Running to Burn Off the Crazy


Anytime I wrap up a run, I always have that "one with the Universe" feeling.

When my mom had her mitral valve repair performed in Philadelphia a few weeks ago, there was a lot of downtime. In order to avoid entry into a 12-step program, I had to spend it constructively.

I was anything but tired during daylight hours, so taking a good nap was out. I had a lot of nervous energy to burn off, but instead of bouncing off the hotel room’s walls, I ran.

There is a shirt I often see on Facebook that says, “I run to burn off the crazy.” (I’m a size large, in case anyone is feeling generous.)

Anytime I wrap up a run, I always have that “one with the Universe” feeling. Even if parts of the run were less than pleasant, I always feel good, if not great, afterward.

The weather on the day after my mom’s surgery was gorgeous. After being frozen out of northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) from single-digit and sub-zero temperatures, it was a sunny 40 degrees.

The day had the phrase “run and run far” written all over it. At this point, far for me is 6 miles. From the hotel, a nice run up the Schuylkill River trail to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and down Boathouse Row seemed in order.

Philadelphia is a city that is near and dear to my heart. I went to school at what is now known as USciences for 5 years, and a part of me feels like I’m home whenever I’m there.

The trail system of southeastern Pennsylvania is second to none in this country. When I ran from the countryside of NEPA to the Art Museum steps to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network, I ran the last 40 miles on the Perkiomen Trail and the Canal Path right into the city. With the Schuylkill Expressway’s usual logjam, I may have beaten a few commuters into town that day.

As I ran up the river to the Art Museum, I felt pretty good. “Run the steps,” I said to myself. When I finished my ultra-marathon, I skipped every other step and powered my way across the finish line. I double stepped with 156 miles on my legs.

I played the Rocky theme song in my head and took my shot up the stairs. I took 1 double step and realized that it was not a good idea. I probably looked more like Mickey going up the steps than I did The Champ, but I made it. I cruised back down, hit Boathouse Row, and ran the river back to the hotel at a pace faster than what I have been doing for the past 2 months by about a minute per mile.

When I was done, I felt great. I did indeed burn the crazy right out of me and then spent the evening with Mom. I slept like a baby that night. I guess I needed to stop running for a while, but I am so glad that I am back.

Jay Sochoka, RPh, is a running fool.

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