ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

My Unlikely Potomac Convalescence


I've been feeling a bit down lately.

I'm pretty swamped with my day job. In fact, I'm writing this from a hotel in Washington D.C. I've

had meetings all day, you know, the kind where you walk around in a suit and tie with various badges and clearances to get into this building or that building. Sometimes I don't even know where I'm going. The kind of meetings where you're looking for someone and end up lost in the basement of a building, only to enter into the set of what looks like Star Trek, but is actually Cybercom... and I wasn't even looking for it.

I've also been pretty swamped writing. I'm going 90 miles an hour with Grunt Hero. I've knocked out about 40k words so far with another 50k or 60k to go by Jan 1. I have an X-Files short story due Nov 1. I also have a video game script due Nov 2 that I've already been paid for = extra stress. Any day now I'm going to start writing a Person of Interest  (CBS\Bad Robot) novel too. Plus, I have two other stories, one which I am contracted for due Jan 1 and the other one I've been invited to be a part of anthology due Dec 1 (OMG I really want to be in this anthology because this editor hasn't invited me to anything ever).

So, you see, I'm busy.

Plus, I'm wounded. Brought low by my own hubris. I ran the Bisbee 1000 last Saturday. I was all fine after the race, but I think somewhere between the 1000 concrete stairs and the 4.5 miles, I strained my knee. As far as I can tell, I
have Runner's Knee  (Insert Big Frown Here).

Normally, when I want to get away from how swamped I am, I go out running. Here in Old Town Alexandria, I love running the cobblestone streets to the river and then along the river. It's so picturesque and peaceful. So imagine my frustration yesterday, when I dressed in running gear, put on my special extra thick soled Altra running shoes, turned on my wireless earplugs and synced them with my phone, then turned my running playlist on my phone and then secured it in my flipbelt around my waist, put on my running hat, donned my sunglasses, synced my GPS watch with the satellite and heart rate monitor, then went outside, took two running steps, then stopped, because I couldn't take another step without fear of something breaking... and of course there was the pain. It wasn't debilitating, but I knew if I took more steps, it would become so.

So I walked.

And I grumbled.

And I walked.

And I grumbled.

Eventually I found wine and was better for a time.

Because of yesterday's No Exercising, when I got back to the hotel after the day's meetings, I was determined to do something exercisy. I went across the street to the CVS and bought a knee brace. My knee was already starting to hurt a little from the day's walking-- strange that it isn't swelling, but it is hurting. Still, the moment I put on the knee brace, it felt good. Real good. I tried a few running steps, and they weren't as bad as yesterday, but I could feel that secret little twinge of pain.

So what's a guy to do?

Did you know that in addition to my hotel providing me a guppy to love every night that it also has a stable of bikes? 

So what did this guy do?

I checked out a bike

And from the minute I got on that sweet wonderful clunky rattling blue and white contraption, I had a smile on my face that couldn't be wiped away. 

The wind couldn't do it.

The gnats couldn't do it. 
This was my route.

The grumpy old man with resting bastard face sitting on the park bench growling at me couldn't do it.

The chain coming off the bike couldn't do it, nor could the grease I got on my hands and my flipbelt.

Certainly the girl in the bikini couldn't do it.

I mean I was smiling like a complete idiot. 

People might have seen me and ran the other way.

I ended up doing about 12 kilometers. I drove the the Wilson Bridge, then around the buttresses, then all the way along the Potomac through Alexandria to Dangerfield Island and then back to my hotel. There was a spot by the river where the air was so aromatic, so perfumed with honeysuckle, you wanted to hyperventilate, filling your entire system with a natural healing restorative. I wished I had a Go Pro with Smell-O-Vision just so you could feel a scintilla of the happy effervescence radiating, 

Yes, it was a healing ride. 

I'm still grinning.

Because I feel better.

I'd been feeling a bit down lately.

But not anymore.

Thanks Potomac.

Thanks Kimpton.

This is a short video to show you how cool it was.
And I'm not really sideways at the end.


  1. That's great man. It sounds like a wonderful outing. I've been absolutely gobsmacked with family issues, unexpectedly stressful work... and you know I love to run. It's been a week. Today, I said screw it and went anyway...and it was wonderful. Maybe as I looked out across the river in Elizabeth City, somewhere a fish carred the good mood to you in Alexandria... or maybe excercise is just cool :)

  2. What a great ride! I wish I could have gone on it with you-- spectacular views and paths! Good for you, honey.