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According to Oklahoma Climatological Survery, Northeastern Oklahoma has received a drenching 1.66″ of rain between June 12 and July 12; the last time it was that dry between those dates was in 1991. As I write, thunder rumbles through a cloud streaked sky and I wait for some kind of watery stuff to fall. I’m skeptical. We need rain. Half the country needs rain. Technology is amazing, but there’s not a heckuva lot we can do about a drought.

I’ve been feeling a little dry in my running lately, too. Running the same paths day after day, my eyes take in the singed grass and desperate trees with a colorless interest that mimics their disposition. My head fills with a tired old playlist that needs a reboot. Badly. The heat bounces off my forehead like sonic booms. Sometimes being out in the oppression that is Oklahoma weather makes me feel like my brain is melting, and it hurts. It’s harder to keep running.

Last summer, I had just begun this little running adventure. Last summer I was hopped up on my own very minor but huge to me running achievements. Running 2 miles or 5 miles for the first time was like being cast inThe Chariots of Fire. Because I was limited in both knowledge and experience I was, quite literally, a running fool. Nearly every effort rivaled Olympic heights. In my mind, of course. People weren’t really lining the streets for me. Not yet, anyway.

I had expected this summer to be more of the same old fantasticality I enjoyed last summer. I figured it would probably even be easier; I mean, I ran not one but TWO half marathons. I had the shoes and the water belt and the cute tops to prove that I belonged in the runner’s club. Turns out swagger does not leave a residue and cute tops can only get you so far.

I’m bored. I’m bored on the trail. Bored with the times. Just bored. I long for a shower of enthusiasm. But the fact is, most days this summer I don’t feel like running. I’d rather sleep in, or sip coffee or sleep in. I still go, and I’m always usually happy I do. There are two reasons, I think, for this post race contentment (three if you count endorphins). The first is that doing something good even when you don’t feel like is its own reward. Pushing back against apathy often results in a return of will, or a reawakening of atrophied muscles. When I don’t feel like praying, but bow down, I am rewarded. When I don’t feel like calling that friend who saps my energy but I phone anyway, I am rewarded with her presence. (This is a hypothetical. Please do not try to figure out if you are that friend. It’s just an example.) When I run when I don’t feel like it, I remember why I run in the first place.

That’s the second thing that makes me happy. Running is that place I’ve carved out for the wild mind to overtake my ordered, proper, appropriate, getting-along-with-others self. It’s good for me in too many ways to count. So yea, I’ve got a little runner’s drought to match the withered landscape. But the landscape still stands and I will still run. Eventually, there will be a cloud burst and I’ll feel that space wide open again.

How do you handle your personal droughts?

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