Sunday, October 25, 2015

Running Is My Therapy

Have you ever had one of those months where you're like 'What else could possibly happen to make my life more challenging?' and then the universe throws you yet another curveball?  That's pretty much been the story around here for the last month.  

It's my annual Hell Month at work, so 10+ hour days and at least half a day on the weekend is the norm.  When I get home, my priorities are food and sleep (and I keep waking up in the middle of the night).  I've been eating far too much takeout and regular workouts have not been happening.

Then, one Thursday night my throat started to hurt a little.  By the time I got home on Friday night, it was a full fledged cold.  That was the start of two weeks where all I wanted to do was take a NyQuil and sleep - and calling in sick is not an option during Hell Month. 

I finally felt like I was on the road to recovery (except for a barking cough that will. not. quit.) and Mr. R&R and I noticed that Walter seemed a little off, so a trip to Dr. Beast was required.  After a thorough exam, x-rays, and blood work, we're all hopeful that 2 weeks of 2x/day antibiotics will fix the problem.

So to summarize:
  • Working too much
  • Eating like crap
  • Not working out
  • Evil cold
  • Sick bunny
And now, with a whopping 6 days left until the Discovery Run 15k, I'm extremely undertrained. I've barely run at all in the last month and most of those runs have been about 3 miles long.  I tried to run while I was sick, but only made it about 4 miles before I was to exhausted to keep going.  I tried running 5 miles (in 20mph wind gusts) on Monday night, but let's just say I did a lot of walking to keep the barking cough at bay.  Originally I was hoping to have a good run, but I think I'm going to have to settle for having fun at this race.  After today's attempt at a somewhat-long run, I'm almost okay with that.

Mr. R&R had a 75 minute bike trainer workout on tap and it was one of those perfect fall days, so I decided it was time to attempt to run more than 3-4 miles; and I did something I never do - I took my phone along so I could share it with you.

I started out in my neighborhood and then followed a path through a nearby office park, across an insanely busy street, followed by a hill into one of my favorite parks.  At the top of the hill, I paused to take my first photo:

It's not a run through the park unless I cross paths with geese

We're a little past peak color season here, but the trees are still pretty:

As I continued along the road through the park, I could feel the stress leaving my body.  I cruised down the monster hill that I always complain about, stopped at the golf shack for a quick drink from the bubbler (water fountain for those outside of Wisconsin), and continued on.  When I saw this:

and it made me think of an old Nike ad about how 'the roads are always open'.  I wasn't running fast at all, but I was feeling amazing.  I took a quick turn, crossed another road, and turned into a very popular parkway.  There were lots of people running, walking, walking their dogs, and riding bikes.

I grew up near this area, and when I was a little girl I always thought this bridge was actually a drawbridge - and that there was a troll living under it!  As an adult, I just think it looks cool!

Fatigue was starting to set in as I ran through The Village and under a bridge into another park.  I was really excited to discover that the bubbler near the baseball diamond was still on because I was starting to get warm.  After a quick water stop I ran through the park and over a bridge to a parkway I always struggle on - I think it's a mental thing.

I love how the river looks from the bridge
After about a mile, I turned off the parkway and into a residential area.  There were lots of halloween decorations to look at, so that kept my mind off of how tired I was getting.  I think my favorite house was the one that put costumes on their lawn decorations!

Finally, I hit 6 miles and decided that that was enough for the day and walked the remaining mile or so home feeling better than I have in weeks.  I was tired (in a good way), my head was clear (stopped thinking about work after the first mile), and I was really, really happy.  I'm pretty sure that that run was just the therapy/stress relief I needed. I'm really hoping I can sneak in at least one more 3-4 miler before the Discovery Run this coming Saturday, but whatever happens, I really hope that I can run it in the same mental state I was in today.  

What's your favorite way to relieve stress?

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