English: GULFPORT, Miss. (Sept. 18, 2010) Part...

I admit I am no runner.  Since I was young I have resented and avoided running.  In my life I have danced, played sports, and done all sorts of things that include running, but I would never volunteer to run for no other purpose but to be running.  When I decided to participate in my first mud run I knew it was time to face my nemesis.  After a year of training I can’t say that I’ve developed a love for it, but possibly an appreciation.  I have learned to use it as stress relief, thinking space, and a way to get rid of excess energy at the end of a day.  Running may not be a friend, but it’s become an excellent resource.

For three weeks I’ve been staying at a hotel in Boston that has a winding trail that flows through lawns and gardens.  With mere weeks until my mud run, despite a shift that starts around 4am and lasts somewhere near 12 hours, I have started to use the trails for running and the lawns for stretching and meditation.  I believe it’s helped me keep my wits about me and pushed me to go outside in a place where I have no real reason to do so.

I’ve been in the gym twice, on rainy days.  I get bored.  I get distracted.  I get much more easily tired, discouraged, and self conscious.  I don’t look like a runner.  I don’t really resemble anyone who uses a gym on a regular basis any more than I resembled the common form of a dancer when I danced or and athlete when I’ve been active in sports.  In the gym I start to doubt myself, to wonder if this mud run was a terrible idea.

So I took myself outside in the rain.  I’m training to run in the mud, right?  What’s a little rain on a warm afternoon.  It was that moment that I felt like I might be doing something right, where I felt like myself.  I ran, walked, and rolled around on the grass for over an hour that day.  Several times I passed the windows of the gym where people ran on treadmills and elliptical machines watching syndicated TV while I ran through all the weight of the world and all the freedom in the sky.

Finally I felt like I was running on the right track.  Instead of thinking of where I was going, how long I’d been running, or how long I should be running I was thinking of nothing but the rain and the energy of the ground on which I was running.  There was no more technique or structure.  I was like a child running through the sprinklers.

This, friends, is my inspiration.  At the point where this mud run becomes too much, too thick, too long I am nothing more than a child playing in the mud, and I can do anything!

Go now, play in the mud!