I run. No, I don’t do half-marathons, nor can I carry on an intelligent conversation about the pros and cons of certain brands of running shoes. I can’t give advice on stretching, nor can I explain proper running form. I tie on cross-training shoes and run 3.10 miles, then I stop. That is the extent of my running prowess.
I run and I write. There are hundreds of interesting metaphors you can pull from running.
Such as what follows:
A semester at school is like a race—not so much a race against competitors as it is against yourself. You are your worst competition.
If you’re like me, the first few seconds before a run are murderous; you know the difficulties you’re going to face and you tell yourself that you’re crazy to do this…again. But you stretch—luxuriously, enjoying every second—and you start anyway. The only way you’re going to finish is if you start.
You start out feeling fine. Your feet feel light—you’re well-rested and fresh. It’s easy to concentrate on the scenery as it goes by. Sure, you have a long road ahead—a stack of syllabi about a mile high—but for now, life is good.
Then you hit a hill. Things start to ache. Your breathing gets ragged and your mouth dries out. You begin to wonder if you’ve bitten off more than you can swallow. Your feet feel heavy, and you feel fat.You wonder how long you’re going to last before you need to pull over, stop, catch your breath. There’s still so far to go.
You always reach the top of the hill the moment you think you can’t take it anymore. There’s a moment of exhilarating release once that major project is turned in, and you plunge downhill into a valley of semi-normalcy. You’ve recovered a bit. You can breathe more freely.
But there are other hills. Some big, some little. Some parts of the road you run with others—but for the most part, you go it alone. After a while, it gets hard to enjoy the scenery. You’re too focused on muscling your way through the pain in your legs and lungs and stomach, willing yourself not to stop until you’ve gone the distance.
You see the finish line. You’re a matter of yards from the end of a very long and painful haul. You have three options at this point: give up and stop running, succumbing to the nag of your aching limbs; trot across the finish line, dragging your feet he whole way, putting out minimal effort; or push like crazy.
Usually I can muster the fire to push like crazy, no matter how tired I am or how fast my time is.
Just keep pushing. We’ll get to the finish line soon. Then we can wind down, stretch…and go to bed.