It is hard to fathom...

We want to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly!
Scotty
Bill Crothers
Posts: 1485
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2005 4:42 pm
Location: Shilo, MB

It is hard to fathom...

Postby Scotty » Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:06 pm

It is hard to fathom, at 0430 with a gentle but steady rain falling, that this land could be a harsh daunting desert. But several days ago I had the opportunity to experience at least a glimpse at the possibility of such a thing.

I had seen the signs around, advertising the “KAF Jogging Route” (knowing full well that the use of the word jogging would send some of my RunningManiac friends into cardiac arrest, or at least begin again a spirited debate on semantics). Feeling particularly keen and able one day I armed myself with a 500ml bottle of weak Gatorade and started on an epic journey.

The ground here is often hard, concrete-like packed dirt, often littered with golf ball sized rocks that pester and annoy, and threaten to turn your ankle and leave you a hobbling victim at any time. This phenomenon is not exclusive to sneakers, as even in my combat boots I have felt the awkward and biting turn of an ankle. The ground in places is also a thick spongy mud, remnants of previous rains that evaporated before they were absorbed into the impervious soil. And after a few days when covered in dust can spring up on you like the terrible sinking pits reminiscent of the quicksand in the Princess Bride. After a few steps through this it collects on your boots or sneakers, weighing them down. Then you run across gravel and you end up with a weird gravel encrusted coral on your sneakers (or boots).

But for running, at least for the somewhat lazy runner like myself, the terrain is billiard table flat. Though running at about 3000ft above sea level, you run a smooth eerily flat course.

The running route almost immediately takes me parallel to the airstrip, and for any kid who has ever grown up and dreamt of Top Gun you feel a surge of adrenaline that takes you back. I stretch my legs out here, picking up the pace bit. Feeling the breeze. I pass people from other nations who smile and nod, like serious runners do. Ha-ha.

Then I round the far corner of the airfield, and come face-to-face with the mountains I have seen through cloudy hazes, dusty hazes and sunny hazes. Now seemingly close enough to touch the late afternoon sun shines like a spotlight on them. You cannot help but immediately get the sense of something great and terrible as you look towards the naked mountains. They are daunting rocky crags, reminiscent of a Tolkien yarn. They signify the rigid backbone of this nation. And they are beautiful. You cannot help but thinking “Hm, that is where they launch the rockets from.” And you cannot help but hate the mountains then.

From my vantage points around the airfield you see the true level of constant activity packed into this patch of dirt. This activity is an enormous plethora of air assets, some which threaten to shake my teeth loose from their very spot. As well, there is an enormous amount of construction activity, with workers of seemingly many nations, being supplied by continuous road convoys.

A word about the vehicles in these convoys. The term often used to define these vehicles is “Jingle Trucks” for they are often gaily painted and have some manner of chains adorning them so as they move they well, jingle. You get a feeling of a sense of pride from many of these drivers, who race along at 10 miles an hour and with big smiles. Many times either walking the base, or on this run (that I am trying to get around to describe) I was met with many smiles and waves. But these vehicles are rusted, old, and battered in many cases; however, they have been looked after to the point that they are at least serviceable.

But I digress.

This running route sometimes shows me the roads within the vicinity of the base, and these roads are a curious mix of some civilian vehicles as well as military vehicles coming and going. I run past the uncharted minefields that surround us. I watch convoys of military vehicles drive on doing their duty, or returning from. I know that this is a war zone, and with no levity I state that still with the amount of activity and varying levels of technology evident in this base I feel like I am in a weird dream that is a mixture of the computer games SIMCity and Civilization.

As I continue around nearing the end of my journey I realize then that the base is completely surrounded by this jagged mane of mountains, and with heat blazing off the small section of “blacktop” I feel as though I am running a route around the inside of and electric griddle.
I get back to my room after about 11km, and about 75 minutes. I am covered in a pasty dust muck that coats my skin like some expensive ex-foliant. My shirt and shorts are drenched, yet dusty. My throat is a little raw from dust. But I feel good and exhilarated.

By the time I have finished and am back in my small room, I have a full understanding of the weird paradox this place truly is. In one (relatively speaking) small patch of mine riddled, sun blasted earth the most powerful nations on the planet have sent maybe not all their brightest, not all their best, maybe not even their bravest, but possibly the most dedicated, to a place that is as dangerous as any that exist currently on the globe. These soldiers do not share a religion; do not share a language with the proud innocent civilians of this country. But they share a fundamental humanity, a oneness, and to belittle that to the point of calling it political puppetry or a lost cause or ‘unwinnable’ is to do both sides a disservice. These dedicated, and brave few, (again relatively speaking) have gathered to offer something to this large dirt-poor country. That thing is hope.

