Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Running= Cure for Introversion

Million Dollar (ok, maybe more like 3 million-dollar) view of the island of Molokai from the lanai of our rental house:

My favorite thing about Maui was jogging while I was there. The mornings were usually a dewy 65 degrees, the sunrise views were unspeakably beautiful, and the steep hills kept my heart rate at about 160 the entire time (which allowed for guilt free participation in my second, third, and fourth favorite things about Maui- Hawaiian Pizza, Shaved Ice, and chocolate covered macadamia nuts).

The house we (ok, my parents) rented was on the grounds of the Ritz Carlton of Kapalua, so the rocky beaches, wide pedestrian sidewalks and manicured gardens of the resort were my running trail for the week we were there. Though in retrospect, our Hawaii trip seems pretty flawless, a house full of family (including two rambunctious nephews) + substantial jetlag at the time had the potential to make for a pretty grumpy Laine. My morning runs completely absolved me of any moodiness I was feeling beforehand.

I think my family would agree that my two crankiest days were the ones where we piled into a car at sunrise and didn’t make it home until sundown- leaving no endorphin inducing exercise for me. You see, I’m one of those people who loves to run to the point where it’s fair to label it an addiction. Combine running with travelling and I couldn’t be happier.

As a textbook introvert, jogging gives me that time I require for reflection and introspection to “work out my stuff”. In Hawaii, it allowed me to distance myself from whatever insignificant thing that was irritating me and refocus on the fact that I was in freaking Hawaii with my fabulous family and nothing, not even a snorkeling-induced panic attack was going to bring me down. As an introvert, being surrounded by socialization and stimulation all day long can be exhausting. While my extroverted friends and family feel energized by social interaction, I’m actually depleted by it.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t love to socialize, because I absolutely do. Quality time is even my number one love language. It’s just that I have to re-energize afterwards by spending time alone with my thoughts to “work out my stuff”. Running on family vacations has made such a difference in my socializing stamina.

Now running isn’t merely a tool to process the negative parts of life, but it also give me time to practice gratitude. It’s pretty easy to express gratitude when jogging in Maui, but I often include praise music on my playlist so that even when I’m jogging next to a sewer drain in Houston, I’m reminded of God’s hand in my life. It can be a noisy and busy life sometimes, but I always seem to find a few hours a week to hit the pavement, so it’s good to multitask and use this as a time of prayer and praise.

My family enjoying their morning coffee as I prepare for my morning run. Oh Hawaii, I miss you terribly.

No comments:

Post a Comment