This Saturday morning, 5 am found me out on the streets of Sylvania, Ohio, where I meet to run with my running group.
I didn’t know it when we started, but I had stumbled into a group of the “fast runners.” Within a few minutes, they pulled far ahead of me, setting a pace I couldn’t match. I kept them in my sights, their neon-colored vests shining in the distance for a time, then disappearing from my view.
For a while, the street lights illuminated my path, until our planned route took us to a rural road and the only light came from a car now and then, its lights flashing into my eyes to blind me momentarily.
I was running — in the dark — alone.
I felt unsure of my footing, and fearful of stumbling on rocks or potholes.
I started to let my mind go to the sad, ugly places that your mind will go at those moments, deciding that the run was an apt metaphor for my life right now.
Sometimes I feel like I am running in the dark, alone.
As I put one foot in front of the other, I gave into those depressed thoughts, feeling the pressure, discouragement, and stress of the past weeks overwhelm me.
But as the day began to lighten, so did my mood. I passed a woman out on her morning walk. She shouted to me across the road “Keep going. Don’t quit! I’m eighty and you just have to keep going.”
After the first 6 miles, a few other runners joined, and I had companions on my journey. The sun came out. No longer running in the dark alone, I was running, in the light, with cherished friends.
Here are some things I have learned about life and business: There are times I will feel as if I am running alone, but I am never truly alone. Sometimes, I will feel as if I am running in the dark, but I am never truly in the dark. Rather than giving into the sad, ugly places, I need to hear the voice of that woman ringing out across the street “Keep going. Don’t quit.” And I need to keep running until the sun comes up.