Written by Joe Miller
One of my rationales for leaving the Army was having more time for fitness, but it was decidedly frustrating leaving the Army with panic attacks and asthma from PTSD and Industrial pollution in Iraq. Using an inhaler is not a great way to do speed work.
Something in me changed this year. I started setting new post-Iraq personal bests. In a year where I sought to thrive because I have PTSD, I chose to believe that I survived for a purpose, and I have seen some incredible gains. I dropped 55 minutes off my 50 mile PR,and I came in over an hour faster at the Bradbury trail series.
These gains came from a year of owning PTSD. Becoming a proud and public person with an inappropriately stigmatized disorder made me realize how I thought I was weak before Iraq, and that is why I succumbed to invisible wounds. I had to realize I was wrong. That all started with Team Red, White and Blue who not only supported me, they celebrated me and called me an ambassador.
I returned to my bread and butter training. I always did better climbing up mountains than hitting my track splits, so I ran a mountain run and two stadium workouts a week. A bad day at a marathon kept me off of my marathon PR but I shattered my best time in every single race since. I was strong before PTSD, but I let myself believe I was weak, and consequently I trained in a way that gained me very little.
After the best run of my life at this year’s JFK 50 miler, I started my winter treadmill speed work. Things were going well, I’d kept my gains in my first workouts. I ran my first sub six minute mile since I was a cadet at North Georgia College. Then I decided to run sub seven minute miles for four miles. I held out for five and set an actual, not post Iraq personal best. That is not enough. Now I want to beat that snot nosed, LT and Cadet. He was strong, he did the work to give me the strength that made me survive, but that won’t stop me from ‘Eagleing Up’ and beating all of that kid’s records that I can in 2014.
1 mile 5:40 post Iraq 5:55
2 mile12:07 PI 12:44
5k 18:50 PI 21:10
5 mile 33:52
10 mile 1:08:00 PI 1:20:00
100M registering for my first this June