I've written much about the therapeutic effects of a good run. The story usually goes something like this: I'm so anxious I'm about to explode, so I tie on my shoes and run away, music turned loud. I return refreshed, renewed and ready to rejoin the world.
But sometimes—on days when the stars and my brain chemicals clash in the worst of ways—the "run relief" story takes a slightly different shape. It's usually when I'm mopey and teary and snippy and snappy and Jon (bless his heart) basically sweeps the boys up and orders me to run. I don't want to go but I say "ok, 2 miles." Sometimes this compliance takes longer. Today, it took a while. And, today, because it is November and because, today, I hate November, I decided to run on the treadmill. I wanted to run by myself (sorry, Digs), in my dark grey basement. Sorta like listening to Elliot Smith to cheer you up when you're feeling down (ridiculous), it seems now as I write this. But we've haven't set up the treadmill yet and there aren't any outlets where anyone might expect them. Which PISSED ME OFF and made me ask myself, why did we buy this house anyway? I'm prone to overreact. Particularly on days like this.
So then I decided I would not run. I would clean. Until I looked at the piles of papers everywhere and got overwhelmed. I pulled out some yoga pants and the running shirt that makes me look like a speed skater--or a condom, depending on who you ask. I looked for any iDevice that had music and a charge. I snuck out the front door. (Sorry, again, Digs.)
I sprinted up the hill and cursed the neighbor who clearly needs a new invisible fence for her fierce-barking but friendly dog. Then, lungs burning, I slowed to my typical pace. I passed the home we bid on and lost, the perfectly situated house that looks especially fantastic on the outside. I realized I was being a complete ungrateful asshole and just kept at it. I cursed along with lyrics, aloud, until I realized that people were out raking leaves and I looked and sounded like a dangerous crazy person.
At the point where I could make a right turn and tack on another mile or so, I took the path lazily traveled, stubbornly refusing to give in to my body, which was saying, "keep going - you really should do a five-miler, today." I'd said two. And that's what I'd do. On the final stretch, I didn't feel euphoric. I felt itchy (literally), a little guilty for leaving Digs behind and sort of annoyed that I didn't keep going. But, on the bright side, the 20 minutes I'd spent stepping to the beat of Girl Talk had kept me from drinking, eating and saying things that I shouldn't. And now, writing this, with a glass of lemon water leftover from last night's dinner—a delish tagine made by Olin—I feel grateful. Much better.