Sunday, June 22, 2014

Runners Tell All: My Proudest Moment

my proudest running moment

Running is one of the most masochistic and most rewarding things you can do to your body.  (As Amanda wrote last summer, running a marathon is like having a baby due in part to the fact that, at the end, you "almost instantly you forget about the pain you just went through because this is the most wonderful feeling you've ever felt in your life.")  My favorite moments in my two-and-a-half-year running career capture that: raising my arms in victory after I crossed the finish line at my first 5k and doubling over with hysterics after I crossed the finish line at my first half marathon.  In both instances, I pushed my body to lengths I didn't know it could conquer and then was completely overwhelmed by the euphoria of having triumphed.

My proudest running moments, though, are much easier to attain. These days, the majority of my runs are when Charlie and I would otherwise be going for walks; he demands at least 30 minutes of exercise several times a day, so I often figure we might as well run them.  But I'm most proud of the moments in which I choose to run because of my needs rather than Charlie's.  I'm probably in good company when I say that my body bears the brunt of my mind's turmoil, and it's my body that suffers when my emotions are all over the place.  If something's upsetting me, my immediate reaction is to shut down.  I'll sit on my couch in front of the TV and eat an entire pizza or drink a whole bottle of wine or both, if I'm really feeling wrung out, so that my focus has no choice but to dumb down from the emotional to the physical.

The physical doesn't have to be the lazy option, though, and my best runs are those following frustrating days or combative conversations or irritating interactions with others.  When I'm upset, running calms my mind.  The first mile of an angry run is always super fast as I churn through fantasy scenarios in my head but, at some point after that, I begin to approach the frustrating situation with a cooler head and a clearer heart and, unsurprisingly, that shift corresponds to my pace; my thoughts become less furious as my splits even out.  Somehow, forcing myself to be physically productive also forces me to be emotionally measured.

It's so much easier to soothe myself with carbs and alcohol than to get off the couch, and that's why my proudest running moments are when I choose to run.  It doesn't always happen, but it's so worth it when it does.

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  1. What do you do when you lack motivation? I feel so low these days I just can't get off the sofa!

  2. sometimes I eat the pizza, but Charlie doesn't give me a choice about getting off the couch eventually! he demands it. dogs are really good for mental health - studies prove it :)

  3. I am intimately familiar with both of your scenarios (the pizza/wine choice more than the run, I have to admit). I love this post! I read it after writing the LYB post I published this morning but I think the two are connected--the question I asked in the post is "am I making myself proud?" and with your decision to run, even when you don't feel like it, you are!

  4. You go girl! I agree that it is easier to choose food, napping or other distractions but it pays off in the long run (good pun, eh) to make the choice to be healthy. I'm proud of you for making the good actions!


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