Since the first time I strapped on shin guards and pig tails for my debut as a soccer star to the first time I donned those tiny shorts for track, I knew running was something that I would always enjoy. I love to run. I’ve just never been good at running long distances. I played left wing on the soccer field and ran sprints for track. While the average soccer game requires a left wing to run about 7 miles, it is 7 miles over a long period of time, mixed with short bursts of sprinting. And obviously, sprinting in track is just that, sprinting short distances. I got very used to the mentality of just a fast run and then I’m done.After all my sprinting years, I decided in college that I would finally become the distance runner I’ve always wanted to be. After 5 years of training with this mindset, I am all the way up to running 4 miles at a time. This is just on a good day. Most days, I can only run 3 miles.
Since it is still much too hot to run outside, I enjoy my morning runs on a treadmill in the air conditioning of the base gym. I have found that on my “good” running days there is always one common thread. That commonality is not a good stretch or a slow warm-up. It is purely mental. The trick is that I enter the amount of time I wish to run and then cover the stats on the treadmill with a towel. I don’t pay attention to the time or distance while I am running. I just enjoy being where I am, knowing that the timer on the treadmill will run out when my run is over. When I made this realization, I wondered why I couldn’t do that for all things in life. Why am I always rushing around, trying to get to the next thing, move to the next place? Maybe if I cover the timer and distance traveled on life, I would have the stamina to enjoy where I am right now. The programmed treadmill will stop when it’s time to move on to the next workout. Instead of trying to sprint through each round of flight school or each duty station, I’ll slow down and just enjoy my run. With each long stride, a slower pace will allow me to take in life’s joys that I would have missed if I had sprinted through it all.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” -Hebrews 12:1-3