I can’t say I look like a runner, nor can I say I’m the fastest runner. However, without running, I’d probably be an anxious wreck. Life has a way of handing out mountains of crap that I have to shovel away from my doorstep and all that shoveling takes a toll on my emotions.
Back in the day, I’d smoke a bowl or have a brownie (or two or three, which is why I started running in the first place: too many brownies…) to take the edge off. But in time, I realized that I simply felt better after a run. It’s been at least 20 years since I’ve smoked weed and I can safely say I don’t miss it. These days, I head out and find a comfortable stride and pace and just run. I don’t feel pressure; I’m not trying to break any records for either time or distance. I’m just running because I can.
In high school, I played basketball. I loved the game then and I love the game now. The problem was that because if my love of the game, I wouldn’t get off of the court, even if I was injured. Which I was. A lot. I busted my ankles several times and when I was 33, I had a doc tell me that I had the ankles of an 80 year old and needed surgery to repair the damage. He was exaggerating, but he made his point. My right ankle had gotten so bad that I was walking with a cane and I just couldn’t take the pain and although it too another year, I finally had surgery. Best decision I’ve made.
Once I recovered from the surgery, I started running. Maybe a mile at first, then two, then three until eventually I was able to run a half-marathon. I run, not because I of any competition, but because I have found it to be the best way to cope with life’s crap.
A few months ago, my dad was diagnosed with something called mylodisplastic syndrome and would, in time, need chemotherapy. I can safely say that this news set me back; I didn’t realize that my dad could get sick. He’s my dad. But he did and now every day holds a new treatment challenge as his health deteriorates.
Since I’ve learned of his sickness, I’ve tried to accept the fact that he probably won’t heal. The disease isn’t curable and his treatments don’t work as well as was hoped. But still, I run. I find that if I run, first thing, then I’m in a better mental state to handle whatever news the day brings. I haven’t been writing as much, but that‘s because I’ve been prepping for a workshop on August 26th. But now that I’m ready to present, I can get back to getting my run and writing sessions in, every day.
On those days that I both run and write, life can hand me any crap it wants to because I’ll have prepared myself to meet those challenges head-on. Running and writing really are the ultimate coping strategies…