My treadmill serves an obvious purpose...to help keep me in shape. Physically you can see that it's working, but it also serves a purpose for me mentally. I use my time on the treadmill to re-focus, to think, to let my mind wander. I've solved some of the world's greatest problems while in the middle of a run in the privacy of my basement. It's gotten me back into pre-baby-#4 jeans, calmed my mind when stressed, eased my nerves over health concerns, and it's helped me work through my husbands' 5 month TDY (that's temporary duty for all you non-military readers) stint across the nation. My emotions on my treadmill are deep and wide....deep and wide indeed.
I get on my treadmill for time to think...time to breathe...time for my health...time for me. My mind goes where it wants...which can be good and bad. Sometimes I can't control what thoughts sneak in there. And when those scary ones rear their ugly heads and bounce around while I'm struggling to run and breathe...I feel vulnerable and weak.
Did you know that it's tough to cry, breathe, and run? My breath gets short and tight in my throat and my steps begin to lose their methodical rhythm. It's almost as if my body can't breathe deep, sweat and maintain "control" all in unison. Why is my oasis on the treadmill the time when the thoughts I am working so hard to resist come sneaking up behind me? I am unable to escape them as I run and run and run...and never get any further down the road away from them.
However cathartic my treadmill may be, it also leaves me open for unwanted thoughts and emotions. Goodbyes are hard; goodbyes that last a year...are even harder. The anxiety of the approaching day is growing more and more overwhelming, profound, and hard to escape. Fear, sadness, and anger all inundate my heart and mind and make it increasingly harder to breathe....both on and off my treadmill. But life keeps going...as must I.