A few weeks ago I did the unthinkable. I, Jessica the introvert, sent out a beacon via the interwebs. "Desperately seeking a trail running buddy." And I FOUND one! Our first run together was a few weeks ago, a beautiful Sunday trail run. And with a goal to just slowly get out there, maybe 3ish miles, we managed almost 4. It was a great match. The conversation flowed, the running was challenging but fun. I could not believe my luck. We ran again this past Sunday, and today she is joining me on the road. It is different running with someone. You must allow yourself some level of vulnerability. Runs can be beautiful, and then you have the urge to spit or need to pop behind a bush to pee. Neither of which has happened yet, but these are considerations. A running partner, like any relationship, is about balance and trust. If one of you needs to work some stuff out you could end up dragging your partner along on a killer run, potentially injuring one or both of you along the way. Or perhaps you wake up not feeling like those running shoes, but you already committed. Are you really going to let yourself down AND someone else? It is a great responsibility. Not to be taken lightly.
And I don't.
My last post I briefly mentioned going into business with my husband, venturing into the realm of fitness and health at a level I have never been. I have been searching myself for how this fits with my life goals, with the person I want to be. Yes, I have a degree in exercise psychology. Yes, my PhD focus was on the neuroscience of exercise. Fabulous and exciting. So what? I can cite all the damn research about why exercise is this amazing thing, how it is comparable to medication and psychotherapy in the treatment of anxiety and depression. The psychological and cognitive benefits are quite vast. It's role in neuroplasticity is epic. And don't get me started on how it helps with the aging process and traumatic brain injuries. Don't believe me? Here is some science backing it up: Sciency Stuff. The point is, we know. Science knows. The hard part is translating this beyond the overly simplistic approach that exercise and physical activity (yes they are defined differently) are GOOD for us. And damned if I have that figured out yet. But then I started running with a buddy.
I started actually communicating with another person while running. It is then I began to realize just what I was capable of offering. I can talk about exercise and physical activity effects on mood/psychological health/cognition to a degree, but more importantly I am physically capable of SHOWING the benefits. I am a running example. I am not perfect, I have my days. Stress is a nightmare for me that plunges me into depths of anxiety unbearable for me and those closest to me. But I am managing my life. One day at a time. One mile at a time. For me, running with someone is a HUGE step. It is evidence of how far I have come. As a person, as a runner. It shows me I have levels of confidence in myself and my ability to run that I never had before. I don't feel any anxiety over the newness of being around someone. I only feel the thrill of a run. It allows me to be more comfortable. More at ease. More myself.
As I embark upon this giant leap into the unknown universe of business owner and movement professional I am becoming increasingly aware of how mine and my business partner's roles differ. Where he is all about the body, I am more into the mind. Which makes us a perfect blend for a wholistic approach to movement. It takes more than just the physical ability to move ourselves, it takes the desire to,
Got your socks on? Then put on your shoes and run. It is never too late to start moving.