This is awful, this is awful, this is SO awful…
I adjusted my sports bra and sniffled. Everything hurt. And why was my nose running anyway?
Is this pavement getting HARDER?
I glanced at my watch. Oh, you’ve got to be f!%&@ kidding me. 0.67 miles?!
How did people do this? Why did people do this? Running had to be -positively no way around it abso-freaking-lutely- the worst possible idea since scorpion bowls.
It was 2014, and, newly divorced and influenced by a number of sporty friends, I’d decided to turn my daily walks into daily jogs. I’d never run more than a mile, and had nothing charitable to say about the “sport.” Psh. Sport. Masochism at its finest.
Despite my entire body screaming at me to come to my senses, I trudged onward. After I passed mile one and closed in on mile two, the strangest, most miraculous, most unexpected thing happened.
It. Stopped. Hurting.
I nearly keeled over from the shock of NOT WANTING TO KEEL OVER. Is this… can this… is this how people do this?!
Within a few days, I went from never having run more than a mile to running six. In a row. And then a half marathon six weeks after that. And then a full marathon a few months later. I had cracked the code. I had done the thing that only DOING THE THING can show you:
The first mile is the hardest.
So is the first time you say to someone, “I don’t think this is working out.”
So is the first day on a new job when everyone is using lingo and technology that flies over your head.
So is the first moment you leave the known for the unknown.
In my experience, if I can get past the starting line, I’ve already won the race.
I’ve been thinking a lot about starts and finishes because springtime is so full of contrast, especially in Bend, Oregon. One minute you’re pulling up the zipper on your “puffy” coat (mandatory clothing in the Pacific Northwest), the next you’re sunning your shoulders on a local trail.
Bright, beautiful wildflowers begin to pop up in the most unexpected, seemingly inhospitable places – like between lava rock or thick sand. And even though it happens every year, springtime always feels like something brand new. A birth, rather than a rebirth.
During the long, cold, fallow winter, it’s nearly impossible to remember that in a few months’ time, your neighbor will once again pull out the grill every night, the sound of squeaky wheels on concrete wafting through your open window.
During the lowest lows of heartache, job uncertainty, and loss, you feel like you’ll never begin again. Or perhaps it’s that long-held dream -the kind you’ve had for so long you don’t know who you’d be without it- whose fulfillment seems more unattainable with every passing day.
I’ve wanted to write a book for as long as I can remember. In fact, according to an article in the New York Times, 81% of Americans want to write a book. And almost no one does.
It’s that first damn page.
Sadly, so many times we never get to mile two and learn this ultimate life hack. Because the best part? Tackling the first mile of any race makes all the other “first miles” easier, too.
Never in a million years did I envision my first published book being a cookbook. Let alone one that I (co) wrote, photographed, designed, and marketed – despite having zero expertise in any one of those categories.
It’s the hardest project I’ve ever undertaken. Every element involved a first step – something I’d never done before. I doubted myself in almost every moment.
Now that copies are about to land in people’s hands, and I experienced the unadulterated horror of seeing that my first news interview added 40 pounds and involved me eating my hair on air in a windy park for 60 seconds (and prompted a whole slew of, er, uncharitable comments from meat-loving locals), I’m battling another first: Putting myself out there – really, really out there. Which of course involves finding the confidence to keep saying, “I made this, it’s good, and I’m proud of it.” Which of course means saying, “I’m worthy.”
Still working on that one.
Thank you so much to everyone who has supported BEEFLESS CAKES at every stage. You’ve kept me from setting up permanent residence under a blanket. I love you!