Jennings (Godfather)
Cw2 Darren Minnemann (Instigator)

According Facebook, some of the original members
[Credit: Kuwait Running Mafia facebook page]
From the founding memo: “The KMR is about fun. It is about setting and achieving goals and helping others to do the same. It's about inspiring and being inspired through others and running. It is just a small community of runners deployed to Kuwait that want to get together and share their love for running or just want someone to run with to push themselves a little harder.”

Original membership requirements included
  1. running 100 miles;
  2. doing a marathon of volunteer work (26 hours); and,
  3. running a race or training run of at least 13.1 miles.

The requirements had been dropped or forgotten by the time that I started running with the KRM although I would say that most of our core members have more than met them. We do not do as many volunteer races as the original crew did because the MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) office does a great job of putting on 3 -4 races every month (although we still snuck a few in).

Vigil and Sam handing out fruit at the Bataan Death March


The good news about deployments is that they come to an end. Depending on your service this can be from six months to a year. This presents a challenge though for a loose knit running club that seeks to have membership across many different units.

I decided that the key was to be continuously on the lookout for other leaders. You cannot do this club with just one person. Military jobs are unpredictable both daily (in making it to the runs) and overall (Surprise, you’re going to Iraq!) . I suspect I used a similar checklist to my predecessor:

  1. Shows up regularly at the runs: You need someone who can be counted on to bring shirts, water, etc.
  2. Come to you with ideas for things the club can do: Fair warning, if you came to me with a good idea, you were in danger of being recruited to the Dons of the KRM.

Volunteer to organize a pasta dinner = KRM Don
Another challenge was continuity of emails. When I arrived the KRM distro list was just “replying all” to the last weekly email. With more than one person in charge this was a challenge with people who wanted to be added or dropped. It also made it hard to keep records of folks that we talked to back in the states for shadow runs and ordering team t-shirts. So I created a gmail account, put in that week’s distro list and gave out the password to the fellow dons.

A common folder was a bit of a challenge too. The previous one was in the sustainment brigades’ server – which I could read but not edit. So I made a folder on the common drive that I hope everyone can get edit access to. Something like dropbox would have been ideal, but it cannot be accessed on military networks.

A final piece was the Facebook page. For reason known only to them, the founding members did not let us become administrators of their original page. So Charles made another Facebook page. It’s a bit confusing, but it's clear which one is the more active page.

Spreading the Good Word

At first I stuck with what worked for me: posters at the gym, USO, Post Exchange, MWR community center and USO. We also found advertising of the Camp Arifjan Craigslist (a Facebook page) to be effective.

Drawing them in at the Resiliency Expo
But what really worked was in-person events. The first boost came when we teamed up with the 13th Sustainment Brigade to host a shadow run of the Army Marathon. Then fortune smiled again when we were able to get a booth at the Resiliency Expo. This was a day-long event where various organizations put up booths talking about how their organizations played a part in reducing or dealing with stress - and as many KRM members have said: Running, because hitting people is frowned upon.

Weekly Run Numbers

Fun Over Speed

I was fortunate to become part of a running club instead of founding it. Coming from Boulder and before, running clubs to me were mostly speedworks and long runs. Had I tried that, the "Arifjan Track Club" would have had 2-6 regular members and been a low-grade affair. Fortunately, the folks before me realized that a mellow 3 – 6 miles was a much better way to bring people in. I started up a Tuesday speedwork (and stole the name Track Trashing Tuesday from the Rocky Mountain Runners) but it never got more than a half-dozen folks and was often just two or three of us.

Two key parts of the fun was the weekly emails. Again, the KRM was fortunate to have folks other than myself who were more skilled in writing witty and fun emails with good humor and (for a while) cat facts.

Chris "Cat Man" Cruise. KRM Don. Saver of catz.
The pizza after the runs was one of the best additions that happened while I was at the KRM. One of leaders, Chief Bolan, started getting pizza and having it at the finish of our runs. In my favorite KRM quote, one of members noted “this whole time I had though my body wanted water at the ends of runs, it turns out it really wanted pizza.” Then one day Chris was taking a while to get the pizza and so we went down  to help him by standing over him and watching until he got the pizza. Thus was born the tradition of taking over the pavilion and sitting down like civilized starving runners.

It's not just an excuse for pizza. . . but that's part of it

Fun Experiments

Even a running club does not live on simple runs alone. We started branch out with a movie night (Run Fat Boy Run), a talk from the post dietician and a cookout. If someone had an idea we usually, well, ran with it.

End of some more good feasting
Two fun experiments that would be worth repeating at some point was the first Camp Arifjan Chem Light Hash and the Near-Beer Near-Mile. Both are fun running traditions that we adapted for the realities of Kuwait.

I wanted to show folks the fun of a good hash run but I was leary of using the traditional hashing trail marker of flour. Even though most of us have all sorts of great shots thanks to the military, I was worried that some folks just would not take a bit of Anthrax humor.  Our runs, even in the summer, are in the dark so we decided to try chem lights. I laid a weaving trail through the less inhabited parts of Camp Arifjan and folks followed as best they could. We learned that you need a LOT of chem lights – probably 15 -20 a mile. And that local workers like to pick up your hard laid trail. But since there was no real beer involved I was not punished too much for laying the trail.

Before I left I decided to do a near-beer mile. While we could not follow the rules precisely, I figured we would still suffer the carbonation and volume. It turned out even mentioning near-beer can double the attendance of a track workout – a useful thing to keep in mind I guess. It was an experiment worth repeating.

JD starts as lap as others nurse their O'Douls

Final Thanks

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably involved in the KRM and know I would be remiss in not thanking a few key folks.

Charles Noble – for keeping the club together after the founders left and even bringing in a stray engineer  running club.
Jack Bolan – for taking over from Charles and starting the pizza tradition.
Chris “cat man” Cruise – for starting the witty and amusing emails and keeping things fun.
Sam – For taking over the emails and setting us up at the resiliency expo. And taking the torch for the club.
Tom – for taking the KRM gear and part of the leadership mantle.

Good luck, run strong, and