Whatcha Running For

Beyond just getting excited and signing up for something because I need the motivation to do what needs to be done exercise-wise? Why else am I running?

First and foremost– because exercise is the easiest and cheapest snake oil* for a lot of what ails ya.

Mildly Depressed? Exercise.
Kind of Anxious? Exercise.
Nights with Insomnia? Exercise.
Too much ADHD? Exercise.
Constantly irritated by almost everyone around you? Exercise. Or move to an isolated island, where it’s just you and a 25 year old cabana boy that does laundry just the way you want it done.

*Better living with chemistry– totally. I’m a personal big fan of chemistry. However if I can change my shit, or lessen my shit, with a reasonably simple lifestyle change, I’m gonna do that, too.

In the interest of full disclosure, lest anyone be fooled into thinking that I listen to my own preaching, I’m not known for my dedication to planned physical activity. Technically I believe the words I’ve said most often to JB were, “I fucking hate it and I’ll do it tomorrow”. I’m active– hell, two kids I don’t have much of a choice. But I’m certainly not running while posting this blog…so.

But I’m suffering from Filter Failure, and getting increasingly frustrated with people (some of which is deserved, some of which is not).

Filter Failure [fil·ter fail·ure]
1. The point which the invisible barrier between the brain and the mouth has been stretched beyond the critical mass point. Prolonged exposure to a compromised Filter is ill-advised. Key Filter Failure prevention methods include: finding Spock-like logical people, avoiding any and all emotional outbursts, submersion in long stretches of silence.

Um… Spock? We have a problem. Assuming that no one else in my life every went batshit over anything, living with a 4.5 and a 2.5 year old is the dictionary-picture antithesis for all of the Key Filter Failure Prevention Methods. And I’m a girl, regularly exposed to other girls. Some of whom also happen to be mothers. Dude, it’s astonishing that my filter has made it this long without suffering from black hole spaghettification.

Obviously it’s time to restructure the Filter Failure prevention methods.

While I ran myself out of a funk on the Treadmill of Love last night, I started thinking about how, for the first mile or so, my brain was in this pattern:

I’ll just do a quick run tonight.
13.1 fucking miles, Stephanie. In October. So far you’ve run 1 1/4.
Dammit. Okay, I’ll do 2 miles.

Then suddenly I got to 2 miles, P!nk was next on the play list and I started thinking, you know what? I’m not going to quit until I’ve gone a little further than last time. 3.19 miles later, and I’m walking upstairs thinking about how I couldn’t run that far last month. Then I get an email from my smartphone app telling me that I had just beat my last personal best. Well! Then I take a shower, read my book, and sleep the sleep of a Quiet Mind.

Impressive enough, the Quiet Mind sleep– but you know what else? For about 30 minutes of that treadmill time, there were only 3-4 thoughts, two of which were actually related to running. The only other time I can say I’ve had that kind of focus was giving birth to Elliot. That no-drugs-birth-thing went a long way toward forcing my brain to be in the moment. Since then, attempts to recreate that attention state have failed.

For me, running is cheaper than therapy. I know what’s wrong with me (other people *snort*). Running that bullshit right on out of my head? Yeah, I could get down with that.

Rephrase: I did get down with it– and it felt great.