I run for a variety of reasons: I want to be healthy. I love the energy my runs bring to me. I am trying to be a good example to my five children. But, if I had to give you just one main reason why I continue to lace up my shoes at 4:30 am a few days a week, I would confess to you that I do it for the mental clarity – the calm, the untangling of my emotions and my mind that comes about as I climb mountains or pound the pavement. Running is the antidote to all of the stresses, the worries, the “to do” lists that taunt me with so many unchecked items, the noise and hustle and bustle of the holidays — just all of it!
When I start to propel myself forward, stride-by-stride, hear the steady breathing as my lungs fill and empty with air, feel the wind in my face, see the stars above me or the ground beneath my feet, I fall into sort of a trance. Running is a very soothing sensation much like the feeling of rocking in a rocking chair or swaying back and forth in a hammock, I suppose. It’s rhythmic. It’s hypnotic.
I feel the stiffness in my shoulders and neck start to loosen up, I inhale fresh air, pause and the worries of the world leave as I exhale – releasing those things that hold me back. Sometimes, alone out on the trail or on the road the troubles in my head and heart find release and tears start to flow down my cheeks. I talk to myself, sometimes I say out loud the things I cannot and should not say – I just let it all out and it feels so good to have a way to release all of the pent-up emotion as a mighty tidal wave as I cover the miles.
Running really is cheaper than therapy. A personal confessional waiting for you to come and lay your burdens down – and then finish up the run feeling so much lighter and less weighed down.
Go for a run today. Don’t listen to any music. Listen to your soul. Let me know how it went.