Sunday, March 20, 2011

The First Ten Minutes

I am no Olympian, but I have gone on a few runs in my life. . . some of them rather lengthy. And I've learned one thing: It doesn't matter if you are running 3 miles or 20, the first 10 minutes stink. Your legs are heavy, your stride feels uneven, and your mind wanders, sometimes wondering if you can make it the next mile. . . or 10. But, if you push through, if you let your body warm up to its own rhythm, then sometimes you feel downright light and breezy. Sometimes you don't, and the entire run feels heavy, but more often than not, your body settles in and the elusive runner's high finds you.

As I was running the other day, smoothly enjoying the last twenty minutes of my half hour run, I began to think about what else follows this pattern. . .

Cleaning pretty much anything. . . the first ten minutes feels overwhelming and depending on the project, impossible. The sink is much too full, the floor beyond cluttered, and the bathroom is too messy to even begin. But give it just ten minutes, and you can find your groove.

Caring for a sick child. . . . they are crying, fussy, inconsolable, and for ten minutes they claw and fight. But then, they rest. Then you hold them and after ten minutes you realize there are worse things in the world than letting go of every other important thing you need to do to just hold a child that will be a little bigger tomorrow.

Eternal Progression. Go with me on this one. It, more than any other quest, seems impossible. We are flawed, impatient, grouchy, natural creatures, and we are trying to become meek, pure, loving, enlightened souls. That is a very long run. We are supposed to read, pray, garden, love, serve, visit, worship, and be joyful while we do it. The first ten minutes can seem awfully heavy anytime we are trying to get to the next level. But, say we give it ten minutes. Say we give it a day. Say, we give ourselves time to find our rhythm and trust that it will get easier.

Not all first ten minutes are rotten. The first ten minutes of marriage are absolute bliss, the most perfect, complete, happy ten minutes of your life. The first ten minutes with a baby is precious. They are new, perfect. . and sleepy. Lots of first ten minutes come easy, the stretching comes in the later miles. We can't really judge anything by the first ten minutes, but if we give life, and ourselves, some time, I do believe it will be worth the run. At least I'm willing to give it ten minutes.


  1. I needed to hear this tonight (life has felt really heavy recently).

  2. Great perspective. Thanks for sharing.