Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Acorn Award

the weather called for light, misty rain all day, turning into torrential downpours by the night time... it was not looking promising for a run. I kept tabs on the weather throughout the day & noticed that it barely rained at all. (the weathermen were wrong! gasp! how shocking!) although the sky did look incredibly overcast & grey. soooo just before dusk I decided the time had come. It was time to venture outside and run. I was so excited & so proud of myself! I got about 1.5 miles away from my house before it started raining. really hard. raindrops collected in my eyes so I could barely see clearly, I was soaked, and I had to dash for cover under the nearest tree. I was also over-dressed, slightly over-heated & suffocating from the humidity. I was just over a mile away from my house, it was late, it was getting dark, and the rain wasn't showing any signs of letting up any time soon. soooo... I did what any sensible runner would do... I kept going!!!!

I forged ahead in the dark and the rain, armed with my reflective gear and LED flashlight. It was as much an exercise in mental toughness as physical stamina. perhaps even more so. Mr Heath, my old cross country coach used to talk to us about mental toughness before each race. We needed our minds to be like an acorn - unbreakable. After each race, whichever runner endured the most challenges, yet emerged triumphant, would receive the team "acorn." This honor was probably even more coveted than a first-place finish. The acorn award proved you were completely, totally, 100% mentally in the race, that you could persevere through pain, overcome obstacles, endure challenges, push through no matter what, and succeed against the odds. it's a valuable lesson to that applies to life in general.

mental toughness will get you anywhere. today, it got me through an 8 mile run. Mr Heath would be proud.

After all that, I'm really glad I kept going, because the rain cleared up within 5 minutes. If I had turned around & gone home, I would have been completely bummed. Instead, I was positively elated to be out running. The downpour broke the humidity, and the rain cooled me off, so after that I was good to go! I seriously considered doing 12 miles, but cut it short at 8. The only thing that stopped me from going the distance was the fact that it was rapidly getting darker outside, and I didn't want to be out running in the pitch black for too long. Running at night is very very scary, unless you have a personal bodyguard, ninja, or friend named Mike to guide & protect you on your nightly run. the pitch black really scares me when I'm out alone. I'm afraid I'll either A) trip over something I don't see on the ground, or B) get hit by a car who doesn't see me until it's too late. so I try to avoid the scenario as much as possible. Either way, now that it's officially fall, it gets a lot darker a lot earlier in the day, so I didn't want to stay out too long... plus, my legs were sore!!! My legs just did not want to move, which made it a very tough run, especially through the winding hilly roads of Greenwich.

despite the fact that it was cut short, today's run was pretty significant. the important thing is that I went out in the first place. I stuck it out through the rain. I ran up hills, in new unchartered territory, in the dark, when I my legs were completely sore. I seriously was going to go the distance (if it wasn't so late & dark).

mental toughness will get you anywhere.

I give myself the acorn for this one.

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