Going out in the rain that night was not something I wanted to do. Even before I went looking for my shoes (still wet from last night’s run), I could hear the wind trying to tear down the cedar trees out back. Kodiak, my 25 pound cat, was hunkered down in my favorite chair and the two dogs had sought refuge in the den. The rest of the mammals in my house, my wife and kids, had all gone to bed, too. I couldn’t help but think that this was the loneliness of the long distance runner I once read about.
It would have been so easy to join the warm and slumbering bodies and gently fall asleep to the storm’s noises outside. Noises softened by the warm walls holding the heat inside my house. Why I didn’t do so, is a mystery, but then so is why we run at all.
As I stepped outside the house and drew my hat further down my face, the wind picked up in one huge gust and threw the door back at me. “Really,” I thought, “the elements really are against me tonight.”…..Or were they?
My first steps into that cold dark run were not fun. But as my body warmed to the task at hand, a brisk 4 miler, I began to reflect on my surroundings. Sure, the wind and the rain and the cold and the dark could be considered enemies. These most wintry of elements bring dread to even the most fanatical of us.
But that night, the elements gave me something else. Something which has stuck with me longer than the bad weather and darkness ever will. Those very things which conspired to turn me back to the hearth instead handed me an invitation to discover my own courage, which I gratefully accepted…
To this day, I believe accepting that invitation has made all the difference.