I went for a lot of runs this week...but I only went out a couple of times. It's been a stressful week, with a few minor crisis. I was having a personal issue, and was totally stressed about not being in control of a situation. I went for my usual after work runs with my WRF (Work Running Friend) and that helped a bit early in the week. Running has always been a type of therapy for me, and I only wish I had realized it sooner in my life. In high school and college, when I was just too overwhelmed (in high school, with girl drama or boyfriend troubles or fights with my parents; in college with my course work) I NEEDED to run. I would have an irresistible urge to lace up my sneakers and hit the pavement as hard and as fast as I could go. The runs were relatively short that way I guess, I didn't really know what I was doing. I just knew I had to do it. I had a bad, but very long term relationship end about 10 years ago, which is what needed to happen, but it hurt and was very traumatic for me and I turned to my old friends- my running shoes (and chocolate and potato chips and Ben and Jerry...so it's a good thing the shoes were part of my pity-fest). I guess I DID realize it on some level, that I needed to run to feel better, but I didn't analyze too much why I had to run, I just ran. And I would run a few times then not put the shoes on again until I felt the overwhelming need again, sometimes months later.
I had my son 8 years ago, and I didn't run a step while I was pregnant. I also ran exactly once with an old jogging stroller hand-me-down after he was born and never touched it again. I had my second son 5 years ago. I didn't start running again until he was 2 and a half years old. Those in between years are filled with lots of great memories, but most of what I remember was living in a fog. A rather unhappy fog, despite the good memories. I probably should have gone to talk to a counselor. I even looked up psychologists and printed out contact information that I never acted on. I knew I was depressed, but I was not depressed ENOUGH for someone to notice and say something I guess...or maybe no one wanted to be the one to tell me. I know now, looking back that something was very very wrong with me.
I started running after doing a weight loss competition at work, mostly in support of a friend who was beginning her weight loss journey. I mentioned to a co-worker that I wanted to start running again now that I was more in shape, and before I knew it he had me signed up for my first 5K since high school. And I walked mostly, but began to run. And I worked my way up to that race. And I felt amazing. I kind of thought it was the weight loss, but recently, I've discovered it's the running. Or been re-reminded that it's the running. And the past 3 years have been amazingly fog-free for the most part.
So this week was rough. I thought something that was totally out of my control was happening. And I hated it. And the fog was returning. On Wednesday, I ran first at work with a group of students who are working up to running a 5K. It's a girl's group, all types of girls, who want to run a 5K and get some girl power while they do it. So excited to hang with them! We hit the track for walk/run intervals and it was so cool to have the girls realize they did more than a mile in the short time we were out there! Then I ran with my WRF for a bit and chatted while we ran. She's having some issues too, but I didn't share mine with her, but it made me feel not so alone. Then I was still dressed in my running clothes when I took A to his horse lessons, so I used that half an hour to run to the corner and back by the arena. During those miles, I cried, I talked to the sky. I saw a teeny rainbow up in the sky, even though it was not raining or even overcast over me. I was by myself, and everything came out. I made peace with what was happening, and realized on that third run of the day, that I might not have complete control over everything in my life, but I am strong enough to handle that. I am STRONG ENOUGH to handle whatever life throws my way. And I'm strong enough because I am a runner.
I hope to always hold that feeling with me, for those moments when I am feeling the fog come in. Instead of heading to bed and pulling the covers over my head and blocking out the world like I want to, I hope I remember that the best medicine is found on the road, moving my body, breathing and sweating out that depression and anxiety.
Thank you to my running friends, the ones who pushed me to start again, and the ones who keep me going. Thank you for teaching me how to lift the fog.
This week: no idea....
This month: not going to bother to check
Happiness and ability to cope with the unknown: 100%