Editor’s Note: ‘Shut Up and Run, Midwest Miles’ is part of an exclusive Undo-Ordinary series based off UNDO co-founder Robin Arzon’s book, “Shut Up and Run.” Through this 8-part weekly series, 27- year-old midwesterner, runner, writer, father and husband, Dallas Peterman, takes us through his transformational journey inspired by Robin’s book, and reveals how his life was reshaped through running. Start at the beginning of the series here

Part VIII:

“If you are breathing, it’s a good day to have a good day.” -Robin Arzon, Shut Up and Run

I forgot what that feels like.

After a long hiatus from the sport of running, I finally laced my shoes back up and hit the trail. I never intended on taking a break, life just kind of, happened. Being a father of two young children and working full-time, alongside writing and running 40 to 50 miles a week, I don’t allow much room for error. When planning my day, I never take into account the possibility of unfortunate events occurring, so when they do, something in my routine has to go. Unfortunately for me, and for my running, I had to make some changes in order to accommodate.

Things just kept stacking up. First it was injury and then vehicle trouble, followed by issues at home and sickness. Regardless of what I did, it just seemed as if I was being tested. Day after day something seemed to go wrong, and I was started to lose faith. Not only was I not running, but the thought didn’t even cross my mind. I was so fixated on the negative events and so discouraged, getting traction and gaining momentum seemed impossible. It didn’t feel fair. I had made all of these positive changes in my life and really felt like I was on the right path, and then out of nowhere, turmoil, and a seemingly endless amount of it. I was mad. Mad at life. Mad at God. Mad at myself.

14813888075311Life doesn’t care about your intentions. Regardless of your behavior, bad things will still happen to you at some point in your life. Not to say that good behavior isn’t a worthy lifestyle choice, but even the most glistening examples of the human race face challenges and hurdles from time to time. Some are daily challenges like getting stuck in traffic on the way to work or a parking ticket. Others are more consuming, like the death of a loved one or a broken heart. There is no way to escape or predict it. Like the tide, they will come and go and come and go for the rest of our days, in all different shapes and forms. Along with death and taxes, they are the price of admission to live as humans on this beautiful planet we call earth.

As unpredictable as these occurrences may be and as difficult as they may be to overcome, we still have a fighting chance at happiness. We possess tools, as humans, that no turmoil can defeat. And as hard as it may be to summon these qualities sometimes, they are in there and ready to be utilized in the time of need. Amongst these traits is a tool that is the most valuable of them all – a good attitude. In the midst of sadness, anger, danger or fear, possessing a good attitude is imperative. It is one of the only things that is entirely up to us, and no outside circumstance can change that; we always have a choice.

Life is not easy, and it does come with challenges. It’s difficult at times, but it is also beautiful at others. You will face tribulation, opposition, anger and fear, but you will also know friendship, passion, laughter and success. It is true that what goes up must come down, but with the right attitude, it must also come up again. There is no circumstance that is too large for us to handle, and on the other side of that negative will be a positive, as long as you’re prepared to endure. You’re beautiful, you’re strong, and you are ready to face everything that comes your way. It really is simple, just shut up and run.

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