I’m crazy and obsessed with food. So I run!

I run for my mental health and for the love of food!

On a good week, I’d run about 10 miles, three of which are over a very steep bridge, because I am clearly insane. I pay good money to participate in runs all over the Low Country (Charleston, SC)  because it’s a ‘fun’ thing to do. I spend even more money to buy good running shoes, trendy running clothing and gear. It helps me when I look cute while running in public. Running is expensive!

And it hurts!! Around mile two, I start to feel pain in…well, everything! There’s chafing, blisters, a ton of sweat, and sometimes blood involved in what I call exercise. My legs burn, my lungs can’t get enough Oxygen, and mentally I’m just like ‘why do you do this to yourself?!’  Sometimes after I run that bridge I mentioned before, I can barely walk the next day. I am 36 years old now! Just walking these days causes aches and pains. When I run, it feels like my whole body is under attack, and if I just stopped, all the pain will end. But I don’t. Well, sometimes I do, but 92% of the time I don’t.

Because I’m crazy.

There are plenty of reasons to be a runner/jogger. Some people do it to stay fit, sleek and sexy, while others do it to get to their dream body. Some do it because it’s their job. Some do it because they genuinely like it. Some are being chased.

I do it because I have a mental condition.  I run to self-medicate.

I live a high-stress, super busy, always-running-from-one-thing-to-the-next type of adulthood. It’s really hard to keep going sometimes. It’s hard to remember everything too. I tried forming the habit of writing everything down, only to forget where I left the list, so I gave that up.  I’m an over-thinker which is probably the reason I can’t remember things. It seems that my brain doesn’t have a energy-conserve mode like when your iPhone battery is at 20%. It’s the Energizer bunny of brains. On top of being stressed, way too “thinky”, and forgetful, I’m a mom. I feel like my son is the CEO, and I’m merely his over-worked assistant some days (think Sandra Bullock in Two Weeks Notice). It’s all pretty normal really…right?? I am clinging to sanity with white knuckles!!

What’s not normal is my obsession with food. Man, I can eat!! No dainty side salads for me!! I can polish off a 16-ounce inch-thick ribeye steak with a grandmother’s-big-spoonful of mashed potatoes and cream corn, dinner rolls, and a sweet tea to go with that dainty side salad; then go to the movies and get a popcorn and candy! I’m a skinny woman with the appetite of a sumo wrestler. Eating what I want, when I want happens daily in my life. I’m sure I would feel much more guilty about if I didn’t run.

All in all, I’m a crazy, food-obsessed, single, working mom, who is forced to not develop any negative/bad/illegal habits. And I don’t like alcohol, so I run.

As awful as running is sometimes, the fact is that the benefits far outweigh the pain to my body and bank account. Life is about trade offs right?

Running clears my head in the best way possible. It’s really hard to think of what makes you mad or sad when your legs feel like they’re on fire. It’s hard to focus on the fight you had with someone when all you hear is the pounding of your heart in your ears. It’s hard to over-think what a certain text really means when you’re focused on your cadence. Running is the only time my brain doesn’t work so hard. It eliminates negative thinking. And since I’ve learned to run without music, I have gotten even better at realizing just how much running hurts. The pain sets me free.

Yeah, that was cheesy, but it really does!!

In all seriousness though, I just feel better about everything in life after a good run. My body may hurt and I may be exhausted after a long run, but I feel mentally and physically stronger. It’s a break from my busy life and everything involved in it. I find that I attack problems and issues with more logic and clarity after putting feet to pavement. The runs I participate in raise money and awareness for some awesome causes. That’s a happy side effect. Other happy side effects include better sleep, a healthier heart, more focus, increased mental stamina, and an all around mood boost in general.

Also, I eat everything in site. Yes, I’m skinny, but my body is just another happy side effect. Trust me, if you ate the way I do, you would need a regular exercise regimen too!! I should be a thousand million pounds, but I’m not because I have a mental condition and running is the only treatment. The only legal one anyway. 😉

If you’re a runner, tell me what running does for you?

-Gena, imready.blog contributor

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