Lately I’ve been feeling very distracted.
It started about 5 weeks ago.
My mom, who is a 17 year survivor of breast cancer, was having some health issues. More testing needed to be done to be determine what was going on. The big C word was thrown out into the universe by her doctor.
For anyone who has gone through cancer treatment (yourself or as a family member), you could have been told you won a million dollars in the next breath. But all you would have heard was CANCER. Your worst fear coming back to haunt you.
When my mom told me, it just so happened that it was the same week that my Achilles and SI/L5 injuries occurred. Normally, running is one of my coping mechanisms. The feelings of ‘What ifs’ towards my mom’s health swirled in my brain like fall leaves in a wind storm.
Without being able to run, the thoughts stewed in my brain, growing, distracting me. My focus? What focus?
One Monday, I forgot to pick my kids up from school. I drove right past the exit to their school. The only thing I remember thinking was “Cool. No traffic back ups today!” It finally dawned on me that it was really, really quiet in the car about two miles from home. And did I mention that it was 5:50 p.m. and school closes at 6 p.m.? Thankfully there wasn’t any traffic back to school so I made it on time. BUT they were the last kids in their classroom. There goes my Mother of the Year award!
Another day, I received a text from Ron while I was at work.
“Are we leaving the doors wide open and unlocked now when we go to work?”
Yup. I forgot to close and lock the door when leaving for work that morning. Our house was wide open for 9 hours. Thankfully no one discovered my big whoops.
Running for at least 20 minutes produces a natural chemical called Serotonin, which allows us to feel calm, centered, focused and happy. How cool is it that we have this built into our system to allow us to focus better? Sure I was still working out and getting the sweaty, feel good endorphins. But those endorphins have nothing on the running variety. They are seriously the best around.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about running as a therapy. I definitely don’t think it’s the cure all for every problem. But it definitely is my therapy.
I can sort through my problems while I’m out by myself on a run. The road is a good listener even if no words are spoken. Or I can sweat it out with my best running friends on a long run, leaving every thought, concern and what if on the pavement with each passing mile. I can come home from a run focused and ready for the day. I feel like my memory is enhanced. I’m not so distracted.
Late last week, my Mom got the pathology results back from all her testing.
Best two words ever. And I’m on my way back to running. I can tell a difference in my mood and focus even with a short, 3 miler. There may be chaos and stress all around me, but I’ve got my running shoes to help me out.
Running truly is so much more than running.