Monday, February 22, 2010

The Diet and the Crash

FYI: This took place 6 days ago. I am eating again, somewhat better, and am running again. No worries.

Kids, don’t try this at home.

As I have discussed before I am not in the best of shape. I am always struggling with my weight and fitness. The ARMY says that I have to be at or below a certain body mass index to be physically fit for duty. If I don’t stay within the range I can be released from duty. And with over 12 years in so far I really don’t want to have that experience. So I push myself and try to eat right and really pay attention to my weight. But sadly it my body does not always work for me on this issue. Over the past year while I was stationed in Korea I was on the injured list and was not able to do very much PT and it really cost me. And then add in a honey moon and eating all the things that I really like prior to leaving the country for a year, my weight went up and my fitness went way down. And so it has all caught up with me. So I decided that while out here I would do everything I could to improve my PT and drop some weight. So I started to do just that. I lost about 3 pounds in the first week and thought that if I could just continue with that I would be doing just fine. But after the first week I was notified that we would soon be having a PT test. That put me into panic mode and I started (knowing that it was not all that good) a crash diet. I started to eat very little other than dry salad or salad with non-fat dressing. I cut my food intake down to around 100 calories a day. And the weight started to melt off. I have since lost 20 pounds and am thinner than I have been in years.
And now in this story we hit the bad news. Well as I said I knew the diet was not really the best idea. Dropping down to such a small amount of food every day is not all that great for you and even worse when you all of a sudden start to increase the amount of PT that is done. And in my case two wrongs definitely don’t make a right.
Today it all came crashing down. I went out on a 4 mile out and back. My plan was to walk a mile to the 2 mile PT Course, run the 2 miles and then walk back. So I made the first mile and started to pick up into a run. I was feeling good for the first mile and then all of a sudden everything just started to feel all wrong. I started to feel very dizzy and weak and could not keep my run going. I slowed down to a walk but even that seemed too hard. And then all of a sudden down I went. I did not pass out, but I was not able to stay standing. Luckily for me a guy was running by. He helped me back to my feet and walked me to the Aid Station. The Doc put me on an IV but I really was not all that dehydrated. He decided after talking to me for a while that I was just depleted of fuel. So I have been order to stop my “Crazy” diet and go to a more healthful eating plan. I really don’t want to because I do need to drop some more weight before the PT test, but I guess there is no point in losing the weight if I don’t have the energy to make the run. So tomorrow I start to eat. Something that I have not done much of since getting here. We will have to see how it works. I still feel kind of blah right now, almost 12 hours later. But getting better. I have to take tomorrow off from running and rest, but then it will be back to the grind. So wish me luck.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Running To Disneyland

Yep this one is about that funny set of numbers at the top of my blog.

In case some of you are not aware of this, the ARMY along with the rest of the Armed Services are very into (PT) physical fitness. For the ARMY PT is just about a daily thing. Even here in Iraq we are running and doing other things for PT at least 5 days a week. And for me, this is a struggle. I have never been what can be said as “in shape”. Unless you are going with the whole “round is a shape”. I struggle everyday in every aspect of PT. But I cannot and will not give up. The worst part is my run. And that is what I work on the hardest. But other than being able to pass our PT test I have never really had what I would call a goal. For the PT test I have to Do 40 Push-ups in 2 min, 50 Sit-ups in 2 min and run 2 miles in 17min. I am good on the Push-ups and sit-ups, but on the run I am dying.
Also, in case you did not know. I am a huge, HUGE Disney freak. I was an annual pass holder all through High School and then for 2 years while stationed in California I again had a annual pass and went on just about every weekend that I had 2 days off. It did not hurt that I grew up and my parents still live only 5 miles from the park. For part of my addiction to Disney I listen to a few choice podcasts. One of my favorite being the All About The Mouse Podcast. Both of the Hosts of the Show Bryan (Please note he spells his name incorrectly) and Jonathan are runners. Over the past year Jonathan and I have become friends and he has helped to motivate me. Jonathan one day decided to work towards losing weight and made a goal to do the Walt Disney World Half Marathon. And he made that goal. Congrats Jonathan! Well that goal has now become my goal. I have never been to Walt Disney World and I have decided that I will not go until I am going to participate in the WDW Half marathon. So now I have a goal. The one big problem is that I don’t see a chance in the near future to be able to afford the trip for my wife, child and I to make it down to WDW. So I had to start looking for a new goal to push toward. And once again I was able to look to Jonathan, and a few of the Team Voice members. Wait a tic. “What is Team Voice you ask?” Well team voice is a group of people who talk about running and well run. And one thing they run is the half and full marathon at WDW. And team Voice is named for Jonathan. On his show he is called Jonathan the Voice. Cool huh. So anyway Jonathan and Team Voice have this challenge going on to “Run To Disneyland”. A bunch of people are tracking on Map programs from their home to either Disneyland or Walt Disney World. And every day they update how far they have gone. And so now I have my new goal, and I would call this a big one. I am running (Virtually of course) from Yelm Washington to Disneyland. It is a total distance of 1,108 miles. So now that you know what is going on you can come back and track my progress.
And, if you are a runner or have ever thought about getting into it you should go over to team voice and check them out. They have a blog at and there is a forum where you can discuss anything and everything about running. The forum is part of the All About The Mouse Forums. And that can be found on their website at And of course you should go over and give the podcast a listen. It is filled with magic and mayhem. It is really all that good.

