Some days I feel like there is a fuzzy cloud in my head that I need to shake off. Other times I just need to feel the sweat pouring from me. And sometimes a week has just been really hard, mentally and physically and I need a way to find my release.
This past week was one of those weeks. I finally had a chance yesterday to get a nice long run in on my own and it was just the thing my body and soul had been aching for.
Some people have a therapist they meet with once a week. Others wait for their weekly manicure and pedicure to feel like a new person. I have friends who get regular massages to flush away the tension and all of the frustrations that were built up during the week. People read books or go to a movie, or down a pint of ice cream to relax.
For me, running is that one thing that clears my head, the tension, and everything else that might be going on. The feeling of my muscles burning as I go and the sweat pouring from my body seems to be like a symbol of my body purging itself of whatever it is that I am trying to get rid of.
It doesn’t matter if it is freezing out, I can bundle up and throw my headphones on and let the run and the music carry me away. Sometimes I think of nothing and just follow the path. Other times I think about so many different things that I can’t even recall what I was actually thinking about by the time I return home. I’ve gone on angry runs; the kind of run where you leave the door just furious and wind your way around letting the anger seep out of you, only to arrive home refreshed and completely over whatever it was that had you so agitated. I’ve also gone on joyous runs; where I was so happy and couldn’t contain myself that I had to knock out some miles just to chill out.
Sometimes I run with my worries. How am I going to run a lacrosse class later today full of wild kindergarten girls? What am I going to post on my blog tomorrow? Where are things headed in life? What am I going to do with 30 preschoolers this morning during class? Are my lungs going to burst during this interval workout?! This list is pretty endless.
At times running is part of my own personal faith. I have spent runs praying and seeking direction from God. I have felt the presence of my faith as I travel along looking and waiting to see where I should go. I believe I was blessed with the gift and ability to run, allowing me to have time with my faith and to find my center.
Ever go for a run in the rain? There is something so simple and amazing about it. I can feel like a child playing in the rain and dashing past puddles littered along the path. Sometimes the rain falling on me feels like the release of my rough day or bad thoughts, and it feels amazing stepping through the front door soaking wet. For these reasons running in the rain is often one of my favorite times to hit the pavement.
Last year on the morning of the Boston Marathon I was doing a training run for my own upcoming marathon. I remember it was really hot and in my head I was whining about how hard that particular run felt. I then thought about all of the awesome runners who were likely already halfway through their own marathon right at that moment and it put my run into perspective. I had no idea how the events later that day would further change my thinking. The next day I ran with a heavy sadness in my heart, thinking of the victims of the bombings. It was then that I came across the FDNY trainees out on their morning group run. I would run by them a lot in the mornings and I was always amazed at how they ran together in perfect formation, three across and lined up by the dozens, running as a team. This particular morning they all ran in uniform while hoisting American flags. It was so beautiful. Tears rolled down my cheeks and for some reason my iPod started playing “Home” by Phillip Phillips, leaving my heart feeling like it was soaring. It was one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had while on a run. It changed my entire mindset for that day and for a long time thereafter.
As a side note, any time I have run past these gentlemen on my run, every single one says hello. Talk about brightening up your morning! Nothing is more uplifting than the silent nod and acknowledgement from a fellow runner on your daily route whether it be 100 firefighters or the same sweaty strangers you greet each morning.
Running is my therapy. It is my reset button. It is my quite way of shedding tears or clearing my head, for finding the space I need to come back a kinder person when my mood isn’t where it should be. My running can be my way of showing happiness, like the adult version of skipping around as a child with glee. It is a means to my sanity. At times it seems like an addiction and it probably is. But it is my way of setting an example of living a healthy lifestyle and an outlet at the same time. For all that I have put into my running, I truly believe it has given me back more than I have ever offered and for that I am truly grateful.
I hope everyone had a lovely Valentine’s Day. I am not one to go all out on Valentine’s Day but I love any day that is an excuse for eating lots of delicious food. So I made us a nice yummy dinner.
And then came the real deal, Gluten Free Butterfinger Cake from the Cookie Bar in Chicago. Look at the size of that slice. I bought a red velvet cupcake….only to help show you just how giant the slice of cake was in comparison of course. If you get a chance check these guys out. You would never know these treats were gluten free. They are delicious and can also be found in some Nordstrom Cafes and Whole Foods. Check them out at www.cookiebaronline.com.