The Cumulative Reward

The sky was like a groggy, half-opened eye this morning, reflecting my own level of energy and enthusiasm to head out into the cold rain and put in a number of interval efforts. I just couldn’t work up the motivation to embrace the absurdity this morning, so decided to hold off and do the run after the rain stopped. The rain, however, didn’t stop. And the temperature didn’t rise. But the run still had to be completed.

A few cups of coffee later, my eyes opened a little wider than the sky and I steeled myself to run into the chilled air, taking on the weight of the equally chilled rain absorbing into my clothes. I had a set of 1:00 hard effort intervals to complete in the middle of my 8 mile run, but the weather wasn’t willing to bend to my desires and let me just concentrate on the workout.

When is the weather perfect for running though?

Every day will not be sunny, windless, and somewhere between 50 and 60 degrees, right? But we still get out and run. We run when it’s raining. We run when it’s snowing. We run when the humidity is suffocating. We run when the cold is biting. We run, because we know it’s better than NOT running. It’s never perfect, but that’s not the point, because the cumulative reward is always better than the momentary struggles. That is our goal, to manage through the low points, the obstacles, the chilled rain, to be able to look back and say, “Yeah, overall, the running is worth it. The total run is awesome.”

Kinda like life, right? When I’m on my deathbed (crossing fingers it’s later and not sooner) I want to look back and say, “Man, there were some dark times and some struggles and some regrets, but overall…that shit was awesome. I lived a good life, did what I could to reduce harm to others, and made the most of every day, even when things weren’t so great.”

And so I put on my gloves and light jacket over my long sleeve and shorts, and I headed out the doors of the gym into the lightly falling, but noticeably chilling rain. I worked my way through the warmup miles, then launched into a set of 1:00 hard, 2:00 easy intervals, letting my heart rate beat against my desire to stop, and built a fatigue into my legs. I soaked up the chilling rain, pushing back with self-created core body heat, and relaxed through the last cool down mile, enjoying the less than perfect weather.

I knew I was adding another successful effort to the greater, cumulative experience of running, no matter the weather wasn’t what runners would consider ideal. In the moment, it may have felt more a struggle than I often prefer, but it’s the complete experience enabled through finishing the effort that ultimately proves to be, actually, perfect.

Deeper considerations aside, running through adversity builds a certain toughness that can’t be denied. I will undoubtedly tap into this reserve when the going gets tough on the Because We Can run, which I know WILL get tough. The experience overall, I imagine, will make the struggle pale in comparison.


Run :
8 miles with 1:00 hard / 2:00 easy intervals

Food :
Special Magic Oatmeal
Quinoa with spinach and spaghetti sauce
Indian food (chana massala, aloo madras, rice, samosa)
Peanut butter and bananas on whole wheat sandwich
Dinner and snacks not yet to be eaten

Music :
Throwdown – Deathless


One response to “The Cumulative Reward

  1. AHHHHHH I love this post!!! ❤

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