Born to run...

I love running.

I cannot believe how quickly I have fallen in love with this. Two months ago, I was scared to get up to a fast walk on a treadmill. I certainly wasn't going to try running for any length of time. I only saw running as a means of possibly making me lose weight a little faster.

But now that I've actually started running, I'm realizing how much I love running. Just the simplicity of putting on foot in front of another and... letting go.

Do you ever have one of those days where your mind just seems to be spinning out of control? Where the thoughts are coming faster than you can process them or act on them? That's my whole life. Whoever wired my brain just set it to a slightly faster speed, I think. It's been really advantageous, for the most part, since I've spent much of my life as a very high-level student. And that level of high-demand academics satisfied my mind's constant demand to be occupied and working and engaged. I thrived in a world of heavy workloads, tight deadlines, and multi-tasking. I could mentally exhaust myself. I never found a way to settle my mind, but academics kept it placated.

But, for the last couple of years since leaving school, I've struggled with how to fit into a world where one's mind didn't have to be engaged all the time. Heck, at most of my jobs, it didn't need to be engaged most of the time. This isn't good for someone like me. When one is accustomed to working at top performance all the time, one doesn't adjust to idle well; I really didn't. I've taken up more hobbies than I can count trying to find something that would work. I can crochet and cross-stitch; I learned to scrapbook; I'm a talented photographer and photoeditor; I write endlessly; I garden; I bead; I have my dogs; I play sudoku; I have a library of books, as I devour a novel in about three hours; I've taught myself Gaelic; I'm currently learning car mechanics.

Though all that keeps me busy, it never really worked to settle my mind. I still find myself with that mental monologue, constantly clamouring for my attention. And when all else fails, when my mind knows no other way to deal with the excess energy it has, I get stressed. Over nothing. Not over something mundane that's not worth stressing over. Over nothing. I just stress. It's great.

The first few times I ran, I didn't really notice it. Just a sense of accomplishment. Then I went out with Shawn, and as I was driving home, I just realized how much calmer I seemed. I wasn't talking to myself as much (yes, this is one of the ways I deal with the monologue in my head). I wasn't planning things. I wasn't rearranging letters in signs to make new words (stop looking at me like that, it's not that weird). My mind wasn't screaming at me to stay busy.

The next time I had just done 15 or so minutes in a split session after a hard day at work. And again, I was calmer. My mind was calmer. On that first day I ran for the full twenty minutes, it was like someone had just finally dialed down that switch in my brain.

Last night I ran for 30 minutes in 6-1 intervals (6 minutes running, 1 minute walking). My knees have been bothering me this week, but I didn't even feel it. For the first couple of intervals, my brain kicks in, wanting to analyze every footstrike, checking my form, evaluating every breath - and then just at that moment where that little bit of fatigue sets in it stops, and just concentrates on one foot in front of the other. It's the best feeling in the world. I really can see how people become addicted to this.

So, obviously, I had a good session last night. Shawn designed another core challenge, since he's decided I'm not improving on core strength as quickly as I am everywhere else. I like core challenges. They're tough, but you finish feeling a lot stronger than when you began. He's still commenting about the changes in my physique, as well, which is still really disconcerting. I know he's just very pleased because it's a measure of my improvement, but I am not accustomed to people looking at me. I'm sure I'll get used to it.

Busy day today. Have to clean my dog kennels and probably my car. Might decide if any of my friends actually want to do something for my birthday (which is tomorrow), though as none of them have contacted me, I'm guessing they all have plans. In that case, I might say screw it and go to a movie by myself. I've done it before.

Off to start the day!


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