When I first started running it felt like such a slog. At the very beginning I would run from one telephone pole to the next, and then walk the same distance. And I did that for a really long time until one day I though, hmmm, I wonder if I could run the length of two telephone poles. I could. So I did that for a while. Then I found a “get started running” guide in a magazine or online somewhere and decided to try that out. And I got better. It didn’t exactly get easier but it got more enjoyable and I was able to run for longer distances. Now I’m noticing real improvements in my speed, improvements that make me feel like I’m winning…even though I’m still not a fast runner.
I have a little secret, though: I still like a run/walk pattern when I’m doing a long run. I think it’s because a run/walk pattern helps me break it up in my mind, like I’m tricking myself into thinking I only have to run for 5 more minutes. Plus it’s way faster. Sounds strange, I know, but my average pace when I run/walk is much higher than when I just run. So I will keep up my run/walk system. It’s good for me and I like it.
But that’s not the point of this anyway.
For a long time I’ve had it in my head that I might like to write a book someday. Not that I really know what it would be about or that anyone would be interested in reading it. I’ve always enjoyed writing and also like the idea of writing “the great American novel.” Because, you know, that’s what it would be, of course.
When I think about it I can come up with a million reasons why I shouldn’t write. And most of them have to do with lack of inspiration, lack of time, and general questions about my ability to write anything worth reading. But then I remember when I started running. It was hard and I had to talk myself into it a lot of mornings. And at the beginning I just ran for 15 or 20 minutes. I didn’t just wake up one day and run 10 miles. I had to work up to that kind of endurance. And I still practice almost every day.
I think writing might be like that. I’m not going to wake up one morning and pound out the great American novel. More likely, I’m going to struggle to write for 15 minutes a day. But then something will start to click and some days I’ll write for a couple of hours. And maybe it won’t ever be that illusive great novel. But maybe it will be something I love and that makes me happy.
And that’s enough for me.