Sometimes it’s OK to Run Away From Your Problems

If you’re sitting at home inhaling one chocolate after another until you’re surrounded by empty wrappers, lamenting how much work it’s going to be to get up and get a garbage bag from all the way over there…

Or, if you’re drowning your sorrows in one bottle after another, hoping nobody stops by your house before you’ve had a chance to clear out the towers of empties…

It’s time to put on your shoes and start running away from your problems. Seriously. Put on your shoes and go!

I started running just over two months ago. Why? Because I was doing all of the above, daily (and more). I didn’t think I’d actually be able to run, but anything had to be better than sitting around the house wallowing. Even if running meant that I would look like an uncoordinated walrus lopping down the sidewalk, it would still be better than being the chocolate-covered, teary-eyed, all-day-pyjama-wearing mess I was at home.

So one day I threw on some running shoes, left the house under the cover of darkness (to avoid reports of walrus sightings), and started running. I didn’t get very far those first few times but I did immediately notice that every time I came back from running, I felt better than I had before I left. Even more surprising was that when I left the house feeling especially bad, my runs were even better – faster, longer, easier. I  realized: I was literally running away from my problems! Every thought of anger or frustration or dissatisfaction was propelling me forward until I arrived at home panting, then stretching, then wondering why I had been feeling so miserable earlier.

As the weeks went on and I strove for faster and longer runs, I found myself wishing something would upset me so that I could better my run time that day. How crazy is that? I had gone from wallowing in misery every day to seeking out problems to try to feel sad or angry about. Now that’s the kind of crazy life magic people tell you about but you don’t believe until you see for yourself that it’s really real.

So today, after a couple of difficult short runs to get back into shape after the holidays, I am celebrating running my first 5k of 2013. I’m back, baby! What had I been feeling so sad about for the last two weeks? I can’t even remember. Somewhere along those five kilometres I ran tonight lie invisible scraps of all the problems I left behind. This year is going to be my year. 10k here I come!

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