- I believe that outlets are hobbies that make you happy while helping you become a better person.
- Outlets are needed by us LD and ADHD individuals to give us a chance to escape from the perils of our every day life.
- I use running as my outlet.
- Running helps me not go crazy over the ‘little things.’
- Running allows me to process all the hard stuff in my life so I can approach them with a more level head.
- Running also challenges me physically and mentally.
- Running is my ME time.
- We all need to find our outlet/ME time.
- Our ME time will provide balance in an unbalanced world!
I believe that everyone, especially LD and ADHD individuals, need an outlet. An outlet can be anything from reading to rock climbing. Having an outlet allows you to escape the perils and low self-esteem associated with your every day life. I guess outlets are hobbies that make you happy while helping you become a better person. Happiness is key. Happiness makes the hurt go away. Running makes me happy. Running is my outlet.
My LAME Running History
I started running in middle school. I would run the mile at our district track meets. I loved to run because it made me tired. I think that’s a lame reason to start running but I wasn’t fast enough to win any races so I decided to run for the fun of it instead of for medals. So I did that. I ran for the fun of it on my cross-country team in high school all the way through junior year of undergrad. I basically had to walk on to my cross-country team at Bradley University because my times were TERRIBLE. It’s hard to convince a coach that you’re good enough when you just like running because it’s fun. I asked the coach if I could run and he said, “Ya, we’ll see how it goes.”
I ran cross-country at a division 1 school for 3 years. This shouldn’t impress you because I was HORRIBLE! I got last place (or 3rd to last place) at almost EVERY MEET! I HATED meets because I was so slow. When I ran districts my freshman year I literally got last place! That stupid golf cart, the cart that follows the last runner and makes sure that no one get hurt on the course, was right behind me! I remember people yelling, “Man, that golf cart is going to beat you!” and “Run faster! You’re in last!” I would think, “My legs CAN’T move any faster! SHUT UP!!” For some reason my coach allowed me to stay on the team despite my lack of ability. I think my GPA and hard-work mentality kept me on the team. He was very nice to me!
I was too busy my senior year to run cross-country, work in lab, study for classes and the GRE, apply to grad schools and enjoy my senior year so I quite the team. It was the right choice because my senior year of undergrad was a particularly difficult year for me. I was really stressed out, so I needed to run so I didn’t punch holes in walls. So, through out my senior year I basically would run MAD. While I was running, I’d yell-in-my-head about all the stuff that was wrong in my life. I’d scream about girlfriend issues, I’d grind my teeth and scream in my head about how much I hated waiting to see if I was going to get accommodations for the GRE (I did and I’ll talk about in a later post), I’d yell about getting rejected from grad schools (I was rejected from 7 out of 8 I applied to), and I’d hiss about being stressed and hating classes. I’d mentally-yell like this until I was too exhausted to think about how much I hated a particular class or scream about my brain being too slow. I used running as my outlet.
I’d get pissed, go for a run, get exhausted, forget about why I was pissed/be too tired to care, finish the run and deal with my issues with a more level head. I repeated this daily! I needed this to prevent me from becoming like that small child having a temper tantrum at Toys R Us when his father tells him that he can’t get that new racing game on his Xbox360. I was 21 and I became that kid MULTIPLE TIMES screaming, “WHY?! IT’S NOT FAIR!”
Running Makes Me NOT Crazy
If I didn’t run: when I’d get a rejection letter from a ‘safe school’, I’d try to rip my pillow in half. If I ran, I’d be too tired to even try to rip that stupid pillow in half. If I missed a run and I’d get into a fight with my girlfriend at the time, I’d scream at the top of my lungs into my pillow! If I ran, I didn’t want to waste my lungs on that pointless yelling. If I skipped a run, I’d freak out about a test, which would cause me to clinch my teeth so tight I’d give myself a headache! If I ran, I’d literally say, “This test won’t matter a year from now.” Running prevented my brain from exploding.
Run For the Challenge
Running also challenges me. I didn’t just want to run in undergrad, I wanted to see if I could run at a division 1 school. Even though I was TERRIFIED I jumped in feet first just to see if I could do it! I knew I’d be one of the slower runners on
the team so it wasn’t a surprise when I sucked it up! My times were not important for the team, but they were very important to me. Running in undergrad taught me to run for myself. Since running is an individual sport (for me now), I have more control over it than anything else in my life. If I practice, I will get faster. If I don’t practice, I’ll get slower. It’s very simple. I sign up for various races and try to hit a goal time. I don’t worry about racing other people; I just worry about running against myself (and that JERK clock). I’ve set a marathon goal for the past year and still have not reached it. Every time I run a marathon I get a little bit closer, but I’m still 6 minutes off my goal time (3:10). Each time I run and I miss my goal I tell myself, “I’ll get it next time!” I also have short-term training run goals that help me push harder during my workouts. Having these running goals are wonderful because they are completely separate from my work, school, friends and fiancée. Running is completely mine. It is my selfish outlet.
If I go a few days without running, I begin to feel worse off physically. My legs become very achy, which causes me to fidget. My head gets full of all those ADHD thoughts and I have a very hard time focusing. When I don’t run I get a pain in my groin as well (sorry if that’s too personal)! It’s bizarre! I have to run for my physical well-being. Running allows me to work harder and longer. Even when I have a terribly unproductive day, if I ran in the morning, I tell myself, “Well, at least I ran.” Running is my balance. Running helps me be a better person.
Find Your Outlet
I understand that running is NOT for everyone. Find something that makes you happy and doesn’t involve work or other people in your life. Find that one thing that you can do that makes you forget about all the bullshit in your life. It’s important to take a time out for yourself to process everything that is going on in your life. This is your ME time and you should take ME time every day. ME time should also help you better yourself! ME time is the best kind of time! ME time = your outlet. Find yours!