5AM Runner

The Extra Mile


extra mileWelcome to all the new readers, and THANK YOU!  Don't know where you are all coming from, but so thrilled to have you here!!

Before I get to the topic at hand, let me just say that whoever announced the beginning of spring is a liar, it was freezing cold again this morning, as I headed out at 4:50 AM - with 10 minutes to spare - and I immediately regretted not putting on my gloves and a warmer sweatshirt, but there was no turning back, so c'est la vie!

We all use this expression at times, but who among us really knows the origins of "going the extra mile"; how did that saying come about, who used it first, who used it second, and so forth.  I will get back to the answer to this important question, as well as the reason for even bringing it up, but first let's talk briefly about this morning's outing...

No, no, don't get too excited, it was a rather uneventful, your average morning run through the night streets of Bucks County... With a minor exception of a squirrel somehow touching the electrical wire and exploding into a multi-colored display of fireworks about 100 feet in front of me, and since I had my headphones on and blasting "Metallica" full volume, I only saw this sad event without hearing it, and at first thought the aliens were finally landing in our peaceful Langhorne (which at this point would not surprise me one bit).  Well, since there was not much I could do for the poor animal, I just ran along, and just then all of a sudden, my iPod began announcing the title and the performer of each song about to be played (which I never taught it to do), and which I found quite amazing, unusual and annoying, since I simply wanted to listen to the music and not to my iPod, despite the miraculous fact that it incredibly acquired the gift of speech.

And as if all that was not enough, on my path back to the home-base, I encountered the Mystery Freak (not to be confused with the Mystery Runner), some lonely little figure who waswalking on the opposite side of the road, with a little laser-thin blue flashlight, examining the ground in front of him.  I am not sure what he was looking for, but someone forgot to tell this man (had to be a man!) that the sun would be coming up soon enough, making his search for rare coins much easier.  Anyway, with all these events behind me, I successfully arrived back to our development, ready to just stop and fall down some place....

Which brings me back to the original topic of that "extra mile".  Why do we say that?  Well, for some reason, even though completely exhausted by the end of my run, I thought to myself: "What if I push myself for just a bit more?!", and so I ended up running another 2 circles around our neighborhood; the path that I actually hate, since it is all up-and-down type of a terrain - as you know, I always stress the importance of running on the flat, even surface the entire run.  As a result, my legs are entirely non-existent now, everything hurts, but I feel like I pushed myself for that 'extra mile' and accomplished something.  So what's the deal with that?

In all honesty, I had to look it up, but as it turns out, this term is derived from an ancient law that a Roman soldier could force anybody to carry his equipment 1 mile at a time.  So he would catch you walking by, give you his bag of whatever he carried, guns (well, maybe not guns, but whatever they used back then to shoot people), and you had no choice but to carry that for him.  Then after 1 mile, he would catch another poor soul, and the carrying continued.  ALSO, interestingly enough, in the army, they used to employ this trick to test the new recruits' endurance and mindset.  The new soldier was told to run a 5-mile stretch, for instance, and was also told that the end of the 5 miles would be marked by his instructor standing there with a flag.  Well, when the soldier would get to the flag, his instructor would instead make him run yet another mile (!), truly testing his stamina and mental fortitude.  Simply because, if you are mentally prepared to finish the exhausting run, it is SO difficult to keep yourself going, even for a little while longer!

Hey, this game is all mental, believe it or not, but in any event, I figured I'd share these findings with you, even though most of you probably already knew all these facts.  

Keep it running!