Reporter's Note: The president is running for re-election. I’ve just been running a lot, and I’m writing about that this week.
Dear Mr. President,
Today’s hint from the world of running: Ignore the pebbles, but watch for the rocks.
The other day while I was trotting along by the river here in D.C., I felt a small stone inside my right shoe. I don’t know if you’ve ever run down there, but it’s all a mix of packed dirt and gravel, so having trash collect inside your shoes is normal. I did not, however, do anything about it. Rather, I eased it into a corner of my shoe and carried it along as a fellow traveler for the rest of my run; dumping it out only when I was safely at home and cooling down from my 14 mile trot.
It used to be that I immediately stopped the moment I detected something like that and pulled off my shoe, peeled away my sock, and shook out the offending mineral. But gradually, as I have added up more miles, I have realized that not every stone is equal. Sometimes I have lost important time dealing with grains of sand that didn’t actually require immediate attention.
These days, if I feel something slipping around inside my shoes, I first assess whether it is a genuine irritant or just something to keep in mind. If it is the latter, I run on. I have covered many miles with one, two, even three or more pebbles kicking around in my shoes, and as long as I can keep them along the outer seams or tucked up under my toes, I keep on truckin’ as the old saying goes.
Only when they are big enough or badly placed enough to present the real possibility of injury do I stop and deal with them.
What I am talking about, in essence, is learning to properly consider your obstacles. Ignoring a serious threat is perilous; but being distracted by every minor discomfort can be just as damaging. Having the courage and wisdom to make the right call is not always easy; but running your best race requires it.
Hope all is well. More tomorrow.
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