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