Today’s run reminded me of the last challenge in boot camp called Battle Station where you run and goes through obstacle courses for 12 hours straight, not to mentioned you must be up a total of 24 to 36 hours total. You must pass the Battle Station in order to officially be called a Sailor.
I had a fever 1 day before the Battle Station but refused to let the RDC (Recruit Division Commander aka Drill Sargeant in other services) know. Knowing that if they learn that I have a fever, I could get set back a week or two, I decided to keep my mouth shut and go through with it. This was the ultimate challenge for me. The RDC came in and started banging on an empty trash can. My body was still burning up that morning. When we started running it started to rain, pouring down like no tomorrow. About the time we finished with the first station, one of my boots heel fell off. So now I’m running off balanced. By the second station, I don’t know how but I had a small rock that fell into my boot, so now I’m limping with a missing heel and a rock slamming into the bottom of my foot on every step I landed. By the time we got done the swim station, it was my turn to carry the sea bag. By now, the sea bag was full of wet towels and clothes adding the extra weight on top of it. I still remember how painful it was to run like this for the rest of the Battle Station. There were no time to take the boots off to do anything, we had people yelling and screaming at us as we struggled through the ultimate test. I won’t lie, at times I thought about giving up, but I wouldn’t. I just kept going, unwilling to give up. I kept telling myself that I have made it to here now, I just needed to take 1 step at a time. I decided to stop thinking about how many hours or stations are left and placed my entire focus on putting one foot in front of the other and getting passed the physical pain and the psychological challenge. At every station I would tell myself, one more down, just keep going. As crazy as it sounds, my fever went away after I completed the course like it was never there.
It’s obvious that I got through and graduated. At the end of the challenge, the RDC issued us a Navy hat. Donning this hat signifies that we have transitioned from Recruits to Sailors. I considered this as one of my life’s greatest achievements to this day.
Today, I woke up with my plantar on my left foot acting up. I limped my ass out of the house, drove to Mile Square Park and started running.
The first mile was painful but bearable
The second mile was harder as the pain started to settle in
Third and fourth mile made me started to have a flash back about bootcamp and Battle Station. Painful as it was, i kept going.
The last 1.5 miles, I was literally limp jogging. Every step was reminder that pain is temporary but giving up is forever. I went back to my bootcamp training, taking it one step at a time.
Why am I sharing this? Because there are many lessons to be learned from such training. With in those few weeks, I have transformed and matured at such an accelerated rate. Those trainings of being disciplined, resilient and breaking down big goals into smaller and achievable action items carried into every aspects of life. Even if it is some thing as minute and simple as deciding to go run even though you are in pain, or putting one foot in front of the other can turn what seems like an impossible task of running a singlr mile with plantar faciitis turned into 5.5 miles of accomplishment.
These are the lessons I continued to drive into those I mentored through the years. I hold a high standard and expectations for those I mentored. That said, I have always drove home a single message: There are 1440 minutes in a single day, and if you think you are too busy to spend 60 minutes to invest in yourself emotionally, physically or mentally, you do not deserve the success you always claimed you wanted.