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At the end of a race pick up the pace and sprint

  • Published
  • By Maj. David E. Sumera Jr.
  • 380th Expeditionary Communications Squadron commander
"Run like hell and get the agony over with." -- Clarence DeMar (seven-time winner of the Boston Marathon)

Every deployed Airman can look at their time in the deployed area of responsibility as a race. Deployment lengths can vary from person to person -- some run short distances while others run marathons.

Despite the deployment length, there are some common experiences that everyone will share. At the start there is excitement and energy. You find your stride and things start running smoothly, but eventually you hit the wall and struggle to find a second wind. You push through and before you know it, find yourself close to the end and ready to redeploy. When the finish line closes in, it is time to finish strong.

The start of my race was during the muggy, sweltering heat of July. I stepped up to the starting line and took command of the squadron. Like any other race, I was eager, pushed by adrenaline, and started off at a break neck pace. There were many things to learn and a very important mission to execute. I was excited and off to the races, but knew I couldn't keep up this pace for the long haul.

Eventually I and everyone in the squadron found their stride and operations ran like clockwork. The squadron became a well-oiled machine. We had our direction and goals, and were working diligently to make incremental improvements across the wing.

"The endorphins kicked in and the euphoria engulfs us. You feel like you can run forever. Unfortunately during the run, it is inevitable that you will hit the wall. Fatigue sets in, the days drag on and the physical/mental strain starts to take its toll.

"Sometimes you feel like you can't continue and get the urge to walk. But you push through, spurred on by something that reinvigorates you; maybe it's some good news from home or praise given to you by superiors. Your energy returns, you find your second wind, and ultimately get your stride back.

"Now the end of the long marathon nears. The distance gets shorter and the clock ticks away. You would like to see several goals achieved before you cross the finish line, but realize that there is much to do and little time left to complete everything."

What do you do when the end is in sight?

Step it out, pump your arms, take deep breaths and keep pushing forward.

You'll be surprised at what you can accomplish when you pick up the pace and sprint...see you at the finish line!