Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thoughts While Sidelined

I'm sidelined! Not for very long, thankfully - I sprained my ankle this weekend during the Hurricane Nemo madness, so I should be able to run again shortly. But with this unwanted hiatus comes the realization, once again, of how much being able to run means to me. Breaking a sweat, silencing my mind – if even for a short time – with the steady breath of exertion, getting that endorphin rush; all of these have become extremely not only to my physical but also mental health. Without running - or, more generously, exercise, although running is my preferred method of exercise – I’m more irritable and short tempered, more resistant to relaxing and enjoying even the annoying moments with my kids, and just not as happy.

This was driven home in another way with this excellent post by Jeff Edmonds (thanks Eric!). Worth reading it its entirety, Jeff argues against looking at the many statistics gathered during running and thinking that you know yourself as a runner. I know when I started measuring my runs with the GPS, I experienced a high of being flush with data. I was continually pushing myself to run a certain pace, or run a certain number of mile; in short, to accomplish something new or better. But once the novelty faded away, is that all of the numbers and data aren't worth anything. But it's a hard lesson to learn! In fact, what was most upsetting to me at first about the ankle injury was that I wasn't going to be able to participate in Strava's February 2013 Half Marathon challenge! Silly, right? It's so easy to lose the forest for the trees that I need to keep being continually reminded of why I participate in a sport - and, at its core, it's that I need to be active in order to be happy.

The other point that Jeff makes is that running is better with self-knowledge – and knowing yourself is hard! It involves looking deep within yourself, dealing with all of the pitfalls that Jeff brings up (and others like my favorite quote), etc. Can you run, and run well, without self-knowledge? Of course. But it can be more fulfilling when you look at it in this way - as a piece of the unending puzzle of life.

All good things to ponder as I’m stuck on the couch, waiting for the ankle to heal. With any luck, it'll serve to refocus me until I'm ready to lace up again and start anew my moving meditation.

Related Posts:
Running as Practice
The Evolution of my Running

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