Friday, February 1, 2013

Good Kind Of Hurt

This week I've been reminded of the old phrase “be careful what you wish for.”  Shortly after I engaged in some winter whining largely linked to the trapped pollution in the air, a storm came through and cleared it all out.  The only downside was that the snow wore out its welcome, and I’ve had to shovel my driveway the last several days in a row.  Pick your poison, I guess, but this is far better than what we were previously dealing with.  I dodged snow banks and oncoming traffic on a nice wintry run yesterday, and the thought occurred to me that for me, exercise in general but especially running is like the storm that came through in that it totally clears my mind.  It has that effect on a lot of people… I’m hardly the first to come up with this, but I’m often amazed by the impact that running has on my psyche.  I can be in a terrible mood, with negativity accumulating in my head similar to smog in the air, and running just clears it right out.  Of course I love swimming and biking as well, or I’d just stick to pounding the pavement.  However, pool swimming lacks the element of being out in nature, so it’s not quite as effective for me… maybe that’s why I love open water swimming so much.  Nothing tops a great ride, but biking is a little more hit or miss for me depending on the conditions, traffic, etc. Maybe it’s just me, but riding into a steady headwind has a tendency of worsening morale as opposed to boosting it.  On the other hand, running is an almost surefire morale booster.  I remember an old “Far Side” cartoon, where a cowboy, riddled with arrows following an Indian attack, says "Yeah, Clem, it hurts.  But it's a good kind of hurt."  My thoughts on running precisely.

nothing clears mental smog like a good run!

Lastly, here’s a snippet from a recent Slowtwitch interview with pro triathlete Matt Russell that I thought fit in nicely with today’s theme.

ST: What lessons did you learn in 2012?

Matt Russell: That money has little to do with happiness.  I think some people can really get wrapped up with chasing the wrong things.  Triathlon brings a certain level of happiness for me.  For the past 3 years I've been chasing a dream that has kept my wallet stagnant but I’ve made so many memories with the journeys I've experienced and that is priceless.  Life is really short so we need to make the most of it.  I’ve met so many remarkable people and hope to be a positive influence on others.

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