A few weeks ago, I was stressed out and overwhelmed by new responsibilities. It was Friday and I got home later than usual due to traffic. I think my mom could tell I was stressed and suggested I lie down for a bit and relax, but all I could think of was, where are my running shorts and I need my sneakers stat. I think I was out of the door before she knew I was gone.
My cousin was in a similar mood on Tuesday. She was overwhelmed with schoolwork and work work. We planned to do a tempo run at the Boston Latin track after I got out of work. She hadn’t run since the previous Friday and she kept telling me, “I just need to go. I just need to run.”
I got to her apartment at 6:00 p.m., changed into my running clothes and we left. We ran about a mile to the track and then began our interval workout. It was a particularly warm (and pollen-y) evening and the sun was dipping over the trees but strong enough to shine on us the entire time. We planned to run 8 2×110-meters at what I like to call a “comfortably hard” pace.
As I finished the 7th lap, I was having trouble breathing because I have severe pollen allergies and it just wasn’t my day. I was pleased with how I had done, since it was already an increase since my last tempo run so I decided to slow to a job and finish with some stretches. Paige was not done, she still had energy and still needed to relieve her stress. As I stretched on the nearby bleachers I had a perfect view of her final leg of the 8th lap. It was inspiring to watch her sprint to the end, game face on and finish the workout.
Running has become a way for me to relieve stress and I know that’s how Paige views it too. After a stressful week or getting in an argument with a significant other, it’s something you can do for yourself. It’s a way to focus frustrations, maybe even anger, into something positive and healthy. This is really the reason I started running. I needed to focus on something bigger than myself and running allowed me to do that.
Now, I use running when I’m happy, energetic and motivated as well as frustrated, stressed and upset. It gives me something to work towards (because we can always increase our personal goals) and it gives me a reason to get outside and just go. Moral of the story? If you’re angry, stressed, overworked or happy, inspired and feeling strong, just get out there and go!