|Photo by the talented Wobsarazzi|
Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.
It rained on Wednesday and I had a million excuses to not get my 7 miles in. It was cold. It was wet. It hailed earlier in some parts of OC. It would probably start raining again. I'd been feeling a little under the weather. I debated dragging myself to the gym to soldier it out on the treadmill, but I wasn't feeling too excited about it. Then, the rain ceased and the sky parted slightly just as I was getting ready to go and I took it as a sign to get my ass outside.
It was cold and I could feel my body's heat evaporating quickly off my running shirt. I forgot the caps to my little running belt bottles so I was stuck carrying a larger bottle which is always annoying. The first few minutes of my run there's always a bit of inner whining, bitching and complaining going on. Seems like with as much as I cart workout stuff to and fro, I inevitably leave something behind. Socks. Water bottles. Sunglasses. Sports Bra. And I refuse to go home before my run since 99% of the time, that will end in my butt on the couch!
I settled into my stride and began to wake up and enjoy my surroundings. I pulled my head out of my work day, and began to notice the sheer beauty of the world around me. It's a startling contrast - the dull drone of my job compared to the vivid, colorful vista of the Back Bay. I noted the ominous clouds ahead of me hanging out in the foothills and figured there had to be a rainbow somewhere. Sure enough, as I started my first tempo interval into the freezing wind, I spotted a huge rainbow arcing up from the ground into the clouds. I felt calm and it dawned on me that you'll never see any rainbows if you're not willing to be caught out in the rain.
In running, as in life, perception is everything. If you think something's going to suck, it will. If you think something's impossible, it will be. If you think you can, you will. I work a full-time job (and do four different jobs there), train 10-14 hours a week, have a little side business catering to a handful of co-workers, and cook with Adam all of our meals from scratch (no joke, we grind our own flours). There's a million reasons I can come up with to not do a workout, to sleep in, to cut a run short, to bail on a ride. I was reminded by a friend this week that shortcuts are for wimps. It made me laugh and it rang true. The journey is always the reward. Cutting short the journey cheapens the destination so, so much. When I am frustrated or want to quit or cut things short, I think of a positive. Instead of, "Ugh! This run is SO long!" I think, "How lucky am I to be able to be healthy, have legs, and be able to run free of pain." Instead of, "I don't want to go workout on Friday after work" I think of how good it feels to be faster now and to cross finish lines quicker. I think of how nice it is outside, and how some of the most beautiful days are those with inclement weather. I look forward to the sunrises and sunsets, and try to catch one or both daily.
As I wrapped up my tempo intervals and headed back towards the Back Bay, it began to get windier and colder. The dark clouds from the foothills were swiftly moving towards me. I felt great for getting outside and finishing my workout. I felt the sense of accomplishment that comes with hard work and perseverance. As I got closer to the entrance of the Back Bay under Jamboree, I could tell the sunset was going to be a keeper. Sure enough, right as I rounded the trail under Jamboree I was greeted by an unforgettable view. I hollered out a hello to a photographer who's always hanging out in that spot taking long exposure shots (it really is one of the best spots on the bay) and he remarked how this was really one of the best. The sun dropped under the clouds a bright shaft of light rushed across the water towards me. I watched it, running, as it sunk into the bay. I was in complete awe. This day, this moment, this world, this life... there is nothing better and the expression of gratitude on a consistent basis is the only form of prayer that I know. It was the clouds, not the sun, that made the sunset so spectacular. It was the rain too, not just the sun that made the rainbow appear. It is the sum of all things that make existence magnificent and marvelous, and I am grateful for understanding how to value the whole sum, not just certain parts.