My Dirt Road Therapy Session (or dealing with a tough week)

It’s been A WEEK. There was the stress from moving to a new state, compounded by having a nightmare of nightmares when it came to our stuff being delivered this past Tuesday. My diet was off; it wasn’t *horrible* but I certainly wasn’t eating for optimal stress reduction and performance. My sleep was off, too (no surprise there, given everything else going on.) My training was off; in the aftermath of the “move from hades” my days were spent combing through boxes and sorting stuff, leaving little time or energy for some of my training.

Worse of all, I was also desperately dealing with a sick fur kid (cat) who languished as the week went on, my heart slowly breaking as day by day I saw him slip away from me. Yesterday, I lost my special boy.

Giz was one in a million.  And had delusions od grandeur when it came to fitting into boxes.

Giz was one in a million. And had delusions of grandeur when it came to fitting into boxes.

Many people may not understand the kind of sadness this brings, but I feel to love and be loved by an animal is open a special place in your heart.  And losing a furry member of the family is hard.  And very, very sad.  Our house feels so much emptier and quiet today (if you knew Giz, you’d know that he was a talker!)

This week has been such a jumble of stress and sadness, and my number one priority has been this: to be gentle with myself. Loving. Forgiving. Understanding. That training run I missed? Won’t even be factor come my race in November. My diet? I remind myself that every time I eat I am making the choice to start over; there is no defeatist mentality. Sometimes when life is throwing so much crap at you, and the stress levels are so high, the best thing you can do is to throttle back and just listen. Listen to what your body needs. Is it rest? A nice sweat inducing run? I do know the LAST thing your body needs is you beating it up over the workout you didn’t do or the veggies you didn’t eat.  This is a message I stress with my clients as well; yes, there is strength in pushing through, but there is also strength and wisdom in backing off.

As for me…after a crazy week, I knew I had a 22 miler on the books for today. And to be honest, I just didn’t know if my head, my heart or my legs had it in me. But a little voice whispered to me this morning when I woke up, and it said “go.” Go do the thing that always brings you joy and comfort, and helps the world make sense, if even for a few hours. So, with the dawn breaking, and a sun so red it looked like a maraschino cherry rising into the sky, I left my front door, and set out. I wasn’t sure for how far or for how long. I just allowed my footfalls to echo the sadness, prayers, and hope in my heart. I let my breathing be my silent mantra. I just ran. And I found myself here, alone, on a long dirt road, which is better than any therapist’s coach.

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And 22 miles, many tears and a few smiles later, I came back home…feeling a little more whole and a lot more at peace than when I first left.

That’s what running is to me.  A way to make sense – or last try to – all the crazy things I may be dealing with.  Or a chance to pound out pure joy with every footstep.  Sometimes it’s the only place I have for a good, long, ugly cry on my own.  But it affords me the time to connect with myself and to listen to what my body needs. It clears my head and helps me deal with whatever I may be going though – this beautiful, crazy, sad, joyous thing called life.