I have been thinking about how I use visualization in my life. I wish I could master it at work as well as I have elsewhere, but I am still working on that. There’s really no physical finish line to cross or trophy to win at work. So the visualization there is a bit harder for me. I need to spend more time on creating a mental scenario there. What can I say? I am simple.
One of the places where I am using visualization to my benefit right now, is at the gym. I am sure that you don’t want updates on my small improvements in running. And I know that treadmill running is probably extra zzzzz for all you guys. But it’s what asthma girl has right now. Baby steps, people, it’s all I can commit to (we will leave the commitment issues for another time, specifically never!). So I am now up to running 6 miles at a time, for my thrice weekly runs (yeah, my trainer looked at me and said “you’re a runner” and I was like “hellz yeah I am!”). The first time, it was relatively easy. The second time a bit harder (you know, you’re still wondering if it was a fluke when you did it before).. The third time is where you enter into the “I can do this” phase. That time will be tonight, later. Once I motivate to haul it to the gym. ( I can do it…I can do it)
I have written before about how sometimes I can get lost in my head. Where my mind wanders off to explore subject as complex as how traffic lights are timed or whether I should be adding super foods into my diet more or whether running barefoot is actually good for someone as flat-footed as me or whether that crazy guy that walks around Redmond in an Elvis wig is actually happier than the rest of us. When I say I am a head case, I mean that in so many different ways. For example, when it comes to working out, motivation is a challenge (partly because of my affinity for the fetal position), and partly because I have a history as a negative self-talker. “You can’t do this”, “you’re not a runner, impostor!”, “people are watching you struggle and it’s not pretty!” “Mmmmm, nachos.” I know, it’s totally nuts. It takes work to get these things out of my head. Just like when you are having an anxiety attack and you have to try to convince yourself that the one thing that has you up in the middle of the night with your heart audibly pounding is not going to be the end of your life. You can try to scooch these thoughts to the side but they are always there, the scooching is successful sometimes more than others. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it! This has a serious impact on my life (you know the part that happens outside of work). And the fact that this gets to me makes it even worse.
So you’d think that you could use the head case stuff to some sort of benefit and I have confirmation of this opinion,,,yes…yes I can. I am going to admit something so silly that I am wondering if I should be more embarrassed to put it out here. Yep, sure thinking about deleting this post and trying to forget it right now. Oh, stop being a sissy Heather. Have more confidence. (See?) OK: When I am running, I try to go to my “happy place.” And by “happy place,” I pretty much mean a place where I am not running, like the dentist chair or a really boring meeting. Catch my drift? Pretty much any mental place that is distracting. Sometimes those anxiety issues can come in handy because, really, my heart is already beating hard anyway. Smell what I’m cookin? I need some distraction. At the same time, I also need motivation (to keep going). So I need to be motivated to keep running but distracted from the fact that I am, at that very moment, running (OK well jogging if you prefer…I’m maxing out at 5.2 MPH now…nowhere to go but up…but I am doing it for 70 minutes at a time). So what I have started doing is visualizing scenarios where I am admired as a running champion. Don’t laugh. The current scenario I am working with involves me running into the Coliseum at half time of a college football game (because football is one of the few times where I am totally OK being surrounded by a crowd without feeling the need to claw myself out). I am completing the very end of a 10K race against another 40 year old runner from the opposing team. And I totally smoke them. And I spend time thinking about the football team high fiving me and what I would be wearing. And the famous Trojans that join me around the track (and how Will Farrel is probably a horrible runner).
Yeah, feel free to laugh but this totally works for me and I can daydream about this stupid shizz for many minutes of a 70 minute run. I may or may not refer to this as a “coping mechanism” in the future. Someday I will look back at this and either wonder what the heck I was thinking. Or I will think this is where my awesome career as a Trojan half-time race finisher all started.