Monday, August 16, 2010

I've discovered something.

Running is my anti-drug. [Remember those commercials a few years ago? After the Rachel Leigh Cook this-is-your-brain-on-drugs campaign but before the anti-tobacco-body-bags campaign? Please tell me you remember, otherwise I'm about to feel.really.old.]

I never, ever, ever, thought that I would have enjoyed being active, fit, and what they call "in-shape" as much as I do. [I know I've been talking about this a lot, but it really is what occupies at least 1.5 hours of my day most days, and it definitely is such a huge revelation that it blocks out many other, smaller revelations that just don't make the blogging cut!]

After three months of consistent running and training, I am noticing the changes in my body, my attitude, my mental and emotional states, and my appetite that have occurred as a result of this exponential increase in physical activity. They are all fantastic changes: weight loss, strengthening of [okay, let's be honest: development of] muscles, an appetite for healthier foods and [less of] an appetite for junk, a [more] stable mindset, less anxiety...the list goes on and on. To all of you running types - I know this is something you have been telling me FOR YEARS. But this falls right into the pattern of how I learn things in life - the hard way. I have to experience it myself before I believe anyone. That's the fate of us stubborn-minded people, and at least in this case, learning things the hard way turns out to be a huge positive.

But I think I notice the changes that running has caused within me the most when I don't run. The past two weeks have been busy for me, with traveling and my family visiting and an irregular work schedule - and of course one of the first things to go is always exercising. [That, and laundry. Neither of which are good to lose, but the laundry is pretty much essential...] Now, I know that I can sometimes [okay, often] be a bit crazy, insane, dramatic, overanalytical, whathaveyou. But those particular qualities of mine FLARED when I was not running. I became an anxious, tense, nervous, distracted, hungry, basket-case.

I didn't make the connection until yesterday when I ran my 7.5 mile long run. As I was getting into the oh, 3, 4 mile marker, I realized that I actually felt, well, relaxed. If you think that is completely ridiculous and impossible, believe me, I would have thought so too. With my muscles aching and my lungs heaving and sweat pouring down my face, the last emotion expect to experience is relaxation. But it happened.

So, in conclusion, running is in fact my anti-drug. It makes me feel relaxed, it makes me feel healthy, closer to nature [yea, yea], and it gives me that much-needed time to think, while still being productive [achieving my goals. yep, that's always gotta be in there somewhere]. It's that time of the day where God speaks to me most. Now that I no longer hateeverysinglesecond of my run, I've stopped concentrating on how much work it is and [try to] listen instead to what God is telling me.

So the next time I am obviously overly anxious about something that doesn'treallymatter [and you know it will happen], ask me if I've run that day. And then don't talk to me until I check that box. Probably, I won't even want to talk when I get back. And that, my friends might be a blessing to both of us. 

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