I say these things with no arrogance, or expectation of praise for my job is safely within the wire, and I look up to my peers with awe, as well, from here. All I did was go for a run.
For me life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer.
~Arnold Schwarzenegger

"Everybody pities the weak; jealousy, you have to earn."

User avatar
MINITEE
Lynn Williams
Posts: 19439
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 1:33 pm
Location: London, Ontario
Contact:

Postby MINITEE » Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:13 pm

:cry: Scotty - that was an amazing, moving and touching post...

Like I've said before, you truly have a gift...
KEEP GOING, NEVER GIVE UP: Spencer D

Hey, be careful around me, apparently I'm a chronically offended kind of person... ;)

User avatar
Midge
Jerome Drayton
Posts: 5069
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 11:11 am
Location: Ottawa
Contact:

Postby Midge » Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:30 pm

You may think that all you did was go for a run,
but in writing that post you did so much more. So much more than any politician or journalist could ever do to explain to those of us who sit in comfort and wait, to explain the reality of the conditions and land that is Afghanistan..


I applaud you Sir

you do us proud

User avatar
freddybeachpete
Bruce Kidd
Posts: 552
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2006 3:14 pm
Location: Fredericton
Contact:

Postby freddybeachpete » Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:35 pm

Love reading your posts Scotty.

Hoo rah !!!!
2009 Goals:

UNB Indoor Tri (Feb)
Fredericton Race Weekend (May)
"Blind Guys Tri Team" @ Joe's Team Sprint Tri, Muskoka, Ont. (July)
Lobsterman Oly Tri, Freeport ME. (Sept)

User avatar
BaldGuy
Jerome Drayton
Posts: 5945
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 9:30 pm
Location: Toronto

Postby BaldGuy » Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:39 pm

Thanks again, Scotty. :)
BG

User avatar
seuss
Kevin Sullivan
Posts: 27055
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 2:46 am
Location: Wet Coast

Postby seuss » Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:45 pm

beautiful Scotty - thank you. i think of you and Jaimer and Scadian often. stay safe!
******
2010 - gone viral?
2011 - mitochondrial mystery tour

User avatar
Ironboy
Abby Hoffman
Posts: 8201
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2005 8:57 pm
Location: Ottawa
Contact:

Postby Ironboy » Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:57 pm

Very cool buddy, very cool.

BJH
Lynn Williams
Posts: 18924
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 9:04 am
Location: Midtown Toronto

Postby BJH » Thu Mar 01, 2007 1:49 pm

Beautiful post.
The road to hell is paved. Run trails.

User avatar
wantmeback
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3843
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 10:22 am
Location: St. Albert, AB

Postby wantmeback » Thu Mar 01, 2007 2:00 pm

I was thinking of the three of you this morning as I passed several yellow ribbons on my way into work. Thank you for sharing. You really have a gift for words!
Jen

*The maniac formerly known as gjennifer*

Back at it! 2019 goal Edmonton Hypo Half February 3rd

RayMan
Jerome Drayton
Posts: 4664
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2005 7:45 am

Postby RayMan » Thu Mar 01, 2007 2:32 pm

Awesome! I salute you, sir!

kevvyd
Bruce Kidd
Posts: 615
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2005 1:48 pm
Location: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Contact:

Postby kevvyd » Thu Mar 01, 2007 2:50 pm

Thank you for this!
Kevin

User avatar
barebuns1
Bill Crothers
Posts: 1915
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2005 6:13 pm
Location: Medicine Hat, Ab

Postby barebuns1 » Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:18 pm

Great run report. Good luck in KAF, Scotty
If you have to ask me why I Run, You probably wouldn't understand!

User avatar
NewFinnLoper
Jerome Drayton
Posts: 4335
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 5:57 pm
Location: Winnipeg

Postby NewFinnLoper » Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:52 pm

Wow...thank you for that.
22 halfs (PR 1:42:02) :)
5 full (PR 3:48:21)
...and a smattering of adventure and trail races thrown in for good measure!
--------------------------
All running is on hold until further notice .... :0(

User avatar
CeilidhOnTheRun
Jerome Drayton
Posts: 5003
Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2005 9:01 am
Location: Halifax, NS
Contact:

Postby CeilidhOnTheRun » Fri Mar 02, 2007 6:40 am

Scotty, thanks again for sharing. I've been looking for an update since the race report.
Hugs to you.
~T
~Trish
Recovering slowly...

trixiee
Lynn Williams
Posts: 17644
Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2005 6:26 pm

Postby trixiee » Fri Mar 02, 2007 6:53 am

Scotty - I think you should submit this to a newspaper, or some popular web-site. (such as www.helium.com) It deserves a National read much larger than RM.

Those darn allergies :oops:

I can't thank you enough for bringing to me a perspective of life in the Armed Forces that I could never imagine. I'm so far removed from that...

