Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Emotional Toll

I've never been good at letting go of incidents that upset me.  This picture I found from Runner Girl X sums up pretty well what I needed to do but had a hard time doing.

In the back of my mind I've always known how much my emotions affect the rest of me and how I function.  Yesterday's run brought that lesson to the forefront again.

Earlier in the day I'd had a run-in that deeply upset me and left me very emotional the rest of the afternoon.  Tearful conversations with my husband and neighbors left me feeling a little better, but really, the last thing I wanted to do was my 7-mile training run.

I dutifully dressed and laced up to head out anyway, knowing if I skipped the run I'd just feel worse than I already did because of guilt.  Heading out to one of my favorite trails, I should have been in a great mood and ready to put some mileage on my favorite pair of Newtons.  Instead I was still fighting back tears and wanting to go home and curl up on the couch and hide.

On autopilot, I went through my dynamic stretching warm-up and set out for my out and back route.  It usually takes me a mile or so to really warm up and get into the run, but the emotional baggage I was carrying weighed me down and made the first three miles drag.  My legs were heavy, my head wasn't into it, and the urge to quit was strong.  I fought with myself every step to keep going.

I made it to the halfway point, took my gel, and turned around to head back - fully anticipating another hellish couple of miles.  Instead, I was surprised to feel my legs get springy and the joy of running start to infiltrate my spirit.  What had changed?  I let go of the emotional baggage, at least for a little while, and concentrated on my run.  I had let the emotional toll of my earlier encounter take the joy out of my day and my run.  When I let go, I felt my inner "batteries" recharge and I felt so much more myself.

While the second half of my run definitely wasn't perfect, it was much more enjoyable than the first.  The best part was my strong finish with a pace of 8:55 for the last mile. That's a number worth seeing in my book! Most importantly, I learned that carrying emotional baggage makes an already difficult task even more difficult and that in order to be my best, I've got to learn to let go and lessen the emotional toll of others.  

Gotta run. :)