I just went on my early morning two mile run. In the dark. And the rain.
It took me three years to get to the point where I can enjoy a good two mile run. Three years ladies. I was interrupted by a pregnancy and triple hernia surgery but I got back out there and tried again.
I’m not naturally athletic. Running hasn't come naturally to me. Shopping? Natural. Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream? Natural. Running not so much. I walked for years and then one day I was listening to worship music in the kitchen and it made me want to dance. That got me thinking. I wonder if I had some little music player gizmo I could run instead of walk. So my sweet husband got me an iPod and my son put all this really rockin’ worship music on it for me and I started to try to run. At first I had to walk, then run, then walk, back and forth. I built up to running.
To give you an idea of the depth of my lack of natural athletic ability, but also my tenacity, let me tell you about my experience on the swim team when I was a girl. I was very slow at swimming and it about killed me to do what seemed so easy to everyone else. Picture a skinny little thing wheezing and gasping on the side of the pool after a little butterfly stroke sprint.
But I liked the challenge and went to every practice, cheered everyone else on, flailed my way down the pool at every meet, coming in last. I came in last every single time. Every meet, every year. I used to joke with my family that they would be pulling in the lane markers and turning off the pool lights, and there is Jen, still trying to finish her 50.
Each year, two trophies were given out at the swim team banquet: one trophy for the fastest, strongest swimmer as in the MVP. And one trophy was the “coach’s award” given to the swimmer with the best attitude. I got the coach’s award every year. Looking back, I think it must have been more like a “bless her heart, she’s still coming to practice” award. But maybe they recognized my determination a little bit too.
When I went to college I took a swimming class. The instructor pulled me aside the first day and said, “Um, what are you doing?” I said I was swimming. She explained that was not swimming and spent some time showing me how to maximize my strength and improve my stroke. We turned flailing into graceful. I never got fast, but by the end of the semester the instructor brought another class in to watch me do the backstroke. Showed ‘em how it’s done. And eventually I became a lifeguard which requires the ability not to drown while helping others.
So it takes us a while to be good at certain things. I give you three years to take on something you wish you could do but doesn’t come naturally to you. I’ll bet you can be really good at it.