Running Is My Therapy

Running is my therapy. Some people meditate, some people paint, some people seek counseling. I run. It burns off stress, helps me work through problems, and clears my head like nothing else can. I need it to be a happy, healthy and functioning member of society. Yes, I do it for me but also for you so you don’t have to deal with me in a miserable state.

This week I needed running more than ever. Work had a number of stressful deadlines. My schedule was so packed that I averaged 4 hours of sleep per night. Then, yesterday as things were finally calming down I got a call from my landlord that my apartment had water damage from a unidentified leak. I couldn’t catch a break.

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By the time that 4:30 p.m. rolled around yesterday, I was desperate to get some miles in so I put on my running shoes and headed to the Venetian. I didn’t have a lot of time to run but I made every mile count, running faster than normal. I completed four miles at an 8:49 min/mi average with perfect negative splits. Although I probably had enough adrenaline to run a whole marathon, those four miles vastly improved my mood and my mindset.

Today I am waking up a completely different woman, the woes of the week mere memories pounded into the pavement. Any lingering bad ju-ju will be burned this morning on a run with Dario, our first together since we signed up for the Paris Marathon. Per usual a debrief will follow. In the interim, I leave you with the details of yesterday’s therapy session.

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Gear: Brooks Glycerin 15 running shoes, Garmin Forerunner 920XT watchBeats Studio 2 wireless headphones

Playlist: My “Guadalajara Half Marathon” playlist on Spotify (I recently added new songs, including “Alive (Radio Edit)” by Dirty South and “Sunlight” by The Magician, which I repeated back and forth for most of this run.)

An Ode to Sidewalks

Sidewalks can make or break a city in the eyes of a runner. I realized that this morning after a botched run through Charleston that began west of the Ashley River and ended 40 minutes, 1.6-miles later with my friend Jamison and I calling a rescue Uber from the middle of a random residential neighborhood. The struggle? That the sidewalk network in Albemarle Point has no rhyme or reason and you most certainly shouldn’t expect it to take you safely into downtown.

I travel a lot and have had my fair share of struggles when running in a new city. There have been cities where it’s hard to find nearby running routes, or those routes are far away, or they cut through sketchy areas. But there are always sidewalks offering a safe haven from cars where I can log some miles even if its not through the most scenic of routes. Not in Charleston. The sidewalks here come and go indiscriminately, disappearing with little to no notice and giving me a newfound appreciation for their presence. That is, when they’re present.

Downtown Charleston posed less of a challenge. The rescue Uber took Jamison and I to the picturesque coastline of Battery, an area whose availability of sidewalks renewed my appreciation for this city. Okay, so the sidewalks weren’t in the best shape—some leaned at an angle, some were cracked, most were extremely narrow—but at least they were there. We hugged the waterfront, running past historic mansions and the breezy marshes to Black Tap Coffee Shop, where we ended after two short miles. (We wasted a lot of energy in the sidewalk fiasco and didn’t have patience to run any longer.)

I wish we had started our run in downtown because its bountiful sidewalks would have made for a fantastic run. Alas, the sidewalk fiasco occurred and not only made this one of my least favorite fun runs I have recently taken, but it also started my relationship with Charleston on the wrong foot. Don’t take your sidewalks for granted, folks.

Gear: Brooks Glycerin 15 running shoes, Garmin Forerunner 920XT watchBeats Studio 2 wireless headphones

Playlist: “This Town – Gucci Mane Edit” Radio on Spotify