Friday, April 21, 2006

My IT Band was about to POP!

Longest Run since 1991!!!!!

Many of you may not be aware, but I was in the military for 4 years. I served in
Ft. Benning GA for 3 years and Camp Casey Korea for one year. I was with an elite unit for many of those years. I would never trade that experience for anything. The friends I made and the years I grew from that experience I am unable to put into words.

What I can put into words is the physical health I was in from 1987 to 1991. I entered The US Army Infantry Basic Training at about 235 lbs.

I was 17 and strong. I was a bad ass and wanted everyone to know it. I grew up in unique environments. I went to a different school every year of my life but two. I am better for it, I personally think. I had to prove myself at each institution of learning. By 3rd grade I just knew I was going to have to enter class, find out the toughest kid and be prepared to fight him and others because I was the outsider. Then in 7th and most of 8th grade I became the ultimate outsider.

I know some of you may disagree with my ideas on life, but that is ok and I welcome it. However, everyone should know, I hate racism and despise bigotry. I will call you on a black joke if you tell it to me, not if you’re saying it in a group, I don’t thin that is respectful of you. I have individuals of color who are family. However, I also respect anyone’s right to their own thoughts and ideas. I also have family that has extreme differing opinions about these topics from me and I love them for it. This is the USA.

With that being said, for 7th and most of 8th grade I attended Colton Jr. High in New Orleans LA. Colton is located o St. Claude Ave. past Elysian Fields. I was living with my Momma, Henrietta and my Papa, Edu. Colton was in the 9th ward. Most of you know now, because of Katrina, that the 9th Ward is the lower class area of New Orleans. I was one of 4 non-blacks in the school. There was a Jewish kid and two Hispanic kids, and me. At the time a blue eyed, sandy blonde haired kid. I fought EVERY day of school for the first few months. I was cut by knives, razor blades, and beaten up by groups of 5 and 6. I could fight and I could fight well. I have a large tolerance for pain and it came in handy at this time of my lie.

I know, you want to ask the same questions EVERYONE does when I talk about this. “Where were the teachers?”. They were teaching. These fights were between classes in the stair wells, or the bathrooms, until I stopped going into them for a while. After school was the worst. I knew if I had pissed someone off that day, there was going to be a gauntlet of boys outside that I had to get through to get home. Let’s say I was tough as nails with a 4 lb. chip on my shoulder.

Why am I telling this story on my tri blog site? Good question, because it tells you more about me and my experiences in life that have brought me to where I am right now as I type into this computer.

Some may say that if I was treated so horribly by so many black kids, why am I not angry or even prejudice against them? Because the second part of this story is so beautiful.

As the months went by and the fights continued on, I never missed a day of school. I went back every morning expecting the worse and at times that was granted. After a while there were students that stood up for me. At first those that stood up for me would let the initial fight go on, but not let others jump in on me. That leveled the playing field and less people wanted to fight me one on one. Then before my 7th grade year ended I had a slew of friends that literally protected me and didn’t let anyone mess with me.

I wish I knew where they were now. I stayed in touch with several of my friends from Colton. Some actually worked where my Momma, Henrietta worked at Pat O’Briens, home of the Hurricane. But, as years drag on, I lost touch with the very special friends I had. I hope and pray they are ok and safe after Katrina.

All of that for this . . .

When I joined the service, I still had that 4 lb. chip on my shoulder. I was still the toughest guy on the block, so I thought. Then I ran into a few guys that changed my life and my idea of myself as being one bad mutha. They kicked my ass for months on end and broke me down into a little wuss and then built me up into a man. I will never forget Drill Sergeant Wolf, Simms, and Brinkly.

The other thing I learned form them, how to fly! I was one fast dude by the end of Basic. I was smoking the PT run with smooth 10 minute 2 miles. I was in the A group when it came to the morning runs around Harmony Church. I was at 198 lbs. and I could hump a 75 lb. ruck 20k like it was a Sunday stroll.

When I exited the service (ETS) in 1991 I was 205 and could still run like the wind. It only took me 15 years to get to where I am today, 371 lbs. I am praying it doesn’t take me 15 to get back to 204!

All of that for this . . .

This brings me to Saturday morning and the Crescent City Classic, CCC in New Orleans LA. This is a 10k around the CBD and out to City Park for the finish. I was not prepared and I knew it as I walked to the start. Even that morning I hadn’t done the things I knew I should have, stretch, fuel, poop, etc. I was late and I had no time.

We started a little late, but soon we were off. I was determined to pace myself and not get caught up on keeping up with the crowed. I lost that focus quickly. We were about one and a half miles into it and I was at 12:40 pace. For me that is flying! We turn onto Rampart and I begin to feel a little rub with my left shoe. There is not wind or breeze. It is just damp heat. That is never good for me.

My Momma, Henrietta was on Rampart wearing pink Easter Bunny ears! I saw her right after a water station, which was nice; it motivated me to keep focused. At about mile 3 I began to bonk. I had little energy and my IT band felt like it was going to pop on my left leg. There were a few folks cheering us on and they had hoses and sprinkler to cool us down.

At mile 4 I knew I had one of the largest blisters I have ever encountered on my left foot. I had to begin walking it was so painful. Funny thing was, it actually felt better to run than it was to walk. So, I ran! I had nothing in the tank. The greatest part of the race was when a 70 something year old man passed me speed walking. I knew I must have been an odd sight to those watching this run. Here is this guy, exerting every ounce of energy he has, sweating like a fire hydrant, running and everyone is passing him as they walk and chat it up. I would have liked to have seen that myself.

Once I saw City Park about mile 5 I knew I would finish, not in the 1:30:00 I wanted to, but I would finish. The last mile is kin of a blur. I began to hallucinate about ice cold beer, red beans and rice, a massage, maybe.

What actually transpired is the following:

I finished, saw my friend Devin, hobbled over to him and questioned myself as to whether I wanted to pass out of simply pass away. I chose to lean on the gate and contemplate the question. Luckily Devin drug me into the party area in Tad Gromley Stadium.

WOW! It was awesome. I was only able to grab 2 Gatorades and limp into the stands and watch, but what I saw was awesome.

Here is a city that is still 30 percent destroyed, 30 percent un-livable, 20 percent getting better, and 10 percent perfectly livable, BUT here were 30 thousand people celebrating together. I love my city. I pray hard that this storm season be easy on the coast and New Orleans, but we all know it probably won’t be.

Devin and I sucked down our Gatorades, caught the school bus back to the French Quarter and said our goodbyes. His wife Jenny did the 10k as well. She is 6 months pregnant and finished in 1:10 min!!!!!!!! Wow!!!!!!!!

I visited with m Momma for only a few seconds and drove home to Baton Rouge where Amanda performed surgery on my foot. She removed 3 blisters one that was deeper than any I have ever had and covered about 2 inches. That is a lot for a blister.

I will spend the week recovering from that and mentally preparing myself for my triathlon this coming weekend where I will again be racing against my friend Michael Pate. Mike beat me in our first of 5 races a couple weekends ago by 3 minutes. I have to redeem myself this weekend.

Thank you to everyone for your support. I will be 210 lbs. one day and your support will be a piece of the puzzle that gets me there.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Keep up the great work - your determination is inspiring to us all. Remember all of us at are keeping tabs on you!!!

Take care,