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

Perfectly Wicked - A new take on an old fairy tale!

Guest Blogger Amanda Schultz Age 15 There she was…hair as black as night, lips as red as blood, skin as white as snow. Standing by the window, washing dishes, whistling while she worked. Snow White. I shudder with disgust every time I hear her name. What kind of a name is that anyway? “Snow White”. Gahhh, it’s a name that practically begs to be made fun of. Yet, there she goes, frolicking around like she owns the Enchanted Forest. No. I’m the Queen. I’m in charge. My magic mirror was mistaken. I’m the Fairest of them all, not that sorry excuse for a princess. One bite from my poison apple and that air-head will be so ugly not even her mother could love her. And I will be the Fairest once again! I suppose that I should rewind a little bit. It wasn’t always a competition between Snow White and me. In fact, back in the day, we had a nice little system going on. I would rule the kingdom and practice my magic, while Snow did the dishes and tended the garden. She stayed out of my w

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 manipulation

Life transitions are inevitable! I'm no exception

By Stephen C. Schultz This is just a quick email to share with you that after 20 years with the Ascent Companies, I am making a transition. I want you to know that the last 20 years have been more than I could have ever wished for. What a great opportunity I have had to not only work with, serve with and be friends with all who are a part of the RCA , DRG , DRB , Oxbow , Discovery Day PHP , Connections and Oasis programs. I owe such a debt of gratitude to the four original owners, Dane Kay, Steve Peterson, Scott Peterson and Jim Salsbury for seeing my potential and taking a risk on me back in 2002. Steve Nadauld, Brent Hall, Andrea Burgess, Clint Dorny, Shawn Brooks, Steve DeMille and the program teams have been like family and an absolute joy to be around.  I feel honored to have played a small role in the success you as educational consultants, private clinicians and us as treatment providers (working together) have had over the years on literally thousands of families.  #GRATITUDE