Week 49: Put your head down


The rain started midway through my short run. Light at first then heavy, like all weather in Chicago. In the hour and half between work and a social engagement, I decided steal away a quick run. The clouds at 5 p.m. were dark and cotton like, and I knew was gambling with Mother Nature by trying to be outside for longer than 15 minutes and yet I wanted to take my chances. Knowing that my upcoming surgery will sideline me from running for several months, and feeling stressed about the procedure, I needed the endorphins to calm my nerves. 

The rain pounded down, and the walking path emptied of tourists and bike commuters. It was me and the rain. The front of my teal t-shirt darkened, my hair wetted to the point of dripping, and I stuck my phone down my pants in attempt to keep it dry. 

When the weather sings during a run, there isn’t much I can do.I have to get home somehow, and without a wallet or keys, my only option is to go the way I came. The rain soaks, the wind thrashes, and I lower my head. I dig my heals in and keep putting one foot in front of the other, like I am trying to finish a 100-mile race through the desert instead of the last mile in a casual run. It doesn’t matter how slow I go, though, I feel heroic. Other runners may seen the rain as a good enough reason to stop, but I am out there daring Mother Nature to give me more.

I always feel a bit better when I can outlast Mother Nature, and this weekend I needed the confidence boost. Most days, I couldn’t get myself to a mental calm, and I tended to start the morning lethargic and without emotional energy. I questioned big pieces of my life and what may need changing. I don’t know where to start and what direction to head. Mostly, I feel overwhelmed.

Part of it came from making preparations for my surgery. I have spent most of my life very healthy, something I love bragging to doctor’s about during check ups. This surgery changes that. Although the procedure is routine and I should bounce back just fine after a few months, my body isn’t as resilient as I once thought it was, and as I get older, I know it will continue to falter me. That scares me. I’m also terrified about being put under and that the recovery will be harder than I am anticipating.

Also, I feel defeated in my writing ambitions. For the last several months, I’ve been pitching stories to websites and magazines, submitting pieces to literally, and sending portions of my manuscript to agents. This week, I got a rejection letter nearly every day. I know, I know, that’s part of the process. Yes, I have heard the story about Steven King’s Carrie being rejected 30 times, how he threw it away, and his wife fished it out and convinced him to send it to one more editor. Or, how JK Rowling received “loads” of rejections before a publisher took on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I know that all writers get more no’s than yes’s, at first, but it still stings and makes me question my talent. (Also, to note, my book is no where near as good as HP or anything Stephen King has written.)

Out running in the rain that day, thinking about my failures, I remembered the Orpah quote and how running often mimics life. There are times when things are challenging for reasons beyond your control, and you can’t fix it – in fact, fixing it only makes it worse. Rather, you have to endure because it’s the only way through.

I am feeling off today, as I tend to do on the weekends. I get in these funks when I feel like my contributions are small and worthless, and I don’t know what I am doing. As I prepare for a new week, I know that I can outrun this storm. I just got put my head down and keep going.


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