Time and stress management, moments of clarity, and running

Time and stress management, moments of clarity, and running

Talk to any runner, and most will unabashedly explain that part of running’s appeal is that it makes them feel “free,” that pounding their feet on the pavement, one step at a time, helps them beat away the stressors of their life (if only for the duration of their run), and that running’s overall effects include making them feel healthier, sleep better, eat more conscientiously, have greater self esteem, etc.  These reasons, and a litany of others, totally apply to me.

Last week I wasn’t up to running.  Aside from a simple 4 miler and some hill repeats during my lunch break a week ago, I didn’t run a lick.  I felt fatigued all week and figured that I should sleep as much as I could, with the Akron race coming up on 9/26 and all, and that the time I’d spend running I could (or should) instead spend on sleeping or grad work.

Now that I’m in the final throes of my Akron countdown, I’m so relieved that last week’s fatigue is a thing of the past.  What has replaced it, however, is buckets’ worth of readings, writing assignments, and a presentation — all due in the immediate days post-marathon — which puts a damper on my time at home this weekend.  Once I realized that for one class, alone, I’d be submitting about 50% of my final grade next week, along with another 25% for my other class — in addition to all the readings, the group presentation, and everything else — I realized that this week will be one of micro-managed time … and what better way (or reason, or “excuse”) to run.

I have always been one of those types of people who function best under a time-strapped schedule, and I think it’s also during these times that my runs become all the more meaningful and important.  In lieu of the last long-run I didn’t do over the weekend, yesterday morning I ran 8 before work, in an ominously dark, hazy, and when-will-it-start-raining temperature.  Instead of taking the bus to work this morning, I ran my bus route (and beat the bus — take that, CTA!) and clocked in a nice 3.2 miles before breakfast.

With the taper, and my hell week, I’ll probably only run once more before Saturday’s race.  Maybe I’ll reach some earth-shattering moments of clarity, or some sort of epiphany, at this weekend’s marathon that will lead me to realize the cure for Kenya’s corruption that impedes the country’s long-term sustainable development, or alternative policies for eliminating the US prison system, or how developing countries can educate their women and use them in their long-term development goals.  Sometimes I think my clearest when I’m on the run …

Next time you hear from me, I’ll probably be recaping my Akron race and share my ruminations on Chris McDougall’s Born to Run, my work book club’s September selection.  [So far, it has been an incredibly interesting read.]  Here’s hoping for good weather on Saturday morning…

What'cha thinkin?