Tricking Yourself… It’s Called Denial

It's actually Mile 21... on the way back.


Miles we planned to run today: 11

Miles we ran today: 12.5

Number of ways my running partner could have beat me up but didn’t have the energy: 35

I’ve hit upon a trick to get yourself to do stuff you don’t want to do: trick yourself into thinking you only have to do a little bit, then go farther. I know, I know. It’s been done before. Hasn’t everything? It was the old, “Swim to me” story for my running partner today. It is a credit to her exhaustion that I am still alive to write this post.

If only I had told myself for my marathon last year that I was only going to do 13.1 miles, maybe I wouldn’t have bonked so hard at mile 21. See that picture up there? It tricked you into thinking I was completing mile 17, didn’t it? My swollen hands and annoyed face can clue you into the fact that it was actually mile 21.

We set our sights lower this spring: the half-marathon. This is to give us a few months off to forget the pain and torture that is the marathon so that someday we may want to try it again (I’m shaking my head).

So we have this problem around the town where I live: the sidewalks don’t connect up. You may think this is a tiny suburban problem, and if we only ran out in places where there were mountain lions and fresh air instead of rattling trucks and exhaust fumes, we wouldn’t have this problem. You would be right. But we have not yet found a place where there are mountain lions to concern ourselves with.

See, when we start plotting out a course on MapMyRun, we have insider’s knowledge. The street may keep going, but the sidewalk doesn’t. All of a sudden, you are running towards a goofy dog and his owner, and then you have stepped off the pavement onto the nothingness that is a pile of mud. This makes figuring out a course slightly problematic. The cars don’t much care if you’re needing a place to run. You are an icky, sweaty exerciser who is in the way when these drivers have somewhere important to go.

This morning, I sat down to figure out a new, different, exciting 11-mile run for us. The fact that one does not exist did enter my mind. Nevertheless, I went to MapMyRun and started mousing out a road route for us. Really, and I’m not kidding: it lied.

I am now pretty much an expert at guessing how much more mileage it will take us to get home (despite my math phobia). But when we were out running, my calculations failed me. We kept going as we passed our goal (oh, there went 11) and considered stopping in at the Target Starbucks for an orange scone and venti latte. My husband doesn’t work too far away, and we could always call him to come pick us up, we decided.

But we kept going. Then, the benevolent clouds that looked so gorgeous and springlike started to look kind of threatening. But we kept on running. Then, cold raindrops started hitting my sunglasses (!), although my running partner denied it. I looked over, and every inch of her face was covered–visor, sunglasses, hat… there was no rain getting to her, no sir. But we kept on running.

We almost did a half-marathon today. It wasn’t intentional, but we were victorious.

Next time I have to sit down and work on paying taxes, I’m going to tell myself I only have to do the first three months. Oh, and please tell my running partner that we have to pay a steep penalty for running an entire marathon if we only signed up for half.


6 thoughts on “Tricking Yourself… It’s Called Denial

  1. Daryl says:

    Yes, and I passed you at, oh, mile 4, and you think I’m letting you two stinky ladies into my cute 2 door coupe. I haven’t forgotten my sweat drenched GPS!
    That aside, I am proud you both. Miles I’ve run this week: 1.

  2. Stephanie says:

    Oh my gosh. I’m in awe. If I run 2 miles, I high five myself. If I have enough energy left.

  3. bearrunner says:

    I use trickery every time I am on the treadmill…

  4. Carla Helms says:

    Great encouragement for me – it’s amazing how much of running is mental! Thanks for being so funny and honest in your writing 🙂

    • annewoodman says:

      Thanks for reading! Yes, it’s incredible how we have to overcome mental hurdles to complete something people think is merely physical! Hope your running is going well.

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