Dear Reader –
I went for a run monday morning. It was absolutely necessary, given the weekend situation.
About three steps into this run I noticed the sky.
Gray, dark, threatening on one side, sunny and clearish on the other. I guessed the dark and threatening part was moving towards me, so I had to evaluate.
Do I want to continue on or turn around. I double stepped, ran in place, stopped for a split second, then I chose to go anyway.
Please understand – I didn’t choose to go because I’m a hard-core runner. I chose to go because the thought of doing another Jillian Michaels Bodyshred video was so, so much worse than running in the rain.
You know what the result of running in the rain was though?
I ran faster than I have ever run in the last six weeks.
The rain kept me cool.
The breeze was icing on the cake.
I didn’t feel like I was going to keel over and die from heat exhaustion.
And I ran the whole entire 3.7 miles. I know that’s not much to some of you, but to me, right now, it’s huge. This is the first time I’ve done that route at a steady pace (a slow one, albeit) and not stopped for at least a little 30 second walk somewhere along the way.
Two other things happened out there on the drizzly trail:
- I thought about Paul and his scripture about life being a race ( I almost always do whenever I run) and
- I wasn’t wearing proper attire for a rain-run.
I’ll get to both of these in order. They are entirely unrelated.
Every time I run, Paul’s words, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” ( 1 Corinthians 9:24) come to mind. I think of them because here I am running, one foot pounding down after the other, and I try to parse out the meaning of the race he’s referring to. I know we could delve deeper than I’m capable of going here. I’ll just give you where my layperson’s mind went. Which I’m not sure is typical of the verse, and I kind of veered off onto a separate tangent.
In the first few moments of a run, I always feel like it’s torture. My legs feel like lead. My ankles hurt and need to pop. I stop and shake everything out, swing my arms trying to loosen up, roll my ankle around on top of my foot to relieve that tight air bubble sensation, but then I go. And go and go. And eventually my body warms up and my ankles loosen up and my legs don’t feel like lead anymore. My breathing evens out and flows in a rhythm, and all of a sudden I’ve hit my pace. This is the sweet spot. Where I can run my pace and I’m not yet petering out.
I can maintain here for a while, and I think as I’m thumping along, “I just made it through the hardest part. I pushed past the pain and the weight, and the uncomfortableness and now here I am. I’m moving forward. Moving. Moving. Moving. . . . . ” And then I start to think about my arms.
My son makes fun of the way I run. Not because I flail, but because I don’t. The top half of my body barely moves. My chest is straight and my arms are slightly robotic. For some reason, he finds this hilarious. It’s nearly impossible for me to run with him because he mocks me for the first ten minutes and I can’t laugh and run at the same time.
So at this point in the run, I start to think about my arms and whether or not they are helping or hurting me at the moment. I straighten my swing so that I’m not twisting side to side and I’m pulling myself forward instead of swaying with each step. I think about my stride and try to lengthen it instead of bouncing up and down. I want my energy to go into moving forward instead of giving me more height in the same spot.
And this is where, inevitably, I think of Paul and how this whole process can be compared to life.
First of all, go. If there is something big on the horizon for you, even if it looks foreboding and you think it might be uncomfortable, if you know you should be out there (wherever “there” is for you) go. Do your thing, even if it’s hard. Even if it feels impossible, even if your muscles are tight and not yet conditioned for it. Go. The rain won’t seem so bad once you’re in it. You’ll realize it’s actually helping you reach your goal. Eventually, you’ll find your rhythm and hit your sweet spot. You’ll trot along smoothly for a while, and then you’ll realize you can evaluate. You’ve got this part down when you never thought you would. Now it’s time to look at all the moving parts and make them move better, go further with more efficiency, and break personal records. Run!
This is life, run it like a race. You’ve got to start it in the first place. Break through the lead legs, get going, find your pace, keep improving as you move towards your goal, run with passion! But first you just have to decide to go anyway!
Secondly – totally unrelated, and purely for your entertainment:
I was not dressed for the rain, because I was not expecting rain when I dressed.
I was wearing a regular old cotton tank top, and regular old cotton, un-padded sports bra, because, honestly, my girls don’t require much. They’re tiny. (If there are guys reading, I apologize for this little bit, and I suggest you just stop reading).
So anyway, mid-run, wet cotton tank top and wet cotton sports bra (patterned and dark though! Not white!), I passed a man who (eww) watched my chest the whole way by. This was creepy, but at the same time utterly amusing to me, because I’m sure he was looking for eye candy. Iinstead he got was a Harry Potter puke flavored jelly bean. He probably went home trying to scrub the sight out of his eyeballs. He’ll pay for his rubbernecking.
In nightmares for the rest his life.