Thursday, January 17, 2013

When In Doubt, Get Out

"And Run" was going to be the ending of the title, but it didn't rhyme.

(No, this is still not my running testimony.  That story is coming soon, though, I promise.  Try to be patient.)

I do realize that not everyone is a runner.  And I understand that there are millions (billions?) of people in the world who will never enjoy running.  I won't start lecturing on how great it is to run, nor will I lament all the poor souls who cannot or do not run.  Instead, feel free to substitute your choice of words for "run" when reading this post.  Whatever you choose to substitute for it, though, should be an activity that is healthy and enjoyable, but maybe not so easy to do all the time.  Play.  Walk.  Practice yoga.  Exercise at the gym.  Swim.  Bike.  Jump over the cracks in the sidewalk.  Stretch.  Zumba.  You get the idea.

I could probably end this post here, because that's the point I'm eventually going to get around to making.  However, since this is my blog, I want to tell my stories, and I've only just started this one.

Sometimes--often-- it is hard to find the time to run.  With a still-nursing 9-month old, a kindergarten student to ferry to and fro, 4 mouths to feed, a whole town's laundry to do (I technically just do the laundry for the 4 of us, but haven't you noticed how unfathomably-larger-than-it-should-be the amount of dirty laundry there always is?  Mathematicians should work on figuring that out.  Or maybe our neighbors are sneaking their dirty clothes into our baskets while we're not looking.), various cleaning projects to avoid do, and exactly 300 facebook friends to keep an eye on, my runs are usually scheduled days in advance and are fit in at widely varying times.

Recently, a friend and I made plans to run 7 miles together.  We had exhaustively discussed every possible time that we could both run over the weekend, and had determined that it would need to be Saturday night, after my dad's birthday dinner.  I called her as I was leaving my parents' house to go meet her, hoping to hear the same thing in her voice that I was feeling.  I complained about how I had wanted to leave earlier.  I mentioned that I ate a lot of lasagna.  I maneuvered the words, "I'm tired" into the 2 minute conversation no less than 6 times.  Lucky for me, she was enthusiastic and excited about the run, and I couldn't bring myself to back out.  I did, briefly, consider stopping to buy a pair of running shoes and shorts for Husband (his were at home) and sending him in my stead.  The fact that his longest run to date was just over 4 miles did feel like a deal breaker, though.  As I drove, I kept arguing with myself about whether or not I should be going to run (Not out loud, of course.  This was totally healthy, just in my head, self-talk.  Really.)
I'm really tired.
I'm always really tired.
I'll probably get a stomachache.
But I feel fine now.
I haven't run 7 miles, at night, in a long time.
That's a dumb excuse.
I have to still feed the baby.
That doesn't take very long.
I'm really worried about blah, blah, and blah.
I won't be once I start running, though.
What if Baby won't go to sleep for Husband?
It won't matter, 'cause I'll be running.  And I can bring my phone.
Maybe she won't be mad if I cancel.
Maybe not, but it's certainly unfair.

There was a lot more, but since I actually want folks to keep reading, I'll stop there.  In the end, I decided to run.  The weather was great, the conversation was great, and the run felt easy.  I did get a stomachache, but it subsided between miles 3-4.  Baby did not go to sleep easily for Husband, but she did eventually give up and start snoozing.  And all of my worries got squashed flat into the sidewalk as they flowed out of my body while I pounded the pavement.  Leastwise, that's what I always imagine happens.  It's amazing, how much stress and worry is relieved during a run.  When we got to the end of our miles, both of us wanted to keep running, and I could hardly fathom why I had ever doubted that going out was the right choice.
While searching for an image depicting stress relief from running, I met these uber-relaxed guys.  Apparently, they are resting their heads on faux laps, not butts.  Also worth a try, I guess.
Back to the expected.  Aaaahhhh.  Makes you feel calm already, doesn't it?  This is more like the image I pictured when I started my search.
I can't remember ever regretting a run.  My sister, who has run thousands more miles than I, might regret the one that broke her, temporarily, but I'm sure she doesn't regret any others.  To change an old saying that I don't necessarily agree with to one that is totally true, 'tis better to have run and hated it for a while than never to have run at all.  Today's tip is obvious.  When in doubt, get out and run.  All your doubts will get squashed into the pavement, along with their nasty friends, stress and worry.  You won't regret it.

What's your favorite way to relieve stress?

Ever purchased a fake body part on which to rest your head?


  1. I think it'd be enough to go with the more general "Ever purchased a fake body part?"

    To misquote a supposedly wise, small green being with an inability to form normal sentences: "Buy or buy not. There is no 'why.'"

  2. You love running the way I love yoga. Awesome!

  3. You love running the way I love music! :) I am really enjoying your blog. Your posts are getting funnier and more natural sounding each time! I hope I get to meet you in person someday.

  4. I use an elliptical trainer. I have not found a satisfactory verb for this. Ellipticalling?
    I know that some people can't stand using them (my son the runner, for instance,) but I enjoy it. I have one in my house. I can watch movies, shows or random Internet videos on my laptop while ellipticalling. I can also read while using it, but I find that this makes me go more slowly.
    Anyway, your point is a good one. Exercise is great stress reliever. Once the difficulties of beginning are overcome, it brings a physical and mental release.

    No, on the fake body part... at least, I don't think so. We have been given a bobblehead as a gift. Does that count?

    1. My sis and I made up a word for using an elliptical machine, which you are welcome to adopt. Just to warn you, though, it sounds kinda gross when you say it: lipticking. Or, we'll say that we used 'lipty.

      I don't think a bobblehead counts, no. Unless it was attached to a living person, anyway.