A quick note before I end this. I finally got my camera in the mail today. I only ordered it a month and a half ago. So coming soon here on the blog I will have pictures of the area and blogs about what they have here.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Reader Request

Oh the weather outside is frightful, and the heat is not delightful.

My first reader request. I feel so special!

So the question came up as to how the weather is. All I could think about at the time that I read the question was the show from the Canada Pavilion. “And it snows 365 days a year”. But obviously that is not what it is like here.
Iraq is known for its heat. But right now it is what is known as the “nice” time of the year. Otherwise known as the rainy season. The temp is in the 60’s most days right now and drops as low as the 30’s in the evening. The wind is bad just about every day, so in the evenings it feels even colder than it really is. And then there is the rain. For the most part down where we are the rain is not all that bad either. It only rains or twice a week, and so far it has not ever been a very large amount of rain. But it does come fast and hard. It does not sprinkle. If it is raining it is a downpour. I got caught out in it one day on my run and I thought I was going to end up with bruises. And it is always loud enough to wake me up no matter deep in sleep I am. We live in metal buildings and it sounds like rocks hitting the roof and side. As soon as the rain starts to fall everything turns to mud. It is really weird how fast it happens. The ground goes from very solid to deep mud. The roads turn into a mess in no time with all the trucks going from the mud to the street. It was so bad that one day on my bus ride to work the bus started to fishtail going around the turns. That was fun! The good thing about the rain is that it keeps the dust down for a few days. And that my friends is a great blessing. The last time I was hear the rain was constant for about 3 months. Everything was covered with at least two inches of thick mud. But it did give you a good leg workout. It got so bad that we had to get water pumps to keep the water out of the hospital that I was working in. Thankfully it is not like that this time.
Soon enough the rainy season will be gone, and it will be hot, hot, hot. As of march 1st we are not supposed to be in winter gear, so that is the date we are looking at for when we start to die of heat stroke. I will let you know when that happens.

See folks. Ask questions and I will try to talk about it! If nothing else it helps fuel the blog.

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Sand, Sand everywhere and not a drop to drink

I know, that is not how the line goes, but there is not water everywhere. And really having a drop to drink is not the problem. When it comes to drinking water there are pallets of bottled water just about everywhere you go. But when it comes to water for any other reason, now that is where we run into a problem. You see we live on the side of the Euphrates River. And that is where we get our water from. River water goes into the ground water table and we pump it from there, clean and filter it and then it is put into holding areas to be shipped out to all of the bathrooms, laundry facilities, and dining facilities. It is all potable water so it is safe to drink, but it is far from limitless. Right now we are getting good rain, but in a month or two that will all dry up and water will be short out here. And when that starts to happen we really have to watch how much water we use. And come summer that leads to a water ration.
Now the way the ARMY sees it, we need about 15 gallons of water each. That is for everything. Shower, Toilet, Clothes Wash, and cleaning stuff in the DEFAC (Dining Facilities). Now 15 gallons a day might sound like a lot, but really it is a very small amount. We are talking about as little water as you can use. Almost no water to shave. And turning the water on and off while in the shower. The toilets use a lot of water (1.5 gallons per flush) and everything else goes to laundry and DEFAC. It really takes some getting used to. And you tend to get really upset when you walk in to the showers and hear water just running and running. But I guess I can’t really complain all that much. I mean we do get daily showers. And that is saying a lot. Just a few years back out here we were happy for weekly showers. And at least they are hot. Oh wait… That is big problem number two. Since I have been here I have had one, that is”1” hot shower. Most days it is at a temperature slightly below warm, and at least once a week there is no hot water at all and showers become slightly painful. But again, at least I do get to shower. We just might have to change that little ditty to “Shave and some frostbite, two bits!”
And speaking of. It’s time to scrape my face.

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