Why I Run: The Art of Surging Through Sobs

Those who know me best know that when I go quiet, it’s time to worry.

Last night the intensity of everything I’m dealing with hit me.  These are some crazy times, people.  These are some wild and crazy adventures.  Sal is working from his Sunnyvale office this week and I’m a strange and quiet person when left to my own devices.

I work too much, eat too little, and assign too much significance to pop songs on the radio.

Last week amid all of the travel, deadlines, and pileup of work, I stopped exercising.  I was in Southern Oregon and then Seattle.  In both places I packed gear and could have chosen to rock body-weight circuits or, at the very least, run a few miles.

I did neither.  I passed.  I slept and worked and skipped my daily ritual of endorphin-madness.

This is when it’s time to worry.  Every day that I skip a workout is bad sign.  When I got back into town, bootcamp was on a one week break.  Without that motivation, I skipped a few more workouts.

Last night I snapped.  At 10:30pm I left my house with Sigur Ros in my headphones and I jogged slowly past the SE bar scene, sobbing.  People stared.  I cried and ran faster.

I had no idea why I was sobbing and then, on some level, I knew every reason.

The movement of my body was cathartic and necessary.  I didn’t hurt as I increased my pace.  As I surged between sobs, I rememberd myself.  My long legs, my semi-functional left foot, my stiff right ankle… the unpretty way that I run.

I remembered why I do it.  Why sometimes it’s not about the best “fat-blasting, waistline-trimming, lung-smashing” interval workout you can think up.

Sometimes its about the rhythm of your feet on pavement.  It’s the lull of a well-set pace.  It’s dark shadows on lampless streets, a hidden moon, a dark world that feels like a hiding place.  A big world that feels overwhelming but somehow good.  A world full of cats that sit on sidewalks in the evening and keep guard, green eyes flashing as I fly by.

It’s about getting back at it, reeling yourself back in, putting your feet in shoes and letting your legs do what they know how to do best.  Sometimes its just about miles and neighborhood streets.

Sometimes its about surging through sobs and feeling released and whole.

Free.

Go run.

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4 comments

  1. So I’m not the only one? I was in an adventure triathlon a couple years ago, and on the mt. bike portion (I had strictly been doing road riding for a while) I had fallen so many times and my legs were so scraped and bruised and my feet were soaking wet from carrying my bike through streams, I was sobbing as I pushed my bike slowly through brush next to the single track so the other riders could make their way around me. Jerk your body sobbing. But I finished with a big smile.

  2. stephalopoulos

    I know that feeling–the sobbing as you just pound down on those legs and forge ahead. For me it’s in spinning class (yeah, I know spinning class and my gym routines ain’t no thang compared to all that you do, but it all matters to me…). I get past all the bullshit in my head and all of the questions I need to answer for myself, I get released from everything, and I feel like I am flying. There’s always a moment where I realize that it’s not about the fuzz in my head or the depression weighing on my heart, but it’s about this huge, insane, crazy world. I’m as big as a fucking pea compared to everything else, but I somehow, strangely, get to be part of it. And I start crying uncontrollably. It’s too much to take, and I can’t NOT start crying. Good thing I sweat like a mofo, or else people might worry.

  3. I’ve fallen out of the practice of running and can’t seem to get back into the habit. I need to do it & I know it. Heck, I WANT to do it but it seems like something is always getting in the way.

    Reading this reminds me of how important it is to me.

  4. Fantastic post about why we run and why we should.

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