This mama needs to run in the rain.
As I learn more about myself, I am realizing I am much introverted than I previously thought. I like the idea of being around people, but I really thrive off of having time alone in quiet. This is one of the many reasons why running is so good for me. It gives me the space to be in a quiet rhythm. It allows me to think, pray, and breathe. Don’t get me wrong, I love running with others as well and connecting in this way, but every once in a while a solo run does my soul a lot of good.
The rain just kept coming this week. It rained and rained. Every time I looked out the window my initial thought was to skip the run. Stay inside my mind whispered. Even though I have been a runner for over a decade, basically every time I go out for a run, I am again dealing with the internal battle of just staying inside. I know some people eagerly lace up their shoes and prance out the door to run, but this is just not how I operate. It would probably fool you when I am actually out running with a smile, but that initial push out the door is so hard for me. It is especially hard now when I don’t have a coach telling me what to do or a team depending on me to be in shape. Now, I am the coach. I am the whole team. With anything, when it is just you, performing and producing your best becomes even less motivating.
Despite this desire to stay inside, I managed to get out the door twice to run. And it was two of the best choices I made all week. Both times felt magical. The best part of running in the rain is that not a lot of people do it. The park was empty. The strand was deserted. All I could hear was the rain rhythmically hitting my visor. All I could see was waves crashing. All I could feel was peace. I was not thinking about other people. I was not trying to pass the person 100 meters ahead of me. I was not trying to impress by running as fast as I could. I was not worried about pace or performance. I was simply just running in the rain. Alone.
When all the exterior elements of running are stripped down and you are left with just the raw aspects of movement, breath, and cadence; you can really find the joy in running. You can find it in its purest form. I think over the past few years, I got lost in the races, the time trials, the competition. I think I forgot what it feels like to just run because you can, not because you have to. When it comes down to it, I really love to run. I actually have always loved it, but I think somewhere along the way running became something else. It became pressurized and demanding. It became solely about performance and pleasing coaches. The rawness of running: breath, movement, cadence; became lost.
It took having a baby to get me to return to running and fall back in love with the sport. Once Hudson was born, all expectations of who I was as a runner seemed to dissipate. It did not matter if I ran for just 20 minutes. It did not matter if I ran 10 minute pace. These are things that I would of laughed at a few years ago, but now it was all about getting out the door. It no longer was about the pace or the mileage. It was solely about running to clear my head, running to get off the baby weight, running to take a break, running to pray for patience. It was all about the movement. I was running because I had a deep down need to move and it turns out running is the best way I know how to do that. I finally was in a place where I could run without the pressure, anxiety, and fear that seemed to plague most of my college running career. I could run and walk. I could stop when I felt tired. I could just run a loop around the block and return home. I finally am learning to run with grace. And this is making all the difference in my love for running.
Running in the rain last week reminded me why I run. It reminded me how running is supposed to feel in its purest form. It reminded me the importance of not waiting until conditions or life is perfect. If we run like this or if we live like this, we never will run much or really do anything at all. Sometimes it will rain all week. Sometimes you will have bad days, weeks, months, years. And sometimes you just have to face it. You have to tie up those shoes. Put on your hat. And start that watch. And just like running in the rain, through movement and action, you can eventually be reminded of why you do what you do and be at peace with whatever life gives you.