Steve Frost | Front-End Engineer

Code Pause: Run Tell That

March 19, 2017

While I regularly blog about my understanding of technical aspects of coding, I’ve come to realize my personal lifestyle changes have equally attributed to the topics I learn and the products I create. In honor of this revelation, I’m starting a new series here called Code Pause where I’ll write about activities outside of coding that have made me more productive inside of coding.

The commencement of this emerging series is none other than the societal phenomenon known as running. In a not too distant past, I was not shy about expressing my distaste for the activity. Looking back, I’m not sure whether it was because I’ve been a cyclist for years (the hate is real) or because I was afraid to try it out.

My first dabble was on a trip to Tucson, AZ to visit my Mom. Typically, I’d settle for the available indoor cycling machine but I had packed a pair of five-year-old sneakers in a premeditated attempt to force myself to run to the mountains and back – a pipe dream of mine. On the second day there, I thought about it, deliberately quickly put on my shoes before my mind changed, and started my run. I set off on the quiet drive down from the house, along the boulevard, and up the highway to the mountains. On the way, I saw a coyote, a stable with humble horses, and another older gentleman who was soaking in the beautiful landscape on his afternoon walk.

It all sounds dreamy, right? If I didn’t share the hard parts, I’d be dishonest. There were a great deal of instances during the 4.5 mile run where I wanted to stop and resort to walking. At these moments, I was reminded (code unpause) how grueling my journey in coding thus far has been. It was never easy. It required hard work, and as we know, the brain is quick to resist any intensive activity - it’s the default reaction!

As a matter of fact, this is the aspect of running that I latched onto and has turned it into a daily activity. Throughout the run, the brain checks-in and wants to stop my legs immediately. Throughout coding, the brain checks-in and wants to stop coding immediately. The only way I run further, or code longer, is to overpower this primal instinct and prevail forward to complete the run or the project. The age-old saying of mind over matter is immensely useful to describe this struggle. If I’m able to overpower my mind, I can push it to do more activity than it wants to do and in turn, complete a goal.

Speaking of setting goals, I’ve signed up for the AirBnB Half Marathon here in Brooklyn as a test of my training. I’ve bought a pair of new shoes, new insoles, and a new outfit – now all that is left is regular running to get in shape. Easy! If you were inspired by this story or you know me personally and know how much I despise running and find enjoyment in my suffering, I’m running for the Team for Kids charity and trying to raise a few doll hairs for their great cause – you can donate here. If you’re able to donate, I’m rewarding donors of any amount with a picture of my suffering at the finish line of the race.

Hopefully this was an enlightening glimpse into how running, and the struggles ensued while running, are a reminder to power through the more difficult tasks in coding. As the infamous quote from Dr. Anthony Fernando emphasizes, “The voice inside your head that says you can’t do this is a liar.”


Steve Frost

Written by Steve Frost who lives in Minneapolis using technology to make an impact in the community and our environment. Follow on Twitter