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Puddles of Life

There are a few things in life that we can be fairly certain of – time moves on, loved ones are lost, and as Buddhism teaches us, nothing stays the same. It is the wise one who recognizes these things, is not afraid of them, and embraces them.

Today was a rainy day in Raleigh. As I drove to Costco in search of their three ingredient turkey burgers (very yummy by the way), I listened to the amazing Rich Roll interview the equally amazing Charlie Engle. Mr. Engle, the badass ultrarunner who ran across the Sahara, had his fair share of incredible stories to tell but one in particular stuck with me, as it seemed fitting for my current debate as to whether or not I should run outside.

I don’t remember the exact words of Charlie’s story so forgive me if I fail to do it justice. But it went something like this… He was describing his Badwater experiences and pointed out that every time he ran the race, he threw up and every time he genuinely struggled. There was not one single moment of that race that wasn’t a battle. A battle within the mind and a battle within the body. But it was during those moments of struggle that he truly became himself. And it was in those moments of perseverance that he learned what he was really made of.

I parked the car and had the answer to my question. I was running outside.

When I got home and changed, I looked out the window. For a fleeting moment I thought about how much I did not want to run in the cold rain. Then I told myself it’s the one who does that beats the one who didn’t.

As I started out, I realized it was raining much harder than I had anticipated. Along with the small rivers running down the street, there were big puddles everywhere. My initial reaction was to run around them. Why get my feet wetter than I needed to? Then I saw a very large puddle in front of me that I knew I couldn’t avoid. That’s when I made the connection. Embrace  the damn puddle. You can’t avoid it, it’s not going to kill you, and your feet will dry. Oh how that made my Friday run so much easier! When I decided to stop avoiding the inevitable and just move through it, I saved myself from leaping and jumping about. And more importantly, I realized the soggy feeling in my socks didn’t even last that long.

I think obstacles in life can be like those puddles. We know they are there and we can try to dance around them. But when we decide to just run through them, we survive and we are a little stronger for the soggy socks. We learn just a little more about who we are.

My  lesson from those few miles: don’t run around the puddles in life. Embrace them. And move on.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


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