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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kuwait Chronicle VI

Deployment Sanity Strategy #3...Run, Forrest, Run

I used to hate to run...it was so boring to me as well as painful.  But there is a certain amount of running that must be done in the Army, so I have always had it in my exercise plan somewhere.  In a deployment setting, I find a running routine to be a comfort as well as a darn good stress reliever.  Exercise physiologists will tell you that any form of physical exertion will cause the release of morphine-like substances, known as endorphins, into the bloodstream.  These endorphins cause that bit of "runner's euphoria" that people who routinely engage in that activity can describe.  It's very real, and it can also be quite addictive.

Of all the things a person could become addicted to, running would certainly be one of the healthiest of possibilities.  There is such a thing as overdoing it and causing injury including stress fractures and arthritis, but when done in moderation, it can be life-enhancing more than destructive.  If I run daily, I usually go at the moderate pace of no faster than 7 miles/hour and for no more than 3 to 4 miles.  I have good shoes, and I try to run on non-road surfaces whenever possible to reduce the impact on my joints.  Once I get past the first mile or two, the whole endorphin thing kicks in, and I can honestly say that I enjoy it. 

During the endorphin-enhanced part of the run, I let my mind wander over events of the day and plans for the future.  I try not to focus on stressful or difficult situations that occurred at work, and instead, I meditate on as many positive aspects of the day as I can.  In fact, I usually write a blog or two in my head while padding the pavement.  For whatever reason, the simple act of putting one leg in front of the other "jogs" my creative juices....pretty soon, I forget about the little annoyances of deployment (and the calluses on my feet!).

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