Running: Because it’s Cheaper Than Therapy!

This post is a bit of a departure from the norm. It’s not about a race, or kit, or even about training really, if it’s about anything, other than a ramble, then it’s about me, and why these things have become such an important part of who I am.

I’m writing this because I need a bit of an outlet, I’m in the habit of bottling things up but sometimes you need to get out of your own head for a while.

I’ve had a pretty rubbish weekend, not because anything particularly awful has happened, in fact nothing bad has happened at all, on paper it looks like a pretty good weekend, time with my family, bit of shopping, taken out for dinner, but I’m miserable. I’m miserable because I hurt my foot two weeks ago and have been unable to do anything active since, but it’s more than that, which is what I want to try and explain.

I have a very demanding job, and quite frankly it has pushed me to the edge of my sanity. I love what I do, it’s an important job, however the aspects that I don’t enjoy have started to far outweigh the ones I do. By Easter of this year I was completely burned out, and teetering on the edge of a very dark place. With two weeks off I am usually refreshed and ready to start again, but not this time. I was unable to sleep, I was still stressed and worried and in all honesty a bit of a nightmare to be around. The only times I felt OK, not worried, not stressed, not panicking about work was when I was running, or training or racing. Sweet, glorious physical activity,working the body and soothing the mind.

In light of all this I actually quit my job, and felt better, for about a week, a week that started with Dirty Dozen and included a lot of training, I was working hard, pushing myself and happy. I have to work out a pretty long notice period though, and with 10 weeks still to go the stress and workload has not decreased just because I won’t be returning after the Summer, and then I went and hurt my foot. I say hurt, I turned my ankle completely over, it swelled to twice its size and the bruising was magnificent.

Hurting my foot has meant that apart from going to work, I’ve hardly left my flat, and the stress relief I take for granted by training after work in the evenings has been replaced by sitting with my foot elevated and nothing to do but stew. Adding to my work woes, I am a classic over thinker, with low self confidence, and this can lead to a negativity spiral as I start to feel a bit left out, taking things personally. I’m also an emotional eater, and as a former fatty I end up in a cycle of fear of becoming over weight again, eating because I feel sad and have nothing else to do, then feeling bad about myself and then repeat until insane!

I am my own worst critic, at least I hope I am, if anyone else is as mean to me as I am then I’m in real trouble! A lot of these issues stem from so many years ago it shouldn’t even matter any more, but school bullies have a lot to answer for, confidence, once destroyed is a hard thing to rebuild, especially when you feel worthless and can’t understand why people would like you, and some people, either by action or inaction can reinforce this negative self view without meaning too, on the other hand there are people who do nothing but try and lift you up, that support, encourage and help you through even the worst times, but sadly the bad stuff just seems to stick a little more than the good.

So there you have it, the strings to my emotional distress and a bit of a messy tour of my head. So why is running, and training, and racing so important? Why do I prioritise these things in my life? Quite simply because they make my life better, and they help me to be a better person. Exercise makes me happy (thank you endorphins!), running gives me a release, my poor PT gets to listen to me vent, I get to forget about my day for a while, whether it has been good or bad, it builds my confidence, I’ve actually managed to meet new people and make new friends, not something that comes easily for me and it gives me a goal, and a drive to do better, to beat the girl I was yesterday, a month ago, last year.

Lastly if you have read all of this I thank you for taking the time out of your day, and I just want you all to know that despite all of the above, I am OK (and almost entirely sane) xxx