What running brings to my life, and two lists

I did not mean for this to turn into a blog about my running, but since I cannot run it is the topic occupying most of my mind. Tomorrow, I will have an essay about my relationship to running, where it fits into my life, and how I am rewriting my story. For today, however, two lists, written to help me understand why I run and how I can find fulfillment in other activities. I often feel like running is the only way for me to relax; when that is removed from my life, I panic.

Thus, lists. Lists are constant. Lists are solid. Lists show me all the things I do not want to admit, they remind me what I have to (or can) do, they remind me where I am going. I highly recommend lists, both the more common “to-do” variety and the “soul-searching” type, like these.

The first (and keep in mind: these were written stream-of-consciousness and have not been edited):

What Does Running Mean to Me? 

  1. An outlet for energy
  2. Control
  3. Interest
  4. Stability
  5. Peace
  6. Time for myself
  7. Connection to body
  8. A buzz
  9. Endorphines
  10. Sunlight
  11. Consistency
  12. Fresh air
  13. Movement
  14. Nature
  15. Contemplation
  16. Power over my body
  17. An excuse to eat
  18. Fulfilling a habit
  19. Part of my story
  20. Identity
  21. Mental clarity
  22. Rhythm
  23. Heartbeat
  24. Sweat
  25. Grit
  26. Pleasure

So many things! Most of them are positive, although a few (#17, an excuse to eat) I am trying to change. I love running. It feels like part of who I am, what I do, a basic part of living. Which is why, without running, I wanted to write the second list for today, filled with alternatives to running. None of them can quite mimic the high I feel after a good run, but they can approximate the elation.

What Other Activities Can Replace Running

  1. Walking
  2. Sitting outside
  3. Sunny window
  4. Writing
  5. Entering a state of flow
  6. Meditation
  7. Yoga
  8. Pilates
  9. Biking
  10. Reading
  11. Cooking
  12. Physical movement
  13. Deep breathing
  14. Yogic breath of fire
  15. Reading
  16. Learning
  17. Daydreaming
  18. Relationships
  19. Rest and sleep
  20. Conversation
  21. Habits
  22. Strength training
  23. Coffee
  24. Eating fruit

I did not realize this when I scrawled these lists in my notebook, but they are almost the same length! Proof that there are many things I can do if running is an impossibility. Biking is harder to achieve with a back injury, but I have been able to keep up a very gentle yoga routine. Yoga does not provide movement through space (one of my favorite aspects of running) but it does raise my heart rate, make me sweat and ground me in my body.

Until I meet with my doctor (Wednesday), and as I move into this period of recovery, I will revisit this second list and remind myself that I can exist without running.





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