So I’ve read the self-important bloggers who wax poetic about the powers of running. I’ve heard of, and seen, people who primarily identify as “runners”. For me, this always seemed a trifle silly.
I mean, it takes no great skill. No equipment. No knowledge is required, other than the innate understanding of how to run, which is something mere children can do without any formal training. And, of course, these runners were making no special claims about being good at running. They were just saying “sometimes, I run around for fun”.
I was diagnosed with ADHD as a college student, when all of a sudden I didn’t have the structure (or the guidance) that comes from an upper-middle class white upbringing which focused on “enriching experiences” and “competitive college admissions” and “do a good turn daily” and “it’s time to do your homework!”.
At college, I was a mess, at best. I was a disorganized wreck seeing myself truly for the first time, and realizing that I didn’t know where the heck my next class was, what I did with that assignment, who I was supposed to meet, and look! they have ice-cream. All at once.
But here’s the thing that you’ve been waiting for: I was wrong. Running is excellent. But I don’t give two bananas about my lungs (which I assume are doing good) or my heart (pumping) or my legs (toned, at least more so than when I was a chubby wreck of a college kid), it’s all about the brain.
Yes, running is good for my brain.
One of the more unpleasant side effects of the ADHD meds, in addition to feeling emotionally “flat” for most of the day is the sudden “crash” at around 5pm every day. I feel cranky, irritable for no reason, and down. I get a slight headache, I can’t think clearly, I become clumsy, and everything anyone says is a dig at me.
What is happening is my brain is literally stumbling, like a car, which isn’t getting the fuel it needs to feel good, like dopamine. Or serotonin. Or something. Hell I dunno, that conversation with the doctor was months ago.
Running, it seems, cranks up the ‘ol brain and produces endorphins. Or neurotransmitters. Listen, I’m a bit fuzzy on the science behind it all, but you read enough articles on the web to know what I’m talking about right? Right.
The point is, I’m pretty freaking close to writing an annoying article about how awesome it is to be a runner, and how much I identify with running culture, and blah blah blah.
Running has become my daily escape, my way to hit the reset button, my way to make the brain get amped up and produce the chemicals I need to feel good. It gives me time to think, time to dig deep, and time to prioritize things. It makes me feel, it makes me listen, and most of all, it makes me less cranky.
So although it’s awesome, you’ll never see me write some super annoying, preachy blog post that’s all “running changed my life!” or “runners for life” or “running makes you feel great” some other such crap.