the first few miles

My dad has run seven marathons and has always been trying to get the rest of my family to run.  Like normal people, none of us have ever wanted to run.  There have been a few times, however, when I’ve taken up his offer to run with me.  I remember being about 12 and training for a 5k or wanting to be more fit for soccer so I would tie up my shoes and head outside with my dad.  It was hard.  I couldn’t find a rhythm and his legs were so much longer than mine that I couldn’t fall into step with him.  My dad noticed me struggling and said something that I’ve never forgotten: “It gets easier after the first couple miles.”  I remember looking at him skeptically saying, “I’m only going a couple miles!”

In the following years I would run off and on but never found it any easier.  I wasn’t sure if that was because I never made it past the “first couple miles” or if he was crazy.  Then this year I started running regularly and one day I broke my PR of 4 miles when I ran 6.5 miles.  It turns out he was right–it did get easier.

As cheesy as this may sound, my dad’s advice applies to nearly every area of life.  When I’m drowning in organic chemistry or am staring at my planner, wondering how I’m going to get everything done, I find my dad’s words echoing in my head.  “It gets easier after the first couple miles.”  And you know what?  It’s true.  Going into college I thought high GPAs were for geniuses or people with easy majors.  But after those first few semesters–the first few miles–I’ve gotten into a rhythm.  I won’t say it’s easier because it’s not.  My classes just keep getting harder.  But I’ve made it past the first few miles and now I’m experiencing the academic equivalent of runner’s high.

So whatever it is that you’re trying to push through, keep going.  If you decide you can do it, nothing can stop you.  And remember that it’ll get easier after the first couple miles.

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