For as many reasons that I hate running (and I really do), I love it.
I love that my legs, for the first time ever, are not a source of embarrassment to me. I love the running community, the camaraderie. I love that I feel strong, and healthy. I love that my children openly admire my athleticism, or at least, dedication.
Most of all, I love that it has helped me effectively manage my PTSD. It’s cheaper, and healthier, than antidepressants (not that there’s anything wrong with needing those, in fact, I probably would not have survived 2010-2011 without them), and I can almost always process any situation during my daily miles, and then let it go until the next session.
Recently, however, running has really not been my favorite. I’ve dreaded the runs more than usual. I haven’t been able to feel good on any run longer than 3 miles. This has stretched on for 2 months, since my March half marathon. I just feel flat as a runner. I dutifully lace up, and log the (minimum) miles, but it’s out of sheer determination to not not run, rather than any sense of appreciation, gratitude or enjoyment.
Which brings me to the past couple days.
I have developed a (mostly) effective and healthy protocol to minimize any exposure to the situation which led to my PTSD diagnosis. I maintain strict boundaries, following the advice of my attorney and both my and my children’s therapists. For the most part, it works; I keep my head in my own lane (as we used to say in swimming) as much as possible.
This week, however, I learned of a very public, and proud, proclamation regarding the circumstances surrounding my divorce. The sentiment did not surprise me; to quote the Buzzfeed that was posted on Facebook, the “fucks given lately? approximately zero” attitude has been consistently communicated to me for years. But to so openly and publicly address the betrayal, so unapologetically, so proudly, on social media, social media that my son can see, drawing the attention of parents of my children’s friends (not to mention parents of my students) – that took me aback.
It was in this mindset that I headed out for 7 miles this morning.
The first 2-3 miles, like all the others lately, felt mundane. I slogged away, unenthusiastically, ruminating about the latest litany of hurts and choices. Anger flared up, then settled in my gut. The sweat progressed from a light sheen to trickling rivulets, my body literally washing out the toxins.
As I rolled over into miles 4 and 5, I picked up my pace, turned up the volume, and began breathing more deeply, more consciously. I started to get in the flow. The anger and hurt, weighing on me for a few days, dissipated. I laughed, remembering my husband’s quote from one of my favorite movies about the inherent irony of insisting, vehemently, that it doesn’t matter.
By the time I finished mile 7, I felt strong, whole, empowered. Healed. And that? That is why I started this blog, and why I will keep running, even though I hate it.
At least for 7 more years.