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Workouts and Stress Relief

May 15, 2012

I’m not normally one to get that stressed. I’m always busy, but I’ve been feeling really crushed the past month under dissertation research and upping my training schedule (hence the slowdown in posting to the blog here, and why this post is shorter). And yet I still normally don’t get that stressed. But last week we had a meeting with the grad students in my department to talk about funding issues and the job market. Stressful topics. Some combination of the topic and the palpable sense of stress in the room left me feeling stressed. I left that meeting feeling more stressed than I remember feeling in a long, long time.

It was a good thing I already had a workout on my calendar for that evening. I was going in for a crossfit workout. And once I was at the gym, my only concern was the hard workout ahead of me. It was a tough one, even with the scaled lighter version of the weight that I did: for time, 15 snatch at 75 pounds (snatch involves lifting a bar from the ground to overhead in one fluid motion), 15 handstand pushups, 12 snatch at 95 pounds, 12 handstand pushups, 9 snatch at 115 pounds, 9 handstand pushups. 10′ timecap. Stress lingered at the margins of my mind as we went through the warmup, but slowly my thoughts focused on the workout ahead. By the time the countdown clock started for the workout, that meeting was the last thing on my mind. I needed all my focus for the workout! I got through all but 3 of the handstand pushups in the second round (the round of 12). And my shoulders ached and I hurt and I felt great! I had pushed through a really hard workout. And my stress was gone. On the bus ride home, slowly, my thoughts returned to the meeting earlier in the day. It was still stressful. And I’m sure I will be stressed about these topics for a while — job market is not fun to think about! But it was no where near as stressful as right after that meeting.

My workout helped me gain the critical distance I needed from my stress. I felt so much better. I’m so glad I have my workouts to escape to, they really do help keep me sane. And this is why I’m sure that all my time spent training is not really time “lost” from other activities. Because of that workout, I could go home and focus on the paper I was writing. Instead of going home and sitting in front of my computer consumed by stress. I probably got more work done that night by taking the time for a workout than I would have if I went straight home!

187 days till Ironman Arizona!

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From → life, motivation

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