I began running in 1993 when I joined the military. Over the years, I only ran when I had to for my yearly Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT). I hated running and over time I struggled with my weight and meeting the Body Fat percentage required by the military. I started out just working out in the gym and continued to avoid cardio training. This somewhat worked but it just wasn’t enough. In 2000, I was station in Camp Doha, Kuwait for Operation Southern Watch. There I was working with a Master Sergeant (MSG), who was a form Basic Training Drill Sergeant. He developed a training program for be with both weight training and running. The Rest and Recuperation (R&R) constantly held 5K events monthly. I never had a desire to run a 5K. I just wanted to be able to run 2 miles in the required time to pass my APFT. One Saturday morning, my day off work and working out, My MSG came banging on my door at 5:00 a.m. He advised me that I was running a 5K (he signed me up for without telling me). I actually enjoyed it. Years passed and I fell back in my old habits and again, I hated running. In 2009, I was working at Mississippi Joint Forces Headquarters (MS-JFH). I heard of a 5K that was called Mississippi Fallen Soldiers 5K. I couldn’t not run this 5K. A friend, Severin Summers with 20th Special Forces had just been killed in Afghanistan in August 2009 and I felt that I owed it to my fellow brothers in arms to run this 5K in their honor. This really kicked started my running career. Over the past couple of years, I ran several 5K’s. I still tell people that I don’t really like to run; I do it because I have to for my military career. The truth is, I really enjoy it now. I feel great afterwards and if I skip a run I feel sluggish and mad at myself for not running. Running has become very therapeutic for me. When I am stressed out or angry, I like to run to clear my head and I feel so much better about things when I am done. This is my time to just focus on my run and reflect on problems that aren’t really problems at all. I want to thank all my running friends the help me stay focused on my training. I would fall back into my old habits without them keeping me in check.
Sincerely, Daniel Christian Gay