It was a long day on the training schedule (read: 18 miles), there was a 142% chance of pouring rain in Nashville all day, and it was a Sunday which meant my gym wouldn’t open until the leisurely hour of 1 pm.
Pull out the rain jacket, grab a towel and flip-flops for the drive home: It might get wet.
I met up with my group for marathon training who looked a little less enthused- but no less determined- to hammer out some mileage. Instead of a rock mix last week, our playlist would be a cacophony of squeaky wet shoes, swishing rain gear, and audible rain drops incessantly making themselves known.
We set off with a little less urgency than the week prior. Some had gear to (try to) protect them from the elements, others’ attire just shrugged ‘screw it!’ Mine was a rain jacket that was ditched after three miles. ‘Screw it!’
Running in the rain without music was unexpectedly entertaining. Instead of getting lost in drum beats, I got lost in the beats the rain made on the pavement, and the changes in tone when I would run over a wooden bridge or by a thicket of trees. I even heard frogs!
Without headphones, I was forced to pay attention to my breath and stride, and meditated over my endurance for another 14 miles… 10 miles… 5 miles. I was challenged to be more in tune with, well, me.
After a little less than three hours, I got back to the car and had a text from my best friend: “Please don’t tell me you’re running in this…” And I admitted my insanity: “Well I was, but not anymore!” Woops? I could see her rolling her eyes at me…‘Taylor!!!! Crazy girl…’
It wasn’t an idyllic situation at first, but I finished more challenged in a completely different way, and came away with gratitude. Challenges force us to grow, think, and feel, and if we don’t take advantage of opportunities in which to do so, what the heck are we doing here?
I won’t ditch the headphones for every run. It wasn’t that life changing. Next Sunday I have 20 miles, and if it is raining again on Sunday, I will have already rigged a way to keep my tunes waterproof. I’ll listen to a little classic rock, maybe some dirty rap, but I’ll give myself a couple of miles to hear what the rain has to say.