Friday, October 14, 2011

Running as Therapy

I alluded to this in my last post but I thought I would go a little more in-depth. I mentioned that during my lunch-time runs it's "me" time and a chance to re-charge my batteries mid-day, and most of the time is it that. Sometimes though, it's more than that. Way more than that. Sometimes, something ticks me off or really gets my blood boiling and it is during those times that running actually becomes therapeutic...and usually my times for those runs are really fast...fueled by rage and emotion. There will be other random times when I'm angry about something and I think to myself, "man, it would be really great to go for a run right now." Running allows me to act out my anger in a physical way that isn't destructive and for me, that is sometimes necessary. I'm not a violent person, but sometimes when I'm really mad I just want to hit something...I think everyone can probably relate to that.

Angry runs are probably not especially great for my joints, but they are great for my soul and for my peace-of-mind, particularly because by the time I'm done with an angry-run, I'm exhausted and I feel like I have a clear head. When I used to listen to music while running, I would crank up some Disturbed, Metallica or Korn during those angry runs and things would get especially black. But I always felt better afterwards and that was what I was after.

On the flip-side, running can also be an outlet for joy. For example, my brother qualified for the Boston Marathon two years ago and ran in it this past April. I had this tracking number pulled up all morning, furiously clicking 'refresh' to get the latest updates and cheering him along from my desk at work in Chicago. He got done about mid-morning (3 hours, 5 minutes and something) and by the time my lunchtime workout came along, I was feeling inspired. I set PBs that day for 4, 5 and 6 miles and managed to match his first 10K from the marathon earlier that morning. Running helped me live out my inspiration that day and when I talked to him on the phone later that evening, I was able to tell him about that - when I was running it kinda felt like we were running together.

Running can be therapeutic in a variety of different ways and I think that's why people who stick with it for awhile usually come to love it. It can be fun, it can be relaxing, it can clear your mind, it can challenge you, it can push you to the brink, and it can bring you peace-of-mind. How many activities can claim to be able to do all of those things? Anyway, as I wrap this up I'm realizing this is kind of a wishy-washy piece. I guess it was just one of those days...

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