I started this post three or four times. I wanted to rant a bit about my bad week before I described how I overcame it. Maybe make a few passive-aggressive jabs. Wax poetic about a couple woe-as-me’s and then BAM, finish strong with what lifted me out of the funk.
No matter how I framed it, the post didn’t feel right. Life’s not fair, sometimes. I was kind of enough of a jerk to some people already.
I could have made matters worse, or do the best I can, say I’m sorry where appropriate and find a way to brush myself off and move on. At least I hope so. I’m not saying the past few days have not been difficult.
And really, the best I can do at this point is share the good because the negativity in my head has already eaten up too much time.
RUNNING IN THE RAIN
The late summer heat and humidity I mentioned in a previous post has been brutal. I sweat so bad after a couple of miles running I can’t swipe my iPhone because my fingertips are too wet.
If I don’t wash my running shorts and shirt immediately after a workout, they stay damp and stinky for days in the dirty laundry pile. And butt shaped sweat-spots mark wherever I sit if I don’t immediately change.
That’s the type of weather I was going into Tuesday for a speed workout with my running group. We were going fast for .34 miles and recovering for .36 miles, for six times in a local park.
Because temps were in the low-90s and humidity hovered around 60 percent at 6:30 p.m., coaches were told to take it easy.
I was grumpy from work. My head hurt. I know my body doesn’t handle the heat and intense runs well. This wasn’t the type of relief I needed, I thought.
I had a short mile run to our start location for the speed workout to think about all of this.
Then somewhere in the first lap the magic happened. We heard a far distant rumble, followed by a few drops of rain that quickly became a sudden summer afternoon downpour.
Before I knew it my shoes weighed ten pounds a-piece and I was still floating on air.
I kind of felt like a kid as my shoes splashed through fast-forming puddles. Just one more lap became the group’s mantra. We were going fast, but the speed and the distance didn’t matter.
We ended up doing seven laps, could have done eight. I stayed in the thick of the pack. No worry about being first, third or last. Just a bone drenching rain that refreshed and made the fun run. It reminded me of playing in the rain in front of my parents house as a kid.
Honestly, if I could relive that run every Tuesday, I don’t think I’d ever tire of it. And I still got to make butt prints when I sat down in my truck.
Mood immediately elevated.
I wish I could say that my entire outlook on life shifted on a single raindrop, but my work week’s end I was kind down on myself and the world again. The weather was back to sunny and warm. Humidity was down though and I knew I need to do something.
For some reason, packing my backpack with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, bottled water a bowl and dog treats to take a day long hiking trip seemed like a good idea. So, I picked a place to hike about an hour and a half from where I lived and crammed my insanely ADHD dog into my old truck with its bent bumper and broken gas gauge.
We ended up at Fort Hill Park just west of Hillsboro, Ohio. I knew next to nothing about the park on my way there, other than someone on Reddit recommended it. What I found were beautiful, well-maintained trails and an interesting bit of Native American history.
At about the same time Jesus was walking around the Middle-East, the Hopewell tribe in the area was building these intricate and quite large earth structures, according to the brochure I found at the welcome center. As an added bonus, I learned the park lacked cell service when I got there, so thank goodness the brochure had a trail map.
I still managed to get lost, Gracie leading the way with me in tow. We spent just around 3 hours exploring 5.6 miles or rugged trail with some pretty big elevation changes. Gracie and I also found a creek. For the first time in her seven years of life, Gracie discovered the thrill of splashing through water herself, and chasing down bullfrogs.
The alone time with Gracie went far in terms of calming me.
After stumbling upon this quote from 4th century B.C. Roman stoic philosopher Seneca, my time in the woods on Thursday, and in the rain on Tuesday took on even deeper meaning.
“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.”
The older I get the more I realize the art of living is learning to hold onto that clarity a little longer and carry it into everything I do.