Yesterday I headed out the door for a run. It was cold. Very cold. To make matters worse, the winds were strong enough to blow me into the next county. But I needed miles.
As I turned west, the full force of the gale hit me head on. My steps slowed and took on a dream-like quality. No, make that a nightmare. You know the kind. You try to run, to escape, to get away. Your arms pump and legs flail but sadly, you go nowhere fast. In fact, it all seems like slow-mo. That's the way I felt. Any desire to continue the fight against the ferocious wind was blown down the road.
I was frustrated. Instead of feeling fit and fabulous, I trudged along hating every step. I was winded (no pun intended), my legs felt like water-logged stumps, and worst of all, I felt old and over the hill. When my route finally made a ninety-degree turn, it got a little better. With all that was within me, I interjected all-out running efforts similar in length to what I would soon ask my track runners to do. Problem was, if anyone saw me, I'm not sure they would describe my running as fast. By the time I got home, I was depressed.
But the sun came up again this morning. Fancy that. A couple of us headed out to mark a race course. I was dropped off, entered the wooded trail and took off, yellow streamers in hand. It was cold again, in the twenties. But this time, the air was still. Soon, I was calculating where to hang the next streamer. I had to make sure it could be easily seen from both directions given that this course was a forward and the reverse loop. I ran swiftly, if you discount having to stop every seventy-five yards to mark the way. I took in the morning crispness, the deer and squirrels scampering about, the stillness of the lake's water. Unlike yesterday, I felt fleet of foot, strong and powerful, runner-like. It was glorious.
I am reminded that a key to persevering in a sport is remembering that things never stay the same. A bad spot, a bad day, even a bad week, does not seal shut the coffin. It simply makes the trip a little more interesting.
Be encouraged. There will be good times and bad. But even a bad patch is good if it means that you didn't have to buy the coffin.