Hard Times

So the thing about signing up for a half marathon (or two) is that you have to train for it. Even when you don’t want to or when the weather is bad or it’s inconvenient. Today I had to run 3 miles and was hoping to get out early enough to beat the rain. I did not.

As I started my run, the road was already wet, but it was no longer raining. I’d found an old windbreaker to wear to shield me from the rain should I need protection. It’s too big and not made for running, but it seemed like a good choice since I had no other way to defend myself from the rain. Except not running.

About a half mile into my run, the jacket had to go — our cold snap has ended and the mild temperature combined with the humidity from the rain made it feel like I was running in plastic wrap. I slowed down to tie it around my waist and continued my run, glad to be without the noise of the jacket and happy to feel the cool, damp air brush against my arms.

That cool, damp air turned to mist as I progressed but still was light enough for me to enjoy the run. As I reached the halfway point, however, I could feel the wind pick up and I knew the real rain was coming. I turned the corner and was hit in the eye by a drop of rain coming from my hat. The real rain had actually already started, but because I was moving I hadn’t really noticed. The drips from the bill of my hat started coming regularly; I had to slightly close my left eye as I ran as there was no dry part of me to remove the drip.

My shirt was soaked. My pants were soaked. My feet were soaked. But I was not done with my run. I considered looking for a short cut so I could get home sooner and be sheltered from the rain. At that point the rain was dripping into both of my eyes. But I only had three-fourths of a mile to go. There was no reason to give up; I mean, I was already wet, it’s not like I could get wetter.

As I trotted along for that last three-fourths of a mile, I considered how I’d had times in my life when I’d stuck with something even when it was hard, not understanding how hard it actually was until I was done. How I’d been conditioned by my life to accept hard times and make it through without complaint, not even realizing I had reason to complain. And in that moment I was thankful for all the difficulties I’d had in life, and I knew finishing a 3 mile run in the rain? Was not even on the radar.

Today I am thankful for the hard times I’ve had in my life and the way they’ve shaped me into the person that I am. And I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to remember those lessons should I find myself in difficult times again.

As for today, while it’s true I did not beat the rain, it also did not beat me.