Well, that was interesting.
As has happened before, I slipped off to Iraq for a year, spending most all of 2011 in Baghdad. Perhaps in another time, I would have been able to spend a year there writing about great adventures and runs, through the old parts of the city, along the banks of the Tigris or Euphrates Rivers, crossing vast open sands on foot under the cool comfort of a moonless night.
But these days? Yeah, not so much. I snuck in some runs, though not as many as I would have liked. I had stretches of no running, and weeks with 20 or more miles. I ran before the sun rose, I ran long after it had retired, and I even ran under the mid day sun when it was, yes, well past 130 degrees. Running was a precious break that did not happen often enough, and yes, running with it is about 130 degrees is as crazy as it sounds.
I ran short runs, like a single lap around Z Lake. I ran longer runs, like a 4.5 mile loop that took me around the lake as well as Signal Hill. Once in a blue moon, I managed things like Lost Lake to Al Faw to Z Lake, often with others and often with one eye on the road and one eye on the perimeter.
Without a doubt, the most memorable run was Xmas Eve 2010, when three of us were doing a 1/2 marathon on our own. On our way back from the Perfume Palace, our base came under a series of attacks — rockets and mortars, three times, in relatively close intervals. The first attack sounded so far away, and the second didn’t. The third was close — we were adjacent to a CRAM that fired off, and one of the rocketslanded on the street where we were running, close enough that, yeah, a little bit of pee came out (it was a bit like this.) That run, that night, was what closed out my running in 2010 — and included my 2010th mile for the year.
Since returning to the island, I’ve returned to the trails. I need to get back to running, and I need to get back to writing. I’ve only got a few more months here on the island so, well, I’ll do what I can. I run on post 5 days a week, but generally head out for some trail adventure on Sunday morning with some of the crew. Interested? Drop me a note and come join us for a run.