In the “about” section of my blog I stated that “running keeps me sane. Or at least highly functional.” Although part of this was an attempt at humor, I realize more and more how true this statement is.
Ever since I was a little girl I have loved to run. I don’t just mean I had a lot of energy or I would run around the house acting crazy, which is true, but I would beg my mom to let me run everywhere. Literally. Running has always been therapeutic. When I was going through my angst ridden elementary and middle school years, (read: Best Friend A was mean to Best Friend B) I would run laps around my house or run to school* to deal with the emotions.
*I later found out that my mom followed me in the minivan because I was, after all, 8 years old and running 2 miles was a big deal, especially for my over-protective mom who made me knock on our front door after every 2 laps when I would ride my bike around the block (translation: knock every 5-7 minutes)
Running allows me to think through whatever difficult issue I am facing. I can run for 45 minutes and process through more information than I could in 2 days just sitting around. Running also allows me not to think when necessary. I don’t usually set out on a run with intentions of not thinking, but there seems to exist an internal off button that graciously shuts down my mind when I have too much to handle. I have run for an hour before and blissfully not thought a single thought.
When I think to the worst times in my life, which are not necessarily the most difficult, they are times when I couldn’t, for various reasons, run. I don’t just enjoy running, I need to run. I need to be able to push myself to the point of exhaustion. Beyond what my body tells me I can handle. I need to not think. I need to painstakingly analyze situations. I need to know that for a few minutes, anything is possible. Running allows me to believe this. Call it naiive or childish, Peter Pan syndrome, idealism, whatever. However, there is nothing quite like the moment when you push through what you previously thought was impossible and reach the point where you know you could run forever and not get tired. I know this sounds overly romanticized, but it is true. I think musicians feel it in the same way. As do athletes of all sports, but there is something freeing about breaking through your own barriers because that is what running is, you against yourself.
This is what I thought about during my run today. I needed to run. Sleeping in now means 6:30am wake up while staying up until midnight. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life, but running keeps me sane. Or at least highly functional.