Sunday, May 31, 2009

Finish Lines

I dragged myself to the lake the other morning. It seemed like a beautiful day for a run. Problem was, I hadn't done that 3 mile loop in quite a while.

I started out good enough; kept a steady pace, enjoyed the birds and the flowers along the path. I'm finally getting a nice run. This is great! Why have I waited so long? I worked at keeping my breath manageable, my stride easy. If I kept it up, I would have my workout done in no time!

My enthusiasm waned about half way, however. I tried mental pep talks: You're already half-way! No slowing down now! You're doing great! But the sun felt stronger, the humidity stickier. So hot...

I rationalized slowing down to take advantage of the shade along the path. As soon as I'm out in the sun, I'll pick up speed again. Besides, isn't it about enjoying nature anyway? I had decided the day was too nice to spend it inside on a treadmill watching a square box watching yet another episode of Law and Order. My MP3 player isn't working, so I was able to listen to the birds and the quiet lapping of the water against the shore. I could hear the cyclists coming up behind me, rather than jumping every time one passed me.

I fought away the negative thoughts: I should've come out an hour earlier, it wasn't so hot. I'm out of practice, I'm not going to get back to where I was-- and I'm especially not going to improve.

That was enough! Hey! I'm doing the best I can! I adjusted my pace to something I could handle. At least I'm moving...I knew I would reach my goal eventually-- it wasn't going anywhere. My car was patiently waiting there, and my water bottle. I was thirsty. I had no choice but to keep on going.

I finally made it to my finish line. My face was crimson, my clothes more than just moist. But the sense of accomplishment was there, convincing me that it was a great run, a great experience-- even if it seemed tough at times. I took a long drink of water and thought about coming back again the next day.

I realized later that I often feel the same about my writing. I put it off, knowing I want to do it, and that I will enjoy it. I know it will be difficult and pleasurable at the same time. I look forward to that finish line: getting the next draft or revision done. Just like the run, writing is good for my heart-- I need to do it for my health, body and mind. The simplest but really profound motto: Just do it, says so much. That's really all there is.

Just do it.

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