Moms RUN San Jose

For Moms who run, by Moms who run…Moms RUN this Town!

Running Sola

on June 23, 2012

I ran by myself for the 1st time since moving to San Jose today.  I usually don’t like to run alone (or “sola” as one of our MRTT members calls it), but I was actually looking forward to this run.  It has been a long time since I have run by myself.  I usually don’t enjoy it, preferring the company of friends and conversation to keep me going and make the miles disappear faster.  Plus, there is safety in numbers, so I usually prefer running with at least one other adult “just in case”…although, most of the time, “just in case” refers to poop-y diaper issues or tantrum-ing child issues.

After I dropped the kids off at school, I left the car in the driveway and went for a 4 mile run. It was a route in my neighborhood that I had planned ahead of time (I emailed the route to my hubby and told him when I was leaving and expected time back “just in case”).  I started out past my little residential neighborhood, going past a few strip malls then into more residential neighborhoods, heading towards the hills.  These are hills that are different than the ones I have run towards in New England.  These are golden hills, filled with grazing cows and horses, and the occasional enormous house or two.  They are really quite beautiful despite their declaration of how hot and dry it can be here.

After I passed the 1 mile mark, I started thinking about walking.  Now, this is something that I usually do – tell myself that I cannot walk until I have run at least 1 mile, then as soon as I reach it, think about when a good time would be to start walking.  If I were running with someone else, I would probably just keep on going until that other person wanted to walk, but on my own, the thought of walking becomes overwhelming. I just want to do it, even if I know that my legs aren’t really tired, my breathing is fine.  I can do it physically – but mentally, it’s another story.

So, here’s what I did to keep myself from walking:

– “What if” scenarios involving the need to save my children from some type of horrific disaster, like wild animals or a huge flood or earthquake where the ground opens up beneath you (think “2012: The Movie”). I would need all my running strength to bring them to safety or to get between them and the danger heading towards them.

– “What if” scenarios involving myself and needing to run from something awful like bears or teenagers with water balloons (don’t laugh, this actually happened to another mom I know).

– Thinking about women in Africa or another less-well-to-do country who need to walk miles to get food/water and other necessities for their children.

– Thinking about the men and women from the NYC Fire Department and Police Department who ran up so many flights of stairs, with all their gear, to save people during the 9-11 Terrorist Attacks.

– Thinking about the men and women in the armed services who train and work carrying all their gear.

I know these thoughts aren’t the “happiest” ones.  There have been studies done on performance that indicate using positive imagery (such as seeing yourself running in an idyllic setting towards some lovely reward) works much better.  But my mind doesn’t work that way.  Why else would I be running if it wasn’t for some life-or-death reason?  Hmmm, good question….

When the “worse case scenario” strategy stops working, I use good old “distraction” aka “running like I have ADD” aka “running like a 2 year old”.  Oh – look at the cows! Look at the horses! Look at the pretty flowers! Look at that cool car! Look at the cute house! Look at the sky! Look how far it is to the next block! Can I stop running then?

When distraction stops working, I turn to “false promises”. OK – at the next street, I can walk. OK – how about the next street.  What about after I turn the corner, I can walk?  In another 5 minutes, I can walk.

Lying to myself can work for a while.  Sometimes, I even think things like, “If I run for another 5 minutes, my butt is going to look great in those capris I will wear today.”

If “mental toughness” constitutes increasing my anxiety level, hyper-attentiveness and pathological lying, then I have it down!

I was able to run 4.2 miles in about 42 minutes. When I got back to the house, I felt strong, confident and calm.  Plus, my butt did look pretty good…

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5 responses to “Running Sola

  1. kc says:

    Great job motivating yourslef Irma! I usually make it about 5 min until I start finding any excuse to just walk. Lol.
    The mental aspect is definately harder than the physical when it comes to running.

  2. I can totally relate! I haven’t done the “negative scenarios” yet but instead, I try to point to something ahead and push myself to run at that point, and when I reach that point, I’ll tell myself I can do more, and so on.

    So all these time I’ve been running with you, you are waiting for me to say “walk” while I am wishing for you to do the same. Good thing we are both prideful and most of the time, no body will say it! Hah!

    Love the blog! Keep it coming.

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