The release one gets from running: it’s both physical and mental, isn’t it? At times, no matter how difficult the journey, you can at least expect that sense of ah that comes with the end of a much-needed run. As you can imagine, with the final weeks of wedding planning, I’ve had a lot of those lately.
Last week marked the first time when I was was able to run consistently in 2014 due to a pesky spring cold and the seemingly unyielding freezing air. And while, prior to that, I did manage to squeeze in yoga (last week, I even flowed twice in one day!) on the regular, it’s simply not the same. If given the choice, I’d take the satisfaction of a run over a sweaty sequence of poses on any day of the week. After all, what yoga studio looks like this?
Last Wednesday, I took a run that was needed in more ways than one. The morning itself was cold, bleak, gray — the morning after one of the many much anticipated “snow storms” of this spring (re: I didn’t see a single flake fall). Given the forecast on my weather app, I didn’t even know if I’d have the chance to get out there. But to my surprise, when I opened my eyes on Wednesday, my iPhone read a mild 33 degrees (sad), and thank goodness too. I needed that run more than ever.
Why? Well, in the words of a great lyrical legend, times, they are a changing. And when times they a-change, I use running to find balance and ease in my life.
On the horizon:
1. Well, for one, we’re officially 2 days out from the wedding. Things are falling into place, and I couldn’t be more excited. But holy cow! Two days. Two short days.
2. After the wedding, Noah and I are spending a few days down in Hilton Head, just to escape the city. I still haven’t packed.
3. And then, after that (drumroll please) — we will eventually move to the City of Brotherly Love. You heard it here first folks, this born and bred New Yorker is heading down an hour south. It’s not far, but it’s a big difference from the life I know. By the way, I’m taking resumes for friends and morning running buddies. Particularly running buddies who like margaritas too.
Margaritas Running, for me, is a reliable source of meditation. I use the time to reflect silently about everything that’s going on in my life. Sometimes, I think about other people’s lives. Sometimes, I think of nothing.
When I don’t run, those feelings, ideas, thoughts about everything and nothing all at once get bottled up inside my head. What happens next is often left to fate — and typically depends on how much wine I have at home.
At the end of the day though, there will always be curveballs thrown in your direction. Without the release of the run — that specially coined term known as “runner’s high” — I can’t imagining dealing with the change with such a level head.
Running, particularly in this week leading up to the wedding, has been invaluable, especially in thinking over my to-do lists as well as the factors that, simply put, are out of my hands. On Sunday, I treated myself to 8 quiet miles along the west side of Manhattan. It had rained the night before, so the streets were quiet and wet. The air was nippy and slightly windy. But in my head there was nothing but the sound of happiness (dancing to the electric beats of Kaskade).
Today, I set off for another long(er) run, completing 7 sunny miles around the Central Park Reservoir. It’d been far too long since I’d been there, and it felt almost like a warm welcome home.
It’s been well over a year now since I’ve run in or trained for a half marathon, so when push comes to shove, neither of these runs was fast or strong or painless or easy. With each mile after the 5th, I dug deep to a place of strength reserved for moments such as those. It’d been a long while since I’d returned to that place within me, and I have to say, it felt pretty great.
With just days — hours practically — until I say I do, the release received after a great run has been well-earned but also full of purpose. It’s not often that the purpose of a run goes beyond an accomplishment that involves distance or speed, and again, I have to say, that felt pretty great too.
Do you value running for its physical or mental contributions?