Running, for me, has always been cathartic and I’m pretty sure it’s what keeps me sane. It tires me out physically and energizes me mentally–both things that help me stay balanced. I also just plain love to run. Being in motion, running in the woods or down a country road, (especially with my dog) is one of my absolute favorite things to do.
So when I was starting to feel frustrated with the wait for an adoption match a few weeks ago, and feeling like I might be nearing my wit’s end, I went for a run. Instead of stopping at 3 miles like I usually do, I ran 5. That extra distance felt so good and was such a release that I decided to train for a half marathon. I’m up to 9 miles now and am feeling awesome. (My dog also loves to run–she’s up to 9 miles, too.)
A few years ago, I ran a full marathon. At that time in my life, I was going through some tough stuff and running provided a much-needed therapeutic outlet for me. I would go out to run and get lost in my thoughts, work through my feelings, push my body (sometimes quite painfully) to its absolute limits, measure my progress, and then be too tired later to worry much about anything. Running helped me stay healthy, physically, mentally, and emotionally, then and it’s helping me now.
If you are adopting and waiting to be matched, I would highly recommend starting a running program. Train for a 5k. Even if you’re starting from the couch. If you’re really not a runner (though anyone can become one), try power walking. It will be hard and you might hate it at first but I promise you it will get so much better. One day you will realize that you’re looking forward to it. There is something extremely empowering about working hard through sore muscles, pushing through perceived boundaries, feeling your body get stronger and stronger, and accomplishing a goal you once thought impossible.
I prefer running to going to the gym because it feels so good to rack up the miles and I love to be outside. But it’s not easy. It’s a long march to be able to run 13.1 miles. It’s filled with ups and downs, good runs and bad runs, easy days and extremely difficult days. You have to work hard to silence the voice in your head that tells you to quit when the going gets tough. You have to wrestle with the voice that says you’re not strong enough and you can’t do this and that it’d be much easier to just give up. You have to keep your eye on the finish line and just keep going… putting one foot in front of the other… taking it one step at a time.
Kind of like the wait to be matched.