Running: My Temporary Escape
Like many parents of children with special needs, my child is my life. I become so engrossed in helping my child that I forget myself. In having a child with global developmental delays, there is so much work to be done. In addition to being his mom, I often feel that I have to be his physical therapist, occupational therapist, and speech therapist. I lose my identity, or even my son becomes my identity. Running is me-time. It’s time where I am by myself: no child, no husband, none of life’s problems to distress me.
I run because it’s an escape.
I am safety-conscious and aware of my surroundings but I also develop a tunnel vision when I run, where I focus on what my body is feeling. Running is meditative. Focusing on my body allows me to quiet my thoughts and concentrate on the physical. As I take a step, I pay attention to my form. Are my hands clenched? I relax them to relieve the tension. Am I moving my arms too much? I try to keep them at a 90-degree angle by my sides. I try not to become anxious about my form, but to make observations and make corrections when possible. It keeps my mind occupied with something other than the daily struggles.
I run because it makes me feel good.
Even when I’m struggling to complete a run, I always feel great after a run. I feel the endorphin rush, the “runner’s high” that occurs after I’ve huffed and puffed to log a few miles. Running is an antidepressant.
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