North Carolina was another race I was anticipating similarly to my last few races. The reason being was that a good close buddy of mine, Dave Spicer, who I served with at 2/8 & deployed with to Iraq when I was injured, was also eager for my arrival. A quick story behind Dave, and why he was excited was because we have been through a lot. Only a few months after I was injured in the city of Karma, Iraq, Dave and his platoon were also ambushed in the same area. Consequently, the exact building where I was injured, Dave was able to launch an AT4, which is a shoulder fired 84mm rocket into the building where insurgents were firing from. That building had nothing but bad news, and many Marines and army personnel were killed or injured in that building, which was also known as the lollipop intersection. Dave thought about me right away when he sent an 84mm into that building. When me & Dave were eating pizza at a local bar, we talked about that event and pretty much laughed while having a few beers.
While in North Carolina, I was also able to meet up with Lori, who I have known since grade school. We also went to high school together and then she served in the Army and deployed to Afghanistan. On a sad note, the father of her children was killed overseas, which makes them Gold Star sons and daughters. Lori and her kids came up for my race and cheered me on from start to finish. The support was incredible. Post race, Dave, Lori and family, and I went to have steak and beers and continued to share stories.
The race overall was pretty hot and the run was rough for me though. Sad to say, I had a great pace going from my swim to my bike, but around mile 8 on the run, I had to walk about 5 miles because of a strain on my calf. This resulted in a time of 5:09, one of my slowest times.
Overall I enjoyed every single race, to include this race, especially because I was able to meet up with Dave, Lori, and family. One of my reasons for doing this mission is also to meet up with people I haven't seen in awhile, especially veterans and those who served overseas, so this is a plus in my book.