Running as Therapy

“The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea.” – Isak Dinesen

Although it may be a little cliche, I really think that quote holds true. I mean, who hasn’t felt better after a trip to the beach, a sweaty run, or a good cry?

Some stressful things have been happenin’ in Megan-ville as of late. Family dramaz, an impending move (still don’t know exactly when or where…), money anxiety (damn, security deposits and 1st/last months rent!), and an increased work load in the office. Tuesday was a pretty shitty day, but a bit of redemption came around 6pm. Due to a combination of work, travel, and CSA veggie pick-ups, I haven’t been to a track workout in ohhhh….3 months, but better now than never, eh? I really needed an outlet for all of my pent-up anxiety and frustration and last night that outlet came in the form of 1000m repeats. The intervals didn’t hurt any less than usual, but in some way, they made me feel better. As I was chugging along on the track, close to anaerobic threshold, there wasn’t time for feeling sorry for myself or worrying about my bank account balance. And so, while I did get a good physical workout in, I’m even more grateful for the emotional benefits. Does running fix everything? No, of course not. But it helps.

After a 2.5 mile warm-up, the assigned workout was as follows:

  • 4 x 1k @ 5k pace with 400m recovery (my splits were very consistent – 4:02, 4:02, 4:02, 4:00 which is the equivalent of about ~6:29 pace)
  • 3 x 300m @ faster than 5k pace, the intention was to focus on our finishing kick, w/ 100m recovery

I finished up with a 2+ mile cool down, bringing me to about 9 miles for the day. I ended the workout feeling spent, but I didn’t kill myself on the 1000’s. Our coach was adamant that we run the intervals no faster than our current 5k pace, so that’s I tried to execute. Better to finish a workout feeling like you could have run faster, than to feel like you’ve run a race (that’s what race day is for!).

Today I’m feeling a little roughed up (I slept for a LONG time), but I have an easy recovery run on tap for later this afternoon. From now until Saturday, I’ll just be running easy mileage, and then it’s River-2-Sea Relay time! I’ll be running a 4.8 mile leg, followed by a 9.2 mile leg later in the day. Projected forecast: 90 degrees and sunny. Woo. Luckily I have some awesome teammates (Sarah, Shelby, AR, Jacqui, Kristan, and Nicole) and the promise of cold beer + beach at the finish.

The other night when I was in the need of some de-stressin’, I decided to make a pretty ridic brownie recipe. This is a good recipe for sharing and/or parties – otherwise you may experience sweet tooth overload!

Peanut Butter Candy Bar Brownies (based on a MyRecipes.com recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 1 package vanilla creme sandwich cookies, crushed
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 7 Reese’s pb cups, chopped
  • 7 fun size twix bars, chopped
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1/2 cup peanuts
  • 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Preparation:

  • Combine crushed cookies and butter in a medium bowl. Press crumb mixture into bottom of a greased aluminum foil-lined 13″ x 9″ pan, allowing foil to extend over ends of pan. Bake at 350° for 5 minutes.
  • Combine condensed milk, peanut butter, and vanilla in a medium bowl, stirring until smooth.
  • Sprinkle chopped candy bars, chocolate morsels, peanuts, and coconut over crust. Drizzle condensed milk mixture over coconut.
  • Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack, and let cool in pan. Use foil to lift uncut brownies out of pan. Peel foil away from sides of uncut brownies, and cut into bars.

Alright kids, I’m out. The roads are callin’ for an afternoon run (I have the day off of work!). But before I go – think about making Yahoo! your home page. I’m still working with FoodBuzz and Share Our Strength to give Yahoo! a big thumbs up for donating $20k to fight childhood hunger. Don’t worry, google isn’t going anywhere…

  • Ugh I hear you on the money anxiety! Why must getting security deposits back always be such a wild goose chase in NYC? I got mine back no sooner than the night before I flew to Houston.

    Holy sugar, those brownies look amazing.

  • I just went into a food coma looking at those brownies.

  • Totally agree that sweat, tears and the sea can cure anything. And chocolate. And peanut butter. haha. I went through a difficult break up last year and running kept me sane. I’m a big believer of running as therapy!

  • First of all – I love that quote and had never heard it.

    Second – Running is always my best therapy — when I can think through things and tire myself out so I don’t have the “nerves” left to stress about anything.

    Third – Its worth getting diabetes to eat those brownies.

  • gabe

    Its hard enough finding an apartment, let alone rustling up a sizable wad of cash to pay the first months rent and deposit – I was literally scrapping my money together. I feel you there.

