Running and the Bar Exam

It’s go-time. The bar exam starts tomorrow. Do not study today. I promise it is ok: you have been studying for years. Today is better used for re-charging and resting (or pacing around). It’s time to power up for tomorrow. Take a few minutes to reflect on how much you’ve accomplished. Three years ago it took you an hour to read one case because you had to stop and look up every other word. Now you discuss SCOTUS decisions as if the justices consulted you before writing them. Two months ago you had no idea what a PMSI was and now you use the term like a pro. You are ready.

All summer long I’ve been preaching to you about getting comfortable being uncomfortable. What you might not know is that I haven’t just been saying those words. I’ve been experiencing them. On May 26th I went for a run and I’ve run every single day since then (that’s 60 days for those of you who don’t do math).

I’ve been a runner for a few years so the actual running didn’t scare me. What made me really nervous is the every day part. I’ve read about people who have been on years-long running streaks but that is other people, not me. The ultimate goal was (and is) a bit daunting because I couldn’t make any excuses. How would I run on days where I had a packed schedule, traveling, or just incredibly tired? What if I got hurt? Sick? I could not answer those questions and this made me uncomfortable.long run

I’m always preaching that you have to trust yourself and keep moving. Now it was time for me to follow my own advice. Initially I was cautious because I was so afraid I’d get worn out. I quickly realized that focusing on the last day was not a good idea. I needed a plan to get there and I needed a little help. I downloaded a running app to provide some structure and coaching. At first I did the easy workouts and I had a great reason this: they are easy. But I’m a good lawyer so of course I countered my reasoning: you don’t get better if you don’t push yourself. I was being a hypocrite: I wouldn’t let you avoid learning a tough subject so I couldn’t avoid hard runs. I don’t like hills (especially the mile long one on Morse Rd from High to Indianola) but I can run them and I love the feeling when I push through and get to the top.

And I kept running. There have been days when a run was the last thing I wanted to do but then I thought about everyone studying for the bar and how many times I told you: “It’s 10 weeks, you can do anything for 10 weeks.” If you can study all day every day, I can run for 20 minutes.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say that running every day is as grueling as studying for the bar, but there are a few similarities:

  • Active recovery builds endurance. Slow your pace instead of giving up.
  • There is rarely a good reason not to run but there are a lot of excuses.
  • If you don’t have a plan you’ll find yourself running at 10pm and again at 6:30am the next day.
  • A bad run is still a run and you will benefit from it.
  • You are the one who has to get out there and run but don’t underestimate the importance of friends and family cheering you along the way.

I’ve got 4 more days to run and as I have for the past 60, I’ll be thinking about you each step of the way.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.  Don’t consent.

– Eleanor Roosevelt & KSK

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