Tales from the long run – My black dogs

My black dogs don’t visit as often as they used to. There are times, I know exactly when my black dogs will come, other times I’ll wake up and there they are waiting, or I’ll come around a corner and they sneak up on me. I’m not surprised by them anymore merely resigned that they are a part of my life. Not my life entirely just a part of it.

I used to medicate to make them go away and that worked except for the heartburn. I used to drink to get rid of them but couldn’t handle the hangovers.

I didn’t start running because of my black dogs and I don’t run now because of them either. But when they come I have learned to embrace them and take them for a run, eventually I out run them.

Running with my black dogs is very different than running normally, yes it is still left, right repeat, but it feels different. My black dogs don’t let me see and experience the forest to it’s fullest. The colours are muted the sounds dulled but as I out run them these things come back. Sometimes slowly, sometimes very suddenly.

The other day I was heading out for a simple trail run with my black dogs. After 15 min or so I started up a hill, it was hard, not the hill itself, just getting up it. I stopped part way up and broke down and cried, swearing at the hill, the weather, the trees, the rocks and yes my black dogs. But once my tantrum was over I started back up the hill. At about the 1hr mark I jumped a creek, just a small one that dries up in the summer. I stopped, turned around and looked at the water breaking over the stones, then I heard the water breaking over the stones, I bent down and put my hand in the water and smiled, I was alone in the woods again.

For those who don’t know the metaphor.

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