Running isn’t running. It’s wrestling demons.
I’ve done around 15 interval runs now for about 30 minutes each time and when I’m out on a run … there’s always a battle ragging inside me. It’s always a test, a challenge to conquer things inside me.
And most of all, to learn and grow through tough teachers called pain and suffering.
Viktor Frankel said that there is meaning in suffering and I’ve been more and more present with this belief and sought not to shy away from it but to lean into it.
I say demons because running forces me to face things inside me that I would otherwise hide from or ignore.
I say pain and suffering, but it’s not torture. It’s something I’m willingly experiencing.
There are two key lessons, the demons I wrestle with that I’m learning … patience and perseverance.
Patience — for the goal I have, I can’t take shortcuts. I have to learn patience and pace in this journey. And it often feels like a long slow slog. But I have to continually focus myself on the long view over the short view. One step at a time. Just do this step. And move to the next. Learning patience is brutal. It’s a true battle. I want to be there instantly, now.
Perseverance — particularly through pain and suffering. Enduring the adversity I face each time I run. The times I want to quit, stop, give up and go home. Mostly, it’s not physical suffering, it’s emotional and internal. It’s finding resilience and mental toughness inside me. Battling the voice that says, “There are easier things to be doing.”
At first, the two seem at odds to each other.
I need to be patient as I persevere? I need to persevere but be patient about it?
I’ve started to think of them more as learning patient perseverance.
This week I had a breakthrough.
I had the most incredible run. It was my favorite experience, of many I’ve cherished.
The weather was absolutely beautiful. The sunlight hitting the trees and grass was enchanting.
I attacked the hills as a conquerer.
A couple of times I raised my hands like a victor. I couldn’t help myself. I felt good. I just started smiling ear to ear.
I think it was the first time I really got what I am supposed to be learning and embracing through this: The meaning in suffering.
But the best part was on my cool down time and feeling the soft cool Oklahoma breeze on my face. I didn’t want to move out of that moment. I wanted to wallow in the feeling, physical and emotional.
So I lingered … closing my eyes, stopping some, sitting some but mostly walking … and letting that breeze whisper in my soul.
I was changed by it.
This week felt like a big win, a catalytic moment, a change in my life. At just the right time.