Thursday, October 02, 2008

Like Water Off a Duck's Back

This week's
Take It and Run Thursday is about life lessons learned from running. I am truly grateful to running for all it has taught me about myself and believe that this lifestyle makes me a better person, both physically and mentally. But today, I'll focus on just one lesson that running has taught me:

This, too, shall pass.

Life throws us a lot of challenges. When you're having a hard time, hearing someone spout a cliche like "This, too, shall pass," provides absolutely no comfort, at least to me. But through my running, I have come to truly believe this little phrase, because I have lived it.

Sometimes, those challenges come through the running itself. About a month ago, I was doing 3200 repeats on the track. On one of the middle ones, I felt like absolute hell. It was hot, I was tired, and every bit of me screamed to pack it in and just go home. The absolute only reason I didn't stop to take a walk break - in a two mile run that I should be able to do in my sleep - was because there were other people at the track and it would have been embarassing.

I suffered through it, did my rest interval, and after that, much to my surprise, I felt absolutely fine. All I needed was a little bit of time, and that problem that seemed insurmountable was gone. And that is just one example of something that has happened in my running more times than I can count. This, too, shall pass.

When life's challenges come from something other than running, I always know that I have a surefire way to make myself feel better. I put on my running shoes, hit the round, and within half a mile, whatever I was so upset about no longer feels like such a big deal. Knowing that all it will take is a few minutes of running to feel better makes those challenges seem a lot smaller.

Just a few days ago at work, I had an encounter with someone that made me so angry that my hands were literally shaking. There was a time in my not-so-distant past in which I would have stewed over that and let it ruin my entire day. Not so this time. Even though I knew I couldn't go running (I was still sore from the marathon and it would have been a championship dumb idea), I knew from all of my experiences with running that I would be able to put it out of my mind, to let it wash away like water off a duck's back. That this, too, shall pass. Sure enough, one hug from Jack later and I wasn't even thinking about the thing that had been taking up so much space in my head.

This, too, shall pass.

14 comments:

tfh said...

Confession: I finally had the time to finish reading your race report, and the image of Jack running you to the finish combined with this life lesson brought tears to my eyes.

Running really does put us face to face with the ephemeral-- not just that challenges will pass, but also that we should enjoy the sweet spots while we can, eh?

Frayed Laces said...

Great lesson and great post!

Julianne said...

"This, too, shall pass." It's very poignant. You're right, when you're done with a run or a race, whatever pain you were feeling (emotionally or physically) doesn't seem so bad. :-)

bill carter said...

Great, great post. Running has given me so much balance in my life that I couldn't imagine ever going back to that time when I didn't have it.

Give Jack a hug from Donna, Aidan and I. Could we love 'em any more than we do??

The Happy Runner said...

That is so right-on!
I love the image of bad things washing away like water off a duck's back. It seems so easy and natural.

The Happy Runner said...

And...thanks a lot for the link to that t-shirt. I love it!

thebets said...

So true...god advice!

kara said...

What a great analogy. Running and life.

Nat said...

I agree, it's one of the great lessons I've learned. "This too shall pass..."
Great post.

SLB said...

Oh yeah some things just need to be let go of, thanks for sharing

Jason said...

You are exactly right: Running is the best therapy.

Nitmos said...

Good for you. It took me a lot of years to let things go and not bother me. Life's so much easier this way.

And, by the way, Congratulations on your marathon finish! 4:38 is a strong time.

Anonymous said...

Amazing race report and beautiful lesson! I am still learning to let go, and running helps so much!

I Run for Fun said...

That IS a beautiful lesson. No wonder there are so many of us running!