Biking: the sort-of answer to not-exercising-induced angst

(put that title in your pipe and smoke it!;)

Y’all. I’m putting up a good front, but it’s a struggle not running these days. The actual exercise is one part of it, but I realized today that there’s another big, soul-nourishing thing that comes from running that I’m sorely missing: it gets me the heck out onto trails, into trees, amidst birdsong, surrounded by the particularities of whatever season it happens to be. Away from normal life, and into that exercise-induced, nature-augmented meditative state of loveliness.

It hasn’t even been that long but I miss that. An awful lot.

Mary S Young State Park(Definitely need more of this in my life right now)

I was lying in the grass of Washington Park this evening after work, feeling irrationally angsty and sad. And as I listened and watched the birds start to sing their bedtime songs, I realized that that kind of thing, that mindful quietude, is something I’ve been missing — overwhelmingly missing — because I haven’t been running or even walking the trails near home or work.

In previous incarnations of myself tonight’s breed of angst would probably have led me down a path in which I convinced myself that I needed to break up with my partner, move to Guam, and start a new life. But these days, I like to think I’ve gotten a better handle on it. At least, for the most part;) These days, I like to think I’m enlightened enough to realize I’m not actually sad and angsty about life in general. I’m probably just missing actual, heart-pumping aerobic movement — and, I realized listening to those birds, the feeling of being lost in the woods.

On the plus side, I have been doing a good job to get better. When I mentioned my foot to a friend of mine, he predicted that more than anything this would be a battle of willpower: can I actually keep myself from running and hiking long enough to heal? So far, I’m doing an excellent job. No running. Only little walks, with supportive shoes. Alternate exercise in the form of a gingerly-introduced elliptical machine (so far so good) and tentative rock climbing (also so far so good). I’ve had a few lapses, but on the whole I am stretching, icing, resting, supplementing with different exercise, and being a good girl.

As for that angst, a bike ride was the best medicine. My commute home, Oregon Zoo to SE Portland, became Oregon Zoo to Washington-Park-grass-laying to SE Portland back to river up to North Portland, all around N and NE following the parks, and home over Mt Tabor. And though it wasn’t quite like a run through the woods, I did feel much better by the time I got home in the dark, several hours later.

So another day, another little triumph over the angsty monkeys. I’m so, so thankful for my little bicicleta.

jackson bottom soma


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