Great essay. When my mom died in 2000, lifting and mountain biking were my grief management tools. I would not have survived without them..and, my wife, of course. We all manage grief in our own ways, but I think a healthy physical pursuit can go way towards helping to recalibrate emotions and see hope and light going forward. It helps you believe in yourself and internalize the belief that you’ll be okay, and that you will heal.
So I decided to run. I wanted nothing more than to run away; to run as fast as I could. I wanted to run from the pain, the guilt, the responsibility—and I wanted to run from the fat.My debut consisted of a slow jog around the block and promptly resulted in vomiting on my neighbor’s rose bush. Surprisingly, I pushed on. And as I pushed on, life pushed on. Running was my only reason for getting out of bed in the morning. I went straight from the covers to the road—a hot mess of unwashed, tangled hair, un-brushed teeth, and rumpled pajamas. As I ran, I shed tears, and I unabashedly grieved for my father. I replayed that day, and the days that followed. I replayed our fight and the regret that lived in my heart. I cried in pain as my feet pounded the concrete. There were days when I wanted to turn to the anti-depressants that my doctor so willingly prescribed to me or the sleeping pills that are so readily available, but I laced up my sneakers each morning and running became my drug. Running became my counselor.