People often ask me why I switched from the Marine Corps to join the Air Force. Depending on my mood, my answer changes.
Sometimes, I’ll tell them that it was because I wanted to be an officer and their were too few opportunities in the Corps, which was true.
Sometimes, I’ll reply that the Air Force has better quality of life than the Marines. (I got tired of sleeping in tents while lower-ranking Airmen were staying in hotels.) Also true.
Although these answers are true, there is another answer that I don’t always share … one of the main reasons I joined the Air Force is simply because I hate running. Lemme explain.
The Marine Corps loves to run … EVERYWHERE. Gotta go to the base exchange? Let’s run there! Gotta go to the beach? Let’s run there! Gotta travel from New York to Los Angeles? Let’s run there! I think they get some type of high from running. Unfortunately, I was unaffected by this drug. Running, to me, sucks @$$! Big-time.
Running hurts my body. It hurts my knees. It hurts my lower back. It hurts my feet. It hurts my lungs and chest, it hurts my eyelids, and so help me God, I even think it hurts my fingernails. But Marines, who are NEVER allowed to admit that they are in pain, love to run. In fact, the physical fitness test for a Marine consists of a three-mile run (as well as 20 pull-ups and 80 sit-ups.) To get a good score, the three miles must be completed in 18 minutes or less. (For you math majors out there, that’s 6 minutes per mile!) Easy to do, WHEN YOU’RE 18 years old. But once you’re in your 30’s? Not so much.
The Air Force’s test, on the other hand, consisted of simply a bicycle ride … on a STATIONARY bicycle. Easy, peazy, mac-n-cheesy. (Taj taught me that one.) I could do that standing on my head and no pain involved. For those who didn’t ride the bike, the Air Force run standard is only a mile and a half … That’s 50% LESS running than my beloved Corps. Air Force? Sign me up!
Fast forward to today, when my team did a short run for our PT (physical training.) I still hurt with every step, but I no longer complain about how much I hate running. I know that getting in shape may mean the difference between me dying and living out in the ‘stan.
I still hate running. But I hate dying even more.