I came to an important conclusion the other day on a run that I hope to carry with me on those days where I want to do anything but run.
I am more relaxed, more introspective, more ambitious, and more creative when I run. I’m a better person, and a better writer. That time is my time to have those internal conversations, to filter through memories and formulate understanding and awareness. I’m able to better position myself within the world around me during those miles, and while they may fade with the day, the halo of these realizations remains. Don’t get me wrong: there are also runs where I’m too tired to formulate simple math equations, much less complex or enlightened conclusions. One plus four during a tempo, or near the end of a long run? Seven.
I’ve been able to hit those endorphin highs pretty quickly and easily these days, and I’m hoping it’s not something I’ll build up a tolerance for. These days, I am genuinely happier, healthier, smarter, clearer, and lighter (mentally and physically, although the latter is more attributable to situational stress than anything else ). It’s far too easy to underestimate the effect of anxiety or hyper-vigilance on one’s mood or emotional health. But, I’m getting reacquainted with the Hillary I once knew – the Hillary with the huge smile and quick retorts – and with each run, sloughing off the toughened skin in which I had cloaked myself.
Tonight, amidst the rain and thunder, I will leave a little bit more of my weary self on the Lakefront, and I’ll let the newly-exposed skin soak in the potential of a brighter tomorrow.