The Crisis Hurt, the Run Hurt More, and Recovery Took a Few Days, But I’m Feeling Better

Friday last week I ran for the first time since October. I was having a minor mental health crisis, and really needed it.

The first km went okay; running about my normal 5:00 to 5:20 minutes per kilometer pace. Heart rate was a bit high, breath was a bit rapid, but I was…okay.

The second km was pretty rough; pace dropped to 5:30 to 5:50 minutes per kilometer. Heart rate got higher than normal, breathing was laboured, but I…kept going.

The last 500m sucked great big dangly donkey balls. Pace dropped to 7 minutes per kilometer, heart rate spiked into the max zone, breathing was, well, I was gasping, but I…toughed it out, and quite at 2.5 km instead of going for minimum 3 km.

Which was good, because the recovery was…tough.

The peak period for DOMS is 24 to 48 hours after exercise, which would be Saturday noon to Sunday noon. I was still hurting on Tuesday.

Now, five full days later, the old carcass is finally back to normal, just in time to try again tomorrow or Friday.

I needed that run. The hard exercise, the focus on breath, pace, stride, and heartrate took my mind off my mental health issues.

It was, in yoga parlance, a moving meditation.

It got my head out of the crisis, and worked my body harder than it’s worked in months.

If I’m to survive, and even thrive, in this grey mist of depression, if I’m to make this late life pivot to something better, one of the keys is going to be shaking off the bad times.

One of the most effective ways to do that is hard exercise.