The Long and Winding Road…

….That leads to me losing my shit on long runs, sometimes.IMG_3532[1]

I read often on other blogs and other places in social media that people use running as their solace, their alone time. This training season (and I think, a little bit in the previous one last spring too), I’ve realized that when I lose my ability to zone out and focus while on a long run, it is actually the opposite.

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You see, what is probably different about me compared to many of the other runners that I know, is that I live alone. 90% of my time at home is spent by myself. 2017 and 2018 is the first time in my life I’ve truly lived alone – meaning, no pets, nothing. For broader perspective, I lived alone from 2008-2012, as well, but I had my dog. That seems like not much, but in fact, she gave me something else to “talk” to, to focus my energy on. Now, on a weekend if I don’t do anything social, I may not hear my own voice even once….

Which feels weird.

So I spend a lot of time in my head.  Not in a bad way, but just… a lot of my thinking is done  by the time I leave for my run. I go through podcasts like water these days – I put them on while I’m getting ready in the morning, while I’m doing food prep on weekends, while I’m tending to the garden.

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When I wasn’t living alone, and there were other things to do, to care for other people and things, I found that while I was running I would make my lists for the day or the week, I would make plans of what I was going to do later, or just plain let my mind zone out completely.

And now, I just can’t do that. My brain thinks about the run while I’m running. Which, for me, is the complete opposite of what I want to be doing. Because thinking about the run equals thinking about how hard running is, or how much I’m panting, or how many more miles I have to run. I can get through 4-5 miles, no problem, without getting all tied up in these thoughts. But this training cycle, and to some extent, the last one, after 5 miles, my brain couldn’t stop thinking about the rest of the run…. How long it would feel, and how hard it is, and I just couldn’t… get… away… from that place. Even with my friend running with me this year, or with upbeat music blaring in my headphones, the long runs were still so hard. When she wasn’t telling me about her day and events, I had little to say and couldn’t think of anything except, “this is so hard, how am I going to do XX more miles??”

I will say, on race day of my half this year, I didn’t feel this. There were things to look at, people to high five, and headwinds to battle. But how do I combat this in the future, because obviously the training has to happen? Certainly, I could work to schedule more races into my training schedule (10k, 10 miler, etc) – however, girl’s on a budget here, too!

Has anyone else fought this? I know so many of you are so busy in your every day lives with partners and children, etc, so running IS your alone time – but is there anyone else out there that this “alone time” is all the time, and long running exacerbates it? How do you get past it?

I mean, other than rescuing a dog. Because I’ve been counting the days until I can do that, but I have to get through my summer classes first (I’ll be in class 3-4 nights a week all summer – NOT dog friendly for a single gal!)…. Then, in the fall, its doggo time. Problem solved 😉

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