Running, I’ve come to understand, is a crucial component to my overall happiness, for so many reasons, of course, but I think primarily because it is a catharsis for me. The act itself, whether for training, injury maintenance, automatic routine, etc., is a physical act and in that physical act is an important release for me. It is an emotional release that is brought out simply by moving. Granted, it’s not that running is the ONLY way to experience this catharsis, but I’ve yet to find an equivalent of intensity. There is just something about being on the edge of physical exhaustion that pulls something out of you. Or maybe the act involves so much effort that any concerns or worries take a back seat to the concentration that is necessary to run well. Honestly, I don’t know, but I do know when I CAN’T run, a buildup of tension takes place that I haven’t found a better way to deal with that isn’t running.
Right now I’m still nursing an injury, but fortunately I’ve been able to begin running in small, but increasing increments, affording me an emotional release that is incredibly important to me right now. Just today I managed to run a full 10 miles, which is what I consider my base mileage per day, after 2 (?) months of not running. Just before I was able to get consistent again I found myself on the verge of frustration that comes with not being able to do what I love. Add to this a marriage that abruptly ended, a period of limbo as I re-establish a visitation schedule with my son, a severe lack of passion for my job, and increasing financial stress and…well…right now I could use that daily catharsis more than I’ve ever needed it in the past.
Last week my injury suddenly started to subside and I built enough confidence to do some short runs. I started at 15 minutes, increased to 30, then added 5 minutes each day as I was able to continue on without issue. Today I managed to run the full 10 miles and I’m currently gauging the sensations in my leg to see if they are going to stick around and cause me issues tomorrow. But I’ll tell you what, despite running not being anywhere near my recent race fitness, I’m still able to experience the emotional release that had been building over the past couple of months. It came crawling back to me just when I needed it most, when I was feeling dejected and hopeless.
For some I realize this may sound relatively pathetic. As if the only way I know to deal with stress is to run. Of course, this isn’t true, but I can admit it’s the most effective way for me to deal with stress. It lifts my spirits, centers my concentration, enhances my health, and just reminds me that I’ve discovered something I’m good at and am taking advantage of that part of my life. Sometimes life just really comes down on you hard and I feel incredibly fortunate that I have a way of dealing with all that, which requires no special access, equipment, or qualifications. All I have to do is run and I’m good. It’s important we all discover some way to experience cathartic release and I hope you’ve found yours.
Now we go forward. If my leg is truly in recovery mode, it shouldn’t be long before the base increases and training begins again. I hope to see you on the streets and trails soon.