Searing heat pushes against me as I exit my cool home. I adjust my hat and glasses, trying to take my mind off the excessive radiating heat from the concrete and the oppressive bright orange orb above.
Over many years of running, I have learnt to fool myself, to ignore the elements and concentrate on my breathing, my stride. After a brief warm-up walk, I begin running.
Soon I come across a police officer who has pulled someone over for running a stop sign. Unconsciously my pace quickens as I am reminded why I am training so hard in the 100+ heat. In a matter of weeks, I commence the Police Academy towards becoming a Deputy Sheriff within the Reserve Command. The physical training component is demanding and I want to be as prepared as possible to not only meet the demands but exceed them.
I push on, lungs sucking in hot air, my arms pumping as I attempt to get settled into a rhythm. Then it happens, I find my running focus, that place where I am not having to think about my breathing, my pace – it just happens. I have my rhythm.
The key is my eyes, where am I looking? When I am out of rhythm, struggling stubbornly and pushing on, my eyes are mostly down on the path immediately in front of me. But when I am in the zone, my eyes are locked on the horizon. Head up, chest out, back straight. In this place, I can run much longer and much faster.
Actually its the same with my life. When I am stuck in the immediate, I tend to flail and struggle. But when I am focused on my goals, on where I am heading, life tends to get a wonderful, smooth rhythm about it.
When life gets hard, I tell myself often: just keep pushing and hustling towards my goal.