I’m training for a half-marathon next month in New Orleans. This helps with my New Year’s Resolution of getting and staying in shape. This past Saturday morning, I did something really stupid. Faced with the choice of running in the rain or getting off my training schedule, I ran eight miles in the rain. At some point when the gentle rain turned into a downpour, I questioned my sanity. Who in their right mind runs in January in the rain?
Commitment to Your Goal
Anything worthwhile requires a crazy commitment. This means you work on your goal when it doesn’t make sense. You work on your goal when everyone else is taking it easy. You work on your goal when you appear insane to those around you. You work on your goal when you’d rather be doing something else. You work on your goal when it isn’t easy. If you want to do something significant; if you want to break the mold; if you want to make your life count; you can’t be halfway committed. You must be all in.
Support of Those Around You
At some point around mile six, I encountered a group of young, enthusiastic runners, equally soaked and crazy as me. One of them looked at me, smiled, and yelled “alright!” In that instant, our facial expressions and greetings said “you’re for real or you wouldn’t be out here.” If you want to do anything worthwhile, it will take a “for real” commitment. You also need the support of those around you. You need the support of someone else taking the crazy, insane route of doing something important rather than playing it safe.
My inspiration to run eight miles in the rain began the night before, when our group leader posted on our Facebook page that she would be out there and wanted to see us too. That bit of encouragement made me think “if they’re crazy enough to do it, count me in.” When you attempt a new goal that requires commitment, being part of a group taking the same journey may be the difference in completing your goal and giving up.
You’ll be Glad You Did
Running in the rain toughens you up. It prepares you mentally and physically to keep going when the unexpected hits. You never know the conditions you’ll face on race day in February in the South. It may be clear and sunny. It may be freezing. Or it may be raining. Sort of like life. You never know the circumstances you’ll face tomorrow. Therefore, practice when it’s not easy today.
Enjoy the Journey
Running in the rain can be fun. Once soaked, you can’t get any wetter. You become like a kid again, playing in the rain and doing something everyone else thinks is stupid. When you start on a new goal that requires sacrifice, you’ll encounter moments of childlike joy in the middle of the struggle. Savor those moments. While encountering another group of middle-aged, equally soaked runners, one of them did his best Marty Feldman Young Frankenstein imitation by saying “could be worse, could be raining!”
I’ll remember my eight mile run in the rain for years to come. It stands as evidence that if we want to do something bad enough, we do it. Most of our excuses are just that; excuses. I’ve learned that we find time to do what we really want to do.
If you started this year with a New Year’s Resolution, develop a plan to carry it out. Get some friends who are committed to the same general goal. Then work your plan when you feel like it and when you don’t. A worthwhile goal will take work, commitment, and discipline. But enjoy those unexpected moments on the journey like running in the rain. Down the road, once you’ve completed your goal, those moments may be the best memories you carry.