I run. 

Some days I enjoy it … other days, not at all. Sometimes breathing comes easy and other times I can’t find my rhythm. Regardless, three days a week (usually) I pound it out. Consistency is key, or so I tell myself when my muscles start to burn.

I ran faithfully before I moved to Claxton six years ago, but the changes in work schedule and the new locale interrupted my routine. I let it go.  Now I’m home. 

I have workout partners to challenge me and no excuse not to keep grinding.  So, I started up the eight-week Couch to 5K program in the Fall and I’ve taken the program slowly, repeating some of the weekly cycles before moving on to the next level. It’s helped me get back in the running groove.

A gym buddy challenged me a few weeks ago to train for the Southeast Georgia Health System Foundation Run in February over the Sidney Lanier Bridge in Brunswick. I was excited. We started burning treadmill rubber and I bought new shoes.

Several weeks into training, I did a little more research and discovered the route is ranked as the toughest 5K in Georgia. The Sidney Lanier is 480 feet high over the Brunswick River and 7,780 feet long.

Jeremy immediately dubbed it “the Death Run.”

I hit the same roadblock every time I train for a run  — the two mile marker. I just can’t seem to get over the two mile hump without feeling like my legs might fall off. But, when I do, the rest of the route is smooth sailing.

My determination (Grandma’s word for stubborness) to run “the toughest 5K in Georgia” is due in part to a Sunday School series Jeremy and I taught a while back in youth class.

We focused on the qualities of consistency and faithfulness with our students, relating them to the laying of a foundation for a home. These Biblical principles are proven to contribute to success in every aspect of life.

Millennials (those of us under 40) are most often criticized for our lack of commitment and good ‘ole fashioned stick-to-itiveness  — Yep, it’s a real word that means persistence, determination. 

Our divorce rates are high. Millennials don’t stay in one place for very long or hold the same job for more than five years. We’re leery of buying, preferring instead to rent or lease.

The generations before us say millennials have no purpose and wander aimlessly through life. Jeremy and I have made it our mission to combat this stigma by instilling anecdotal qualities to the “Millennial Problem” in the young people we work with each week,.

But, I cannot expect our students to develop characteristics for which they see no behavior model. Albert Einstein believed strongly one must teach by doing. “Example isn’t another way to teach. It is the only way to teach,” he said.

I run to prove to myself, and to them, consistency will pay off every time.

A jug fills drop by drop — Buddha.

So until my legs actually do fall off  — some days I’m sure it’ll happen  — I’ll keep up the pace. Persistence feels good and my self-confidence is growing. I”ll beat the Death Run yet! Maybe I’ll strike a triumphant Rocky Balboa pose at the top of Sidney Lanier, or maybe I’ll come rolling down the other side of the bridge. I’ll finish what I started either way. Consistency is key.

• Sarah Tarr Gove is news editor of The Blackshear Times. Email her at sgove@theblacksheartimes.com.