One of the things I like about running is that it can be completely separate from all other aspects of your life. Well, not really, it gets even better than that because it’s connected, but the connection has a back flow protecter on it. The benefits of running will spill over into other areas of your life. You’ll have more confidence in the board room and bedroom, you’ll be healthier and live longer, your mood will be better, stress level lower, and patience higher. That’s a good connection and you want that one to be strong and free flowing. However, when your life isn’t going well, and you feel like you’re losing ground in 1 or 2 or all areas of your life, you always have that hour or so to look forward to; those precious moments when your logging miles. At times like these I feel like my running shoes are just like Dorothy’s red slippers in The Wizard of Oz. When we put on our magical footwear, we are protected from evil, and can be transported to a better place, if only for as long as our endurance allows. There’s something about pushing your body to exhaustion that quiets the internal incantations that pick away at your sense of well being. The greater need for sleep seems to quell the nocturnal negativity that disturbs your sleep and deprives you of the restorative benefits of a night well slept. It may be that the chemicals produced in the brain during exercise are able to make us feel better; it may be that physical exertion can provide a focal point to distract you from the regular crap that piles up day in and day out while you run; it may be that your ability to control all the important aspects of your run provides some sense of surety and control, however illusory it might be. I can’t explain it. I just know when I feel lousy I run, and after the first few miles, once I get warmed up, and settle into my groove, things aren’t so bad, for a little while. I know my boss is still going to ride me like a rented scooter, and the people in my life that assault my serenity will continue to do so, my mortgage will still loom over me like the sword of Damicles, and my obligations as a father, husband, son and citizen will be waiting for me when I get back…..but for those miles, those precious minutes when all that I’m aware of is my breathing and the sound of my footfalls propelling me forward, there is a sense of bliss and calm and peace that I can find nowhere else. Dorothy used her magic shoes to take her home and I use mine to escape, but we both go where we need to go.