Thursday, February 12, 2015

Running the emotions

Anger fueled my last run. Life circumstances-aka a rebellious teenage boy-- have sent my emotions into a tailspin. This kid is pushing my every button right now and it's all I can do to hold it together and get through the day. But it's not just that. Suddenly, there becomes a very real possibility that I may not travel to Florida in March and that I may have to DNS my Sarasota half. This is the race that I've wanted to run for the past 3 years. I'm stunned and shocked and angry by how my world has turned upside down.

So 2 days ago, I took my run outside. I had planned speedwork on the mill to do but that wasn't going to happen. The sun was shining and it was actually warmish--about 35--and I just needed to just run. I needed my blacktop therapy. There was no plan, no speed, no time goal. Just me and the road. And as luck would have it, my playlist spit my hardest, angriest music at me. It was just awesome. I picked up the pace and pounded the ground. I pictured my feet cracking the pavement. It felt like I was flying. I sang along with those adolescent refrains of rebellion. I smiled to myself about the irony of my musical selections. I had visions of myself pummeling my son and ran harder. At 6.22 miles I stopped. Catching my breath, I smiled to myself. That felt good. I felt strong. I felt tough. I felt like I was ready to tackle life, at least for the time being.

Of course, I don't like being angry, but anger sure has given me some good runs--not just that one but others in the past.

It's a lot easier to run angry than it is to run sad. Crying and running just don't mix. It's hard to breathe when you're crying. I've done it before and it's really difficult. On this last run, I was really grateful that my run wasn't interrupted by tears. They've been flowing a lot lately and at the most unexpected times.

I've had runs fueled by fear too. Remember last summer, when I found the cyclist in the road who had been hit by a car? I stayed with him until the paramedics took him away and then decided to try to salvage what I could of my planned run. My first two miles after that were fueled by adrenaline--that flight or fight mechanism--but once the adrenaline ran out, I couldn't go another step. I've had the same thing happen when I've crossed the start line of a big race. Go out too fast and boom! or bonk or hit the wall. Whatever you call it, it's all bad and I've had to learned to control my nerves when I start to run. Going out too fast burns up all that energy and the outcome isn't good.

The best emotion to run on is joy. But joy isn't predictable. The joyful run is the run that comes when you least expect it. I've had joyful runs when I've had a sleepless night. After a bad day at work. I've run with pure joy in the rain. I've experienced a sudden feeling of joy after a difficult first mile on a run where I was ready to call it quits. The thing about the joyful run is that suddenly it all comes together and the legs feel light. As if I could run forever. It feels like I'm flying. Some call it a runner's high. I might even say that my last run became joyful. I felt really good after that run. Talk about a mood swing...! But it was great to get rid of that anger and feel happy again. I love to run.

And that is the best feeling in the world.

How do your emotions fuel your runs? What emotion makes you run best?

I'm linking this post with Amanda Running with Spoons



26 comments :

  1. I'm so sorry that you've been having such a rough time lately, Wendy. I am very glad that you have such a healthy way to cope with those emotions of frustration and anger. There is no feeling like running out your emotions--one of the reasons I'm glad to be a runner! Sending a virtual hug your way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! Now more than ever, I'm so grateful for running!

      Delete
  2. Thank heavens you have running as a coping mechanism now more than ever. I wish you son would run!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wendy, I'm so glad that you have running to help you work through some of the difficult emotions you're going through right now; I'm unhappy to hear about the possible turn of events in your racing schedule, but I know that you're a dedicated mom and you have to do what is best for your family. I think that running scared definitely gets me going fast, like you mentioned in your own experience. I agree that running sad is a tough one. Hang in there, gal; you're doing great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww Tara, thanks. I'm looking at local races for that weekend, since I've trained for a half, I may as well run one, even if it isn't the one I wanted...

      Delete
  4. Hugs to you. I am so sorry you had to run angry. Also you must have been so scared to see that hit cyclist. It's a good thing you were there with him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, that was something else! Hard to put that out of my mind!

      Delete
  5. I often wonder how people who don't run deal with stuff! I would drink a lot more if I didn't run haha My best runs usually come out of... anxiety? Cabin fever? Boredom? I don't know what to call it it's just when I'm feeling particularly stuck and NEED to get AWAY! That's often the only way I CAN get away. I'm so sorry to hear about your possibly spoiled plans for next month.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I often wonder how people who don't run deal with stuff! I would drink a lot more if I didn't run haha My best runs usually come out of... anxiety? Cabin fever? Boredom? I don't know what to call it it's just when I'm feeling particularly stuck and NEED to get AWAY! That's often the only way I CAN get away. I'm so sorry to hear about your possibly spoiled plans for next month.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank goodness we have running!! Without it, all those emotions would be bottle up and festering. Glad you got out there and had your time to just get it all out. I started running because I was angry. Mad at myself for just letting myself go. Emotions and running go hand and hand for sure!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hope things work out for you. Family is the most important thing and there will be other races. That being said, I still hope you get to run Sarasota.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not looking like that race is going to happen for me.

      Delete
  9. Wendy, my heart and soul were with you with every word I read. My heart breaks for you that you are going through this traumatic time and that your long planned event in Sarasota has been derailed. My wish for you is that in the end all has happened for your good, for your family's good, and that, when you do get to run Sarasota it will be all the more delicious for the long wait.

    May I add that as a writer, a reader, a runner, as a woman, a wife, a mother, I am profoundly grateful that you are so willing to bare your heart and soul. I know from personal experience that writing down your anger, hurt, and pain (as well as your joys, triumphs, and accomplishments) are therapeutic to you and to your readers and friends, those close to you and those you've not yet met.

    Be assured of my, and many others', prayers and good wishes that everything turns out well. Sending positive vibes over the miles.

    Warmly, Connie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for all your thoughtful comments and your support. This has been, as you can imagine, the most difficult time of my life. But the support that has come my way has been no less than amazing. I feel so grateful and loved. I hope he'll accept the help we're giving him and that he makes some better choices after he completes his treatment.

      You are indeed special, and I hope someday we get to meet!

      Delete
  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  11. First, I want to applaud you for some very raw and very real posts. Some bloggers, namely me, tend to sugarcoat everything. It's a family trait in my case. Life is messy and painful at times. It's how we cope that counts and you have a wonderful mechanism for that. Secondly, you have my support. You are a strong woman. You will get through this. I'm very sorry about your Sarasota plans but I think you will find a suitable replacement. I'm here and I'm listening...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I come from a long line of sugar-coaters. But I'm like the black sheep and like to keep it real. Plus writing is a great outlet for me. Putting it on paper (or the computer) helps me organize my thoughts and keep everything in perspective. Thanks for being there for me! :)

      Delete
  12. I'm sorry you are going through such a rough time. I happen to be going through something now too, and I know it's just awful when you can't resolve something and it keeps just weighing on you. A problem with a child is just the worst because you care and love them so much. Prayers and positive thoughts coming your way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sending positive thoughts your way as well. Hope you get everything settled. Life is sure hard, isn't it?

      Delete
  13. Oh Wendy, so sorry you are dealing with this. Thank goodness you have your runs to help keep you sane. I love to run out of anger as well or frustration, but I very rarely run with those emotions. I don't know that I run with Joy, my joy usually comes with the triumph of knowing that I finished a tough run, that I was able to push through and see it to the end. I hope you have a great weekend, this too shall pass....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fingers and toes crossed, Sue. Thanks for your support. <3

      Delete
  14. Definitely easier to run angry than sad. When I am sad, it's so hard to push myself. So sorry you are going through such a challenging time. No one ever told us how hard it was to parent!

    ReplyDelete