Increments

14022215_10209192078492385_7889374805553326792_nIt’s been really satisfying the last few weeks to run. It’s been hot, almost unbearably humid some days, but I drink a lot of water, and then I go out there and I do it. I put on the music and I go. I breathe very consciously, especially on the exhale. I feel the discomfort of the weather, of the sun beating down on me, and the sweat building up and dripping down my arms, and the twangs in my knee and my left foot sometimes, and I keep moving. And I get to the point where it doesn’t feel so uncomfortable anymore, it feels good. I feel good. (My new camo pants don’t hurt.)

I’ve started to be able to do the first mile in about 9:15. From there my split times go up a bit, but they are usually still under 10, or less than 30 seconds above 10 minutes. It makes me happy.

I’m not trying to get faster; I don’t have a speed goal, and I don’t really have any interest in doing sprints or intervals. But I find it fascinating and gratifying that just by going out there and running, consistently, my body adjusts and I get faster, more efficient.

I feel this in yoga lately as well. Chair pose, which I loathe with a passion reserved only for a few things in this world, is not so horrible anymore. It’s even feeling a little empowering. Also, my quads are way less tight than they used to be — I can touch my heel to my rear end doing quad stretches, and it actually feels kind of awesome. These things, too, are just the result of putting in the time — going to class consistently, practicing.

I looked up increment in the dictionary, and my favorite definitions were these: “something gained or added”; “one of a series of regular additions.” They speak to the slow and steady process of putting in the work, and that if you do so, what you’re going to get is regular progress. A gain, an addition.

I’m trying to do the same in other parts of my life — like writing. Like figuring out what my next moves are. Like learning how to take more risks, ask more scary or difficult questions, not avoid doing or saying things because I’m afraid or unsure. If I just keep moving forward and trying — practicing — this incremental change is bound to happen.

It’s guaranteed. And it won’t come because it’s “meant to be,” or because I’m just sitting around passively waiting for it — I am putting in the time, and the thoughtful work, and the right intention.

 

 

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