Why do I run? The obvious answer is that I do it for the exercise, it’s the easiest way for me to keep in shape because it doesn’t involve putting pressure on my hands and wrists so it doesn’t aggravate my arthritis.
But the obvious answer isn’t always the honest answer and this week I discovered why I really enjoy running so much. It’s the best way to get away from whatever nonsense is going on in your head.
I’ve mentioned before that I normally use my running time to get my thoughts in order and come up with a plan, if one is needed. But this week was the exact opposite, I set out to deliberately think of nothing except the road ahead of me.
I haven’t been sleeping well this past week, in fact I haven’t slept at all since Friday morning (which is why I’m typing this at five in the morning). There’s nothing in particular keeping me awake, it’s just a general ‘meh’ feeling.
My mind is racing and most of it isn’t even important stuff, I seem to be dwelling on the little things more and more.
Despite the lack of sleep, I was determined to stick with my planned five runs a week. I put on my running gear, grabbed my headphones and off I set.
What happened over the next 40 minutes was incredible, the further away from home I got the clearer my mind became. The more I focussed on what was ahead of me, I’d set tasks like reaching a certain spot on my journey before the song I was listening to ended, the less I was distracted by the crap that’s been keeping me awake.
I’m not normally one for setting targets during a run, typically I just pick a destination and head for it. I don’t know how having something smaller to focus on has helped shut my thoughts up but I’m not complaining because it definitely hasn’t made things any worse.
Yes, my mind kicks back into gear as soon as I get home but the time spent not worrying about having the perfect hair, whether I’ll get into college, traffic lights (I’m not getting into that here, you’ll really think I’ve really lost the plot) or whatever, has been time well spent.
I’ve loved running ever since I took it up, yes there are times when I let things slide and don’t bother getting up and out there but recently I made a conscious decision to run regularly unless I had a valid reason. ‘It’s cold/windy/raining’ and ‘I’m too lazy’ are not valid reasons.
This week, more than any other week, I’m grateful that my arthritis doesn’t affect my knees or feet. I’d be lost without being able to pound the pavement when I want to.
This week running has kept me sane.