I hope to read many more chapters from your life there.

Thank you!
http://connect.garmin.com/profile/trixiee14

Why fit in when you were born to stand out?
~ Dr. Suess~
Life is short. Drink the good wine first!

User avatar
Jo-Jo
Kevin Sullivan
Posts: 28747
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 6:12 am

Postby Jo-Jo » Fri Mar 02, 2007 6:58 am

Like Trixee says...thank you for sharing your perspective.
Stay safe and be happy. Hugs to the three of you. :D
Technophobe Extraordinaire
"Princess" J0-JO...The Awesome Running Machine.
"a precious, unique and quirky individual"...definition given by a Toronto Cop
An Ever Loyal and Devoted Official Doonst Fan.
"In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer" -Albert Camus
"Keep Going. Never Give Up." Spencer

User avatar
KBO
Ben Johnson
Posts: 4825
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2005 11:14 am

Postby KBO » Fri Mar 02, 2007 1:48 pm

Scotty, you really are an excellent writer. Thanks for taking the time to share. I really enjoy reading your reports.

Karen

User avatar
Robbie-T
Jerome Drayton
Posts: 6340
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 11:44 am
Location: Awesome World
Contact:

Postby Robbie-T » Fri Mar 02, 2007 2:00 pm

Thanks for sharing.

btw nice run man!!
Mississauga Marathon - 2:52
Around the Bay - 1:58
Click>> Race History
ItsMyRun.com

"If I'm running, it will be a good run" - Robbie-T

"I just hope that people look at it and say, 'Hey if this yahoo can do it, then I can do it too.' That'd be cool if people thought that. It's just a matter of putting the miles in and working. It's not so much how much talent you have. I hope." - Brian Sell.

"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the Gift." - Pre

User avatar
freddybeachpete
Bruce Kidd
Posts: 552
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2006 3:14 pm
Location: Fredericton
Contact:

Postby freddybeachpete » Fri Mar 02, 2007 2:04 pm

I think that Macleans magazine would be a great spot for your story as well as the Running Room magazine or even Runners World
2009 Goals:



UNB Indoor Tri (Feb)

Fredericton Race Weekend (May)

"Blind Guys Tri Team" @ Joe's Team Sprint Tri, Muskoka, Ont. (July)

Lobsterman Oly Tri, Freeport ME. (Sept)

Ed Fizz
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3861
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 7:34 pm

Postby Ed Fizz » Fri Mar 02, 2007 3:01 pm

Thanks man!!!

User avatar
runjanerun
Jerome Drayton
Posts: 5078
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 9:15 pm
Location: Trenton

Postby runjanerun » Fri Mar 02, 2007 8:07 pm

That was great Scotty.... you really should consider submitting your work for publication. Take care.
Jane
________________________

lisaannr
Abby Hoffman
Posts: 9349
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2005 12:12 pm
Location: British Columbia (Lower Mainland)

Postby lisaannr » Fri Mar 02, 2007 10:20 pm

Midge wrote:You may think that all you did was go for a run,
but in writing that post you did so much more. So much more than any politician or journalist could ever do to explain to those of us who sit in comfort and wait, to explain the reality of the conditions and land that is Afghanistan..


I applaud you Sir

you do us proud


What he said... you do us proud! Stay safe!
"Keep Going. Never Give Up" - Spencer

User avatar
RA.
Kevin Sullivan
Posts: 27125
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 11:54 am
Location: Tantallon, NS

Postby RA. » Sat Mar 03, 2007 7:06 am

:D
Life is short. Stop whining!!- Jwolf

Marg
Site Admin
Posts: 13480
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2005 8:28 am
Location: Ottawa

Postby Marg » Sat Mar 03, 2007 7:13 am

wow, thank you.
I agree this deserves a wider publication.

stay safe Scotty and keep on running!
Chilly 1/2 - March 4
Montreal 1/2 - April 29
NCM 1/2 - May 27
Manitoba 1/2 - June 17
Army 1/2 - Sept

Scotty
Bill Crothers
Posts: 1485
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2005 4:42 pm
Location: Shilo, MB

Postby Scotty » Sat Mar 03, 2007 12:41 pm

Hm, :?

Kara actually posted this on here for me, as I set her the text. I didn't know this was going to be here. Not that I mind!

Though tempting, I am not exactly in a position to facilitate getting "published" somewhere.

Though I do appreciate the positive response. I am hoping to consolidate my thoughts near the edn of this into somewhat of a memoir.

Again thanks for the support.



And from what I have red elsewhere on the site, I should be looking to find some juggling balls here... :wink:
For me life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer.
~Arnold Schwarzenegger

"Everybody pities the weak; jealousy, you have to earn."


Return to “Run/Race Reports”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest