Running on Fort Meade

Three days removed from a mandatory APFT, I can run for “leisure.”

Aside from Camp Bondsteel, scene of my first deployment and long before I started the “Running on Series,” Fort Meade has had me more days than any other military facility. It’s fitting that I finally get around to running on it.

Candlewood Suites is a world apart from any Army billeting I have ever seen. It’s almost sad to leave the comfy confines of my little apartment here, but I take consolation in knowing I’ll be back, when I will be able to take a nice, warm, private shower. Amazing what passes for luxury in the Army.

Immediately south of the billets is the Fort Meade Museum. I have standing intentions of visiting, but never seem to make time. It’s not doing much to sweeten the prospect — a dreary old building stained with mildew and neglect. I stop briefly to read the sign posted outside. It’s about a sister city; an odd thing to post outside the fort museum.

On my way again, I restart my running app. Then Audible. It’s so complicated to exercise these days. Kevin Pariseau resumes his narration of Washington’s Spies by Alexander Rose. I decided to listen after watching the latest season of TURN.

Straight ahead are huge federal style structures, built of red brick and towering above the fencing that warns people off. Quite a bit of rehab is underway, it looks like. I pass through a tunnel of sorts as dusk crawls over me. The lack of summer insects is surprising to me. The heavy summer air is not.

As I emerge onto Llewellyn Avenue, I glance back at the building I just passed. Benjamin Tallmadge Hall. The coincidence is titillating. I feel like I am in the right place.

As I discover new things about this place, I revisit old memories. Like the Post Theater, where I saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and Iron Man, back during my Initial Entry Training days.

And Burba Lake, where Fourth Platoon was robbed of a Company fun day trophy back in 2008 because the XO changed the rules at the last minute. Do I seem bitter?

Maybe it’s the swarm of gnats that I am running through, trying to not swallow.

I am surprised to see an RV park on Fort Meade. As I pass, I wonder if I’d ever take my camper to a place like this. I can’t imagine that I would, but the thought takes me to happier times camping with my kids. They say they hate camping, but they always have a blast doing it.

On the left is some range, fenced in neatly. The rappel tower looms, but there’s much more to it. I’ll find out more another day, maybe. But maybe not, too.

It’s getting dark, and I’ve gone more than a mile and a half, so I veer west, then make a right up Roberts Avenue. I run through the officers’ neighborhood, and marvel at the simple beauty of these homes. On the open market they would fetch a handsome price.

An airman stops me and asks for directions to the lake. I know where that is. I like how she addresses me as, “sir.”

I might do this again.

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