Friday, September 20, 2019

An Unexpected Obstacle

You would think that after ten years, I'd be over a little solo-run anxiety, but apparently not. Despite my runs being fairly short right now - three to four miles most days - it sometimes takes me fifteen minutes or more of mental prep to get out and start moving. Not because I'm not motivated, but because I'm anxious.
Like, I will go so far as to plan out and drive to my starting location and then seriously consider backing out.
In fact, I've missed quite a few runs over the last few weeks because of this. Some nights, my anxiety is so bad it upsets my stomach, which gives me a legitimate reason (or excuse) to skip a run.

At first I thought maybe I was bored of my routes. I've been running the golf course pretty frequently and have been avoiding my usual bunny-infested neighborhood because of burnout, but now it seems the thing stopping me from going back there is some amorphous fear, not boredom.

I'm not sure if I'm just nervous about starting a real training plan now that I have a fall race lineup or if it's something else. I'm trying to psychoanalyze myself and coming up short.
Here's how it tends to go. The first few minutes of any run, I'm usually on fairly public roads or, if I'm running the golf course, on a section that is slightly visible from the road. If I've driven to a starting point, I'll feel anxious and sick the entire drive; I'll park and sit in my car, frozen and reluctant to walk away from it and start my run, for a long time...checking email and apps to buy time.

Once I do start, within a couple minutes I'll turn into a gated neighborhood or have gotten out onto the main fairway of the golf course and I feel more at ease. I feel...less visible, and therefore better. Safer.
Finally feeling good once I'm through the gates of a neighborhood where I don't belong.
This is a completely irrational anxiety, like most of my anxiety is, and it's a pretty new manifestation. I'm not anxious about the run not going well or my ability to complete it or anything like that. I'm not worried about my legs cramping up. I can't really pinpoint the cause or the trigger. I'm just...anxious.

Once I get going I feel fine, or even really good, for the entirety of the run. So logically I know that if I can just get myself over the first hurdle I'll be fine. But it's so. dang. hard.

I'm not even sure what the solution is here besides to just keep forcing myself to power through the anxiety to get to the good stuff. But it would be nice if I could get to the root of this new issue and nip it in the bud so I can get on with my training, because the bottom line is that I'm looking forward to my races and anxiety is really messing with my plans!


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