Facing the Tiredness

Yesterday’s run was one that really proved the value of running. It was a short one (10.5K), but it did me a world of good.

I couldn’t do my planned 16K run on Thursday, because of work commitments. I had a day-long workshop in nearby Toronto (heavy-duty commuter traffic both there and back), then a lengthy de-briefing which took up all of the evening. by the time I fell into bed, I was utterly exhausted. I couldn’t run early Friday morning (my preferred time), because of more work commitments. I then had a grueling two-hour staff meeting in the early afternoon. By the time the meeting ended, I was way, way beyond exhausted – still standing, but barely functioning.

So I left work a bit early and went for a run.

At first glance, that sounds kind of odd. Why go for a run when you’re totally exhausted?

The answer is that I’ve found that it helps me get all the rough edges – both physical and psychological – smoothed out, so that the tiredness isn’t destructive. If I hadn’t run, I would have been really ragged. By the time I got home from my steady pace 10.5K run, I was just tired -nice, old-fashioned, ordinary tired.

That’s not to say that it was entirely easy, not at least at the start. My body certainly didn’t want to do it, and what was left of my brain was arguing against it as well. But, at about the 5K point, everything eased out, and – miracle of miracles – I actually began to run more strongly and quickly. When I’d finished the 10.5K distance, I was a fully-functioning human being once again.

It’s as if, somewhere in the middle of the run, I ran to where the tiredness was, gave it a respectful but firm handshake, and then ran out into the world again. I’d recognized and acknowledged my tiredness as a worthy opponent, and, in so doing, made my peace with it.

Is it any wonder I often say that running keeps me sane?

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