When we first moved to Virginia Beach in January, I posted a few photos of the beach near our house, where I enjoyed slow, solo runs on the hard-pack sand. The main obstacle was protecting my face from wind-burn as the brisk, icy Bay breeze whipped across it. When I’m in D.C., running up a difficult hill on city streets, I fantasize about the simple beauty of this run.
Fast-forward to this past weekend, when that same beach looked like this:
Warm sunshine and 80-degree temperatures led to huge crowds at my formerly private beach. Huge crowds led to chopped-up, loose sand—a far cry from the hard-pack I enjoyed all winter. And chopped-up, loose sand led to a need for some adjustment on my part.
I spent the first mile cursing the ground slipping away under my feet, and internally complaining about how if I’d known the sand would be like this, I would have chosen a different route. In short, I spent a lot of time wishing my run was more in line with my expectations, and less like it actually was. I sorted through my mental playlist of favorite mantras, but they fell flat. I thought about turning around and heading home, trying again the next day.
Then, I decided to lose the mantras, the expectations and the other internal chatter, and just try to put one foot in front of the other. I did that for a minute, then another minute, and then suddenly, it was time to turn around.
This wasn’t a new life lesson for me, or a novel thought. But it was a nice reminder that when you think you can’t go on, you can usually get pretty far by the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other.