The Grind

Yesterday epitomised Northern Ireland winter time at its finest. It was wet, cold, windy and grey. Come to think of it that fairly accurately epitomises Northern Ireland spring time as well. And summer. And autumn. Anyway it was miserable. I stared forlornly out of the window with a hangdog expression, willing the clouds to clear and the sun to emerge. But to no avail. This caused a problem for me. As yesterday was my scheduled weekly long run.

Fionnuala had suggested I do it the day before but why listen to a woman who is right 99.99% of the time and is obsessed with all things meteorological. That would be waaaaaay too sensible. Instead I clung to the hope that that the weather forecasters were all wrong and I would awake to blue skies and perfect running conditions. Instead I awoke to the sound of rain battering relentlessly against our bedroom window.

I hate running in the rain. Besides the whole unavoidable ‘getting wet’ business I also wear glasses; to run without them would be verging on suicidal. I would either end up face down in a ditch or careering blindly into oncoming traffic. Contact lenses are no good either. The slightest speck of dust blown into them and we are referring back to the aforementioned ditch or oncoming traffic scenarios. Either way I end up as fluorescent orange roadkill….in Nike running shoes.

I have yet to come across glasses equipped with windscreen wipers. I just know that one of you good WordPress people will now prove me wrong and inform us all that Archimedes or Galileo actually had blueprints for these many centuries ago. Show offs that they were. If they did then this invention has yet to reach my optometrist. Which is a shame as I would have been the first in the bespectacled queue to purchase such an innovation. In my mind this would be up there with man discovering fire or designing the first wheel. Were cavemen not short sighted like the rest of us?

By early afternoon I had no option but to put my running gear on and brave the stormy conditions. Within half a mile I was drenched and simultaneously attempting to dry my glasses in order to see where I was going. I was virtually brought to a standstill by a wind that seemed to blow in my face no matter what direction I was heading. Parts of the route resembled a steeplechase course as I navigated gargantuan puddles and hurdled fallen branches. I reckon that I spent at least 0.683 of the 12 mile route in mid air like a startled gazelle in lycra. Not a pretty sight let me assure you.

Normally at some point during a long run you find your rhythm and the endorphins kick in. You start to enjoy the running experience and the worries of your world are left far behind. You think good thoughts and make grand plans. This was not the case yesterday. I spent most of the run having imaginary mental arguments with various people and plotting their downfall. I prayed, as ever, but not for world peace and harmony. Instead I pleaded with God to remove the dull ache in my thighs and forget about the squelchy, swampy sensation in my Nikes. But I’m a stubborn soul and refused to admit defeat despite every fibre of my being screaming at me to stop.

And you know what? I did it. One mile became two, became seven. And before you knew it I was gritting my teeth and ploughing through the final mile. 12 miles in total. Bringing my total for the month to 110. Only 40 more to go to reach my January challenge target. Which is again just a small part of my overall winter training programme. The overall target? More marathons later in the year all being well. Somebody once said that the marathon itself is just the victory lap of the process. The real hard work is the months of thankless, grinding training runs at ungodly hours and in horrendous weather. That’s where you win the medal.

You might be experiencing the grind today. At work, at home, in the supermarket, on the school run. The grind is chafing and tedious. But it is here where we are transformed. Everest was scaled one step at a time. We all have dreams and goals but we only attain them via knuckling down and getting on with it. It is uncomfortable and uncompromising; but while it drains our resolve it also builds our character. And one day it will all be worthwhile. Be it crossing a finish line, watching your child graduate or celebrating that 50th wedding anniversary.

Find the grind. For there you find yourself.

What is your grind?

Where do you hope your grind will eventually lead you?

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 17 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

56 thoughts on “The Grind

  1. I too wear glasses, so can understand your plight with rains & running. And of course the endorphin rush after a few rounds of walks is a great method to relieve all stress.
    All the best for your practice towards the marathon.


  2. How about glasses, rain and running with a large dog? We’ve just experienced (what I hope will be) the coldest weekend this year in Scotland. 0 degree temperatures meant that I was walking very gingerly last night on the ice while shouting at the dog to stop pulling me like a sledge. In not getting the exercise that I, as much as the dog, needs over the weekend, I too was, “having imaginary mental arguments with various people and plotting their downfall”. It was with relief that we went out today in a balmy 7 degrees so that we could have a long enough walk, so that the fresh air could blow away all my mental complaints about how everyone except me was a complete dickhead.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. For a second there I imagined you running with safety glasses over yours. Weird but veeery funny.
    You make me want to start running again….

    I know it sounds like the overstatement of the year but this whole phase of life feels like a grind. 😩


  4. I’m having flashbacks of before I had LASIC surgery! I remember wishing for wiper glasses! And, can we just pause for a moment and just bask in the victory of running 110 miles this month already! (insert hand clapping and some whooping and hollering!) Way to go!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I hate wearing my glasses with the rain annoying…….blessed be the contacts.
    Monstrous Weather here in the Republic too.two straight days of wind and rain☹️


  6. Easy does it is my approach to life πŸ™‚ I’ve found most achievements hollow once the race has been run. No more striving. Simply being present from one beautiful moment to the next is enough. You are enough.


      1. Those are all mind-created constructs. Looking ahead is futile, because we cannot predict the future, so it’s a trick of the ego this worry and anxiety over what hasn’t yet happened. The only thing that is real is this moment. Slow down and breathe. Connect to your body and you will see. It’s bliss.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I started this morning thinking like every other morning β€œnooooo… i will call sick today…”…. and then got up… did the gym… the yoga… etc. a tiny tiny little step at a time…


  8. Our son ran for the University of Portland, Oregon and their weather sounds much like you describe here. He slogged it out through many a cold and rainy day. But he wasn’t dealing with fog on his glasses!


  9. Your post brought back such lovely memories. I spent the Christmas and New Year period in N.Ireland this year and, although I don’t run, I do walk. My family and I went for a daily walk (weather permitting) and it was so lovely to walk in the rain and the cold (I am from Africa!) and the most incredible aspect was the feeling of safety!
    P.S. I am almost sure that Elton John once had a pair of glasses with tiny little windscreen wipers!


  10. I’m training for my first marathon. That squishy feeling in my shoes is the one thing I can’ take my mind off when running in the rain.


  11. I’ve been trying to get back into running, but can’t even make it out the front door! I’ll get there eventually… patience. Northern Ireland weather is constant at least πŸ˜‚


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