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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Closer to home ,,,

Reflecting on the past couple of years, I now realize what a journey this has been.  Not just the physical health stuff, but the mental and spiritual as well.  PTSD is an insidious bastard.  You don't have to be involved in big life altering events, direct combat, or direct physical abuse.  The more treacherous is the slow wearing away of your sense of self in order to deal with the heightened awareness needed to survive.  You lose your place.  And then they send you home.

It mostly looks the same as when we left.  Our people gather around; friends, family, community.  They ask us questions, we tell them stories. even explaining "No, I didn't see direct combat.  Some joker fired a few rockets in our general direction but my job was in the headquarters.  If I was out in the field there would be nobody to do my job. I didn't get out much." Yet, you knew there were Taliban and Al Qaeda cleaning your office, emptying the toilets, delivering the water.  You just didn't know WHO were Taliban or Al Qaeda.  You're careful with your weapon, your ammunition, your information.  You keep your eyes open. All day.  Every day. Every day.  It may be home, but we're not home yet.

It's not the signs, the parades, the speeches. It's not getting back to your routine.  It's when you can walk down the street and not concerned about where an IED may be hidden or attack vectors.  It's when you can take your kids to the mall and maintain a leisurely pace without serpentine patterns.  It's when you can step aside and say "Excuse me" to someone crowding you rather than take them to the floor while reaching for zip cuffs.  It's not completely freaking out when you reach for your weapon and find it's not there.  It's when you realize it's not supposed to be there.  It's when you finally don't reach for it at all.  It's when we finally realize we don't need it.  It's when we forget it.  Then we're rendered safe, then we've found our place. Then we're home.  Baby steps.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Time for an update

I've just spent this his past year focused on my physical rehabilitation.  It wasn't any one big event that sent me to The Endurance Athlete Center, even though I've had a few.  It was a series of smaller events over time, bad advice, and poor habits.  Twenty years in the National Guard, with most of that on active duty in the U.S. Army, wore me down.  When my body started failing me; shoulders, hips, and legs in particular, I retired from the Guard.  At first I just attributed it to age and the athleticism of working through natural disasters and combat zones.  I thought rest from the stress and strain was all I needed.  Then pain become constant, weakness prevalent, and as I worked to get myself back into shape I realized rest wasn't enough and I didn't know how to recuperate.  I sought help.

This is an unsolicited testimonial for The Endurance Athlete Center.  Liz, my physical therapist, helped me find the weaknesses, the causes of the weaknesses, and then put me on the path to recovery.  She then handed me off to Graeme, my trainer, who taught, coached, and mentored me to find my way back to strength and health.  We started working at my pace, now we're working at his so that by the end of the session I'm nothing but a puddle of mud.  Rebecca has shown me how to maximize the effect of the work I'm putting forth through proper nutrition.  I've made great strides and I'm not done yet.

I cannot thank them enough.  If you're in Northern Virginia, DC, or Maryland, I highly recommend before you start a physical training program, see your doctor, and then call The Endurance Athlete Center.  Proper training is the difference between success and failure.  If you're an athlete and want to improve your performance, call The Endurance Athlete Center.  If you've sustained an injury and your doctor prescribes physical therapy and rehabilitation, call The Endurance Athlete Center.  They know what they're doing