Just when I had the end of my military career all figured out, everything changed. I was informed nearly two years ago that my Reserve position at Travis Air Force Base was being terminated. Since I was so close to retirement, they let me remain in that position until I completed 20 years and retired this October. I was completely happy with this plan. Staying in my current military job meant I didn't have to look for another less fun job to complete my 20 years. What I didn't factor in back then was my military running career which launched and skyrocketed last year.
How cool is it that I get to run for the United States as part of my military duty spreading "Friendship Through Sport"? Damn cool. I became slightly nostalgic when I received messages last week from my Air Force running buddies about the upcoming US Military Marathon Competition held each year in conjunction with the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM). I ran this last year and got the Silver medal. I told them I was out because I was running Twin Cities 3 weeks before MCM and wished them all luck. I would be retired then anyway, so ineligible to compete. Then the message came in about the location for the International Military Marathon Competition in 2010--Athens, Greece. It would be run in celebration of the original marathon run there some 2500 years ago. I was bummed that I wouldn't be able to go.
Yesterday, I got word that my position at Travis was being converted to a pseudo position. Yes, that's what they are actually calling it. It seems perfect for me. I stay in the military in my pseudo position and travel the world running pseudo marathons.
One downside to this dastardly plan is that as of right now I will have to run MCM and place among the top 4 military women in order to be on the US team for Athens. MCM is 3 weeks after Twin Cities. I am trying to weasel an exemption to the current policy and am asking if a podium finish at the most recent international marathon confers automatic membership on the team. We'll see if they buy it. If not, I may be looking at a quick turn around and a tiring MCM in late October.
The other downside of course is the threat of being pseudo deployed to fun places in the Middle East rather than Europe. This is currently a risk since they are terribly low on people in my military specialty. I actually handle endangered species and natural resource issues out at Travis AFB, which naturally transfers directly into managing construction and destruction projects in foreign countries. Perhaps pseudo qualification is all that's needed to be deployed. Of course I have thought about the possibility that this is too good to be true and that this is the equivalent of a recruiting ploy promising to make me a fighter pilot stationed in Hawaii for my entire career. It is a risk.
Competing for the US at the International Military Marathon Championships in Belgrade was one of the most memorable experiences of my military career, perhaps of my life. Despite the tough conditions, the feeling I got wearing that US singlet and competing against 30+ other countries was pretty amazing. Finishing third in the individual competition was thrilling, but being awarded the first place trophy as they played the US National Anthem for our women's team win was priceless. I want to do it again.