29 March 2011

Seeing Hawks Makes Me Run Faster

Elizabeth Clausen, Hawk Goddess
Last week was one hell of a week, and this past weekend was no better. Things will, after today, finally be a little slower…but only briefly. I have two assignments due Wednesday morning, and then I STILL need to get fitted for, order, and pick up my new uniforms for after graduation (in addition to far too many other errands). It seems like as soon as I get a breather, there’s another random thing that pops up and has to be taken care of immediately or the sun is going to prematurely explode and the death of our solar system will be just another stain on my hands. Ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but you know how much I love a good (and sometimes, really crappy) hyperbole.

Regardless, after this afternoon, I was one major step closer to the end as the last non-academic opportunity for me to delay my graduation was met with triumph: I smoked my APFT. For you non-military types, APFT stands for Army Physical Fitness Test, and it basically amounts to how many pushups you can do in two minutes, how many situps you can do in two minutes, and then how quickly you can run two miles. It’s not particularly difficult, nor is it—in my and many other’s humble and less than humble opinions—an accurate, relevant test of the kind of fitness required to be a good soldier. However, until the Army determines how exactly it will score the new test proposal, it’s what we have to work with, and it’s what we’ve worked with for years. Since I am, at 22, apparently already past my physical prime (and what a sad thought that is), it’s easier for me to pass than it was a year ago but harder to get the maximum score. Regardless, I managed to do better on the test than I have in two years, scoring an overall 293. I exceeded the maximum score in both the pushups and the run, but missed a perfect 300 by five measly situps. That said, many cadets get above and beyond a 300 every time they take the test. However, it’s difficult to find enough time here to work out consistently, especially during the winter months when it’s so cold outside. I can’t run for more than 15 minutes on a treadmill without wanting to gauge my eyes out, so winter running doesn’t really happen for me. I’m swimming twice a week, and one of these days I’ll fit in more yoga, and I’ll probably go for a long run this Saturday to loosen out my legs and continue the process of getting back up to speed.

Even though the run was only two miles long, and even though it was windy and cold and my legs were sore from trekking all over the woods in the snow and debris with 30+ pounds of gear on Saturday, I felt strong, empowered, and at peace during that portion of the APFT today. One of my best friends was in the same run group with me, along with two other girls I knew fairly well, and a handful of close male companions as well. I had seen about five or six hawks on my way down to the track, so naturally my head started to drift towards my Huntress Goddess and how, last October, mid-race the sight of a hawk soaring over head brought new energy to my legs and new breath to my lungs. The same, I believe, happened today. Diana ran with me today.

I love being Pagan.


  1. Sounds like some very good circumstances if you ask me ;)

  2. No doubt: treadmills are for hamsters.