It’s a spring day in May with rain falling outside. This time four years ago, I was training for Grandma’s Marathon with my girlfriend Cristina on a day very similar to this. We had an eighteen-mile training run in front of us, rain or shine. Up until that day, we had been able to train when it was dry. This would be our first run in the rain, and we were about to get very wet.
My first thought, as we got ready to get out of the car to run, was to stay in the car. In that moment, the thought of three hours running in the rain was not on my bucket list. There was no runner’s “badge of honor” for us to chase, and that runner’s high everyone talks about was going to be even harder to catch on a day like this. To be frank, the only thing I could think about was how much the next three hours were going to suck.
Fortunately, Cristina had done this before. This wasn’t her first marathon, and she had run in the rain before. As I whined about getting wet, she reminded me that finishing on race day depended on us completing our training today, whether it was raining or not. With a gentle shove, she booted me out of the truck, and we started our run.
It rained through miles one and two. And three. It kept raining for another fifteen miles. As we ended our run eighteen miles later, we were soaked to the bone… and smiling. We had done it, and now we could go home and spend the rest of the day drying off.
Fast forward to June 20th of 2015, twenty-six miles north of Duluth, Minnesota. We had boarded a school bus earlier that morning, climbing on in a downpour. Crammed into grade-schooler sized seats, we rumbled toward the starting line of Grandma’s Marathon in the rain. Stepping off the bus, we navigated the puddles and found the corner of a tent, allowing us a brief reprieve from the falling rain.
Standing amidst the puddles in soaking shoes, waiting for the signal to get corralled, all I could think of was that May run in the rain. We had been here before. We already knew what it felt like to be soaked to the bone and to run. As much as today’s rain was going to present a challenge, we had already been through this same challenge before, and we had succeeded. Today, we would not only be fine, but we would succeed together again.
Here are two things to keep in mind when the rain comes for you…
Every day, new challenges come, but are they really that new? Just like running a marathon in the rain, most of the challenges that come at us every day are replays of challenges we’ve already overcome. The simple act of remembering that, and reflecting for a quick moment on the battles we’ve already won, is a great way to pause and reset in the midst of the struggle. Remembering those successes and focusing on them is a powerful way to regain perspective and gain additional strength.
Choose strong people to run beside. As I learned on that first run in May, and then as we ran Grandma’s Marathon together, I had picked the perfect running partner. Cristina and I ran side-by-side, step-by-step, and kept each other motivated through the rain and the heat that steamed up the roads in between. And, as we crossed the finish line, I knew that I was making the right decision to ask her to marry me later that day at the family lunch that followed.
She said yes, and now years later, I still know I made the right choice. As we’ve worked to navigate creating a healthy, blended family with two teenagers, the challenges have come at us one after another. But, as I’ve already shared, we’ve been here before. We’ve run through the rain and storms, and enjoyed sunny days, and we’re figuring things out. Looking back, we can see the battles we’ve already fought, and the wins we’ve already collected.
With that in mind, everything’s going to be fine.
Whatever challenge you’re facing, you’ve probably been there before. Even if you haven’t navigated this exact challenge, you already have wins in your rearview mirror. You’re stronger than you remember. Focus on the struggles you’ve already overcome, and make sure you have some strong people in your circle to run with when it rains!
I appreciate you taking the time to read this, and thanks for being a positive presence in your circle of family, friends, coworkers, and clients! There’s a lot of negative noise out there, but we each have the power to make a difference one-by-one!
Originally published at https://depthnotwidth.com on May 28, 2019.