Running 10 miles a day to work & back
In the Navy I was
It all started out in Bootcamp, my naval career started back in November 1998 and came to a brief end on October 4th 2008. I'll never forget the first day I stepped foot into the MEPS station (Mitary Entry Processing Command).
This day one would change the course of my destiny forever, I went from a newly sagging young couch potato with very little experience in any industry, and very little understanding of life as a whole to who I am today.
Before I fill everyone in on all the juicy details of my entire US Naval Career & experiences that I'm allowed to share actually. I will address the reasoning behind the cool title I chose for this particular hub. Well just to make things less nerve racking for anyone reading this hub, I'll handle the Career part in my very next Hub I release & publish to the community here. Hopefully that handles any issues of people getting lost, by the diversion of subject matter. Ok, now lets get to the grimy details about how I got into running specifically.
Navy Boot Camp
In Bootcamp there's a training exercise they call PT, or short for physical training, you learn very quickly to understand the acronym and very effective terminology related to such. The strenuous activity of naval ship work requires every Sailor & Marine aboard to be in tip top shape, ready for anything at any time that goes for off shore, at sea, and on shore working details of all sorts, hard labor, paperwork etc...
I mentioned PT above for a reason, because this is the point where all my physical training began, it all started in my mind. I was always able to understand and decipher the meaning of things early as a child, so as I became an adult my ability became enhanced, and so when I learned something I took it to heart as well as to mind.
I won't forget the very first time we had to get into drilling exercises where each recruit is expected to continuously do push-ups, sit ups, crunches, mountain climbers (a really tough leg exercise where you move your legs like your climbing a mountain), and a vast assortment of other weird exercises, given some odd naval names.
It was tough the day we first hit the Gymnasium
Let me tell you about being pushed to the limit, if you never been in the military, you may never understand about how another may motivate a person to perform.
The day we first hit the on base Gym was the day I began to become an official distance runner, and also the day when I shook off all my loads of weakness, some body weight, and that very stubborn loss of motivation for living that use to hover over me like a black cloud when I were a Civilian before joining.
The instructors yelled at us many times to not give up our running motivation, a great deal of us young men & woman were completely out of shape. Many of us actually began to pass out and fall off course, but I remained in the pack. I listened to their voices of inspiration, and I keep on trucking, & thank god I did such a thing because boy did I need the motivation in such a huge way.
I weighed about 178 lbs at the time which was actually an all time high weight for my body type including height wise, and I found myself dropping waist sizes almost overnight. They worked us so much in the first week, I thought my legs were going to fall off. I was happy though even if I was in the most pain in my entire life before arrival to bootcamp.
Years later I began to Gain focus on my running
Many years had past since the bootcamp experience, and so I was truly into the essence and spirit of what PT had meant to the Navy as a whole. I became a living example of what someone can become if they focus enough energy on a particular aspect of their daily lives.
Running was like breathing at that point to me I just had to do it, the year was 2000 I don't recall the actual month it was, and I was running for an annual physical readiness test, which all military members must do, & disqualifications or failing this exam could literally spell the end of a bright career.
I figured I would try to show my fellow shipmates what I was capable of doing that day, and so I gave it my all during the 1.5 miles run, which was the required distance to complete. I started out running at a pretty average pace & noticed the rest of my shipmates began to pass me up, so I figured I'd eventually catch up to them all.
To my surprise I wasn't catching them as quickly as I had previously thought, so I underestimated the shape my fellow runners were in. I had a great deal of ground to cover, & had to step up the pace or I would not accomplish, what in fact in my mind I had thought out and had figured would be my desired outcome. Now while running and breathing heavily, its not as easy to visualize making such a dramatic action as passing up all my peers, as it was mentally envisioning it occur in my mind. Well I simply began to tell myself I can do it, and mustered up some never before utilized energy from I don't nowhere.
My body for some reason began picking up speed, as well as tempo, and my pace increased a great deal. Next thing you know I was beginning to breeze by many of my peers one by one, and as I felt each person drift behind me, I was encouraged to run even faster. Next thing you know I was in the front of the pack, with many exhausted souls running behind me except for one. Now that was literally the greatest physical test of my bodily functions, I've ever been put through, & my mind. Now the final challenge was to conquer my toughest competitor which was my self denial of possibly not catching him, not sure why the thought was there, maybe cause I had felt all the physical drain on my body at that specific point in time during the run.
Do you know, I caught him but it was barely this guy was not a slow runner at all, not by far. He was the very reason why everyone else had seemed to run their hardest & the reason why I was in hot pursuit. I was determined to fulfill my destiny on that very day of finishing first. i done this not so much to beat him, but I actually done this to prove something to myself, i wanted to defeat all my fears of not accomplishing things in my life by using this run as an expression of just that. I wanted to win on life itself, which in my mind began to become the understanding that we all face physical obstacles, but its the mental obstacles in our mind that weigh us all down the most.
When I finished first, this was the very first time I had won any race, and the first time I cried after winning anything. I will never forget that day, it was the day when I believed in me, in my potential & mostly in the fact that I been holding myself back for so long that I desperately needed to change my mentality, and outlook on things once and for all.
It must have been by a few seconds that I crossed the finishing point of the Physical Readiness Exam, but that day I treated it like I had won the Olympics & no one had a clue as to what was going on in my mind, or what had just occurred to me that very day.
2005 the power of my stride
In the year 2005 seven whole years later, after my very first intro to the Navy and its tough bootcamp training process. I felt like I was in runners heaven if it even exist's, because I had ran like Forest Gump (Inspiration Movie) did all the years prior, finishing first in every running exercise we ever had, on every single military base I touched, no matter where I went, no matter what the season of the year, I owned the physical fitness exercises and exams where ever I had set foot. Back at work pretty much the way the PT program had worked, once you had checked into a Duty station, then checked into your work center (job location), we all had to participate in PT exercises three times a week before the start of work, which was meant to keep you physically prepared annually, at all times. The exercises were a Command wide function, meaning everyone had to do it, even the Naval Officers.
There was a time when I had lost one of my vehicles due to a car accident, and I was somewhat deprived of having one for a period of about 6 months. This is where the story gets really intense, I started to think since I was really into running 1.5 miles super quick, which my fastest time was 7:29, or 1.5 miles run in seven minutes and twenty nine seconds, back in Norfolk Virginia, the NOB Norfolk, (Naval Operational Base) back in 2003. I figured what the heck why not, try to use my legs as my vehicle instead of depending on a car everyday, which I no longer had anyway, and why not make usage of my new found ability for running period.
The only trouble was I never really was a long distance runner, I only knew how to control my breathing for sprinting the 1.5 miles distances, and my job location was actually off base about 5.2 miles away. Now that became a challenge in itself so I thought , why not what the heck. I began my daily run one day from home, bright and early in the morning at 6am, and it took me about 35 mins to get to the Naval base. I decided to handle the run in a much wiser fashion, so that I wouldn't overexert myself, since I was going to be doing this everyday, at morning and later on after work.
The amazing thing happened, I began to get use to it and started to enjoy running 10+ miles each day. What a whole new experience this was, because as soon as I got to work I had to snap right into the normal flow of daily work activity. This in itself was much harder than the entire running work out itself, but I hung on and quickly adapted to the new program regiment. At the very end of my work day, I was then faced with the daunting task of running back home. Luckily I was well prepared & ready for the strenuous battle of driving my legs as a vehicle.