Sunday, July 5, 2015

Reps For Vets 5K - I Ran For My Daddy

U. S. Marine Lance Corporal William Bullock
This 4th of July weekend I participated in two different 5K events. The one I ran today was a fun run obstacle course called The Mud Factor, and as you can guess by the title involved A LOT of mud. But, the one I ran Saturday July 4th is the one I want to focus on and talk about.

I've ran a couple 5K races in the past, The Tulsa Run and the Aquarium Run, but it has been three years since running my last one. I really enjoyed running and even had goals to work my way up to a 10K. But, about three years ago I had stopped training because the summer was just so hot and so I went about 3 months with no long distance running. Once it started to cool off I decided to get back into running but made a mistake of taking off like I had been running all summer. I ended up pulling my hamstring, but the other mistake I kept making was I wasn't letting it to completely heal before I would try to get out there again. For the next year, I found every time I would go for long distance runs I would end up being sore for several days, my trainer would have to modify my workouts, and decided it wasn't worth it anymore.

I've been wanting to get back into running, but out of fear decided I didn't want to risk it. Couple weeks ago on our Empire call Michael asked us to list things we loved to do but don't do anymore, and running was one of mine. We each committed to one thing on our list to start doing once a week. With Michael's orders that this couldn't take the place of working out or cardio, but I'm doing it for myself and fun, I decided to go with running. So, I basically just started training again for running and started back at the basics and downloaded the Couch To 5K app. Michael partners up with several other local business owners and is involved with Reps For Vets where we workout and proceeds go to help local veterans in some way. Originally I thought I would just do the 1 mile fun run, and then at one point had talked myself out of running at all because I haven't had time to train, but then decided it's a great benefit and I'll just get out there do the 5K and just do my best.

I only got a few days of training in and each day was only about 30 minutes of walking/running intervals so when it came time for the race I decided I would run as much as I could and walk as little as possible. I had already accepted the fact that there was no way I would be able to run the entire 5K without stopping to walk some of it and even told myself if I could complete it within 50 minutes I would be happy with that. So, as they start the count down, fire the shot to go,  I took off with a nice steady pace and because I was familiar with the route I was mentally planning approximately where I'll need to start walking and how long I'll walk for. As I'm approaching that first place where I figured I would need to walk, I thought to myself, no not yet. I'm still good. As I continue to keep a good pace, I started to not only think about what and who this race was for, I started to think about my own father (pictured above) and what these men and women sacrifice for us and our country. As I'm approaching the first turn around, and another spot I intended to walk a bit, I kept thinking about my daddy and just kept running. I'm 40 years old and my entire life all I've known about his military career was he was a Marine, served in Vietnam, and had a hand grenade go off near him which left what I call his football scar (the skin graft covers his entire forearm and is in the shape of a football). What happened while he served was just not talked about, and since his time served was prior to him meeting my mother, she knew about as much as I did.

But, a few months ago he was diagnosed with pneumonia and was in and out of the hospital. This last time he was in the hospital he was in there almost two weeks and while I was up there visiting one of the nurses noticed his scar and asked about it. And to my shock he told them what had happened in some detail even I hadn't ever heard and I was sitting there thinking "How is he even here?" I asked my momma later if she knew those details he just mentioned, and she said not until a few months ago, and they've been married 45 years. Recently someone put him into contact with a counselor at the VA clinic and he talked about it there, and since she goes with him to these sessions, she's hearing things for the first time as well. I've always been proud of my daddy for being a Marine and serving in Vietnam, but within a few minutes I went from not just being a proud daughter but a proud American.

I'm sure there is a lot more to his time served, and I hope I'm able to learn of it all in time, but what he said that day at the hospital kept me running. First, it wasn't just one grenade that went off by him, and he said as his arm was hanging there he was behind rocks with his gun in his other hand firing at the enemy to keep them away as he waited for help. He remembered the blood and others coming to his aide wrapping him and his wounds to apply pressure so he doesn't bleed to death. There's so much more I want to know, like, if he was still firing at the enemy while he waited for help, how did they get him out? I know the military has plans for these situations; but how does someone train for something like this and then when it happens to be able to keep their head straight when going in? Like I said, I've always been very proud of my daddy for his service to our country, but hearing this and knowing there's even more I don't know about his time over in Vietnam, I'm so thankful he's here today.

As I'm running the Reps For Vets 5K, there were a few times I really wanted to stop and walk, but the whole time I'm remembering this about my daddy so I kept pushing through those thoughts and never stopped running. Not only did I complete the 5K without walking any of it, but I ended up placing 2nd in my age group for women and ran it in 43:10. He didn't give up on our country, he's never given up on me or our family, and there's no excuse for me to give up on a short run! Thank you to all the men and women for your service to our country!