This spring, my husband ran his second marathon. He made the decision to run it, paid his entry fee, put the date on the calendar and committed to his training schedule. A few weeks before the race, his knee started bothering him, but he didn’t let that stop him. He got a knee brace, modified his training plan and stayed committed to crossing that finish line a few weeks later.
The week of the race, his focus turned to the weather. Would the sun be shining that morning like it was the prior year? Would we get unseasonably warm temps that day like we had another year? Or would it be cold and rainy as they were projecting?
Despite hopes of an incorrect forecast right up until the night before, the group of 600 runners was graced with a day of rain, wind and temps in the low 40s, all of which seemed intensely worse since most of the race was run along the coast of the Atlantic ocean.
Nonetheless, runners showed up from across the US to go out and give it their all that day. For some it was their first attempt at 26.2 miles and for others, it was just another 26.2 miles to run after completing the half-marathon the day before. But for all of the runners, it was still a rainy, windy, chilly day on the coast of Maine.
The dedicated runners emerged from their cars in layers of still dry clothes and gathered in the street just minutes before the 7:30am start. The rain-themed music that had been coming from the speakers hidden under a canopy near a tree was abruptly interrupted by the announcer welcoming the runners to the starting line.
After giving a few instructions, he said something that really stuck with me. He told these runners to “embrace the rain.”
The word “embrace” is undoubtedly what caught my attention. I had just completed a draft of my new keynote presentation, which focuses on embracing simple. Without giving too much away, in this presentation, I share a critical false belief I held for many years and I share how I’ve embraced simple in my life, how you can embrace it in yours and what amazing things that can lead to.
I found his statement to “embrace the rain” incredibly powerful. After all, these runners had invested months of their time and energy into this day and really, what choice did they have at this point? I suppose they could have simply decided not to show up and to give up on all that they had invested. Or, they could choose to show up and run the race as planned. And with his words, they had yet another option. They could not only choose to run the race, they could run the race AND embrace the circumstances. With that option so compellingly suggested, even I suddenly felt empowered to go run those 26.2 miles!
Hours later as I embraced standing at the finish line with three soaking wet kids and one battered umbrella, I felt incredibly inspired. Each of those runners was able to cross that line because they chose to embrace the rain. They stuck with their intentions and gave it their all, despite the circumstances. They didn’t resist it. They didn’t complain. They focused on what they wanted. Then they simply put one foot in front of the other for 26.2 miles and ended up at the finish line three towns away. They accomplished their goal and I’m betting they ended up stronger as a result.
Since that cold and rainy day and since putting the finishing touches on my keynote, I’ve found myself embracing a lot. I’ve embraced waiting for things out of my control, I’ve embraced silence and I’ve embraced noise. I’ve embraced my kids’ messy rooms and I’ve embraced spending time with my parents, who I only get to see once a year. There are countless opportunities to embrace life, just as those runners did on that day.
Life is complex. And we can only control so much. But we can always choose to embrace the rain and go run the marathon.
What are you embracing?
To Simplicity & Joy,