Sunday, June 13, 2010

Therapy of Running

I have fallen in love with running again. Most days, anyway. I think it appeals to me so much because it parallels LIFE, or at least mine.

It is such a physical reminder to me that my best is the only thing that counts, and that comparing to other people usually leaves me discouraged, ashamed, or prideful. (Most times it is a combination of all three.)

For example, it seems as though it often happens that I get halfway through your workout and think, "Well, maybe I will just give myself a break today", not because I really need one, but because I don't want to have to try anymore. Just then, some super-lean Machine decked out in Eddie Bauer gear and a bright pink Ipod gets on the treadmill right next to me and proceeds to run twice as fast as me with seemingly NO effort. What the heck?

I am left to choose: I either could play the victim card as fast as I could, step off the treadmill trying to hide my scuffed tennis shoes with my head down, making no eye contact, and mumbling something about feeling sick


I could run at the pace I need, finish my race, and then smile nicely as I pick up the brand new Ipod that the Machine just dropped. On the way out, I feel great as I try really hard to not envy the Machine's perfectly sculpted buns of steel.

Running is one of the few activities without an element of distraction. When I ride a bike or walk, I can do all sorts of things to distract yourself from the pain and discomfort. I can read, watch TV, talk to a friend, etc. Running is too intense...if you do it well, I concentrate on my movements, on my breathing (and on not dropping off the back of the treadmill). I love that opportunity to focus; that forced chance to feel the pain, the momentum, the effort, and the exhilaration of doing something hard, and in doing it as well as I can.

I love that running is all about the journey. Running is not about the destination. If it was, most people would choose a destination on the other side of the block. The process of the journey is where joy resides. What a great physical demonstration of life! If one cant find the joy in the little steps which cumulatively form a great journey, then the journey is all for naught.

So even though my buns are closer to being aluminum foil than steel, I am a believer in the therapy of running. Critics claim it to be a rather radical and extreme form of therapy. Some even claim to prefer the controversial shock therapy. But supporters claim that nine mile runs in the rain can be as rejuvenating as seeing your husband scrub the toilet. What do you think? Tie on those shoes, get out the gym pass, and jump on a treadmill. Feel free to talk about your childhood, crazy parents, lost love, etc as you run. Oh, and by the way, if that is you in the Eddie Bauer tank, you dropped your Ipod.


  1. It is so true. Running and I have a love hate relationship but I will tell you that since I can not even walk a mile right now I would love to put on my old gym shoes and run a few months!!!

  2. Thanks for at least picking it up for me...I was too busy looking awesome on the treadmill to even notice.

  3. "So even though my buns are closer to being aluminum foil than steel, I am a believer in the therapy of running."

    LOVE that imagery. ;) Dad would be proud. Maybe I should start running. Maybe.

  4. You are so good with words. I love reading your posts and I totally agree with you. Running is a journey and my mind just runs wild and I love how I feel after having done my run and of all the things that went through my head. Its definitely personal to everyone because people would never get what I was thinking during a run but to me it makes sense. That probably made no sense sorry.

  5. hey Jessee, it's Agata I loved your blog...the running you're doing is great...I'm training to run an half marathon in early August. Everything you said is so true... the comment you made about how it's a journey is right on. I love you and I hope to see you again. Thanks for being the greatest you can be and keep on running girl!

  6. You are a beautiful writer! I was totally laughing and wishing that I was "The Machine." We can keep dreaming, right? Keep running, girl!

  7. Jess, I'm so glad you are running! That must feel so good. I love that you talked about how you feel like crap and that you're not doing enough when compared to The Machine. But that you need to do YOUR journey and finish YOUR run without comparing. I have a No Comparing rule in my life. It came about when I was so ill and could barely get out of bed, but my friend with cancer going through chemo brought me her home-made cinnamon rolls. Are you kidding me? I went down a spiral of self pity, depression, and comparison to why I was being such a wuss. But I finally had to come to the realization that I was doing as much as I could for me, and that everyone is different. It doesn't mean they are stronger, or better with pain. Our trials are unique and each one is a design to help us become more like our Heavenly Father. Jess, you are so amazing. Keep running. In every sense of the word.