When the best running fuel is frustration

Over the six years we’ve been running together, my sister and I had purposely gotten away from what I used to derisively call “Ladies Who Lunch” runs — where the run simply serves as a vehicle for conversation.

In our case, those were basic out-and-back 4-milers on Bluffton’s River Greenway. They were a challenge for a relatively short time back in the summer of 2010, but after awhile they became so rudimentary that they required no thought whatsoever. And no challenge, either.

Since then we’ve done all kinds of endurance runs — including last year’s HUFF 50k — and a bunch of trail runs. We’ve done speedwork and hills. We almost never go out and just run 4 miles anymore without having some kind of plan.

But that’s exactly what we did twice last week, and it was a great reminder that on the most basic level, running remains great therapy for getting out your frustrations.

In my case, I was coming off the despair of a day I’d been dreading for three years — the apparent end of our youngest daughter’s basketball career. Girls basketball is a big deal at our school, and her grade has twice as many talented players as there were spots on the seventh grade team. Colleen was among many disappointed girls Thursday night, but she was probably taking it better than I was.

Traci was coming off an incredibly frustrating day of substitute teaching. You wouldn’t believe how much crap poorly parented second-graders can dish out these days. Well, I can — because I’d had an incredibly frustrating afternoon dealing with some poorly parented third-graders the previous day.

We were both so ready to rant that we took off at a gallop. And though we were both feeling much better as we wrapped up that familiar four, we were still going strong all the way back up to the parking lot. Judging from the courthouse clock, we’d done it in well under 10 minutes a mile without even really thinking about it.

That may well have been a “ladies who lunch” run, but I’m awfully glad we took our frustrations out on the greenway rather than on a big plate of French fries.

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3 Responses to When the best running fuel is frustration

  1. OmniRunner says:

    A good rant on the run can be a good thing. It’s amazing the conversations I’ve had running, sometimes with people I don’t even know very well.

    • tischcaylor says:

      Yep. It’s amazing how patiently you can listen to someone else’s (or even your own) ramblings on a run that you would just tune out in the regular world. That makes it sound boring, and I guess some of it is, but during a run it feels like the substance of life itself. (Or so I delude myself.)

      • OmniRunner says:

        Sometimes it is mundane. Other times we talk about our kids, jobs, bosses and other stuff we just need to get off our chest. Running can be the great confessional also!
        I try not to drone on about things I always like to talk about. I hate to be totally boring!

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