I never thought that crying was a side effect of running. It likely isn’t for most people but for me, the weird thing that I’d need to include on my number “things-you-don’t-know-about-me” lists that are crawling all over Facebook right not would have to be - I cry after running. The first time it happened, I chalked it up to crazy hormones but it’s been happening a lot more often lately. The more and the often being the operative words that prompted this post.
I’m a pretty open book with my emotions and have no qualms about public crying because I’ve done ‘em all – the happy cry, the pissed off cry, the silent cry at the movies, the heartbroken cry, the-OMG-that’s-SLB! cry, the sad commerical cry and of course, the full-on superugly cry. I never expected recreational running to make me emotional (finish line crying after a race doesn’t count because it is a given in my book).
I’ve come to terms with yoga tapping into my emotions. Years ago, when I first started practicing yoga and tears started spilling out of my eyes while in savasana, I freaked out. I never thought that it was wrong to be emotional in public but this display felt very inappropriate. I was very self-conscious and embarrassed.
When I went to apologize to the instructor for “losing it” in her class, I was shocked when she smiled, hugged me and told me not to be ashamed but to be proud to have been able to express and access some feelings unbeknownst to my conscious mind. I walked away semi-relieved and a bit confused. Over time, the practice of yoga has not only conditioned my body, but it’s been a very special conduit between my body, mind, heart and soul. Running was never a spiritual endeavor for me. It was just plain exercise however, I think something is changing.
My running has definitely evolved over the years. I started running because it was cheap and challenging. I run now NOT because I love running but because I get to :
Connect with the outside world
I’m not a nature lover or anything but for me, running must be done outside. A treadmill will not do. I can go to a yoga studio or a fitness studio to sweat but a run requires the outside world. I’m not so dedicated that I’m dying to go out in the snow or rain (a light snow or rain is ok but I’ll pass on the heavy precipitation or extremes of temperature).
I love to see major landmarks and run over bridges (one day I hope to run over the Golden Gate Bridge) during a run but just being outside makes me feel like I’m multitasking. I’m taking in the world around me while I exercise.
Listen to music
Hate if you want but I listen to music when I run and the only time I don’t is when I’m running with a friend. When I’m running it might be the only time that the crescendo and lyrics of a song really have a meaningful impact. The fact that a song can not only motivate my pace but can change my mood during a run is powerful! There’s no way that I think I’d ever run without music.
I love all kinds of music but only special songs make it on to my running playlists – it really isn’t only Duran Duran. I’m thrilled that I have a friend in Gerard@TheMusicOfRunning (who just ran his 16th marathon this weekend – Congrats!). Gerard is one of the few who “gets me” when it comes to this controversial subject.
Take a photo
Thank goodness for camera phones – they’ve changed everyone’s lives and for me the idea of stopping and taking a picture during a run changed my running. I’ve said it many times before on the blog that I have a friend who is a long-time runner and photographer who told me that she stops during every run and takes a photo. When I met her, the thought of stopping during a run to me was unthinkable. Her perspective turned my running world around. Running went from being a punishing exercise endeavor to a privilege with a photo souvenir.
So why am I crying these days after a run? I’m not entirely sure. Maybe it’s a release of some sort or maybe it’s that I’ve found that running is another practice that can open the emotional floodgates? Maybe it’s because I’m 43 and my hormones are changing? Maybe it’s because I’m about to embark upon starting a private practice and I’m scared witless? Maybe it’s just because it’s November and since living in California, if it goes below 70, I’m cold now. I haven’t figured it out yet.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to roll with it. I haven’t hit the broke-down ugly cry stage post-run so I’m ok…for now. I’m not yet the liberated Goober (yes, that’s a capital “G”) that I allow myself to be when the tears come in yoga class but maybe one day I will.