Monday, April 27, 2015

#Dance in the Rain

Life is much like a marathon. You have to learn to press on, no matter what is happening, be it good or bad. When running a race, you can't quit in the middle of it if your time drops or your legs are tired- you keep going. In life, bad days and rocky moments are going to come, but you have to push on through them- learn from them- and keep going stronger. 
  Running has taught me many life lessons. Including, but not limited to, pressing on. Lately, I have loved the analogy of learning to dance in the rain.  It's going to rain. (you will have bad days). But, you can choose to be gloomy because it's raining (stressed because it's a bad day), or choose to get out and dance in it and enjoy it (embrace the moment, find the cracks of hope and joy in the midst of it, and smile). 
  This quote, "Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass, it's about learning how to dance in the rain, " by Vivian Greene, has become one of my favorites lately. 
   For life.
     For running. 
       For pressing on.

Because often times, running lends me the reminder that I am capable and strong and I can keep going. I can dance in the rain, so to speak.

 On Saturday, I got a real life parallel for this quote/life lesson. I have been learning to embrace this lately- in my exercise, but really, in who I am. And I have been learning to choose the dance rather than the gloom. And dancing in the rain feels great. 
  Saturday, I had the chance to run another race. I always struggle to shut the mind off from a goal and just enjoy. But on Saturday, I knew my training hadn't been up to par, and I really wanted to just go out and have fun. Race day called for rain. I can't say I was looking forward to that, but I guess I didn't dread it. I just told myself "it is what it is" and I would go with it. 
  When start time came around, the air was heavy with drizzles and sprinkles, but not a downpour. The temperature was perfect, actually. With around 18,000 runners, it took me about 15 minutes to get across the start line. And once I started, I never quit. The drizzle wasn't debilitating, it was almost liberating. Mile 8 was my toughest mile. Perhaps it was the distraction of being inside Churchill downs that slowed me a little; perhaps it was just my body getting a bit tired; perhaps it was the fact that someone started talking to me at mile 7 about my Air Force Marathon shirt I was wearing, and the AF Marathon itself , and I missed that hydration station somehow because of that... perhaps those are all excuses. It doesn't matter. I found my pace again at mile 9. And then the sky opened up.
 At mile 9, the rain came down. No more drizzle or sprinkles. I am not exaggerating when I say it opened up into an all out down pour. 
  But I loved it. I thought of this quote, and I nearly lifted my arms like a kid as the rain began to fall. (Don't worry... I refrained). But I did smile. And instead of slowing down, I actually picked up a slight bit. At the same time the rain began to pour, a song came across my playlist that said "I will praise You in this storm, I will lift my hands, For You are who You are, No matter where I am..."  That seemed timely and appropriate. My running and life lessons colliding again. 
  As mile 10 came around, I got a text across the phone which said "I hope you're having an awesome race", and while I didn't respond because I was running, I smiled, and pushed a little more. 
 Mile 11.... soaking wet to the bone. Literally. I gave up dodging other participants to avoid puddles and just splashed through them. My feet were soaked anyhow.
    I was tired, yes. My quads were a bit weary.  But I was having one of the most fun races I've had. Not because of my race pace, not because I was with a buddy, but because I was, in essence, dancing in the rain.
   Life's "troubles" were washed away because I was choosing to dance in the moment. I love the analogy. 
   I finished well. One day I will get out of that time zone I seem to be stuck in. But for Saturday, I finished with a smile, dripping wet, because I chose to #dance in the rain. 
 Dancing in the rain... be it in a race or in life.... it's freeing and fun. Try it out. 

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