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What I tried this week: Running through disaster

Jessica Kuepfer training

Jessica Kuepfer training

One of the most exceptional things for me when looking at disaster or adversity is that whenever things in life get tough, people run. This fact has never been more true for me than this winter.

I am in the middle of ramping up for Boston and about to move into a new apartment for the second time in three months. Work is crazy. There are big life decisions to be made. I was in two car accidents, the second while reporting the first. There was a motorist in the parking lot who ran into my parked car, making for two accidents in as many hours.

So far 2015 has not been my year.

And yet, running has been the one thing that has kept me sane through it all. I have never been tempted to skip a workout because they completely ground me. If I have a solid, lung-burning workout or a nice, easy run to release my pent up stress, it makes for a much better day. If I am going through a day with a runners high, I find it much easier to be pleasant than if I have not gotten in my workout.

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I find that running brings stability in a very tumultuous time and, if nothing else, provides me a moment each day to breathe deep. It offers visual progress as you continually go farther, faster and with less effort, which is important to see when there are times in your life where you feel like you are not moving forward at the rate you want to be.

Running provides an opportunity to think or to not think at all. It is rhythmic, repetitive and comforting to jump on a treadmill and know that your only job for the next 60 minutes is to breathe and move your body.

That said, though running is a wonderful stress release, it probably shouldn’t be done when you are dealing with negative emotions such as anger for the same reason that you should not drive in that state: you can hurt yourself. Running angry can prevent you from listening to your body. You can argue that limits are meant to be pushed in running, but going too hard, too fast or too long can lead to injury.

I have never been more grateful to be able to run than I have this winter. Yes, the biting cold has been rough and spring may never arrive, but it’s a blessing to take a couple hours and go for a run, improving myself and making it a better day for those around me.