Back in the Saddle

Well, it’s been a few weeks, hasn’t it?

Here I sit, in the outskirts of Baghdad, Iraq.  Sitting outside at 7:45pm, it’s about 95 degrees and lovely.  No humidity!

It’s been a crazy few weeks.  Getting acclimated and trying to figure out a schedule.  The first layover was in Kuwait for about 24 hours.  That was the first hit of hot, dry air.  But it felt great.  I sat in the shade and watched the camel herder work his magic with his large herd off in the distance.

Baghdad’s been interesting.  Quite a bit of dust since I’ve been here.  According to our records, which are spotty, this winter has been the most significant drought that this region’s ever experienced.  So it’s made for a dusty spring/early summer.  Last Sunday was so dusty that at 2pm we couldn’t see 100 yards in any direction.

I’m lucky in that I get to travel.  So I’ve seen a bit of the country from the air already and it’s actually quite pretty.  In a National Geographic-esque kind of way.  Flying over downtown Baghdad in the morning, the markets are bustling and full of color, both on the stands and in the clothing.  Sunrise and sunset are fairly surreal with the dust hanging in the air and the faint outline of the mosques and Saddam’s palaces in the distance.

As you may already know, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers converge just south of Baghdad.  That means this region is quite fertile and green, even though we’re in the middle of the desert.  Flying over the outskirts of town, the agriculture extends for as far as you can see.  All different types of crops, including rows and rows of date palms.

Further north, as in way north, almost to Turkey and Syria, is the serious desert.  No vegetation for as far as the eye can see.  But if you look close, it’s obvious that they take advantage of the cool season growing, since the shallow imprints of the rows are visible everywhere.

I’ve managed to get back into my training plan.  Just 20 short weeks to get ready for my next event, which will be here in Baghdad.  Forty miles for my 40th birthday.  Sounds like a good way to spend the day, since there aren’t many options here.

For the most part, it’s been short runs and a couple of gym days.  This morning has been the most significant run – a nice, easy 8 miles.

Well, got to get back to it.  Y’all take care!

Oh, and here’s a shot of me flying over Baghdad on my first full day here:

Over Baghdad

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9 thoughts on “Back in the Saddle”

  1. I was just thinking about you on Friday, planning on digging up your e-mail and seeing how things were going. Good to hear that you’re doing well – and still managing to get in training. The region is pretty fascinating, especially the bustle of the markets – always increidble.

    As for the photo – I now understand how you plan to deal with your competitors on your next race. A little air support, ehh?

  2. Thanks for posting! Like everyone else, I think of you regularly. And 40 miles in one day in the sauna, sounds like a great way to spend your birthday!

  3. Bill, Hey Buddy, working on a care package for you. I figured you would spend a few weeks in CONUS before going over to the sandbox. I’ll get it out quickly.

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