In Praise of Doing What Does Not Come Naturally

Yesterday I went for what might’ve been my last run until the spring thaw. It was a bit blustery at 36 degrees, but it felt so good! I ran a slow mile and then walked another mile, savoring how good it felt to run outside for what might be the last time in a long time. This morning we woke up to a few inches of ice and snow, and now I’m very glad I went for that run. Running has taught me a lot. I am not “good” at running. I am lucky if I run an 11-minute mile, and a few years ago, I would’ve taken this as a sign of failure, and I would’ve quit running, but now I’m at a point in my life where I don’t care if I’m good at something, as long as I enjoy it. I do enjoy running, quite a bit, so I’m going to keep doing it. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

When I run, I have no expectations that I will be fast, or that I will win a race, or complete a marathon. It’s not about speed or winning, or distance, it’s just about the running itself, being in the moment, and enjoying the run. I will admit that I love running when it’s cold out, because I feel like a bit of a bad ass with my gloves, fleece headband/ear warmer thing, and tights. That being said, I’ve found that I greatly prefer running when it’s cold to running when it’s warm.

Running has helped my writing, in that when I run, I think about all sorts of things, including writing. I mull over old ideas, and come up with new ideas. I work through difficulties. Running also gives me confidence, because even though it’s difficult and does not come naturally to me, I can still do it. While one mile might seem like nothing to a marathoner, to me, that mile is hard work and takes significant effort. I am proud of that one mile!

We are naturally drawn to what we are good at, which makes sense. I am terrible at math, so I have never wanted to be an accountant, and if I was an accountant, I would probably cost my firm a large amount of money, due to mathematical errors. So it’s good that I am not an accountant. The stakes are not quite as high with running though, and I believe running has helped me ┬ádevelop patience that I have not had in the past. I am a more patient person and writer.

We should all step out of our proverbial comfort zones sometimes, take a risk, and perhaps do what does not come naturally.


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