We all handle stress in different ways. Some people head to the bar. Some people head to the golf course. I head out on nice long runs.
I got some stressful news yesterday morning (not bad, just stressful) and literally the only thing I could think to do to clear my head was to run until I couldn’t think about it anymore because my legs were tired.
Turns out yesterday, that took 17.22 miles of running all around DC.
When I left my house, I had no idea how long I planned to run. I threw my ID, credit card, metro card and some cash into my iFitness belt, grabbed Garmin and my water bottle, popped in my music and just started running.
In the beginning, all I could focus on was trying to solve the problem. I kicked around a million different scenarios and possible outcomes as I ran down Beach Drive enjoying the shade of Rock Creek Park.
I stopped to stretch about two miles in since my legs were sore from lifting on Saturday morning, and I was still turning the problem over in my head.
As more miles passed, I stopped trying to solve the problem. My brain was too busy sending “keep moving” messages to my legs to come to any real solutions. And that’s pretty much exactly what I was going for.
Somewhere near the National Zoo (maybe about 6 miles in?) I just relaxed, completely stopped thinking and just ran. It was one of those zen moments of running, where everything just clicks.
As I made a turn on the trail, I came face to face with a deer. She eyed me for a long while trying to make sense of me and what I was doing disturbing her lunch hour. I eventually skirted by her and kept going.
By the time I got to mile 9.5, my water bottle had run dry and I was out of Gu. I knew I wasn’t far from the Georgetown Running Company, so I pulled a quick detour down the C&O Trail and popped into Georgetown to refuel.
Taking a quick break in some air conditioning was apparently just what I needed to revitalize myself. I had been thinking about calling it quits after 10 miles, but I felt so good after my break that I kept going.
I picked up the Rock Creek Trail again and kept running down to Hains Point. By this point I was hot and started to get a little tired, so I was being a bit more liberal with my walk breaks.
I wasn’t in this run for time at all so I didn’t care that some of my splits were clocking in at close to 11 minute miles.
I paused on Hains Point to take in some of the views of the monuments. It’s views like this that remind me I completely and totally love where I live.
At around mile 14, the wheels started to fall off and I was ready to be done. I had officially gotten to the point where my legs hurt more than my head and the original problem I had been trying to solve was a pretty distant memory.
Unfortunately, once you’re on Hains Point, there’s no real way to get off except to keep going. I walked a lot in those last three miles. My legs were tired. The sun had finally come out and Hains Point seemed to drag on forever.
But eventually I made it back to downtown and hopped a Metro back home.
My legs feel totally fine today, probably because of that awful ice bath I took, and my head feels a little bit clearer than it did yesterday. The problem is still nagging in the back of my mind, but it’s not nearly as persistent as it was yesterday.