Running: Therapy on a Budget

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Since this blog is called Run.Knit.Love, I thought I should perhaps write a bit about running. I love running, although I didn’t always. My dad was an excellent runner, back before running was cool. I was overweight as a child, and my dad tried to help me get excited about exercise by signing me up for a kids’ fun run. We would train by running around a pond not far from our house. A lovely image, but oh how I hated it. I remember one time getting a bloody nose mid-run and being so excited that I would get to stop, and instead my dad handed me a handkerchief and we kept right on going. So the fact that I now voluntarily run almost every day – and feel off all day when I don’t – surprises me more than anyone.

My husband, who ran track in college, likes to say to new runners, “Give it two years. Then you’ll know if you like it.” He’s right. It takes a long time for your body to get used to the shock of pounding on pavement. It takes a long time to feel comfortable running a mile, and then 3.1, and then 6.2, and then 13. And it takes even longer to love it. To love the serenity of it, the sheer monotony of it, the time away from everything else when your mind can run even faster than your legs.

For me, running is a lot of things. It is a way to feel strong and healthy. It is a way to get outside. It is a way to connect with running friends. It is a way to get my kids outside with me, even if they are two-fisting graham crackers and rice cakes in the stroller while they’re out there. It’s a way to allow me to eat Nutella at every meal without feeling too guilty. (I need carbs!)

Most importantly, it is something that I do almost completely for me. At this point in my life, with three children under the age of five, I don’t have much time to be selfish. I’m often being pulled in several directions – quite literally – attending to other people’s needs and demands. (I have it on my mental to-do list to clock the number of times I hear “Mommy?” in one hour, but I’m guessing it’s at least 30.) I don’t begrudge that. I signed up for it. But it doesn’t mean I don’t need a break from it. Running gets me away from the madness and mess of a full house. It takes me away from the noise and the demands and the requests. It takes me away from caring for others and into caring for myself, even if just for an hour. And all for the price of a pair of shoes.

So that’s why I run. How about you?

One response to “Running: Therapy on a Budget

  1. You said it! The break for my mind, the escape from the demands, and the bliss of physical exertion. And not least important, the jar of peanut butter each week.

    Like

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