Long run Saturday:

As my running partner Rebecca and I get ready for the Zion half marathon in March, every Saturday is about our long run and building up distance. We meet at 730 in the morning, so this picture was taken just as it became light out this morning and it’s of my favorite buildings in Bellingham: the silos where GP paper factory stood. The bay is just beyond the buildings and if you look in the opposite direction, it’s where my first apartment in Bellingham was, which included a beautiful view of the bay (that you cannot see due to the low light). At the time this included the active smells of a paper factory. I should say, more accurately, a toilet paper factory. To me it always smelled like hot dogs, salty. The views were worth it .

Back to this morning’s run: after doing 6 miles of max capacity intervals (7) at 4 minutes per interval, on Wednesday this week , and then a six mile run the next day at a relaxed pace, it was no shock that I was exhausted during our run of 9.5 miles this morning. It took a bit longer than I had expected, with a few more walk breaks that I’ve done in a while. Thank God for my running partner, she keeps me distracted and entertained….. Today we spent half the run talking about the right to die when someone has a terminal physical illness. As we both work in mental health this led to talking about the possibility of the right to die when someone has intense mental illness as well. Does someone have the right to commit suicide? My job is to keep my clients alive, although I do understand when the pain is so intense that they don’t want to. I’ve had clients attempt suicide and nearly each one has been very grateful that they didn’t complete. Even when they have to live with the serious repercussions of the damage they did to their bodies with the attempt (including partial loss of use of hands, recurring blood clots, and chronic pain), they were still grateful they were alive. We didn’t come up with a concrete answer to the question of right to suicide.

Back to running: running helps me to control my brain. It has intensely increased my ability to be mindful of the moment I’m actually in, not the one where my brain is insisting it’s too tired to go on (whiny baby). It’s something that I try and encourage my clients to do, so they can experience the depth of mindfulness that you learn trying to stay present and moving when you’re uncomfortable and tired. Learning that you still can move, no matter what your brain tells you. I enjoy the pride they feel when they’re able to walk a mile that first time, then 1.5, then 2, etc… If I could do many more walking therapy sessions with my clients, I would. Wait, I can. Time to change up sessions.

Of course, the benefit of how your brain chemistry changes with exercise is a boon as well.

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