The fact that rain was pouring down amidst wind gusts nearing 30 miles per hour was one reason why I should cancel my long run. But there were better reasons not to, namely as a father of a young girl I want to demonstrate grit and determination in the face of difficult circumstances. That, and I need the training so I don’t collapse amongst the saw briars during the Barkley Fall Classic.
Within 10 yards of starting I was struggling along, almost blind as the rain had washed my contacts around my eyes like the last cheerio in the cereal bowl. I squinted with barely a sliver of visibility. Adding to my list of poor decisions, I picked the direction that led directly into the wall of wind and could feel the outer layer of my epidermis being slowly stripped away, a sensation that I assume is similar to low grade sandblasting.
But I was there, and I was running and after a mile or so, I had accepted my fate. Anyways, you can only get so wet.
My mind played lyrics of a Rodney Atkins country song. “When you’re going through hell, keep on going. Don’t slow down. If you’re scared don’t show it. You might get out before the devil even knows you’re there.” Side note: this was my personally-adopted theme song during 2006-2007 when I was writing and defending my dissertation.
For the next 2 hours I had the entire track to myself. Surprisingly (actually not surprising at all), it was void of all the soccer moms in their bright running clothes and arm-strapped iphones arms blasting Katy Perry songs. Now this I like. Saying “yes”, when others say “no way”! Being the person who makes up his mind and locks all doors of retreat. Today was about ensuring that I would be better than yesterday. Today was about honing mental resolve. Today was about driving away the comfort-seeking desires that occasionally attempt to take residence in my mind; sneaking in and hoping that I don’t notice.
In the movies, this story ends with blue skies and sunshine, but this wasn’t a movie. It rained all the way through the run. It poured during my post-run stretch. As a final measure, mother nature threw in a couple of soaking wind gusts as I climbed into my truck. The one small towel I brought was not enough to dry me, but it was over and there is a moral to the story. Here goes.
“Hard things done for the right reasons are usually not nearly as bad as the fear of doing them.”