Thursday, May 23, 2013

Running Away Is Still Running

Yes, those tired jokes: The only time you'll see me running is if I'm being chased, etc.

Well you know what? It's okay if you're running because you're running away from something. In a metaphorical sense, at least.

Jennifer posted on the Facebook page:

I read some of your blogs & I'm gonna try for 2 months. I used to run..... It's what got me through my divorce. I loved it then but now when I think about it I think Yuck!! I think now I'm just lazy.

My reply:

I don't know about lazy. I definitely love running MORE when I really need it: after a bad day, during a stressful time, etc. - so during a divorce it would likely feel heavenly. I wonder, though, if part of the "YUCK" is that in your mind, running is now associated with that bad time? If so, doing it a little bit - slowly! - now may unhook it. (Also, if you're a stress runner, you might try it on days that are sort of sucky - you'll probably like it more.)

One of the best things about running is that it makes you feel better. And sometimes the worse you feel, the bigger the benefit.

Lately I've been racking up more and faster miles than I have since, well, probably since I ran my marathon more than a decade ago. When I'm feeling mellow and happy (hey, it's happened), I sometimes have to force myself to run. Afterward I usually feel mellower and happier, but the absolute difference between before and after is a lot less. These days the delta is huge.

So my advice for today is: if you need motivation, think of something that gives you angst, and then go running.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Newest Recruit: My Therapist Is a Maggot!

I have recruited many surprising Maggots, but I think this is my biggest catch of all. I am drunk with power. Okay, maybe it had nothing to do with me, but let me think so.

Backing up: my therapist from time to time gives details about himself - very carefully, I'm sure; he does not say much that is not intended to further the therapeutic relationship. Some three months ago he mentioned that he used to run five miles a day but had stopped. Of course I couldn't help but blurt out "You should have only run every OTHER day!" He said yes, he knew that - his ex-husband was a running coach. (I'd already assumed he was gay - which made things easier for me.) Let me say, it is very hard to imagine my therapist running. He looks more like he was the kid who tried to get out of gym every day to play Dungeon & Dragons under the bleachers.

Last week as I waited to be called back for my session, I started feeling guilty about the fact that I am always the last appointment of the day, and therefore the one who extends his day (I know, I know, this is ridiculous, of course it would be someone else in this spot if it weren't me, but the time spent waiting for the session to begin is a particularly easy time to get lost in self-recriminating musings). Then I thought about how he should be spending his time instead of talking to me: running, of course!

When the session starts I usually say the thing that's uppermost in my mind, so as I sat down I said, "I was just feeling sad that you don't run anymore."

He gaped at me, then a delighted smile spread across his face. "I don't know what to make of you sometimes," he said. "How do you do that?" Then, at my evident look of confusion, "I just started running again this week."

I was so happy and proud - then promptly chided him for running every day again. Then he chided me for turning the attention onto him, and then we talked about how I am not in fact responsible for his long days or, in fact, for All The Bad Things In The World.

But let me think I'm responsible for some of The Good Things, including for him running, because every new recruit makes me feel great.