The Tortoise and the Hare revisited

  • Published
  • By Col. Ken Stefanek
  • 39th Air Base Wing vice commander
While running the other morning I noted that I crossed my halfway point a few minutes sooner than I usually did. Feeling pretty good about myself, I continued for another mile or so when I suddenly slowed, unable to maintain the pace I had set. I struggled to finish and noted that it actually took longer than normal to complete the run. As I cooled down, I reflected that I had just lived Aesop's Turtle and Hare Fable and that on day I was the hare ...

It may surprise you that Aesop's Fables have been around since ~620 B.C. You'd think that in all that time we would have learned the lesson of how the slower turtle defeated the much-faster hare in a race. In a nutshell the lesson is that when you're trying to cover a certain distance or complete a certain task, moving at a sprinter's pace and then taking numerous stops to recover is not as effective as moving at a pace you can sustain for the long haul and then sprinting at the finish.

We would do well to remember this lesson as we enter the final month of UCI prep. If we try to work the entire month at a sprinter's pace while completing checklists, updating our continuity books or reviewing our programs, we may not make it to the finish line.
I define a sprinter's pace as working late into the night every night, working all day on weekends, and not taking time to recharge your batteries.

Instead, we need to work at a pace we can sustain for the month and then sprint to the finish line by cleaning up small details the last few days before the UCI team arrives.
As someone who started running rather late in life, one of my favorite sayings is "life is a marathon, not a sprint." I believe that preparing for a UCI is a marathon as well.