We have this poster in our exercise room. I don't agree.

I really enjoy running on the treadmill, mostly for one reason — I can set my pace and keep it. If I set the treadmill to 6 miles per hour, then I finish a mile in ten minutes with a steady rhythm. I can choose and stick with my pace.

Running outside, even with a watch, doesn’t provide the same consistency. I might still finish a mile in about ten minutes, but it could be two minutes of slogging and eight minutes of what feels like sprinting. I might start out strong, then lag behind. And, if my watch happens to malfunction, I’ll be in trouble, especially in a race, when the excitement of the other runners causes me to push ahead too fast.

In life, I lack the artificial intervention of a treadmill to set and sustain my pace.

Quite often, I run headlong into life — all out, all in, full speed ahead.

I run as fast as I can, and then I collapse: at the end of the day, the end of the week, the end of the project.

Last week I tried something new.

Midweek, I got a mocha on the way to take my daughters to school.

And then, I walked them inside instead of dropping them off; I chatted with their teachers, gave them big hugs, and then sat down in the lobby to chat with a friend for a few minutes.

My littlest girl wanted to walk to preschool later that morning. So we did. We looked for birds and flowers and meandered to preschool, soaking in the sun, breathing in the fresh air.

We held hands and talked, and when we thought we might be late, we jogged in spurts.

I’m thinking about pace, experimenting.

I’d like to get to the end of the day with enough energy left to enjoy time with my husband after the kids are asleep. I’d like to get to the end of a week with enough spark to enjoy the weekend; I’d like to get to the end of a project and have enthusiasm to celebrate achievement and success.

I think mornings like the one I enjoyed last week will help me pace myself.

Tell me something! How do you maintain a healthy and comfortable pace in life? How do you know when you’re running too quickly?