Running Away

“What are you running from?”

I hear this pithy remark on almost every run through my neighborhood, usually from nice older gentlemen who are trying to be clever. Depending on my mood I either chuckle and respond with a wave or simply nod my head all the while thinking, “Obviously you have never been a mom or you would know what I am running from.”

Today, it was the editing class I, in a moment of weakness, signed up for in order to be a more effective writer. I haven’t read the chapters or even thought about completing the assignment and my next class is tomorrow morning. I am running from the added stress this class has brought into my already hectic life.

But there are so many things a mother runs from. Sometimes it is the laundry that is piled chaotically on the floor of the laundry room or the dishes that couldn’t fit in the dishwasher after this morning’s playgroup. Often it is the toddler pulling at my legs or screaming at the top of his lungs while playing some game I couldn’t possibly understand. But most often it is the mom inside my head that wants to scream at the toddler who causes me to run.

Whatever it is that I am running from, I am able to lose it on the roads. The stress of my class, the pressure to keep a clean house, or the need to be the perfect mom is shaken off by the pounding of my feet on the pavement. They may come back to haunt me again but for that day they are left in the dust as I run up one court and down the next.

As a runner, this is the part I look forward to the most. There are days I run because it is in the schedule. I need to run long in order to be ready for the marathon, or I need to do speed work so that I might be able to pass my daughter in the next 5K but these days, the running away days, they are the best. There is no expectation of greatness, no schedule to adhere to, just me and the road. If I have left the house running from the mom who wants to lose her temper I may sprint the first mile, if I have left to avoid the work of motherhood I can mosey through the entire run and feel no guilt. This is the run with no pressure and no rules.

Maybe those old men are clever after all because now I realize there is something I am running from but there is also something I am running to. I am running to a peace I can only find on the roads.

Originally published at Irongirl – Talk

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About Ann Brennan

Ann Brennan is first and foremost a mom of three beautiful children. She is the managing editor of Beyond Limits Magazine and the creator of Ann’s Running Commentary. In 2012, Ann took Ann’s Running Commentary to new levels – first with a segment on the RunRunLive Podcast, chronicling her journey to her first Ironman and second, with a new channel on YouTube. Currently Ann is working on a non-fiction book series and working hard every day to remind people to get up, get active and get out there.
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17 Responses to Running Away

  1. Hanlie says:

    Knowing what I know now, I always feel like shaking those mothers who say that they can’t make time for exercise. I think that, apart from the health benefits, it’s a wonderful way to have some me-time, de-stress and lose the frustrations. We all need to run away sometimes!

  2. Amy Reinink says:

    Nice post. My ultimate motivation to run stems from the ability to “run out” the stresses and heartaches of life, and to replace sadness and emptiness with endorphin-fueled happiness. Literally running away from dirty laundry’s pretty cool, too!

  3. Ann Brennan says:

    It is something people underestimate. The mental benefits I get from running may even outweigh the physical benefits. Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you here again.

  4. I love this entry! I am a ‘run away from’ kind of runner, too. I just love when I get in the zone, and all the stresses of normal life fall away. I added your blog to my blog roll 🙂

  5. Ian Moore says:

    Great article!

    I find running/climbing really helps me focus on things to do and get perspective on what’s important. Things are always so much simpler after a run/climb!

    It’s great to be able to just block off a couple of hours and do nothing but run, then it’s case of what you want to think about and nothing else.

    – Ian

  6. Ann Brennan says:

    Ian, I find that almost all of my articles are written while running. It really is the perfect time to dedicate to your thoughts. Thanks for reading this and taking the time to comment.

  7. Kiry/ultrarunnergirl says:

    Another great post Ann! I always say “running is my Prozac.” I honestly don’t know how the sedentary stay sane. And how right you are about the stress-inspired runs being the best ones!

  8. Ann Brennan says:

    Kiry, I think that it must be a matter of ignorance is bliss. But I don’t know how they do it either. My kids will literally tell me to go for a run when I get grumpy. They can always tell when I didn’t exercise for the day.

  9. Sdanektir says:

    Nice post — this really hits home for me.

  10. blondinkaya says:

    Just wanted to say HI. I found your blog a few days ago on Technorati and have been reading it over the past few days.

  11. Lori Rasmussen says:

    I don’t know how a mother can survive without running. Running is the best medicine ever!

  12. Ann Brennan says:

    Me neither. I have to run just to stay sane.

  13. Rev. Run says:

    I’m with you on the “running just to stay sane” thought.

  14. Michelle (mksinmd) says:

    Indeed running/biking/swimming keeps me sane and my daughter will say makes me a better Mother.

  15. billso says:

    Great post! I often work on lecture outlines or my writing as I run.

  16. Gen says:

    Ann, this totally hit home for me too. It’s the only way that I can clear my head. 🙂

  17. Madiantin says:

    YES!!!! Thank you! You wrote just how it feels.

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