Welcome to the Wandering Drays!

Not all who wander are lost...

Welcome to my blog dedicated to my family and our crazy foreign service life. Never content with staying in one place, we are excited to share our journey. We've survived two unaccompanied tour (Baghdad 2010-2011 and Baghdad again in 2015-2016), multiple TDYs, and enjoyed a two-year family assignment in Cairo, Egypt. The fab hubby is currently learning Turkish for our next assignment...Istanbul, Turkey! We leave for Turkey sometime in summer 2017. I write about what I know. Which is mainly kids, tween drama, gross pets, dealing with lots of government info, our moving adventures, being a nurse, yoga, running, living on too-little sleep, and an addiction to coffee lattes. I hope you'll enjoy this glimpse into our lives.

Friday, March 2, 2012

This is NOT the Point Where I Quit

A friend ran with me at the Wadi this week.  Our initial plan had been for a 10K, but when we parked the car, we noticed it was overcast and windy - a sandstorm was definitely on the horizon.  So we talked about it, and decided we'd just go for 4 miles instead.  I wasn't overly saddened - to be honest, a 10K was sorta freaking me out.  I mean, I had just re-embraced running three-ish weeks ago.  Who was I to demand a 10K of my body?  And what if I couldn't do it?

As we took off, I found my stride.  It was chilly and windy, and the occasional puff of dust would whip through my body.  But otherwise, I was surprised to find that I wasn't struggling to keep up.  My friend has a similar run pace, and we were within eyesight of each other as we came to two miles, our preplanned half-way point.  We'd already been hit a few times with sand, so why not go it further?  How much worse could it get?  We decided to keep running - and go for the 10K (6 miles).  

Onward we ran.  My friend was slightly in front of me, and as we reached the 5K mark, she made the loop to turn back.  As we began the return journey, my heart pounded, my mind raced.  Who was I to do this?  I'd done a 4.5 mile run last week, but I had broken it up with some short bursts of walking throughout.  Today, I hadn't walked a single step yet.  I looked ahead of me, and the air was thicker, hazier, and it was obvious the sandstorm was coming in a bit quicker than we had thought.  I could see my friend off in the distance - her pace had picked up slightly, but we were still within eyesight of each other.  

I could quit.  Walk my butt back to the car.  Admit defeat.  Give up running.  A lot of people would do that, I thought.  Many of us have struggled with this.  It's so hard just to lose one single pound; it's so hard just to run one single mile.  But what is the alternative?

This is not the point where I quit!  I put this thought in my head and kept going.  I am a runner.

More thoughts streamed though my mind - This isn't just who I want to be.  This IS who I am.  A runner.  Someone who cares for her body.  I'm strong.  I can keep going.  This is not the point where I quit.  Forward, running, one foot in front of the other.  Focusing on my music, enjoying the run because I love the run.  I feel the pace, find my stride, feel the breathing.  

Another mile down.  My right knee was creaking.  My shoulders sag, I feel old.  I stumbled on a rock and nearly tweaked that knee.  The sand was blasting against my face and I needed a moment.  Two minutes - I gave myself two minutes of walking.  It's ok.  Gotta strrrrrretch-it-out.  But this is not the point where I quit.  Others would.  I don't.  I could still see my friend running.  Her silhouette moving forward, the sand whipping around.  The air was thick, but she was still moving forward.  I took a deep breath and began running again.  

One mile left to go.  I keep moving forward.  My lungs burn, my right knee seems to hate me, but I keep moving forward.  This is not the point where I quit!  I told myself over and over.  I am a runner.  I can do this.

I look up, and I am nearly to the end.  A wide smile across my face.  I catch up with my friend, who had finished just ahead of me.  My time?  1 hour 5 minutes.  Yes!  Who was I to do a 10K?  A runner, that's who.  My lungs still burned, and I hobbled a bit on that right knee, but I had proven something to the person who matters most in this:  myself.  

I wiped my face on my sleeve and it's covered in dirt.  I've done that 10K in a small sandstorm.  Oh, I'm feeling successful!

Four weeks done in the Biggest Loser competition.  I'm now down 10 pounds.  Of the 12 I've gained since arriving in Cairo.  It feels good.  I'm running, I'm working out, I'm eating healthier.  I still have some very rough days.  And some days where I slip.  But I keep moving forward.  Because this is NOT the point where I quit.

Keep moving forward.  Taking care of myself.  Improving myself.  It's a long journey and I'm committed.  Because as my friend Matt points out in his blog, there really is no other choice.   At least no other real choice with the only acceptable ending.

I'm headed to Bangkok this coming week for work, and I'm really excited.  I've never been there (to be honest - our move here to Egypt is the first time I've ever been outside the U.S.), and I have a medical conference to attend.  I'm pleased with my weight loss and improvement in running.  My goal for the next week is to maintain my weight (Since I'm traveling, I won't have a lot of time to workout, so I'm keeping my goals realistic!).  I'm also going to hit the gym at the hotel at least 3 times while I'm there (unless outdoor running turns out to be an option!).  

But no matter what, this is not the point where I quit.

Sandstorm rolling in!


  1. Oh my god Heather I SO needed to read this today. As you know, I, too, am down ten pounds. But I have a LOT more to go and am just exhausted and not feeling it today. I WILL get back to it tomorrow, and I will NOT QUIT either.

    LOVED this post. Hope Bangkok proves run-able!

  2. If you can't get a gym, go for massages and pamper your 10pund slimmer bod! You'll feel great and ready for another wadi run!! Way awesome job on your 10K in a sandstorm accomplishment!

  3. Thanks for the link! I wonder whether you have found this to be true as well: I'm discovering that the new-found discipline I'm applying to my diet and fitness regime significantly impacts my ability to exercise discipline in other unrelated areas of my life. Pretty cool.

  4. Hi! (found you through Lil' Welsh Rarebit) I found this very inspiring to read. I've been running only a short while and sometimes can't imagine being able to do more than 5km - to be able to push myself through it. And 10lb is loads - well done!

  5. LOVE your enthusiasm and awesome dedication! I also LOVE that you are running through the Wadi :) Keep up the good work!