The Impact of Running on Your Mind

Running - Photo by Nicolas Hoizey on Unsplash

Right before the sun set today, I set out to run. To be quite honest, I didn’t feel like it at all. It felt easier to get lost online in front of my laptop. It felt easier to just sit. But I remembered how great it felt to move my body, to sweat, to feel the crisp air against my skin, the breeze brush through my hair like gentle fingers.

I remembered how my fasting glucose seemed to be lower the following day after a walk or a run. And as someone with prediabetes, battling insulin resistance, I knew how important this was for my overall health. Whether it was metabolic or mental. And I remembered that when your insulin spikes, it activates your sympathetic — fight or flight — nervous system.

So I told myself to “Go outside,” if only for a little while.

I’ve been following None to Run, and was tracking in my bulletjournal the dates I follow the plan successfully. The free 12-week plan helps someone who never runs to someone who does. It’s a gradual program that starts incrementally slow. Today, I was following Week 5, Workout 3 — which had me start out with an easy walk for 5 minutes, followed by 90 seconds of slow running and 1 minute of walking, repeating it until you reached a total of 30 minutes. Tracking my runs helps motivate me to show up for myself. I looked forward to checking off that I hit Week 5. I try very hard not to beat myself up when I miss a day or two.

With each step across the James D. Pfuger Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge, I felt more alive. And when I began running towards the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge and the Hyatt Hotel, it dawned on me how much I loved to move my body, wishing every living human being on this earth could experience the delicious delight of sweat and breath, that these simple elements in life made it worth living. I watched the water reflect the darkening sky as I ran alongside Lady Bird Lake, marveling at the skyscrapers and the trees that framed both sides of the lake. Why would anyone want to end their life knowing such beauty exists? I thought of the beauty of music, listening to Alexis Ffrench‘s “Dreamland” on repeat, enboldened to sprint like a gazelle, as if I were in the Olympics, chased by a predator. I remembered my friend Nan, who once said what motivated her to finish a marathon was the image of a killer chasing after her kids …

As I watched the sun set like orange fire over the rainbow letters of the ZACH Theater, I marveled at the sheer beauty that is life. I could barely breathe. How could anyone willingly leave this beautiful world? How can such profound bliss exist with so much pain and suffering?


Photo by Nicolas Hoizey on Unsplash

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