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My Problem With Road Running

(And another reason why I probably need a therapist.)

I feel bad saying I’m “dreading” the marathon this weekend because I feel like that might have not focused the “dread” on the right place. The “dread” is with the ROAD, not the RACE. It’s the same reason why my midweek running has fallen off track COMPLETELY. I hate running on the road now with the passion of 1000 burning suns.

And here’s why…

Lately I’ve been stressed.

(I know! SHOCKER. It’s all I talk about anymore. I AM SO SORRY.)

But stressed about specific thing…like E finding a new apartment or being COMPLETELY broke. About Wes and his persistent bad behavior reports. (BUT WE GOT A GOOD ONE YESTERDAY!) About trying to sell our stupid house. (We have a contractor making repairs! Sometimes. They should have been done last week! They’re no where close!) About my life…my job…my diet…my socks…you know…EVERYTHING.

And for some reason, when I run on the road, my brain focuses on Each. And. Every. One. Of. Them. And this wasn’t always the case, which is why this stuff is always on the CHEAPER THAN THERAPY category. Because – usually – running in my therapy. But lately? Not the case.

On the trails? I’m too busy trying not to die. But on the road? It’s like I spend the entire run focused on the things I’m stressing about and the fact that – in many cases – there’s NOT ONE THING I can do about them.

I don’t know why it’s gotten worse lately, but I think it’s partly to do with running so much by myself this summer. But I noticed during a long run on the road a few weeks ago, even when I’m running with people I’m still stressing about stupid stuff in my head. I listen to podcasts…music…books on tape…and still…every step keeps me in my head wrapped up in the stuff that’s stressing me out.

I’m not sure how to fix that – but THAT’S why I’m taking so many selfies on Saturday. Not because I’m dreading the RACE…but because I’m dreading my brain stuck on the road for 26.2 miles. So! Selfies should be a great distraction! Plus – E found a new apartment (He’s still broke. Double rent the month of December doesn’t help.) and Wes did well at school and I got some good news at work yesterday…so all of those things will ALSO help keep me from being trapped inside my head.

Any of you guys every had those kind of issues? And I’d run trails EVERY DAY if A) It wasn’t a 30 minute drive to get to the mountain and B) I had people to join me. I’m still too paranoid of falling and breaking something to run by myself.

So! I recommend that everyone to do Rocket City Marathon – I didn’t want my “dread” to be mistaken for “dread” towards the race! It’s just my own mental problems.

I do NOT recommend those. They’re never fun.

I’m also open to any other fun distractions you can think of for me on race day! I’m excited to have people volunteering on the course to pose with along the way!!! I’m hoping to see people I know EVERYWHERE. And I’ll owe them all $5 for contributing to my own personal Road Running Therapy.

6 thoughts on “My Problem With Road Running”

  1. Hey – I’ll be sentry at mile 24 at the marathon – if you need a morale boost! You’re gonna kill it!

  2. I tend to dread things at night when I should be sleeping. Running makes me think happy thoughts…but here are some positive thought ideas…take or leave them.
    1. Think of limericks – I love coming up with silly rhyming poetry
    2. Every time you start going down a stress spiral think of 5 positive outcomes for that negative thing. E finds the best apartment ever – it’s on top of a bakery! or a cool coffee shop, there is an adorable theater girl living next door, The contractor’s finish and the house is gorgeous – there is a bidding war!
    3. I used to drive between my parent’s houses (about a 3 hour drive) when I was a broke college student and spend the time imagining what I would do with my lottery winnings. Travel to this specific place, buy that house that I drive buy that I always love, etc
    4. Imagine yourself next year running this race what will your life look like if everything you’re struggling with now is resolved.

    Stay positive and have an awesome race!

  3. My totally unprofessional opinion? You are thinking more now because you CAN, because the running has gotten more automatic.

    I’m not a runner, so I’m not sure if it’s practical, but can you change up how you are running/walking? Like do one step for a three count and then another step for a three count, then back to the first? Or count backwards. Or make up little poems in cadence to your running? Or sing through every holiday song you know? Or decide what your dream house would look like (in great detail) if money was no object? Or perhaps something more external. Keep count of every runner wearing blue or carrying a water bottle or something? Keeping multiple running tallies can be a pretty good mental exercise.

    Are their podcasts of riddles? Maybe a mystery book on tape?

  4. My mind “borrows trouble” a lot (as my grandmother used to say) and unknowns make for more anxiety and ruminations.

    To combat this, when I run I try to get into a zone bubble and practice quasi-meditation, living totally in the moment – oh! look at that leaf! – “Isn’t that dog cute?” This you can’t do when running trails.
    I listen to my breath and imagine streamers of rainbow colors when I breathe. It helps a lot until things start to hurt and your mind wants to go to blisters and side stitches!

  5. Hi, this is one of the reasons why I haven’t gone past a 10k while running. I just can’t control the nagging voice in my head telling me to stop!

    One thing I do when I’m very stressed is that I try to locate where in my body I’m feeling the stress coming from a particular problem (for me, work is in the left part of my chest, money is in my shoulders, passing my master’s is in my lungs, etc.) then, I pick one problem and try to stop thinking specific thoughts fuel it and instead, I focus on how and where that stress feels. I take my time making sure where I feel it and how it feels and how bad it is. Then I focus on that feeling and run it off. I’m not sure if this makes sense, but I just run and run carrying that feeling. If a thought about that feeling wants to come, instead of fuelling it with more thoughts of doom, I tell it that I ‘heard it’ and I turn my attention to the feeling in my body (as opposed to the thought) and I keep running and feeling until that feeling in that particular part of my body either dissipates or becomes tolerable. Inevitably, when this happens the next stressful thing comes up and so I run that one off too.
    It doesn’t always work but when it does, it feels good and it also feels like I’m doing something about it even though I’m not really solving it.

    Hope you have a great race!

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