Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Things You Never Want to Hear

Wednesday morning, and we in the Army all know what that means: Ability Group Runs. This is a variation on morning PT where all members of a given unit are broken into three groups: A, B, and C. If you hate running, be warned, Wednesdays are unlikely to be your favorite day of the week.

C-group runners are usually the younger female privates and overweight men, with a few recovering injuries thrown in for some good measure. This group gets run at a leisurely pace (see Airborne Shuffle), usually for 2 to 3 miles, before returning to post. Nothing spectacular. I've never been a C-group runner. B-group runners are the middle of the road, and therefore the largest group. The runs for these individuals usually ranges from 3 to 5 miles, often with some subtle variations on sprinting thrown into the mix. Strenuous workouts are typical, but nothing that most soldiers can't handle. I generally fall into this category. A-group runners, however, are almost invariably young, male, and anyone qualified for Ranger school. The runners here never number more than a dozen, and as a rule they tend to look like pieces of jerky; wiry and slim. A-group puts these motivated masochists through brutal routines that often stretch 4 to 7 miles, often at full-sprint, with heavy doses of calisthenics and cross-training along the way. Suicide for all but the most physically conditioned.

Normally, I run B-group. I hate morning PT, and I've pretty much run B since my days in Basic Training. I'm a decent runner, but I'm nowhere near motivated enough for the kinds of 12 minute-and-below 2-mile times typical of an A-group runner. That being said, my endurance over long distances is solid, and as a result I tend to end a morning run at the front of the pack. On a good day, I can run two miles in about 13 minutes.

So you can imagine my chagrin when morning formation passed, and we were fallen out into our usual groups for the morning run. B-group here is run by Sergeant Browning, a lanky black man in his mid-thirties. Sergeant Browning pushes us hard, and to be honest, if I thought I could get away with it I'd rather run C-group then run with him. But then, out of the blue, I hear Sergeant Browning call my name.

"Freeman!"

This is never good. Sergeant Browning knows my face well, as I usually pace him at the front of the formation. People harass me for not running A-group every Wednesday, but the first and only time I ever tried, my shinsplints nearly progressed into full-blown stress fractures. I could barely walk for a week. So hearing Sergeant Browning's voice, obviously, is not a good thing, I'm sure. Nevertheless, I sound off.

"Hooah, Sergeant!"

"Freeman," he says to me. "Go to A-group."

"Roger, Sergeant!" I turn to move into that sparse-looking group of methadone refugees without complaint, but as I move out of earshot I let my true feelings show through.

"Fuck."

I hate Wednesdays.

3 Comments:

Blogger Softball Slut said...

So how are the legs? I hate shin splints. They fucking hurt, bad.

6:38 PM  
Blogger R. Robyn said...

I'd be in the C-group for sure. But here, I lead PT, so I get to do whatever I want, and usually, that is not running.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous S. R. said...

My run time was a bell curve in the army. In basic training, I started out in D group, moved up to C, and should've been in B. For a long time. For years, i ran a 12:30-13:00 2-mile. Then, I blew a test, ran like shit for a while, and then came back into a respectable 14:30 runner.

4:47 AM  

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