How My Run Streak Helps Me Stay Sober-Mo Karnage uses her daily run as a positive outlet for her emotions.

WWhen she started college, Virginian Mo Karnage partied way too hard, as an escape from stress and anxiety. But her sophomore year, she found herself debating a question with friends: Did drinking heavily prevent people from being their best selves? Karnage realized that by spending her free time drinking, she had far less time to devote to causes she cared about, like animal activism.

It marked a turning point. She decided to get sober. But when the Habitat for Humanity construction supervisor found herself dealing with stress from her relationship, finances, and parenting 14 years into her sobriety, it triggered her need for self-medication. This time, to handle stress, the now-34-year-old reached for her running shoes—something she hadn’t done since her high school cross-country days. “I wanted to work on myself, and do something positive,” she says.

Karnage’s streak started last Memorial Day weekend. Some days she runs at lunch in her construction boots and jeans around Richmond, near the day’s build site. Others, she does laps in her backyard.

“Running helps with my sobriety because it gives me a positive outlet for my emotions,” she says. “I go into some runs wanting to be wasted and be self-destructive, but it doesn’t take long before I outrun those feelings.” Other times, it helps her process them. Logging miles loosens her anxiety, so she’s able to reflect on the emotions she’d been trying to drown. “The physical challenge [of running] helps to dislodge what I’d been holding back, like replaying situations in my head and wishing I had done better, or working on my self-esteem so I can approach the world from a better place,” she says.

posted Saturday May 16th
by Runner’s World