Yesterday I was having a shitty day. I woke up with all the makings of a head cold—feeling stuffed up, congested and extra drowsy. My eyes were refusing to open. Then I went running. I got up in the mountains, sucked my lungs full of that clean mountain air, blew a couple hundred snot-rockets into the dirt and watched the first few rays of sunlight trickle down onto the Pacific Ocean. Head cold averted. Things were looking up.
Then I got to work and my boss started bitching. Why was I thirty minutes late? Did I have a chance to do all that work that he asked me to do even though it was way outside the scope of my job description and he wasn’t paying me for it? When was I going to cut my hair? Any chance I could stay late today? Was I really wearing sweat shorts at work? I started getting a headache. My stress levels were rising. Cortisol began coursing through my veins. I could literally feel the muscle fibers on the right side of my neck binding themselves together into a gnarly cramp.
So I went running. I ran away from everything and everybody. I charged up the trail listening to the pace of my stride increase with every step. My heart began pumping, sending large quantities of blood surging into my muscles. They loosened. My cramp was gone. As a topped out on the summit, thoroughly exhausted from the effort, I glanced back down at the city street I had left far behind. It seemed my problems had stayed down there too. They couldn’t chase me up the mountain. Unnecessary stress averted. Things were looking up again.
I won’t bore you with all the mundane details of the rest of my day, but by about five o’clock I had accumulated a little IT band tightness, some dry skin, an allergy-induced sniffle and what seemed to be a mild case of constipation. I needed to go running.
When I did, it fixed everything (especially the constipation, that was fixed with a vengeance). And it came with the added bonus of allowing me to witness the sunset from about 2,000 feet higher than anyone else around. Running had singlehandedly turned my no-good, very bad day into a pretty damn good one.
Ok, so running may not be the cure for everything. It’s probably not going to fix a broken toe or help much with a rattlesnake bite, but roughly 99.6% of the time, I choose to prescribe myself a good long run for whatever seems to ail me. And I’m rarely disappointed.
Rolled my ankle playing hoops? If I go running for an hour after the game, the next day I won’t even be able to tell it happened.
Fighting with my significant other? After a run I’m ready to admit I was wrong, even if I wasn’t (but let’s face it, I probably was).
Hung-over? Just gotta get on the trail and sweat it out.
The Lakers lost again? Hill repeats.
Feeling fat? Time for a long one.
Tired? The mountains have an energizing effect.
Depressed? Anxious? Broke? Horny? You get the picture. Running; it’s good for… well, everything.