Running Stride
Running Stride

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid /

I was out for a run the other day and I just couldn’t seem to find my stride. I was visiting family so my route was on new terrain, I was wearing borrowed earbuds that refused to stay put and to top it all off, it was raining. I’ve been running long enough that running in the rain isn’t a huge deterrent, but it certainly doesn’t make for as pleasurable of a run. About halfway through the run I gave up on the earbuds and stuffed them into my pocket, deciding instead to let my heavy breathing and the splashing of the rain be my music (doesn’t quite have the oomph of my dance mix but it is more peaceful). I was trying to stay positive but was fighting thoughts like “I should have stayed in” and “this is going to be a poor run”. I was rounding the corner to turn back to my parents house when I saw another woman running towards me, just as soaked as I was at that point. She was on the opposite side of the road but as we approached each other I checked for cars and crossed towards her. I gave her a high five and said “way to go! Keep running!” and she smiled, high-fived back and said “you too!”. I finished my run with a smile on my face and it left a great impression on my soul as well.

Not every “run” will be your best

We all want to be the best. Whether that competition is between someone else or just ourselves we never want to “lose” in anything we do. But not every time can be the best. I fell into that trap when I first began running, I wanted every run to be ‘better’ than the last one—faster and farther. But heres the rub, life is not always on a continual upswing. There are downturns in every aspect of our lives, financial burdens that come unexpectedly, or a health concern that flares up and requires us to reassess. If you think that everything you do has to be better than the last thing you did (or that someone else did) you will live a very discouraged life. Yes, DO your best in all you do, but realize that the outcome doesn’t have to match the effort. Sometimes doing your best might mean just making it through the day with a smile on your face.

Even in hardships you can encourage someone else

I love to encourage other people. It makes me feel so great when I can brighten someone’s day by saying something nice to them or helping them out in some way. Sometimes though I feel like I need encouragement more than I can give it and I have a hard time getting over the pity-party that is brewing inside me. We are all dealing with things every day that are challenging. Comparing circumstances or saying that our current situations are more difficult that someone else’s and therefore we are more “needy” of some uplifting will only drag us down. I find that encouragement is like a seed, the more you plant the more will bloom and grow. Look around you today and someone who may need a word or deed of kindness. You likely won’t have to look far, sometimes the people in our homes with us are the ones we need to encourage the most.

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