I can’t stand it and I’m getting out of here. Let’s run.


To be honest, I was in serious pain. My feet felt like they were being pulled by an invisible force into a ballet pointed toe position. Forcing them to conform to the different ups and downs of the road, was excruciating. The first two hours of my run was at a slow, but manageable pace. I could run, and the pain didn’t seem to intensify to unbearable right away. Compared to the previous week and a half, these were hills, and I wasn’t used to engaging tibia muscles. They let me know, under no uncertain terms that this wasn’t fun, and they were going to battle me all the way to the finish.

Today’s adventure led me into the uber-macho city of Jacksonville, North Carolina. Home of Camp Lejeune, and the entrance to a rite of passage for Dean Hart.

It’s not really where Dean was born, but you’d think it was a holy place as much as he talks about it. I think he was 4 when he went graduated from boot camp at Paris Island and was redirected to Camp LeJeune for infantry training.

There are lots of US Marines there. There are Marines of all different shapes, colors, sizes and smells. I never actually got to smell a Marine while I was there, but I’m just assuming. The mailman was a Marine. The guys I ran past, fishing in a creek were Marines. All the mailboxes and storefronts catered to Marines or gave preference to Marines. The cat that was relaxing in front of the large-weapon firing range fence was missing an ear and had an eagle, globe and anchor tattoo on his shoulder. He flipped me off.

They like Marines in Jacksonville.

As the grandson of a Marine who served in the Pacific during World War II, I respect what this military base represents, and what it costs all of the soldiers and their families when they serve. Thanks, all. I wish we didn’t need you.

The temperature started in the upper 40s/lower 50s. It was windy and damp, but sunny – so it warmed up fast. I got rid of the jacket after 6 miles.

As I approached Jacksonville’s eastern city limits, my legs were screaming, so I did everything I could think of to distract myself and keep moving at at least the semblance of a jogging pace. I was largely unsuccessful, and my movement was more of a loping grunt. I know that grunting isn’t actually a movement, but that’s what it felt like.

Thanks be to Audible for “Into Africa: The Epic Adventure of Stanley & Livingstone. I listened to Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Foo Fighters, and Tedeschi Trucks Band. This audio distraction helped several miles pass by without thinking about repetitive pounding and consistent pain.

I limped into Jacksonville. Dean and I took pictures in front of the Camp LeJeune sign, but we really screwed them up. It’s really hard to fit two people into a picture with such a large sign without getting really far away.

Dean stopped my slow, painful plodding just on the other side of the courthouse downtown and a block away from the Confederate War Memorial.

I know that this post is missing lots of details, but my head wasn’t ready for the day. I was moving, but barely. I was frustrated. I was angry. I felt like a wuss. I completed about 21 miles, I fought for every inch of it, and it should have been 30.

Disappointments lead to opportunities. Failures lead to learning. My education is far from over, but I’m still moving.

Keep moving forward.




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