Just Keep Going


Running is like a relationship: We can take the easy way out, but we push on, through the hard times, because the rewards are worth it. – BY MODERN ATHLETE EDITOR SEAN FALCONER

A few days ago it was overcast down here in the Cape, with rain threatening any moment, and that got me thinking about a Saturday morning 10km race I ran this winter in the rain. It was bitterly cold that morning, with heavy cloud and rain, and it was quite windy, too. Of course, I was really tempted to stay in bed when the alarm went off, having listened to heavy rain falling during the night, but I dragged myself out from under the covers, dressed and drove to the race. (That’s what you get for telling your running friends you’ll be running…)

I went prepared, of course – full-length tights, long-sleeve top, gloves, beanie, rain jacket, the lot – just in case, but when I got there it wasn’t that cold, so I stripped down to my normal outfit for racing. Kept the gloves, though, so the old fingers would stay toasty. So to the start and the weather is holding so far, but then seconds before the start gun, the rain starts coming down. And I mean coming down hard!

For the first three kays we ran with the rain drenching our clothing and making puddles in our shoes, and raindrops hitting us in our eyes on the one stretch that we ran into the relatively strong wind. I could barely see where I was going for about 600 metres! But then the rain stopped, the wind seemed to die down, and the rest of the run just ‘went.’ As in flew by…

The point is that those first three kays were downright unpleasant. Cold, wet, windy… enough to make me question my sanity for getting out of bed, let alone starting the race in the first place, and tempting me to turn back while the start/finish and my car were still just around the corner. But I plugged on, and ended up having a lovely run. Getting started was difficult, and keeping it going was even harder, but the rewards for finishing were so worth it.

In recent weeks, I’ve experienced this exact same feeling in my personal life. Relationships are not easy or straight-forward, as there are two people involved and things can easily get confused and complicated. It is sometimes very hard to get a relationship started, and sometimes you need to work through the bad patches or get over a few ‘speed bumps.’ And it’s so easy to quit when this happens, especially when the relationship is young, much like bailing a race in the early kays before you get too far away from your car.

But if you plug through that bad patch and keep going, the rewards could really be worth it, and you may look back on your doubts and wonder why you were even contemplating quitting in the first place. Basically, you’ll feel really happy – and helluva relieved – that you kept going. OK, you won’t have reached the finish line yet, but you’ll still be in the race. And running strong!