March 7, 2008

Run for your life

I began running in January. Yes, running, as in jogging on a track for exercise. Do I like it? Not one bit. In fact, I’d probably say I hate it. Every excruciating minute of it. Then why do I do it, you ask? Because I have high blood pressure, and two of the best ways to control it is with diet and exercise. So, in addition to loading my diet with fruits and veggies, I run. Three times a week. Four if I’m really motivated.

When I started running, I would run a lap, then walk a lap. Run a lap and walk a lap. It was a nice pattern. Not too hard. I could do it without my side hurting or my lungs burning. And I was happy with myself. But after two months of my nice little routine, I was given a challenge: Run a mile without stopping.

“But I can’t! I’m not a runner! I’m not ready for a mile!” I vehemently protested. And yet, I somehow found myself rounding the first lap and continuing on to a second. That day, I ran a mile without stopping. It was hard. I felt like I was going to pass out afterward. But I did it. I actually did it.

That was a week ago, and last night, I’m proud to report that I ran two miles without stopping for the first time ever. In my life. Quite an accomplishment, I must say. And today, my accomplishment has got me thinking.

When it comes to writing, I’m more of a run a lap, walk a lap kind of girl. I’m fine with writing the short things: blog posts, essays, short stories, journal entries. Those are a breeze. It’s the lengthy works that seem out of reach. And yet, it’s the lengthy works that have always been my dream. Ever since I could write, I’ve wanted to write a novel. And yet, no matter how many first 10 pages I write, I never follow through.

I wonder if, like running a mile, it’s really not as hard as I’ve made it to be in my head. I wonder if I really am capable of more than I give myself credit for. And I wonder if something as simple as a challenge could take a blogger and turn her into a novelist. Hmm….

1 comment:

breakfast in canada said...

Running. What freedom. There's certainly something liberating about being alone with your mind and body, about feeling the burn but continuing on, about letting your mind wander. Man, can it take you to some beautiful and dreadful places. The human body is a lovely mystery. And how we sell it short. So keep writing and keep running. Do everything your body and mind can do. And do everything you think you can't. Run that second mile. And write that book.