Good News Friday: A Houston “veterans court” helps soldiers immensely. My 10k has finally arrived. And a school in Mass. believes in lots of phys. ed!

As you might imagine, transitioning back to civilian life for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan has been difficult.
Physical, emotional and psychological tolls have led many vets down wayward paths they never would’ve considered before.

Seeing hundreds upon hundreds of vets going to prison every month, a unique “court” program in Houston started up and is doing some remarkable work, getting vets off drugs, into work programs, and most importantly, trying to heal their heads.

This is a really uplifting story that shows what can happen if we don’t just lock everyone up.

**The good news is, my long-trained for 10k run, to benefit the great Hope for the Warriors charity, has finally arrived. So I can finally stop training, which my calves and ankles will most certainly appreciate (they’ll send me a thank-you note in a few days once they stop aching).

The bad news, now I have to actually run 6.2 miles Saturday morning.
I actually feel pretty good about where I’m at, endurance-wise. I’ve been able to run between 5-5.5 miles three times a week for the past 3-4 weeks, so I have no doubt I’ll be able to finish.
I’m just hoping for a decent time; I run around 13-minute miles (pathetic, I know; all serious runners are laughing at me) so I’m hoping to finish in 1:20 or so, but as long as I’m under 1:30, I’ll be happy.

Can’t wait to actually be on a course with other runners, after running in solitary for a while. And I also can’t wait to do that cool runners thing of throwing my arms up in the air when I cross the finish line (OK, I know that’s not cool, but I’m doing it anyway, dammit.)

As long as Saturday goes OK, my next goal is a half-marathon, which is of course twice as long as a 10k, next fall.

Upon hearing said goal, my entire lower body just said “no thanks.”

**Finally, while we’re on the subject of running around, I can’t applaud enough the efforts of the South Lawrence Fifth Grade Academy in Massachusetts. What the district has done is expand the school day to eight hours, but include three physical education periods for all students, as a break between learning sessions.

There have been numerous reports (one of which found here in the “Only a Game” NPR story that brought South Lawrence to my attention) that say physical activity helps kids learn.
Also, in case you haven’t noticed, our kids are getting fatter and more and more schools are cutting recess and gym classes.
I hope South Lawrence’s model catches on, and fast.

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