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On Running, Training

Why A Vacation is Good For Mental Healthy Running

Time Away from Training Can Rejuvenate Both Mind and Body

Vacation is necessary. It is a time to take a break from work and to spend time alone or with family. If you have an injury, nothing is better than to take some time to relax before venturing out again.  The last month I have been sick. My 80-mile round trip commute coupled with the stress of kids and family, not to mention new demands on my job have chewed me up. Also, while that is all going on, it’s not officially summer yet, but the over 90 degree on the Eastern seaboard heat is stifling. It doesn’t matter if you run any time past 7 AM. If you haven’t hit the pavement before that hour, you are in for an excruciatingly hot, sticky, and sweaty run. Especially in Hilton Head, where I am now.

Now I’ve run in the heat, but today I decided against it. By 9:30 AM it was so darn hot, I was drenched as my kids and I embarked on a pirate ride in what I had hoped would be a breezy morning cruise. An hour later the parents looked as if they were going to pass out and the kids were not faring any better. If it weren’t for a 20 minute water battle against Stinky Peat, I think we all would have passed out. Alix would not be running today in this heat. 

Later, as the family rode a bicycles past a runner who was moving along on the trail here in Hilton Head, it wasn’t hard to figure out he was hot to the point of wanting to dive in the lake he passing in spike of the alligators. He stopped to walk just as we stopped at a Lawson Stables to do some photo ops with the horses. The runner moved along and a few minutes later we found him lumbering along. He had actually stopped for a few breaths and then started up again. I tried to give him encouragement as I passed.

I could see the frustration one feels when you are hotter than hell; determined to run 5-10 miles, and it’s so damn hot it doesn’t matter what you do. You are simply overheated, tired, and sluggish.  It’s these days that make me yearn for the 50 degree days of fall. I did not envy the runner and started to day-dream about the pool until I crashed into my son who decided to stop on the trail. My other son, riding tandem behind me, managed to stay on the bike. I thought I broke my ankle off; but the pain subsided a couple of miles later.

On vacation; given how stressful my job is I chose to either run or not. In South Carolina in Hilton Head, even in June, it’s so muggy here it feels like there is no oxygen. Running in the early morning is best, but I chose biking over running if only so that I can work out and get home faster.

For this particular vacation, running will probably not be my main form of exercise.  I figure, the U.S. just got shut out of the World Cup, Michael Jackson is on Biography every other hour, and figure, what the hell. I am going to just run when and if I feel like it. Sure, I want to run a 1/2 marathon in a few months but I need a break.

During vacation I run for mental therapy and not a time for training; but I also read. In the two days I’ve been here I’ve hidden away and finished The Girl Who Played with Fire, which meant I’ve ready 400 pages in two days.

And, of course, my health set backs, which include a sinus infection, a kidney infection, and then bone searing back pain I’ve decided to slow down – figuring  that was the universe trying to tell me something – so as I relax and join my family in the pool and go for long bike rides I have my running shoes poised and ready for when I am ready to do a 5:30 AM run. That day will come before I leave Hilton Head, but that is a luxurious 6 days away.


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