This past weekend marked two big anniversaries for me.
The first was the 31st anniversary of my entering the Air Force. I was a lanky, introverted 22-year-old that had never left home, and only had a couple of jobs under my belt. I barely had a work ethic, and certainly had never worked with any organization with the impact that the USAF had. The impact was on me though… Joining the military was the best career move I ever made, and taught me a ton of extraordinarily valuable lessons that would shape me into the person I am today.
And forever linked at the hip to that anniversary is the anniversary of the Challenger disaster. I can remember being at the MEPS station in Knoxville TN, watching the lift off of Challenger, and stepping away to the restroom, only to return to everyone in the room being stunned by what had transpired in those few minutes.
And then I was whisked away to Lackland AFB for basic training, and the obligatory blackout that (at that time) came with that.
None of us knew what had happened to Challenger. There were rumors running around that it was sabotaged by the Soviets (yes, kids, there was still a Soviet Union at that time!). Practically any rumor you could imagine was crawling among us newly minted airmen. When we’d go to classes, we’d ask our instructors for information about the investigation, but of course, there was much to say in those first few weeks.
And in the most chilling of moments, I remember the sirens accidentally being activated across the base while we were in the dorms. We quickly began scrambling to put mattresses in the windows to protect from whatever might be coming. That was probably the closest I’ve come to genuinely believing I was done for. Of course, we quickly heard that firing the sirens was an accident, and nothing was going on… but still.
So, with that as the backdrop, I selected the Captain’s Run to chase yesterday. Marvel has brought Captain America to life in the recent films, and he’s quickly become my favorite Avenger. He harkens back to simpler times, with a good dose of common sense, which, at times, seems to be missing nowadays. Why not run a race inspired by him? 🙂
I started out of the house, and it was a cold 35°, with a blustery wind that just didn’t wanna quit. Add to that a pretty good base of clouds, and it was obvious that some of the cold weather gear needed to come out with me. However, I didn’t put on my knee brace. Remember that — it’ll be important later.
As I usually do, I took the first half kilometer at a brisk walk to warm up, quickly deciding to stretch that to about thee-quarters km to make sure I was ready, and I started jangling my ungraceful self down the sidewalk.
And then my knee barked at me.
My left knee has been sore off an on for a couple of months. I don’t know if there was a specific injury that’s caused the pain — nothing stupid that I’ve done comes to mind — but from time to time, it’s painful for a little bit of an outing. The first time I remember this pain was at the turn around point for Flat as a Pancake back in September 2015. I was going around a pylon at the turnaround, with my left leg on the outside (as I remember), and I came out of that with horrible pain. It’s come and gone since then.
Wearing a knee brace seems to help, and with the cold weather, I should’ve worn my brace — in fact, I should probably be wearing it around the house. I didn’t, and I’m sure that’s why I noticed this pain yesterday. Note to self…
I got through my neighborhood course, though, enjoying the brisk temperatures, and just being outside in the showiness of nature (thanks Reverend Lovejoy!). It was glorious, and nice to be back out there again.
Seriously, I’m gonna do more outings more frequently. Really. Honest!