Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Training for Currhee

I've mentioned Currahee before, but I'd bet most people don't know what I'm talking about.

In WWII the Army began training its 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne in Toccoa, GA. About 90 or so miles NE of Atlanta. The training was very rough, the most brutal to date for the US Army, but to become a US Paratrooper you had to complete everything.

At Camp Toccoa part of the training included a small mountain in the distance called Curahee. It's an indian term for 'Stands Alone". The trooper wannabes had to run up this mountain, 3 miles up, 3 miles down just about every day, sometimes twice. If I'm not mistaken they had to do it within 55 minutes. I've read the grade is 5-8% for the uphill parts and much worse near the top.

In 2001 Steven Speilberg and Tom Hanks, fresh off thier collaboration in Saving Private Ryan, produced an HBO mini-series called Band of Brothers about one of the most decorated outfits of WWII, Easy Company, from the 101st PIR. It was based off the Stephen Ambrose book by the same name. It is my favorite movie/series of all time and the very first episode of the series is called "Currahee". It's all about the training they underwent at Toccoa.

Anyway, that's how I learned about Curahee. It was my first exposure to Stephen Ambrose and Dick Winters, the Commanding Officer of Easy Company. Since then I've gotten several Ambrose books and Dick Winters memoirs. Being ex-military, with a strong family military history, I couldn't get enough.

On Jan 1st of this year, I weighed in at 287 lbs. Enormous, huge, heart attack waiting to happen. 100 lbs heavier than my days in the Navy. I had to do something. I needed to lose weight for health, myself and my family. But I couldn't find a trigger, a motivator to drive me. Until I found out about the annual Currahee Run/Walk Challenge each fall in Toccoa. I now had my motivation.

I'm going to run (maybe walk some) Curahee. I'm going to do whatever it takes to get into shape to get up and down that hill, just like my heros in Ambrose' books.

And I've invited my friends and family to join along with me. So far I've gotten:
- Wife (Vic - recovering from ACL surgery)
- Daughter (Hailey- 8 yrs old)
- Greg - Marine friend of mine
- Joe Reger - Psycho uber athlete genius friend of mine
- Marty - Co-worker and genius friend of mine
- Kristen - Co-worker (and maybe one of her friends I don't know.)

I'm working on a few more, we'll see. And if you think my 8 yr old daughter can't do it, they had 2 girls, 7 and 8, complete Currahee year before last.

So this is my goal this year. I weighed in Sat at 265, so I'm well on my way. -22 lbs in 2 months. I figure I need to get down to 180 in order to comfortably do the run.

All for now, some pics below of me, Vic and Hailey training. Mr. Kindzia says I should take pics of my progress, so here it will be.


Joe Reger said...

You know, you look good! The only disturbing thing about that picture is the boom box you bought at the PX in 1982! (I know because my stereo was bought from a PX the same year.)

Missy said...

Hey Joe!

Congrats on the new site, and on the challenge! I'm interested, and I'm going to go do some research on it! Maybe I can talk Isi into it! Say Hi to Vic and the girls for me!

Paul Kindzia said...

I'm IN! I'm not racing Reger up those hills though. He's too fast.

Joe, keep up the awesome work. You are an inspiration for others. You and your entire family should be proud.

See you on October 4th!

Paul Kindzia

Steph Bachman said...

Joe - post the link for the race. We may join you on this one too!


Dave said...

Hi Joe.....I hope you and the gang were able to make it up the hill !!

A group of us ran again this year...you probably saw me....I was the one who looked like he was about to die near the top.

Congrats on setting the goal and I hope you were able to get there. If not...we'll be looking for you next year.


JoeVic said...

Wasn't able to make it this year. Many setbacks/obstacles. Next year I will be there.

Congrats on doing what I've dreamed of.