Your 2nd Wind – Running Life Lesson #11
My Cow (Junior) year at West Point, 1993, was the year our Varsity Men’s Division I Cross Country Team finished 6th in the Country at the NCAA Division I Championships at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. It was our best year as a team, but one of my worst years as an individual runner.
I sustained a season ending injury the year prior and had a hard time coming back as an effective runner after that. I struggled through the cross country season and was fighting to make the traveling team going into our post season. My head coach, Ron Bazil, was disappointed and frustrated with me as we approached our regional, the qualifying meet for the Nationals Championship race.
I did not perform well in practice and my coach had to make a decision to take me with the team or to take another runner that had been practicing better than me. “You are not making this easy on me, Rheam!” Coach huffed at me one day after practice. He didn’t make his decision until the day before we were to take off for the meet. To my surprise, he decided to take me instead of my teammate. “Don’t make me regret this, son.” Coach stated after he announced the travel squad for that week.
The day of the big qualifying race was a crisp fall morning and the perfect setting for our race. Our team was focused and prepared to compete. The best runners in our region all lined up to run their guts out. The top teams and individuals would advance to Nationals and the rest would go home in disappointment. It was an intense 10k Cross Country race, but we were trained and ready.
The gun went off and the hundreds of elite college athletes sprung to life off the starting line. I was running strong after three miles into the race. I held a steady pace and was within contact of my friend and teammate, Jack Swift. Jack was one of our most consistent runners. He always performed well and brought his “A” game to every race. When I saw Jack close to me as we approached the halfway point of the race, I knew I was running well.
Jack and I were running in a tight pack of runners and traversed the course with ease. I kept my form, concentrated on my breathing, and stayed with our pack through the next couple of miles. With a little over a mile to go I felt like it was time to make a move and break from the pack of runners that Jack and I were in the past few miles. To my surprise, my body responded to my desire to surge. My legs were filled with energy and life. I felt strong and confident as I passed the small pack of runners ahead of me, including Jack. My lungs filled with clean air and exhilaration burst through my body like a wild fire. I could feel the helplessness of the other competitors as I easily passed them.
I continued to pick off runners the last mile with ease. I don’t remember my time or my place that day, all I remember is how I felt when my body hit its “2nd wind.” I ran a fantastic race and I finished well!
My coach found me after the race and congratulated me. “Thanks for proving me right today, Rheam. Nice race.” I was euphoric. I raced well and our team qualified for Nationals. I was on a high that day because I rediscovered my fitness and experienced the exhilaration of hitting my “2nd wind.”
Experiencing a “2nd wind” moment is rare in a race, but when it happens, it feels great! I’m not quite sure why it doesn’t happen every time, but I do know it only happens as a result of hard work, good training, and patience.
The good news is that I discovered there are “2nd wind” moments in life as well. There are times when I’m tired and life is hitting me from every direction, but I find an energy or resource that helps me achieve more than I expected from a situation.
“2nd wind” moments are situations where something in my life breaks down and I have money in the bank to cover it easily, or I am in need and a friend steps in to help, or a resource comes to me as a surprise gift from God as a result of prayer and thanksgiving. Those moments are awesome and are also a result of preparation, effort, and patience.
Life is full of little fun surprises and “2nd wind” moments if you prepare for them. Here is how I do it:
- I believe in them. I know that if I work consistently, my moments will come.
- I work at being my best in five basic areas: faith, family, finances, career, and health.
- I look for ways to be a blessing to others and know that I can provide a“2nd wind” moment for someone else.
- I try to lead a life of continuous thanksgiving. When I experienced my “2nd wind” in my race back in college, I was just thankful to be in the race. When you are in a state of thanksgiving, your body, mind, and soul will be prepared to accept more blessings as a result.
- I remain patient. Most of the time I know I am making good decisions and that through consistent effort that my time will come. I don’t try to force things and just allow them to happen.
“2nd wind” moments are wonderful and will happen when you least expect it. Continue to work towards your dreams and don’t be afraid to work hard and just enjoy the moment when it comes. What are some of your “2nd wind” moments?