Chapter 35: One mile, no sweat, Two miles, better yet, Three miles, oh no, Four miles, Ah hell, just shoot me

"Cox, wipe that pathetic look off your face!" "Aye, ma'am," I softly whimpered. Charlie horses in Boot Camp were the death of me. I don't recall if I was more afraid of getting a charlie horse or the silver bullet. Let's face it. I hated to run. With a passion.  I was in the last running group, also known as the slow pokes. It wasn't that I couldn't run, I just hated to run. Granted, it was pretty embarrassing to be thrown in the back of the white govie with some fat Corpsman, who always seemed to wear a devilish grin on his face. I bet he just wished I was a heat casualty so that he could pull a Roswell alien attack on my ass.
All we did was run. And sang. We sang about everything under the sun. Jodie's back home getting our man, the little yellow birdie with a little yellow bill, and we always sang about that the stupid C-130. Hell, I bet half of us didn't even know what a C-130 was! But, it made the run more bearable. Or at least it did for me.
After Boot Camp, I thought that I only had to run twice a year. I wanted to be that lean, mean, six-mile Marine. But then once I got to MOS school, we ran six damn miles at one time. Seriously, the shin split gods were out to punish me. The stupid Motor T trails at Camp Johnson were worse than Boot Camp. Did they not know that I had better plans than running? Hello, I had to go jump in the cab and meet up with my peeps at Club 108! But, no, instead I had to go back to my barracks room, and ice my poor little shins.
"Cox, get that pathetic look off your face!" "Yes, Staff Sergeant." It was like de je vu, except I had SSgt Gimp yelling at me, instead of my drill instructor. Seriously, he never ran, wore a knee brace all the time, and was yelling at me. I am sorry that I never looked enthused while running. Do you think he looked amused while mowing the grass? I think not.
Then I get out into the fleet and "surprise", there were like 4 ladies in the whole squadron, so you know that means? Formation runs running at a 7-minute mile pace. Seriously, guys, if I could run at a 7 minute mile pace, I would have had a perfect PFT, so yes, of course, even though I am coughing up a lung and giving you my 110% for once while running, I am still going to fall out of your run. And you know what that means? Public ridicule. Next thing I know, I hated running so much that it made me sick just thinking about it! Before every run, I would get butterflies in my stomach because I feared the public lashing of falling out of a run. Have I mentioned how much I hated to run?
"Cox, you look pathetic." Seriously, Staff Sergeant, do Marines have any other adjectives in their repertoire to describe me? I then grasped the concept that I must begin a love/hate relationship with running. More hate than love, but I loved being a Marine, so as the old saying goes, "Suck it up, Marine." And I did.
Regardless of how much I hated to run, I honestly tried to give it my all, but there were times when I played mind games with myself and over-thought what I was doing. Big mistake. Next thing I knew, I was on the side of road, puking. Nerves got the best of me because I hated to be a failure. Running was the one thing that made me feel like less of a Marine. 
I regret to this day for not giving my 110% every time I pounded the ground for a run. Look at all those Veterans who loved to run and are now missing limbs from the war. I bet they would do anything to have my legs. This is one of my regrets. It may seem odd that not giving my all when it came to running is a regret, but I was fortunate to have a strong body. I was lucky to have lungs that could breathe air and a heart that beat. Selfish. That's what I was. I should have just stopped being pathetic and acted like a United States Marine.


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