Cheaper Than Therapy

Running keeps me sane. Running barefoot makes me saner.

It’s a truism among runners that running’s “cheaper than therapy.” I’ve even seen t-shirts that say that. The reasons why vary from runner to runner. Sometimes it’s about stress relief. Sometimes it’s about endorphins. Sometimes it’s simply about having time alone to think. For me, it’s all of the above, plus the ability to access some deep psychological processes that allow inner healing to happen.

That’s why you’ll read very little (most of the time, anyway) in this blog about races, pace times, and running with other people. You will find, though, a fair amount about form and nutrition and solitude. Those are the elements of running that work for me, and they’re the ones I stay with.

Running as therapy is exactly what I need right now. It’s going to take me through an upcoming set of events in my life that will produce a fair amount of stress.

In a couple of weeks, there’ll be a memorial gathering for my father, who died about two weeks ago. I wasn’t at all close to him, and we’re not a close family, which will make it that much harder. The psyche gets pretty raw at times like that, and I’m going to need to be clear.

Immediately after that, I hope to start finding out where in my body the recurring cancer is. First up will be a day of tests in two different hospitals to set the stage; then, a full day in one of those hospitals undergoing an experimental imaging process that will indicate what steps need to be taken next. One of the major issues about living with cancer is that you just don’t know what’s going to happen. Living with fear is not an option, though, so all I can do is get on with it.

At the end of August, I’ll do a 10K charity run which raises funds to fight “cancers below the waist,” i.e., prostate, colon, cervical, and ovarian. It’ll be a run, not a race, for me, and a chance to give back a little bit for the fact that I’m still here. But I also expect that doing the run will bring some deep emotions to the surface.

Long story short? From now on, in running and in life, my strategy is not to hurry. There’s so much here to enjoy, and I want to take it all in.

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