I’m good at a lot of things. In my prime, I could hit a baseball very very hard, and very very far. I was a solid basketball player, consistently recording double doubles, with 10+ points and rebounds. I’m a good writer, and a good speaker. Thank G-d— I have a lot of strengths.
Running, however, is not one of them. People used to tell me it was literally painful for them to watch me awkwardly run around the bases, or to run up and down the basketball court. In middle school I inexplicably opted for a running elective. I think I only made it for one class— in sheer misery every step of the one mile run to the park.
So it didn’t make a whole lot of sense when I agreed to join the 2021 contingent of RabbisCanRun. It is an organization that promotes good health and fitness for rabbis, as a couple dozen rabbis from across the world train together for a 10k or more.
I currently am sitting crammed on a Spirit flight to Fort Lauderdale, where I will attend a one day conference on health and fitness from a Torah perspective, and then, I will attempt to run a 10k— about 6.25 miles.
I would have never believed I would have made it this far. For our first run, we were meant to simply go run for 10 minutes. I went out in the cloak of darkness one evening, and when I got home only ten minutes later, I was a sweaty, coughing miss. I plopped myself on the floor and lay down, trying to regain my breath.
This past Wednesday I ran 5.25 miles without stopping.
It still takes me an exceedingly long time, and it is still painful to watch— but I can run over an hour without stopping.
What happened? How is this possible?
For one, prayer to the Almighty, asking Him to help me overcome the odds to run this long, and this far.
But secondly, the way we train is that we add .25 miles to each run. We started with 1 mile— and then, pushed a little harder— and went a little further to 1.25 miles. This model — of very gradual improvement— is a critical way to experience growth in any area of life.
It was just New Years— and inevitably many people make New Years resolutions. The overwhelmingly vast majority of them will not obtain their goals, and they will give up within a week or two. Why? Most likely because their goal was too lofty, and they hadn’t considered a healthy, realistic way to actually achieve those goals. Training for a 10k is a brilliant model for how to achieve New Years Resolutions, or any goal for that matter: take it slow, but be consistent.
This is precisely how 1 mile can turn into 6.25 miles in what feels like the blink of an eye.
*As part of my run I am raising money for Olami— a global Jewish educational organization—I have only $400 left to raise. If you’d consider helping sponsor my run please click here: https://thechesedfund.com/rabbiscanrun/rcr2022/teams/rabbidannywolfe