Skip to main content

The Path of Least Resistance…A Runners Tale!

By Stephen C. Schultz

I recently attended the Small Boarding School Association conference (SBSA) in Asheville, NC. It was held at a beautiful location, on the campus of Christ School. I was traveling with Brent Hall, the Executive Director of Discovery Academy; a small clinical boarding school for bright under-achievers.

When traveling, it’s often difficult to eat healthy. I’ve been traveling quite a bit… On this particular trip I noticed Brent was making an effort to eat healthy, and he had noticeably lost some weight over the last month or so. His commitment, self discipline and determination not only impressed me…but inspired me!

We returned home late on a Friday evening and I got up the next morning, put on my shorts and went to the track over at our local High School.

My goal; walk a lap to warm up. Then run a lap, then walk a lap, then run a lap, then walk a lap to cool down. This should be good for starters. The days of running a couple miles on a whim are long gone!

Off I go at a brisk walking pace. Half way around the track in front of me is the proverbial “old guy” shuffle walking with his oversized head set and walkman, listening to News Radio so loud, I can hear it.

The second lap, I start to jog, slow at first, but feeling good. My knees are little wobbly, not used to the jarring of 200+ lbs crashing down on them. But, my muscles do adapt and I get in a steady rhythm. I make it around the track, winded, but feeling good.

The third lap is a “walk lap”…heart racing, deep breaths with a burn in my legs that was familiar 20 years ago.

Now, the fourth lap, my second run lap approaches. I take off in a jog, a bit quicker than last time, feeling good about my effort. I’m in a nice pace, easy rhythm, controlled breathing…then half way; I “hit the wall”! What…the wall…you’ve got to be kidding me!

I start saying to myself;

“Oh…it’s ok, this is your first effort. You can walk the rest of the way. You’ve done well, better than expected.”

“NO…you have to keep going…push on, push on…there’s the old guy up ahead, just get past him!”

So, I pass the old guy, going away in style, putting some distance between him and me. I look ahead now and it’s the last 50 yards.

I’m thinking;

“You passed the old guy…just walk the rest of the way.”

“NO…I have to push on!”

“Just stop short of the finish line and walk across.”

“NO… you have to push through the finish line!”

I kept the pace with this battle going on in my head as I ran across the finish line! OK, now the last lap was a walk lap, the cool down lap…I did it!

I was sitting in my car thinking about my experience and started laughing. (It was either laugh or cry!) My big accomplishment of the day was to pass the “old guy” and talk to myself like I was running a freaking marathon!

My mind drifted to our experiences in life. How often do we have goals in life or things we hope to accomplish? Then, without warning, we start to talk ourselves out of it when it becomes difficult. Why? Why do we second guess ourselves? Why do we naturally gravitate towards the “path of least resistance”? I don’t know.

I do know that it felt good at the track! It felt good to make a goal, stick to it and overcome the “demons” that try to make you come up short! I think I’ll hit the track some more this week…and see if I can’t battle some more of life’s demons!


barbie said…
I love your writing, and especially your complete honesty!You make me laugh all the time! Thank you! Good luck on your goal to get into shape!!
Thanks for your kind words Barbie. I appreciate you taking the time to not only read this crazy stuff, but post a comment! :)
Unknown said…
another fantastic story. I am getting myself ready for spring running... I may be able to pass the cows by then... thanks for the inspiration.
Thanks so much Tracy! Running on a ranch often provides obstacles not often encountered by running elsewhere...cow-pies comes to mind. :-)
David said…
Love it! Our mutual friend, Brent, and I have put in many a pleasant lap together. Nothing better than having a running buddy.

Glad you sent this.


Thanks so much David! I appreciate the comment. I'll forward the article to Brent, he will probably get a kick out of reading it!

Popular posts from this blog

Fishing...It's really about relationships!

By Stephen C. Schultz Spring is in the air and that well known feeling of wanting to get out of the house and go fishing is surging through my body. I found myself in a sporting goods store the other day perusing the fishing lure isle. I was in the yard after mowing the lawn and realized I was walking around my small 12 foot fishing boat that is still covered from winter. I have had people ask me over the years, "What's so fun about fishing?". They usually follow that question up with, "It's so boring!". From my perspective, they couldn't be further from the truth. Fishing represents so much more than being entertained. It's time in the wilderness with fresh air and solitude. It's time to think and ponder on life's problems.  It time to express gratitude and count your blessings. There is also the satisfaction of reading the water, observing a hatch and placing a lure or fly in the perfect spot. It's the excitement of the fish

An Open Letter to Parents Researching RedCliff Ascent

By Stephen C. Schultz "We will be known forever by the tracks we leave." Having been raised in Oregon, I spent the majority of my childhood and teenage year’s steelhead fishing the coastal waters, climbing the Middle Sister in the Cascade Mountain Range, drifting the McKenzie River and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.  I have mentioned to friends, family and colleagues on many occasions;   “From a therapeutic standpoint, there is no better place to have a student’s issues manifested quickly than in a wilderness setting.” The question then becomes, “Why do therapeutic issues rise to the surface in an Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare program like RedCliff Ascent ?” Throughout the years of teenage development, most teens spend a lot of time with friends. These friends think the same, dress the same, act the same, listen to the same music and sometimes get into the same types of trouble. Some teens also develop patterns of communication and ma

"Sugar and Spice" - A Child's Kindness

By Stephen C. Schultz I recall a childhood rhyme that went something like this; “…sugar and spice and everything nice…that’s what little girls are made of!” As the father of three daughters and one son, there is no doubt about the truthfulness of that saying. I was in San Diego a couple of weeks ago with my family. We were down at Seaport Village right on the bay having lunch. It was a beautiful day, sun shining, light breeze and we were eating on an outside deck. We were engaged in a conversation about what we wanted to do later that day when I noticed my youngest daughter, a fifth grader, was focused on something else. So, I turned to see what she was gazing at. She was following the movements of a transient man who had walked up onto the deck and was systematically searching the garbage cans for food. He was looking in each receptacle and reaching in to move the contents around. At one can, his hand came out with a partially eaten sandwich of some kind. He reached back