Running is a way for me to feel free...
When I am running, I can leave the stuff that fills my head and fills my day behind me. This is especially true on the trails. When I run the roads, in the daytime or the nighttime, my mind tends to wander more than when I am on the trails. On the road, I think about what's going on in life, whether positive or negative from time to time. I am more likely to pound away at the negative stresses of life as I pound the pavement. Sometimes this will cause me to slow up when I don't want to, or speed up when I don't want to. On the trails, I am more with nature. Because of this, my mind does not wander around the positives or negatives as much as on the road. It ignores the stressors that make me want to run. Granted, I do daydream, but the stressors are not part of those daydreams and the daydreams are few and far between. I don't know if this has to do with the fact that I need to watch my footing more or not, but it may be part of the reason why I wish we lived closer to trails, or trails were closer to us. I don't mind driving 30 minutes one way to run on the trails I love, but it would be nice if I could get out easier during the week and hit the trails before or after dinner. I haven't gotten into nighttime trail running, but I think that may be a matter of time. I am definitely not as free on the roads as I am on the trails.
Free from stress. Once I start running, negative thoughts just seem to leave my mind. I stop thinking about work, I stop thinking about the little things that seem to annoy me easily, I don’t care if the cat peed on the floor in the basement because the little priss needs the litter changed everyday (sounds like I need a run right now…) or the kids are being way to loud. Everything could be bothering me, but the moment I head out the door and start putting one foot in front of the other, things feel smooth and I forgot all that was bothering me. When I come back? They’re still forgotten and I have moved on.
Free of my wandering mind. Now, that doesn’t mean that I don’t think about things. This means that my mind focuses on other things like “What was that?” and “How would we survive the Zombiepocolypse?” and other very important things. There are so many other things to think about. But there are other things that I stop thinking about (like the stressors above). I don’t think about the “what if’s”, the “why’s” or any other negatives about life.
Free from work. Usually once I get home, work is out of my mind. But I guess we have some stressors left over in our subconscious that may be causing some aggravation that we may release on others or may be obvious in our overall demeanor. At least I’m sure I do. Usually when I get home I need a few extra minutes to get my stuff put away, to put work away. I don’t have the ability to get out and run right after work, so I have to stuff work down a bit with a cup of coffee. But, once I can get out and run, I can let it out and release work and the stressors it causes me.
Free from commuting. Commuting is a stressor for me, and for many others. I have a 45 minute commute that is all highway. The views are gorgeous, but there’s a lot of traffic and idiot drivers out there. Watching out for them can cause a lot of stress. Again, like with work stress, I have to wash it down with a cup of coffee when I get home, and then release it on the run later at night.
Free from life. Yeah, that alone time on the road and on the trail is so invigorating. Even with other runners, you’re still “alone”. It’s just you propelling yourself along, free from the distraction of life (unless that’s the conversation you choose). There’s nothing out there except you. Work is not with you, family is not with you, the ass hole on the cell phone driving 90, weaving in and out of traffic is not with you
Free to just be. By this, I mean to be in the moment. Those times where I feel my body and read how I am doing, how I am feeling. I am in the moment concerned only with what I am doing. I can also enjoy the stars, the sky, the sunrise or sunset, listening to birds, and just about anything else that stands out. Living in the moment on the run is a great way for me to meditate and relax my mind. When I am done, the time spent ‘just being’ helps me feel mentally fresh, invigorated, energized, and mentally ready for, well, life.
So, what are we waiting for? Why not just go for a run :)