Some see a therapist. I run.

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My mind races into a swirl of emotions forming a tornado inside my chest. If I don’t leave now, I might hyperventilate from the tightening cyclone in my throat.  The threat of tears prick my eyes so I quickly lace up my Saucony’s and grab my headphones.

I don’t tell anyone where I’m going, but I pull the door shut with enough force to announce my departure. I like to run at night when I’m upset and danger and threat slink out of the bushes, bodies low to the ground like a cat readying to jump its prey. Me against the world I remind myself. I dare you to mess with me.

I transfer energy to my legs and begin my sprint down the concrete steps and onto the broken sidewalk.  The faster I run, the faster the tears stream down my cheeks.  The speed of my pace prevents me from sobbing uncontrollably which is one reason to keep my pace closer to a sprint.  I’m headed downhill and down the middle of the street to avoid the sidewalk cracks and debris from interfering with my gate.  The streetlights illuminate the blossoming branches of the cherry trees.  Houses have gone dark, families are in bed, and not a single car passes me. My bare arms tingle. The air is extra crisp, but I don’t shiver.

My mission. My job. My objective is to run fast, so fast that if a cyclist, car, or animal ran in front of me, I wouldn’t be able to maneuver around the obstacle without losing control and wiping out.  I tame my emotions through the physical challenges of a late night run.  My internal pressure lowers as sweat evaporates through my pores.  Slowly my breath evens out and my form relaxes.

I round the 45 degree corner where the road flattens out onto an even section of the pavement.  My endorphins kick in and chase the hysteria out of my head, loosening the grip on my chest. I slow to a tempo pace.  Problems that at first felt insurmountable and painful lose intensity. Solutions float into my consciousness and gratitude seeps through my core to the soles of my feet, anchoring me to the earth.

Running is my therapist.

 

 

12 thoughts on “Some see a therapist. I run.

  1. This post makes me want to lace up my shoes and go for a run on this dark evening…that means this is some powerful writing! I can feel the tension in your limbs and hear the pounding of your feet. Well written.

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  2. “…gratitude seeps through my core to the soles of my feet, anchoring me to the earth.” Wow! You captivate every last morsel of what your experience is like on that pavement. Running. Is. Your. Therapist. Just wow. Beautifully written. Very rich post.

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  3. I know this feeling as well. I haven’t been on a run in a while but you make it sound so wonderful I might just have to try it. I say wonderful because there is so much release in running. The first mile for me would always be some sort of torture but just as you put it, everything somehow begins to calm down and there lies the therapy of running. Glad you found time and space to clear your head and release some emotion from your bones. Run on!

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  4. I like how you build up the tension as you run – fighting your demons (you are much braver than I am) and then slowly let it go again as you as your breath evens out, your form relaxes, and the road flattens out. Your run is like the plot line of a story:))

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    1. Thank you for the feedback! I plan many of my posts while I run. If only I was young and nimble again and able to run seven days a week–my slicing life would be really fluid then.

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  5. I love to run as much as you, but I can’t get over my fear of the dark. Thanks for inspiring me with, “Me against the world I remind myself. I dare you to mess with me.” You are a hardcore runner AND writer!

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    1. I don’t want to create the impression I run all of the time. I only run 3-4 days a week these days. The run I described in this post captures my younger running days.

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  6. That last line did it for me too. Had me whisper, “wow”. Love how you crafted what was happening in your head at the same time as what was happening outside your head. Made me want to go on a run too!

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