Sunday, July 20, 2008

More PT and My Sister's Wedding

This weekend I switched my training from avoiding the heat 90+ heat to running and riding in the worst of it. The reason gos back to my sister's wedding in 1982. She got married on a Saturday in October near Boston. I had a drill weekend with the reserve tank unit I was in: 6th Battalion, 68th Armor, Reading PA. I got Satuday off, but I had to be at the firing range at Fort Indiantown Gap PA at 0700 on Sunday. I left my sister's wedding at 9pm, so I had to drive all night to get to the range. I made it a half-hour early, changed into my uniform, and went to the firing line. That Sunday we were firing the 45-caliber pistol and the M3 "Grease Gun" submachine gun, the personal weapons of armor crewmen. The M3 was a piece of cake. but the 45 is a moving range with weapons that were more than 40 years old with loose parts.

I just barely qualified marksman. The previous year I had fired expert. The company commander said, "Don't worry Sergeant Gussman. You drove all night. We know you can shoot." I said, "Sir. If I ever have to use that pistol, my tank will be out of commission and I will probably be a lot more tired than today. This is how I shoot."

So yesterday, I rode 55 miles between 0830 and 1230, then I ate lunch with my kids, did some chores, then ran 2 1/2 miles at 230pm. I ran on a track out in the sun when the air temp was 95. My time on the fast two miles was 15:51. At my age I need 19:30 to pass the PT test and 14:42 to max the run. I can do the 14:42 at 70 degrees, so I wanted to see what I could do under rotten conditions.

Today I was just going to watch my teammates race on a new course in New Holland PA. I watched the 50+ race and cheered for my teammates. But the course was so cool I drove home, changed, and came back to race with the 20 and 30 year olds (the Cat 3/4 race for those who know bike racing). I lasted just ten of the 27 laps. It was 95 degrees at 1 pm when the race started. After I dropped out, I took my son home and rode a dozen cool down miles then went to the gym. On Friday morning I did 56 push ups and 66 sit ups in two minutes each, what I need to max the PT test. Today, I took ten seconds too long on the sit ups and only did 35 push ups.

Next time I take the PT Test, I will, of course, try to be fully rested. I would love to max the test. But on my own, I am going to keep trying to see how fast and far I can go when I am tired and the weather is worst.

I am assuming next year the weather won't be perfect.

Every Week in Cold War West Germany, Gas Mask Drills

Every week during my three years in Cold War West Germany,  the Tankers of 1-70th Armor had a MOPP drill. Gene Pierce, Abel Lopez and...