Anyone who runs 1000 miles during the deployment ('The Kabul K') will get an Army Commendation Medal for the feat.
As you might imagine, the honor system is in the works here. For those participating in the challenge, there's a Lieutenant to whom we have to send our running logs every 100 miles, which kinda-sorta keeps the whole thing honest (no one can 'suddenly' run 800 miles in the last month, for instance).
Anyway, with about 7 more months or so to go, I'm a bit behind the curve. I've got 170.55 miles as of today. The beauty, though, is that as anyone following this blog knows, I now actually have the time to get away and log some miles each day -- workdays have magically shrunk from 16- and 18-hours to that happy "12" spot where I can still find a wee bit of time to run, Skype with the missus, and yes, write on the blog (as soon as I can get my new phone/camera up and running, I promise to finally get some pics too...I mean it!)
Anyway, here's why the
(1) It keeps people's minds focused on a goal. As I'm seeing now, a year-long mobilization feels like a loooong time. Especially when you feel like it's been forever, and somehow you're still not even halfway done. Having a day-to-day goal to think about besides things like staff work, guard duty, convoys, chow duty, etc. helps soldiers' mental state. Plus, the hour or so people dedicate each day to it is an hour they're not idle...and then there's the endorphin benefit, the better sleep, extra energy, etc.
(2) It helps get people in shape. One of the neat things about a deployment is seeing people who are a bit round (hey, we're the Guard!) get a bit, well, less round. I'm no exception -- I know I ought to be closer to 185 (fighting weight) than to where I peaked last fall (220...yikes!) Running a daily five-miler is sure getting me a lot closer to the *right* side of that equation. Anyway, as with anything that needs work, it's somehow always easier to notice it on others...and I've seen several of our guys lose 30, 40, and even more pounds so far trying to reach this goal...and yes, the guys with knee, foot, joint, etc. problems can go Elliptical for this.
(3) It's a team-building thing. The guys (and gals) that are going for this goal have this as a common reference point...Hey, what's your plan?
Some Army purists would disagree with the handing-out of ARCOMs for running but let's be honest...ARCOMs have been handed out for a lot less. I'm only 170+ miles in so far -- definitely not on pace -- but have a plan to steadily increase my runs and get way ahead of the curve soon. Will post.