Commentary:Airman takes on the gym: Mildenhall 5k

Team Mildenhall members take part in the monthly wing run Feb. 8, 2013, on Perimeter Road near the Hardstand Fitness Center on RAF Mildenhall, England. The run takes place on the first Friday of every month and is mandatory for all 100th Air Refueling Wing military personnel but tenant units and base ID card holders 13-years and older are welcome to attend. (U.S. Air Force photo by Gina Randall/Released)

Team Mildenhall members take part in the monthly wing run Feb. 8, 2013, on Perimeter Road near the Hardstand Fitness Center on RAF Mildenhall, England. The run takes place on the first Friday of every month and is mandatory for all 100th Air Refueling Wing military personnel but tenant units and base ID card holders 13-years and older are welcome to attend. (U.S. Air Force photo by Gina Randall/Released)

Team Mildenhall members arrive to take part in the monthly wing run Feb. 8, 2013, on Perimeter Road near the Hardstand Fitness Center on RAF Mildenhall, England. The run takes place on the first Friday of every month and is mandatory for all 100th Air Refueling Wing military personnel but tenant units and base ID card holders 13-years and older are welcome to attend. (U.S. Air Force photo by Gina Randall/Released)

Team Mildenhall members arrive to take part in the monthly wing run Feb. 8, 2013, on Perimeter Road near the Hardstand Fitness Center on RAF Mildenhall, England. The run takes place on the first Friday of every month and is mandatory for all 100th Air Refueling Wing military personnel but tenant units and base ID card holders 13-years and older are welcome to attend. (U.S. Air Force photo by Gina Randall/Released)

RAF MILDENHALL, England -- I have never been a runner. Running and I mix as well as oil and water so it's quite easy to imagine my apprehension during the week coming up to the Wing 5K that happens each month.

I always begrudgingly anticipate to the 100th Air Refueling Wing "fun" run, for me it's about 30 minutes of discomfort for the pay-off of being able to go home when I'm done.
Usually the weather isn't that bad, which is a plus, and when it's cold, the run warms me up.

Although I'm not a big fan of running, there are many people who are. It's nice to see them pushing themselves to get first or second place, or to beat their last time. While I'm running, it's always interesting to see the first people who have already reached the half-way mark and are on their way back.

They usually come flying past me with their faces red, sweat pouring off of them in puddles and feet barely touching the ground. Like graceful gazelles, they run past us. Their bodies are working at full capacity, yet their faces are so serene.

The best times though, are when I see people who know each other slapping fives or giving a few words of encouragement while running past each other. The moments when I see that, I don't feel the cramp in my side or how uncomfortable I am, I just float on my merry way.

I watch people with dogs, 6 and 7 year olds with their parents, and spouses running and finishing together.

The run offers a little snapshot of RAF Mildenhall. It shows the best we have to offer -- not just physically but mentally too. It shows our willingness to never give up -- to never leave an Airman behind.

Whole offices double back, after catching their breath, to run with those who are almost to the finish-line so they don't finish alone. It's being able to see things like that, that make the run "fun."

The run is simultaneously the best and worst part of my month. I hate running, I do. But, I love the camaraderie and morale boost that the run brings the base.

The monthly run is only one part of my physical training adventure and running is only one form of cardio. Next week I'm taking the spinning class at the Hardstand Fitness Center. I've always been a leisurely bike rider at home so it should be interesting to see just how hard I can push myself in such an extreme environment.