Monday, October 14, 2013

Dealing with Life's Distractions

I am an incredibly social person.  Our dance card is almost always full, and it's not unusual for us when trying to make dinner plans or something to look a month or further into the future to find a free weekend. I love being busy, and I love spending time with our family and friends. I have a hard time saying "no" to anything that sounds fun.  Despite my social nature I also crave alone time, and that's why running is the perfect fit for me.

When you're as busy as I am sometimes it takes a lot to really disconnect from the natural distractions and interruptions of life - from work, from household chores, from the drama that life can naturally contain.  I love to read, but when I'm really busy I find that I can't disconnect from the thoughts racing through my head to appreciate a good book.

Running is the best way (really the ONLY way) for me to deal with life's distractions. I'm not necessarily escaping them, but it helps me process them and work through anything that is eating at me. I've left for a run before feeling very agitated about something, and by the time I get back I've worked through it. You've heard about runners getting into the zone, and for me that happens the most when I'm working through all of the stresses of life. This is also why I run naked (without music), because for me being present during a run is an important part of the experience.

Last weekend I was feeling particularly distracted and antsy about the next few weeks. The Marine Corps Marathon is rapidly approaching, and I want to beat my PR. I will be out of town four out of the next six weekends. Work is always busy, and I want to make sure I'm on top of everything. I set off for my first taper run feeling agitated. Life had gotten under my skin.

It was still dark, and the world was blissfully quiet. The only sound was my feet hitting the pavement.  I watched the sun come up as it turned into a beautiful morning. As the miles mounted, my agitation melted away.  Toward the end of my run I was running on fallen autumn leaves.  There is nothing quite like the sound of leaves crunching under my feet and the smell of fall to propel me through the end of a long run.

Life is full of distractions, and running is how I deal with them. My run may be the only time during a day when I really get to have solitude and time for reflection, and it's integral to restore my soul. It also helps me to prepare to get distracted all over again.  

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