Training for a marathon, you would think, is a pretty regimented
endeavor. But I have to admit that the organization of my training
was haphazard at best. I did run, and a lot, but my consistency
was a problem. I would get motivated and get in cycles but to
outline my entire process would be difficult if not worthless.
Gary and Brent had a different approach altogether. In fact,
Major Patch was not to worried about it either. He had once
ran a marathon with no training whatsoever and did fine. I did
not want to follow in those bloody foot steps, especially from
a man whose philosophy of stretching is : “Dogs don’t stretch
before they run.” It is hard to argue with that kind of logic.
Gary kept to his own when it came to running. I am not even
sure how much training he had done but he did tell us that his
toenails fell off after the last Lone Pine Marathon he ran.
That bolstered our motivation tenfold.
Brent, Major Patch, and I would usually meet on Saturday
morning at 0700 and run to Major Patch’s office. There we would
talk, drink coffee, and generally discuss the week we had just
had. Then at 0800, we would muster what I liked to call the
Trail of Tears which was every sick lame and lazy Marine fat
or dumb enough to get put on the remedial PT program. The philosophy
was simple, you will never have a weekend off until you either
lose the weight or can pass a PFT twice in a row. It was not
really a PT program but more of a harassment package designed
to use the Marines’ love of weekend liberty as a means to an
During the running portion of the test, we would bolt forward
on the 3 mile run, feeling as superior as one could, outrunning
the very lowest sector of physical specimens the Corps has to
offer. We would get to the halfway point and yell out the times
for those that sadly lumbered to make time. Then we would shuffle
with the lamest of the group and bring up the rear.
When we returned, we would sit in Major Patch’s office again,
drink more coffee, talk some more, and eat oranges before running
home. This run home was inevitably the biggest bitch of the
whole procedure but where we probably earned most of our PT
endurance of the day. The round trip was about 7 miles and served
as a good “light” day of running.
On Saturday night, the four of us and our families would
usually get together for dinner at one of our houses. It was
a good time and after dinner, we would break up along gender
lines, with the men retiring to Gary’s garage for a little poker.
The women would clean up, talk some more, get the kids to bed,
and usually watch movies. We, on the other hand, would stay
up until 0100 or 0200 and play wonderful games of poker. It
was a blast.
At 1000 the next morning, Major Patch and I would meet and
go for a Sunday run. More often than not, it was just the three
of us with Daisy, Major Patch’s dog, joining us. We would run
for about 45 minutes and that was enough, especially when the
spring starting kicking the heat up more and more. But I will
always remember those times as personal and professional exchanges
that I looked forward to each week.
The rest of the week was PT at lunch. I would either run
on the treadmill for about 5 miles or run home (just under 3)
and have Carrie drive me back. Gorging myself, running back,
and then showing up sweating like a pig was not the best plan
so I would ask Carrie give me a ride. On Fridays we had company
PT and that would serve as another “light” day.
The only other thing of note is the one 15 mile run I did
two weeks before the race. On the suggestion of my good friend,
Shane Maxey, I mapped out a 20 mile course because, as he explained,
you need to know where that wall is and you have to not only
face it but figure how to get over it. You do not want the first
time you look that monster in the face to be on the day of the
So I started to run at 0600 one Sunday morning and for the
next three hours, I looked for that monster. And I found him
at about mile 11. The bad part was that when I hit that point,
the wind kicked up and I was running straight into a pretty
stiff headwind. It so many words, it really SUCKED!!!
I hit the 15 mile mark and had noticed that there was a
man with a dog running behind me. When I came up to a car, I
put two and two together and prayed that was his car and he
ending his run. I was done and wanted to go home. I had done
good and 15 miles definitely fell into the category of “good
‘nuff,” especially since I was facing 5 more miles in an ever-increasing
Luckily, I guessed right and asked the guy for a ride back
home. He obliged and I was forever thankful, going home and
sleeping for most of the day.
That about ended my last milestone before the race. I was
as ready as I was ever going to be but you never really feel
fully prepared for something like this. But you would have had
to drag my lifeless body off the course before I gave up and
I think that is the most important quality to have when running
any race. And it served me well.