U.S. Government Property. No Trespassing.

Sunday morning I showed my picture ID to the MPs at Stoney Lonesome gate for the n-teenth time, popped the trunk and eventually proceeded onto the base at West Point. T. was waiting for me at the McArthur Hall barracks in his regulation PT uniform. We headed back out Washington gate towards Camp Buckner. That's where the cadets and other Army types do a lot of their training. You know: artillery range, firing range, mortar range, rapelling cliffs, obstacle courses, etc. Well he takes me to where he'll spend eight weeks next summer in advanced military training (not that he'll need it, having been to Iraq and back). We started our run through the bayonet course area, then by the obstacle course, the summer barracks, the "line of life" (tall tower with a cable running across the water; hook on and sliiiiide, falling into the water), parade grounds, etc. We ran up and down the roads only occasionally being passed by MPs on patrol and a truck full of cadets involved in a paintball exercise. For the most part it was all quiet and ours to run on and talk. Through Camp Buckner we passed the encampment of last summer's instructors for the new cadets (82nd Airborne, Parachute squadron) . Nobody was there. Onward to the next training ground.
Bull Pond. Okay. He said it had great fishing. Swell. No pole or bait. Where is it? Up that HILL. That's not a hill. It's a mountain. He was kind enough to keep moving up the hill at as slow a pace as I was "running". Holy macaroni. It had to have been no less than a 15 degree incline in some spots. 500 meters up the HILL, we leveled off at Bull Pond. I looked back down the hill for my breath. Yeah; there it was. Leaf colors hadn't turned much but many leaves were already on the ground.
Bull Pond. Very scenic but now T. wanted to keep going to find some fire breaks so we could run some true trails along the ridge, back to where we started. Alas, we ran even higher up the mountain but no fire breaks were as clear as they were to him last summer, so we turned around at 40 minutes out and retraced our tracks down the hill, along gravel roads, through woods and the training camps.
At one point he told me about this past summer when he and his fellow plebes were out for a ruck march and a squad of active duty troops had taken up tactical positions along the road they were marching. They were fully armed and had the camo paint on. They popped out of the tree line and scared the bejeebies out of the cadets while a troop transport Chinook helicopter appeared out of nowhere from just over the tree line (fwop-fwop-fwop) and set down in a clearing just behind the road. The squad of men retreated to the helo, jumped on board and were evac-ed in a matter of 3 minutes. Very impressive I thought. I'd PR after that kind of stimulation ... right after a short visit to the port-a-potty.
We kept on and saw some other cadets out for runs like us. I loved every minute of it. It was not a run I would imagine I'd have many chances at so this one was special. We finished what I guess was 9 miles in 1:21. When I stopped I noticed blood on my shirt. I thought: dang; was I a target on the bayonet course? No. It was the bloody nipple thing again. They were so tender. What is up with that all of a sudden? Somebody give me some nipple advice. Thank you.


susie said...

Running up cliffs? And stories of ambush on the trail...must have been an interesting run. How are the legs feeling these days?

Running Chick said...

two options: bandaids or bodyglide.

and no cotton t-shirts.

impressive run. sounds like a great time.

Mia Goddess said...

Let me start with the "ps" portion: I love these stories, the imagery, plus you make me giggle.

Plus, the thing with the nipples. For prevention while running, go with whatever Dianna says. As a breastfeeding mom, may I further recommend a little product called "pure lanolin" (comes in a tube, roughly the consistency of vaseline) to expedite healing of any sort of "issues" in between runs.

The bad news is, nipples won't just "toughen up". It will always be a problem. The good news is, nipples won't just "toughen up". :)

Jack said...

I've seen the "hills" at West Point and I've heard about them from former graduates. Your son was taking it easy with ya!

I would love to run around West Point! Think we can arrange an RBF run up heartbreak ridge?

My prescription for nippleitous is bodyglide and vaseline, and be sure to stay away from cotton t-shirts. I have tried to avoid bandaids as my wife admires my hairy chest ;-)

Jank said...

That's one of the cool and unique things about West Point - the extent to which Cadets can practice their craft just out the back door.

Nipples? Once you've rubbed 'em raw, they bleed at the drop of a hat. The only solution is weeks of not letting them bleed.

Oldman said...

try some bandaids...cheaper than body glide. sounds like you hada great time!

Susan said...

Great run David - I love your stories. Those hills, I mean mountains sound wicked. I haven't done much trail running but I look forward to it this fall.

I recommend body glide or vasaline - bandaids are good too if your chest isn't hairy. What type of shirt are you wearing?

Rachel said...

Great descriptions! Punishing hills...Looks like a wonderful place to run...

Jon (was) in Michigan said...

Bandaids! Always! Anything over 5 miles, and always when its raining. Just do it. It doesn't hurt that much when you RIP them off.

"retraced our tracks down the hill"

How was that run? I think going down the hills is alot worse that going up them!