“Heroes never give into the night
He knows how far he can run
And as he surrenders
You can almost hear time slipping away”
“We Close Our Eyes” – Go West

The training schedule says run. It’s raining. Hard. I could stay inside, warm and comfortable. I could. But life is not always warm and comfortable, and if I don’t do the things that are hard; if I don’t get uncomfortable once in a while, it gets easier and easier to avoid the hard things in life. It gets easier to say “I’ll do it later” and soon, later just never seems to come. Life doesn’t care about convenience. It doesn’t care that it’s not the best time or you’re not in the mood.

Today was more about the mental challenge of going somewhere that isn’t easy and not the fact that I needed to run. It’s not warm and comfortable in the place I needed to go. But the more I learn to be in that space – the space I share with my demons and doubts – the more they seem to matter less.

It’s not about closing your eyes and gritting your teeth until it’s over. It’s about going in with eyes wide open and acknowledging how bitingly cold the wind feels and how slick the rain feels as it runs down your face and drips off the tips of your eyelashes. It’s about feeling the heaviness of your tired legs as you run through puddles of water that fill your shoes. Tasting the salty spray as it stings your eyes and tongue. It’s the wind that tries to pick you up and toss you aside like a piece of discarded trash. It’s about being open to finding that suddenly, in the midst of this awareness of misery, you turn to look over your shoulder and realize how wondrously beautiful the ocean is when she is full of anger and fury. And while she roars at you “WHO ARE YOU GIRL TO CHALLENGE ME!! WHO ARE YOU???”, she reaches out and slaps your face with her icy, salty, hand and you feel the rush of cold air from her lungs as she dares you to quit. But you don’t. You continue to run and to believe, feeding off her power and energy. You just keep running and believing, wearing her down as you build yourself up. And finally, just as suddenly as you felt her fury, you hear her whisper in your ear “Run girl, let me help you” and feel her breath at your back pushing you along. Her touch is gentle and encouraging. By holding on to that one simple thought, that you can take her power while she’s busy with her fury and her darkness, you find your place and remember why you are there. If you let yourself melt into it, you find that it’s not so uncomfortable at all. Her rage, like your discomfort, is unpredictable but temporary. It has an end.

It makes you more appreciative of the hot bath waiting at the end, of the dry warm clothes you’ll change into and the hot cup of coffee that will warm your inside. You don’t recall the pain, you recall the power and wonder you felt when you pushed through. Do the hard thing. Go to the dark place. The place where the voices tell you to quit. Listen. Really listen. Because if you listen hard enough, you’ll hear the beauty behind the fury, the soft voice reminding you that you can. But remember that to really appreciate that voice, you have to come out of the dark. You can’t stay there. It’s an easy place to get lost. It’s not a place to live, it’s just a place to visit. It’s there to remind you how very beautiful the real world is and how much power you have in it, if you believe.

“We close our eyes, we never lose a game
Imagination never lets us take the blame
We close our eyes to see the final frame
We close our eyes to time slipping away”