I’m training for my second marathon. I made the decision at the finish line of my first one, in Pittsburgh in May. I was satisfied overall with my time and experience, but I knew I wanted to see if I could be faster, train smarter, try again. I wanted another chance at the experience that beat me into the ground with long distance runs that were heavy on the long part. I wanted the exhaustion of having done a most difficult thing to settle into my bones. I wanted the sweat and the tears and yes, even the hurt.
Saturday showed up with almost perfect long run weather. Cool, breezy, bright white clouds dotting the early morning sky. I had set two goals. One was to keep pace with the music and the other was to only walk during water breaks, which I planned ahead of time. I hit both of those goals. Yay me!
But a breeze that gently tickles my toes while I drink coffee on my patio has a seemingly higher intensity when it’s along a flat creekside route unblocked by trees, forcing itself into my tired and sweaty face.
At first, I shook my fist at the wind: How dare you show up now, NOW, to wreck my run.
Then, I noticed it. The wind didn’t only force me backward. It did not only seem to slow me down. The breeze took the cruelty out of the morning sun. The breeze cooled my sweat-soaked shirt, thereby cooling me. The gust blew away the sweat on my brow, instead of letting it trickle into my eyes. Sweat in my eyes hurts.
I had this one salient thought:
I cannot both bless and curse the wind.
Well, I can, but it’s still the same wind. The difference is my position in relation to it.
How many times does this mother remind her children that there are always two choices: one of them is usually far more grouchy and pessimistic than the other.
I could curse the wind for blowing in my face, or I could be glad for the air conditioning it provided. I could be mad that I was working so hard to move into it, or I could remind myself that at some point it would be behind me, pushing me forward instead of back.
To curse it was to forget the promise that was coming, and in fact, to overlook the blessing that already existed.