Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Difference between Addition and Addiction

I do a lot of thinking while on the run. I've been doing a lot of stroller running, and seem to only think about a. Is Henry okay? b. Is Lambeau going to jump out of the basket? (He rides underneath during morning runs...we go for his walk and then run. Leaving the house is a task, so I combine my outings!) 

Lambeau loves his "basket"! I say "Lambeau get in your basket" and he jumps in.

While on a recent (re: rare) solo run, I got to thinking about how good it feels to be back to the activity that I love. I ran until I was 36 weeks pregnant, at which time my bladder helped make hanging up my running shoes an easy decision. After my emergency c-section, it made for a grand total of 14 non-running weeks. I missed it terribly, but at the same time I couldn't imagine running with my pain and rate of my recovery. Once I hit 8 weeks postpartum, I was ready. So on this solo run I got to thinking: Running is such a great addition to my life.

Throwback photo to the 2012 Philly Marathon with some pretty great people. Thanks, Running!

And then my mind ran with that. I recalled the article in Runner's World "No, Running Isn't Therapy". I loved this article, because it embodied my thoughts about running in a very poignant way. I agree that running is a great outlet, that it helps with stress and all, but there are some things that running can't solve. When it's taken away, what will you do? That's the problem I faced post baby. Thankfully the answer was rest and relax, because running is just a great addition to my life, not an addiction.

Toe surgery circa August 2013 sidelined me for a month. This was a tougher no running time, since it was the end of summer! Teachers get how stressful that is and you try to pack all the fun things into the remaining weeks before school!

The difference between addition and addiction is the place of something on your priority list. I used to get so upset with a missed run, an injury, change in schedule, or shortened run. Now? I'm just happy to run. I'm not worried about my pace, how long I go, or if I feel all jiggly and weird. Now, I understand different strokes for different folks in training, and training can get serious. Goals are great. Aspirations drive us. I think Psychology Today summed it up right, I'll paraphrase their definition of addiction:

"Addiction is the condition where an individual engages in an activity that can be pleasurable, but the continued act becomes compulsive and interferes with life responsibilities."

These days, I have different life responsibilities. I used to get so down and flustered when work would interfere with my running schedule. Now, life is all about finding the balance of being fully present with my family as well as enjoying the addition of running in my life. Running should enhance your life, not detract from it. I have definitely felt a shift in balance to enhancement within running friendships, running with my husband, and setting it aside as "me time"; a get to, not a have to.

How about you? Do you think running is therapy? How have you handled times when you couldn't run? Where does running rank on your priority list? TELL ME ABOUT IT!
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