Wednesday, August 26, 2015

MCM deferred....

Well unfortunately due to an injury I have had to make the decision to defer my entry for the Marine Corps Marathon to next year. I have a torn hamstring tendon. Had it been the muscle injured instead of the tendon I might have been able to train through it. A tendon injury is more serious than a muscle injury and mine is being slow to respond to treatment. I have missed nearly 2 weeks of running so far and the projected time off from running is 4-6 weeks. With the MCM being only 8 weeks away, it is unrealistic that I could recover and train appropriately for it.

Injuries are frustrating. This one is frustrating to me for so many reasons. Running is my coping mechanism. I have been grumpy lately and I know it's a result of not being able to run. Mostly though, I think I am frustrated more because I was running the MCM to raise awareness for suicide prevention for first responders. I will have to discontinue the campaign now that I won't be able to run. I am very disappointed about that. Suicide is such a hard topic to talk about. Running the MCM gave me a platform to talk about suicide prevention.

The media doesn't publicize first responder suicides nearly as often as they occur. Every year we hear about how many Law Enforcement Officers and Firefighters are killed in the line of duty. Would it surprise you that nearly double that take their lives each year by suicide? I bet most people don't know the devastating toll of the job on first responders. I was an EMT for only a short bit so I can't say I know all they go through but I have an idea. There is one call I ran while an EMT that I will never forget and it has to do with fire. It's part of the reason why I struggled so much after my fire a few years ago. My fire brought back a memory I thought I had put away forever. And that's only one call, how many calls haunt first responders in their dreams? I bet it's well more than one. Whether a firefighter, EMT, paramedic or police officer, they all experience things that most of us never could imagine. And because most of us can't relate to what they see and experience, first responders find it hard to reach out to others who are not first responders. So what do they do? They bury it. They don't want to burden their family or friends with the emotional things they see on the job. The problem with not talking about it is it leads to coping mechanisms that may not be safe such as drinking, drugs and other risky behaviors that help distract from the nightmares.

This year alone 71 firefighter suicides have been confirmed including the recent suicide of a firefighter while on duty in Katy, Texas. It's very possible the number of suicides is higher than that as not all suicides are reported as suicides. EMS suicides are generally included in firefighter suicide statistics. It's harder to track LEO suicides because oftentimes the death is not reported as a suicide. And that's too bad. In order for officers, firefighters and EMS to be more likely to get help, they need to know there is a support system in place. If law enforcement won't acknowledge that a suicide has happened, it is less likely for an officer to reach out to someone if they are struggling. For example, Johnson County (KS) Sheriff's Office had a deputy lose his life to suicide earlier this year. It was not reported as a suicide and therefor the opportunity to help others who may be struggling was missed. The more we talk about suicide out in the open, the better chance we have of saving someone who may need help but is too afraid to ask for it. Suicide needs to be talked about openly in order to break down the stigma associated with it. Until that happens, people will continue to be afraid to ask for help. I speak from experience here.  Fire and EMS have gotten a little further than law enforcement in regards to suicide prevention. Suicides are now being tracked as much as possible in Fire/EMS and workshops are being put in place to help departments when they lose one of their own to suicide. The organization I was raising funds for is one of those organizations that provides workshops for LEO/Fire/EMS to help with suicide prevention as well as grief after a suicide.  To learn more about it visit the Sweeney Alliance at or the Grieving Behind the Badge blog at

I may not be able to run the Marine Corps Marathon this year but my desire to talk about suicide prevention has not diminished. It's a difficult topic but one that's worth having a conversation about. You might just save someone's life.

If you or someone you know is struggling there is help. Reach out to a friend, family member, coworker, partner, spouse, counselor, priest.... just reach out. Where there is help, there is hope.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Spencer C Duncan Make It Count 5k

August 1, 2015 was the 4th Annual Spencer C Duncan Make It Count 5k. Proceeds benefit charities that support veterans.

This was my first time running this race. It was low key with lots of walkers, strollers and even some pups running or walking the race. I wanted to get a gauge of my fitness but it was hot and I ended up walking a little bit near the end when I got overheated. I met some RWB peeps though and that made it a fun event! I've run a couple races now wearing the RWB shirt but this is the first race where I actually got to meet some. It's nice to be able to show support for veterans and Team RWB is a great program to do that! And it was cool to receive dog tags for finishing rather than a medal!

Race bib, finisher dog tag and Team RWB shirt that I wore during the run.

Team RWB's mission is to enrich the lives of America's veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social interaction. If you want to learn more visit their website at:

Here are some pics from the race:

JOCO Fire District #3 and MedAct were on scene for safety of participants.   
American flag was displayed flying between 2 fire trucks. How cool is that?

More volunteers!

This was the flyover prior to race start. It was so cool and deservedly received a round of applause.
Near the start.... this is the flag everyone turned to look at while the national anthem was played.
All throughout the race were military personnel holding a sign of a soldier lost in combat. 

Even the animals who served and died in combat were recognized! 
Me trotting along with another runner. I have both feet in the air in this pic! I was pretty sure I was slower than a turtle so to see a "flying" pic was kind of nice. In the background is one of the many military planes and other equipment that was on display during the event. 

More military equipment on display...
The helicopters were a popular attraction for participants to get a closer look at.

The flag flew over the finish line. Not a great pic of the finish line but trust me, it's there!
One of the awesome photographers on the course....

Next up on my calendar is the Royals Charities 5k. It fit nicely in to my training plan on a Saturday of a lighter week mileage wise. It will also be the first year I have participated in it. Should be interesting as it goes in to Royals Stadium and we run along the warning track in the outfield.