Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Run

I've always been good at shopping. And math. I love to read, especially about history. I enjoy cooking, when I have time, and love to travel, when I can afford it.

But, as I said a few days ago, I am not a natural runner. It is not easy to me, it was not something I was immediately passionate about. A month ago, I was huffing and puffing running a minute at a time; today I ran seven minutes 3 times, with a minute of walking in between each run. I was not out of breath, I did not give up, I even enjoyed the run. And I loved the feeling of accomplishment when it was over.

When I used to try to run, I would think: "I would like to run a mile." And then I'd run a minute, think about how much further a mile was, and stop and walk back home. I always focused on the distance, and what I could, or couldn't, accomplish, and I always failed.

But running for the minutes, instead of for the end result, lets me enjoy my run. I no longer am trying to take a short cut, because I'm running the entire seven minutes regardless of where it is. I no longer fear hills, because if I shorten my stride, I don't even feel them. I get lost in the moment, lost in my thoughts, lost in the sound of my feet hitting the pavement. I think of how proud I am that I'm sticking with this, even though it was tough at the beginning, and I think of how much further I can push my body to run in the future.

But the biggest motivation is my Lilly. You see, so much comes easily for me. I was your typical child, willing and motivated to learn. But it's easy to learn, when learning is easy. For Lilly, it's harder. She reaches many milestones months later than the typically developing child. She is learning to jump, for example. She practices every week in physical therapy, and she is so motivated to learn, even though her low muscle tone makes it harder. But yesterday she jumped twice for the first time, and her therapist was so proud. A few months ago, she learned to navigate every piece of playground equipment at school - from the climber to the ladders. And what I notice is not that other kids could do these things sooner, but that, it took so much physical and mental strength from Lilly to do these things at the time she learned to do them. They were hard for her, and she put all her efforts into them because she was determined. She never sees a challenge as being challenging; she looks for ways to accomplish them so that she can do what everyone else is doing. I don't think she realizes that for many other kids, climbing up the ladder and jumping comes so naturally and easily; and that when she does it, it really does mean that she's accomplished something big.

Running was the thing that I couldn't do. And before, I would have just said "I'm not a runner." When something is hard for me, I just give up on it because there are so many other things that are easy. But watching Lilly overcome so many obstacles is so motivating to me. I want her to know that there is nothing that she can't accomplish, if she puts her mind and heart into it.

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