Cover Me, Recovery

Feeling Comfort is a Type of Care

Feeling Comfort is a Type of Running Care

Recovery. Run. Recovery run. I’ve been trained into thinking that the only reason why you would go on a recovery run is to recover from an especially taxing and/or long run from the day before. As if this is the only thing I ever need to recover from.

I realized this morning that I often use running as a way to recover from something else that is going on in my life. And most of the time my life can feel really overwhelming, so every run becomes a reason/way to recover.

I sobbed for two hours last night. With the weight of all the fucked up things that had happened in my day hanging on to my shoulders, I got home feeling tired, sad, disrespected, manipulated, abused, and just completely worn down. Absolutely broken. Crying at midnight brought on panic attacks and dry heaving, which brought on trauma flashbacks and a general feeling of enough of this life already. Ain’t it just grand how trauma welcomes more trauma? Such fun.

Thanks to an amazing friend who called me back at 2am, I was finally able to just calm down and sleep for a few hours.

I woke up at 6am with a crying hangover. So dried out and spent. Dessicated. How fucking puffy can my eyes get?!? Dehydrated–a complete understatement. And while I woke up knowing that I wouldn’t go on that integral 16 mile shorter-long run I needed to do as part of my off-week, I could feel me still needing to feel myself run today. Something was still lingering in my body that needed to get out.

In college, after a night of heavy, heavy drinking I would make myself run at least 1.5 miles when I woke up in the morning (or afternoon–whenever it was I actually stumbled out of bed). Thought it was the best way to get over a hangover. Run and sweat it out of me. Recover. Painful, but a type of self-care.

11am. I’ve been awake for five hours, and I finally start to feel alive again. Well, alive in the sense that I’ve had some coffee, talked about what my night was like to three different people–let them hold and reflect my pain–read the introduction to an amazing book called Trauma Stewardship, napped for 15 minutes instead of crying more (which is what I really wanted to do, but my eyes were on protest from producing so many tears), and then when I woke up I knew it was time to run.

It’s cold and gray outside. The arms of Winter reaching out to hold back Spring, cover and protect her really, from the force of Summer that will hopefully hit sooner than I expect. It’s a final reminder of the cold that we survived through these past 3 months. And the feel of today reminds me of how far away June is. We’re still more in winter than summer, and this thought only bumps up my desire to stay inside and hide from the world. But I needed to move. I needed to bundle myself up in all of my heaviness of thoughts and emotions, and just run with it. Run through it.

I knew that my body needed to recover from sobbing so much last night. I needed to move, to zone out, to just feel something else.

I rarely listen to music when I run. But today was a much needed music day. Something soft, slow, comforting. I wanted to lie in bed all day, and I wanted to wake up and run while doing it. I needed my run to be as comforting as my bed.

I have a playlist on my iPod called “Calm Me the Fuck Down.” It’s the perfect mix of intentional lyrics and grounding music to help slow me down and breath. But for some reason this playlist always makes me run fast. Maybe it’s the lack of pressure that I feel from it. There aren’t any upity beats telling me that I must keep going–Faster!–Faster! No, the calm-me-the-fuck-down music allows me to settle into myself, find my own rhythm, breath into each step, and get comfortably lost in the feeling of it all. It’s like being supported by a trauma-informed friend who GETS IT. No pressure. Just be. Hold.

I set out to just do 2 miles. Feeling so dead, dragging, and utterly dehydrated I was sure I couldn’t handle much more than that. But I knew the dehydrated pain of the 2 miles would be worth the feeling of running them.

My body so needed this recovery.

Space opened for me. I settled into myself with my music, my desire for a feeling to escape, and my heavy eyelids trying to stay open to take in the pillowy gray of the world around me.

I ended up doing 5.5 miles in 44:23. And it felt easy.

Like a recovery run.

And while I don’t think I’m completely recovered, I feel a bit less vulnerable and naked to the world. Covered, in a sense. Re-covered for now.


9 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Paige said,

    Great post, Chelsey. I hear ya! I could really use a ‘recovery run’ today, but my knee is flaring up yet again so now I’m forced to try and find new ways to relieve stress, ugh. Running is just so easy and fun, and it sucks so bad when something else gets in the way of it (injury). I’m glad you had a great run 🙂

    • 2

      chelseyclammer said,

      Ugh–injuries. Sorry to hear you’re going through that. It’s one of the most annoying things an ultrarunner can experience, I think. Good luck with the stress relief…

  2. 3

    rachelfar said,

    cc, i truly love you. i felt the rhythm of your thoughts in this post. “calm me the fuck down,” i absolutely love it. i feel like my days would be so different if more people could just BE with each other. i like when you BE with me. thanks for sharing life…

    • 4

      chelseyclammer said,

      dude…have you never heard my calm me the fuck down mix?!? i can’t believe i haven’t burnt you a copy yet. alright, well, i know what i’m doing tonight for you…love you roommie!!!

  3. 5

    Adrian said,

    I got your mantra for the Chicago 50k… I’ll see you Saturday at the race.

    “…we can blaze! Become legends in our own time, strike fear in the heart of mediocre talent everywhere! We can scald dogs, put records out of reach! Make the stands gasp as we blow into an unearthly kick from three hundred yards out! We can become God’s own messengers delivering the dreaded scrolls! We can race black Satan himself till he wheezes fiery cinders down the back straightaway….They’ll speak our names in hushed tones, ‘those guys are animals’ they’ll say! We can lay it on the line, bust a gut, show them a clean pair of heels. We can sprint the turn on a spring breeze and feel the winter leave our feet! We can, by God, let our demons loose and just wail on!”

  4. 6

    Torey said,

    Chelsey- beautiful, raw & honest post. You are a wonderful writer. It struck a chord with me, as I had a couple crying hangovers this week. Seriously- so puffy!! I’m glad we have running to help find inner peace. Hang in there- some people happen to think you are truly awesome. 🙂 See you this weekend.

  5. 8

    Renee Christian said,

    All I can say is Wow Chelsey! I know you don’t know me, but I work with your mother. And just as I feel she is an amazing person, you are definitely her daughter. You are an incredible writer and I can relate to several of the feelings you experience when you run. Your passion for running has given me a new determination to continue working harder. 50 miles is out of this world, can’t even imagine how wonderful and exciting it must have felt to finish. Good for you……..what a grand accomplishment. Thank you for your words, I am thrilled your mother was so proud to share this web site with me.

    • 9

      chelseyclammer said,

      Thank you for your kind words, Renee. I’m glad my mom shared this with you. Good luck on everything that you do–and thanks for reading!

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