    Those brownies look amazing.

  • Running is my favorite, most reliable therapy, hands down. But sorry about your stress lately, friend. Everything always works out in the end though 🙂

    If you do indeed bring some of those brownies to the park tomorrow morning, it would be epically amazing.

  • Love that quote!

  • Definitely a great quote – and so true. Nothing better than a hard run when you’re stressed! And I always say breaking a sweat is the best thing when you have that “I feel like I’m getting sick” feeling.
    Anyways – sorry you’re so stressed, but it sounds like you’re dealing with it well. I totally hear you about first/last/security, etc – especially in NYC – they rob you!! Good luck with everything.
    Aaaand those brownies look ridiculous.

  • Running cures all. I definitely agree it’s a major source of stress relief in my life. I also wonder if I’m permanently hopped up on endorphins from running and am better able to manage stress (most of the time, at least). Great work getting in a solid track workout, those are great splits!

    And as always, your baked goods look incredible! Can’t wait to hear all about R2S!

  • Running IS my therapy!!! And those brownies look pretty amazing!!

  • scooterbuddy1

    I think I just spilt a cup of saliva on myself.. Im supposed to be healthier then healthy the week of SFM! your not helping!!! 🙂

  • Okay, now I’m really sad those brownies didn’t make it to Central Park this morning, but it was great to see you!

    Running is amazing therapy…when I really hated my job/life, I had some of the fastest runs ever.   I could tell when I was really stressed because my watch would beep at the mile and I’d be running 7:20 without batting an eyelash…

    Love the quote at the start.

    And apartments are crazy expensive here….gah.

  • Corey @ runner’s cookie

    Running is the best when life gets way too overwhelming or you just have a crappy day. I’m so glad you found that in 1000 repeats the other day. Those are quite the splits!! There’s nothing quite like taking out frustration on a track…there is something so rewarding about it. I hope things calm down soon for you – moving is always stressful. Those brownies look awesome, they would definitely help cure any bad day too 🙂

  • I absolutely love this!! I actually wrote a post about running as therapy this winter (that time it was about a hard tempo run). I agree that the workout isn’t any less hard, but sometimes the simple act of pounding through tough repeats or a fast run is all you need to bring things back into perspective…or at least improve your mood. Just another thing I love about this crazy sport!

    Good luck and have fun at the relay!! It sounds like a blast!

  • Liz

    Move to Long Island! Although it can be just as expensive here!  Good luck with everything….are you running the Queens Half, if you are, could you bring one of those brownies for me (and yes, I realize we have never met, but that’s OK, I’ll be really, really nice for a brownie 🙂 )

  • Sounds like a tough week. Running always helps me release stress and tension. I was feeling particularly stressed last night and the short 3.5 miles run I managed to squeeze in late last night was so helpful. Hope you have a great trip and run!!

  • J (Morning Runner)

    Great track workout! I finally figured it out last year that I didn’t need to go all out for the track workouts and that feeling like I had some left in the tank was a good thing!  Awesome recipe! I will so have to make those!

  • Firm believer that 1K repeats can fix a lot of things (or at the very least, make you feel better about them). 🙂

    Going to a pot luck this weekend, and totally making those brownies. Ridiculous, indeed!

  • Anonymous

    you could also make the cookie base with nutter butter or oreo cookies – i think that would be awesome!

  • Anonymous

    i always feel so accomplished when i run in the morning, but sometimes you just *need* a post-work run so much. glad your run helped!

  • Anonymous

    i’m running a relay in NJ, so no Queens half for me – but good luck! maybe our paths (and brownies) will cross at a future race 🙂

  • Page

    Oh man, I’m glad to hear that you were able to finally have one of those runs that reminds you of why running is so amazing. I hope everything works out and you are going to have an amazing time!

  • sorry things are stressful right now. brownies cure all, yes? so pumped to hear and read about your relay this weekend!

  • That is one of my favorite quotes! So true if you think about it – at least for me!

    I’ve had a few stressful weeks too! Telling myself that what I’m going through won’t last forever helps me a bit – so do reading, and yoga!

    I’ll have to try that recipe! Reese’s are my favorite!

  • Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes

    Your PB brownies look amazing!  🙂

  • Keri Bond

    I am obsessed with that quote and love 1000 meter intervals at the track. Such a great distance…

  • Moving is SO flipping stressful. Colin and I are going to move in together when my lease is up this fall and just thinking about all the money you have to put down when you move in (beyond just moving itself!) makes my head spin. Ugh.