This post is part of the No Excuses Challenge.
There’s a track near my house where I like to run. Especially on rainy days. It might sound strange, but I’ve always loved running in the rain. Ever since I was 10 years old.
When I used to run track, practice would be “rained out” but I’d do it anyway, usually all by myself. Same for soccer, except my whole team would practice or play in the rain.
I never understood why other sports didn’t carry on in the rain, but soccer players seemed to have discovered that they were, in fact, waterproof, and nothing bad would happen to them if they got wet.
Oh well. I loved it. And I still do. Even if it’s a hard rain or a cold rain, I’ll still go sometimes. The track is different in the rain.
When it’s sunny out, if there’s a puddle, I’ll probably run around it. Or jump over it. But when I’m already soaked, I splash right through it.
I like it when the rules seem different. I like how getting out of your element can help you see that you usually box yourself in. Like, why do I run around that puddle when it’s not raining? I’m being silly. It doesn’t matter if I get a bit wet. But it takes a downpour for me to realize it.
I like the track when it’s raining. There aren’t as many people there. Sometimes, I have the whole place to myself, and I love that. I love that no one can watch me. I push harder, sprint until I collapse. Sometimes I’ll just lay on the track after a hard 200 meter sprint, just gasping and coughing. If anyone could see me, I’d be totally embarrassed. But no one can see me, because it’s raining, and everyone else is indoors somewhere. Watching television or going to IKEA.
Sometimes, there will be a few other people running in the rain. Those people make me smile. I feel a weird kinship with them, like we have something in common and know something about each other. I’ve never talked to one of these people. We’re not at the track to talk. We’re there to run. No one is dressed to impress. There are no shiny white shoes. No one is wearing makeup. But I’ll give a smile and a nod or something, and they’ll nod back. It’s a friendly thing, a way of saying, “Hey, I guess we both know the same secret. Enjoy it.” At least, that’s what I’m thinking when I nod. Maybe the other guy is thinking I’m just a weirdo or something.
I love the track when it’s raining because of who isn’t there. The weekend warriors aren’t there. I’m sure these are all lovely people, and I’m happy that they’ve taken an interest in their fitness… but it’s much nicer when they’re not around. I like rainy days because I don’t have to run around someone walking on the inside lane. I don’t have to jump over some unsupervised 6 year old who has wandered right in front of me while I’m sprinting all out. I don’t have to worry about his mother giving ME a look, as though I was the one who did something reckless. I don’t miss the guy shouting into his cell phone while he walks laps.
No, there are no weekend warriors. Only actual warriors. I like that.
I like that I can push harder when I’m cold because my muscles don’t overheat as quickly. I like that I can’t even tell I’m sweating out of every pore because I’m already soaked. I love the way my whole body steams after I finish a fast mile. I love it all.
I love that I’m there because I feel so damn alive. I love that being there means I didn’t make an excuse. I love that it feels primal.
I love that it feels like I’m ten years old again, splashing around in puddles. I feel like I’m keeping some unspoken promise to my ten year old self, that yes, when I’m 30 years old and it’s pouring rain outside, sometimes I’m going to go out and splash around in those puddles and run around until I’m gasping for air.
I owe it to that kid, because without him I wouldn’t be here. And it’s my job to make his dreams come true. I’m living his future, and working toward his big dreams, and when it rains and I’m running on that track, I think, “Yes. Yes. We’re not giving up on all those things. We’re going to get there.”
We’re not going to make excuses.