There are some days when I feel like I will implode into a ball of negative energy that will infect the universe for all of eternity if I don’t go for a run.
Yesterday was one of those days.
Now, I did have some legitimate frustrations (if you count first-world problems as “legitimate.”) They kept compounding all day yesterday, until I was this tightly-wound creature who was struggling Not to Lose Her Shit.
My ultimate test came when I had to drop samples off at a lab yesterday. I had to pick up some materials for work next week. I had asked for these materials a week ago, and had assumed they would be ready when I dropped my samples off at the lab. Haha, no. “Can you wait ten minutes?” the head scientist asked with a smile, and I smiled a passive-aggressive one in return.
Ten minutes turned into twenty-five minutes. As each second passed, I tried very hard not to think of the long drive I had ahead of me, and how each passing moment meant I was going to be stuck in traffic longer. It took all my mental energy not to turn into the Hulk and run through the lab screaming, “GARRRRRRR NEED MATERIALS NOWWWW.”
When head scientist finally had the materials ready, she apologized several times with a smile, and my annoyance receded. Still, I felt stressed out as I began my trip home, especially as I predictably got stuck in traffic. I was so desperate for relaxation that I popped in a Pink Floyd CD. Y’all, I love Pink Floyd, but usually avoid listening to them while driving because, you know, I don’t want to fall asleep and die. But desperate times call for desperate measures.
How can you be stressed out while listening to that shit?
Once I got into town, I got off the highway and made a detour to my favorite running trail. It was already getting dark (another reason I had been so desperate to leave the lab early), but I figured I could get a head start and hopefully avoid the darkest parts of the trail by dark. It didn’t quite happen this way, so I had a couple of creepy moments of running through very dark trail, being acutely sensitive of any passing shadows and sounds, and hoping fervently that I wasn’t going to get raped.
I ran for over forty minutes, and it was just the tonic I needed. I breathed the cool air, and ran without my iPod so I could be completely within the moment. I felt refreshed, happy, and alive. All my stupid frustrations seemed smaller after each mile, and by the end of the run, everything was put into perspective.
It’s so easy to become hyper-involved in your own life and meaningless problems…sometimes, all it takes is a good run to sort everything out. Running simplifies life into the most important necessity – taking a deep breath. Everything else after that is superfluous.