We all run for different reasons. But I bet if you polled a large group of runners, you'd learn that most of us run for at least one reason besides fitness. I'm fairly sure that most of us recreational runners run for stress relief.
That's why I started this journey over 25 years ago. Running has been the best medicine for me. My type A personality lends itself to feeling overwhelmed. Running has always helped me sort that out. Nine times out of 10, I end a run feeling much better than when I started.
Until I don't.
But there's always something good in every run.
I woke up this morning, exhausted before I even got out of bed. A tough day of work yesterday following a string of tough days, heck, a couple of tough months left me drained. After a cup of coffee and then another cup, I got my youngest son up for school. I made his morning smoothie and prepared myself to go for a run.
Running was the thing I least felt like doing.
What I really wanted to do was to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head. This isn't a normal feeling for me. After some mental gymnastics, I convinced myself that lacing up my shoes would be the best thing to do. It was a chilly morning, and I pulled on a pair of leggings and a long sleeved shirt with thumbholes. Grabbed my watch and my phone and headed out the door.
The morning chill felt good. There was a very light breeze and my legs felt loose as I headed down the street towards the frontage road along the highway.
The sun was rising above the horizon. I picked up the pace as I ran along with the morning traffic. The cars weren't moving much faster than me.
I noticed that the leaves on the trees that line the streets of my neighborhood were finally changing colors. Some leaves were falling to the ground as I moved along.
I settled into a comfortable pace. I started to think about my week both at work and elsewhere. I have encountered so much negativity lately. I can't shake it off. It's like a poison that is permeating society. Demanding and disrespectful parents in my clinic. The lady at Target who rolled her eyes at me when I asked her to let me finish unloading my cart before she put her stuff on the belt. Donald Trump and his "locker room talk".
As I ran, I didn't want to replay everything bad that had happened this week but the most recent unpleasant incident from last night at work kept coming back to me. I keep asking myself why I can't let these situations roll off my back.
Instead of getting answers to my questions, I started becoming more anxious. I thought about calling my boss. I thought about quitting my job. I started to feel so yucky that I wanted to cut my run short and head home. I also thought about canceling on Becky.
Of course, I didn't do any of those things. I finished my run. My neighbor was walking her dog. We talked about how beautiful the day was. "Don't you love running this time of year?" she asked me.
Today's run was a gift. Actually, this run gave me several gifts.
While my run didn't erase all the negative emotions I have been feeling, my run helped center me and gave me the power to move forward. I'll go back to work tomorrow. I'll remind myself to just breathe when I'm feeling overwhelmed. I'll project positivity when others are being negative. I'll look for the good and overlook the bad.
And if all else fails, I'll go for a run.
Do you run for stress relief? Ever run and not get that relief you are looking for?
I'm linking up with the DC Trifecta--Courtney, Cynthia, and Mar-- for their final Friday Five link up! This link up has been a gift to so many of us. And yes, I did find 5 gifts that running has given me. Check out that next to last paragraph in the post. Because...I can't think in anything but 5s!