Long Runs for Mental Health!

My Sunday mornings begin with a long run. Long is relative to what I am training for at the time, so it can take  1 hour or up to 3 hours to finish a Sunday morning run. My mind stays busy when I run. Often, my mind is racing to solve all of  the world’s great mysteries, or all of my not so great and not so mysterious life challenges. Sometimes, I work things out, sometimes, I don’t.

Today, I couldn’t escape thoughts of a childhood friend of mine who is losing the cancer war. As in, they’ve given her 2 weeks. And no matter how far I run, I can’t solve this one. I feel very fortunate to have had a friend for so many years. We met in high school and we made memories to last a lifetime.  There was  a group of us who will be connected forever through everything we shared those years when we saw each other every single day. And no matter how long it has been since we last saw each other, it’s like a day hasn’t passed when we come together.

It’s because we were so young and  so exposed…we were all like family and that’s how I feel whenever I am with any of those friends of mine. Like I am home and I can totally and completely be myself and it’s safe. Because these people know my very soul and no matter what, they will love me.

Wow, that sounds so intense. Which is why it is so difficult to let go of one of these special friends. Because for all these years, no matter how long it has been, I know I will get the phone call. And we’ll catch up. So, now the thought of not getting that call is very scary.

Honestly, I am so happy to have my running life  because having that focus is going to help me cope.  Being able to go outside, my feet taking me wherever I want to go, is freeing and spiritual. And it is an opportunity to leave everything else behind and connect with my feelings.

When we talk about running for our health, let’s remember running is great for our mental health, as well as for our physical health. Stress is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke. Cardiovascular exercise is a great stress reliever. And during stressful times in our lives, we need to take care of ourselves, whether that feels appropriate or not.

I look forward to next Sunday’s long run, when my feet are in charge and my mind is free to reminisce about the great friendships in my life!


About judithisbell

Judith is a physical fitness professional offering advice and anecdotes about healthy lifestyles.
This entry was posted in Athletes, Fitness category, Glen Allen, Health category, Henrico, marathon, Richmond, Running category, Stress, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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