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Running With The Wind

I went to the beach this weekend and the weather was cool and sunny--perfect for a run. (Well, no weather is perfect for a run because you have to, you know, run.)

Anyway, I am trying to get into shape, so I went down to the beach and started running. The water was glistening, the beach was empty except for a few seabirds, and the sand was firm. As I started, I have to admit I was impressed by how well I was doing and how great I felt. I confidently told myself I was in better shape than I thought.

After going 1½ miles, I turned around and was in for a shock. All of sudden the running became drudgery. I quickly realized that on the way out I was running with the wind. Now, I was running into the wind. It was harder, much harder. I no longer felt like I was in good shape; I no longer felt confident in my running ability; I struggled to cover the same amount of ground that a moment ago seemed so easy.

As I fought the wind, I thought about my white and male privilege. Though they are always present, it is easy for me to forget that I have this wind at my back. After all, in my run I did not notice the wind pushing me forward; I thought I was doing it on my own. After all, I got up from the TV, I laced my sneakers and I forced myself to move forward. And it was true, even at the start, I was working at running. However, I also had an unseen and invisible aide. In that segment of the run, the wind pushed me forward.

When I turned around, however, I realized the challenges of working against the wind. To keep the same pace, the work I did in the first half of the run had to be multiplied. It was harder. Running back was doable, but my pace was slower on the way back. The wind forced me to slow down.

Success is hard no matter who you are. Successful people do good and consistent work. However, it is important to remember some of us do that work with the wind at our backs while others do it with the wind in their face. It makes a difference.


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