Friday, September 25, 2009

My Day In A Nutshell: Or just a nutty Friday?

Because I am in the Army, I get the opportunity to do things really early in the morning, things that normal people don’t do until much later in the day, if at all. Additionally, the Army is full of traditions, some of them are stupid. On really good days, the Army likes to combine stupid traditions and really early in the morning. Today was such a day. I would like to introduce you to an event called the “Post Run.” As the name implies, the whole post gets in a line and runs. Did I mention that we do it really early in the morning? Fort Lee is a small installation, probably about 10,000 Soldiers, all of which are supposed to line up in order behind a two star general; of course they are not single file as that would be silly.

You are probably asking “doesn’t it take time to get in order"? Why yes it does, I will discuss that in a moment. You may ask: “What is the purpose,”? The response is “to have fun and build unit cohesion, really early in the morning.” “How long is a run like this?" About 3 miles, very, very slow miles. In fact a couple of times we started running backwards. So it actually turns out to be more than 3 miles, maybe 3.1 miles.

This painful tradition requires a few small steps of which I will provide you with a diagram and start to finish explanation.

1:30 a.m.

I would like to mention that we had a very violent electrical storm last night. I had chosen to sleep in the basement since I would only be getting about four hours of sleep. The first two cracks of thunder were at about 1:30 a.m. As I lay there with my head buried in my pillow, it occurred to me that my wife probably had several children awake. I went upstairs to see that they had not come downstairs. Emily was awake and I casually mentioned that I was surprised that the kids were not downstairs yet. Surprise, they both popped up from under the covers. I opened Simon's door to find him in bed, but very glad to see me.

1:40 a.m.

I realize that with this huge storm, there is no chance in Hades that I am going to get them back to bed. Before I knew it, I had Olivia, Simon, Vance, and the Poodle all lying in the basement bed with me watching Star Wars. I briefly dozed off but was startled when the children began cheering for Luke Skywalker as he narrowly escapes the Wampa. For those of you who have no clue what that is it is a snow monster. What I don’t understand is how lightening can be more frightening then this at 2 a.m.:

2:00 a.m.

The lightning subsides and I put the kids back to bed. I go back to bed.

3:30 a.m.

I awake at 3:30 a.m. and put my physical fitness uniform on. Due to the fact that everyone will be arriving on post at the same general time the highways will be backed up for at least ½ mile with traffic, not to mention parking will be terrible. I planned to ride my bike, not only do I like to ride but I like the satisfaction of passing all of the cars waiting to get through the gate. Additionally, I have the best parking around, about 50 feet from my bike to the formation. It was still raining hard so I repacked my bag so everything was in a waterproof bag. I then considered driving, but then I realize I was not looking forward to waiting in traffic at 4:30 in the morning.

4:20 a.m.

The rain had subsided and I took off. It was a beautiful ride. I do not have fenders on my bike causing the water to spray like a fountain in the glow of my headlight. It reminded me of the Ballagio.

The only difference is that the Bellagio is not shooting a stream of water at your butt at the same time.

I am not sure why, but the streets were empty. Maybe power outages killed alarm clocks, but I didn’t have to worry about traffic until I hit the Battlefield. No problems, I just cut through.

4:50 a.m.

I arrived at my destination, the Army Logistics University. Yes, I work at a University, not a real university in the sense of long hair, some guy playing the guitar, and random protests but it sounds cool. Keep in mind while I attended a university over the course of seven years; I never had to be there at 4:50 in the morning!

****From this point forward I will provide detailed maps in conjunction with the timeline***

5:00 a.m.

1 hour before the start of the run. We have our first formation. During which time we stood.

5:12 a.m.

We move to the back of the building. This is approximately .2 miles. The building cannot be seen because it is new.

5:20 a.m.

Formation is held with our leadership. We received a history lesson to include some of the following facts:

1. A lot of really super stuff happened this day in history, to include congress adopting the Bill of Rights. On a side note, nobody mentioned that John Bonham of Led Zepplin choked on his own vomit.

2. We are getting a new Army Logistics University Patch.

3. This is the first time the Army Logistics Unversity will participate in really early mandatory “fun.”

I am pleased to know that I was not only making history, but it will fall into the ranks of the drafting of the bill of rights. I have butterflies thinking of it.

5:30 a.m.

We walk from our current formation .5 miles to the next location. We arrive at new location at about 5:45 a.m. It was a slow walk.

5:45 a.m.

We stand there for 15 minutes.

6:00 a.m.

Reveille is sounded. Encarta Dictionary defines it as an early morning formation that begins the day. What was I doing at 3:30 a.m.? Was that not the beginning of my day? What about the other formations? The run begins, but alas, we are last to move out of over 5,000 people. We continue to stand.

6:20 a.m.

The two star general passes us and we fall into the rear of the formation. We proceed to run the following route. The map I have provided begins where our last formation was. Starting at A and going to P:

7:10 a.m.

We arrive back at our original destination. We ran 4.2 miles in about 50 minutes. This is painfully slow. We stood around for 1 1/2 hours.

What a wonderful tradition. By 3:30 in the afternoon, I had been up 12 hours. It is a good thing I rode my bike, I probably would have crashed on the highway.

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