— a blog post by Ruth Brenner
Running and improv are much alike for me. I’m not a natural at either one, yet I keep plugging away at them because of the challenge and enjoyment I derive from both.
I wasn’t the class clown or the kid who was in all the school plays. Unless you count the sixth grade drama class I took instead of shop, I’ve never studied acting. So it’s not surprising that improv has not been easy for me. But the thing I’ve learned is that you keep working at it. Even when it’s not perfect – especially when it’s not perfect – you don’t quit on a scene. Find your way through, learn what you can, make it better the next time, repeat.
Even more so than improv, I have no natural abilities when it comes to running. I make molasses look fast. Still I run anyway because I’m stubborn like that. But that didn’t mean I wasn’t scared when I lined up for the start of the 2015 L.A. Marathon. Not only was I slightly sick, but it turned out to be the hottest race in the event’s history.
It was not pretty. When it hurt the most, I repeated most of the same things I say to myself in improv: commit, don’t quit, you can do this, you have to finish because your car is in Santa Monica. It took me a long, long time to reach the end. Yet it was a transcendent moment because it was the toughest wall I’ve ever faced when running, and I knocked that mofo down.
By the way, Ryan Hall, the fastest American marathoner EVER, was in the race. I beat him…because he didn’t finish. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you don’t give up.