Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Solitude


When I run, I run by myself. This is how it has been for many years. Some people don't get it. Over the years, I've had many offers from people wanting to run with me. I shared one story with Dimity and Sarah at Another Mother Runner about a neighbor man jumping in on my runs. I finally had to break it to him that I wasn't looking for someone to run with. It felt like a break up. When I told him that I like to run alone, he looked at me like I was crazy. And he looked hurt.

He's not the only person who has had this reaction. Another neighbor (another man, am I sending out the wrong message?) wanted to train for a half marathon with me. I told him that I would drive with him to the race, but that my training would be solo. Guess who didn't run the race?

Why is this so hard for people to understand? I actually enjoy my long, solo runs. When I run, it's just me, my music, my thoughts, and the road. My marathon training last year was completely solo. This included all my long runs. I had no problem motivating myself to head out the door to run that 18 miler (my longest run). I was looking forward to it.

Solo run along the water in Florida
I'm rarely alone. Even as I write this, my youngest son is on the couch, home from school today with a back injury from gymnastics. My husband was off work this past winter and when he finally returned to his job, I savored the solitude at home. I wandered from room to room, just taking in the quiet. There was no one asking me to find a lost item. No one asking what my plans were for the day.

Don't get me wrong. I love my family. And I'm not anti-social. My days are full.  Full of people, full of activity, full of noise. My job is in a busy clinic where we have 25 exam rooms and patients come and go. The hallways are filled with noisy children and crying babies. My home is in a highly congested suburban area of Chicago. The town borders overlap. One ends and another begins. There's a busy highway 2 blocks from my house and the noise from the road never ceases. The roads are packed with cars. Everyone is in a hurry. The stores are crowded. Airplanes fly overhead with increasing frequency and noise. Sometimes life here feels like an assault on the senses.

But there is green space here in the middle of suburbia and that is where I take my runs. The Forest Preserves, with their paths, are a place to find solitude in the middle of chaos. I ride my bike there, and I take my long runs there. Safety is an issue, as you might expect, but I try to go when there are people around. As I run through the woods, I take in the sights and sounds of nature around me, observe the seasonal changes and feel myself relax.

And when I get to take my runs to a less crowded place it is pure heaven for me.



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I'm linking this post to a new link up on DebRuns! Every week she is going to feature a word for bloggers to write about. This was a great choice for the first week. I'm looking forward to this!

Deb Runs

I'm also linking up with the ladies, Diatta and Sheila, at Workout Wednesdays! Be sure to head over and see what everyone else has to say!


Femme Fitale Fit Club

72 comments :

  1. I love this! I've realized while training this past winter that I really do enjoy running solo! And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that - it's a great escape! #wowlinkup

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  2. I enjoy running alone, too, Wendy; in fact, I really look forward to it. I do run with a group on the weekends, for my long run, and often end up running at least part of the route with one or more other folks; some weekends, I just don't feel like sharing my run with anyone, so I'll stick my earbuds in and just run along with everyone, but in my own little world. I'm so glad you enjoy the time you have to yourself while running; I think it is invaluable for me!

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    1. I didn't realize I would be in such good company with this--in fact, I was a little nervous about posting this! Glad to know that I'm not alone in wanting to be alone...

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  3. I do love my early morning runs by myself and I love my evening run with my friends! It is all good and keeps me going! Nice post lady!

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    1. Sounds like you have the best of both worlds, my friend!

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  4. I think it's great that you love to run alone and enjoy your solitude. Running is so personal and everyone has their own way of enjoying it. I personally hate to run alone bc I love to chit chat!

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    1. I like to run fast, so talking isn't really conducive to that...

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  5. I am 100% on the same page! I was just talking with my mom about this, actually. We both started talking about how we just need our alone time. We love our families and significant others. We love being social, but we need that time to unwind alone. Running and working out is my me-time. I can't function without it. Well... I can function, but I'm a grouchy grump when I don't get my solitude in first!

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    1. I totally agree. I think my alone time recharges me!

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  6. I can understand this completely! I like having someone with me for safety purposes but actually I prefer running alone. That way I can go at my own pace! I guess you should be flattered that people want to run with you. Perhaps you are very motivating!

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    1. Maybe so...I never thought about that. But I don't want to chit-chat while I run...

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  7. I'm with you all the way. I feel like my home is Grand Central at times. I have enough people, chaos and noise in my life. (I loathe a %$#! ringing phone!) Even when relaxing in my backyard, I can always count on a neighbor doing their yard work! I love my dark, early morning, solo runs.

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  8. I love my long runs with company amongst like minded/paced people. But I like doing my intense work by myself most of the time. I don't mind starting and ending together, but my run is my pace. I remember your story from AMR :)
    I've had a few people ask me about running, but luckily never about training with me since I'm so very slow. My panic usually comes in races where I have goals but I haven't shared that with anyone. And then someone assumes that I'd just run with them for fun. It is so hard for me to say no upfront and so awkward later on.

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    1. I have a problem with saying no too. And look where that got me!

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  9. I'm not a runner, but there are many things I like to do by myself. On the weekends, I try to get up at least 2 hours before everyone else just so I can sit in silence while sipping coffee, reading or whatever it is I want to do. I think running alone is totally acceptable. :)

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  10. I totally get this. I prefer solo runs too. Sometimes I feel like I "should" want to run with a group and maybe that would be nice once in awhile but I'm a lone wolf as well.

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    1. At races or once in a while is ok, I agree. I like the term "lone wolf".

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  11. Most of my runs are done alone for the same reason: solitude. Thought I do like to run with a friend on occasion, by and large, I enjoy the quiet time of picking my pace, my route and being alone in my thoughts.

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  12. As an introver, I crave alone time and running is perfect for that. Althought there are times when I'd love to have a running buddy to get my lazy butt out the door :)

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    1. I'm an extrovert but I do like my alone time! I agree, an occasional running buddy would be great!

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  13. Sounds like I'm kinda the opposite from you! I highly dislike running, unless I'm running with a good friend, because then I can concurrently catch up on life with them! :O As I'm somewhat of an introvert, I definitely enjoy my time alone too! :P

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    1. I don't like to talk when I run. My breathing gets all messed up!

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  14. I'm a mix of both. I LOVE my solo runs during the week as it's time for me to unwind and regroup from my busy life. But I do enjoy company on long runs as it helps make the time pass by a little quicker.

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  15. I really relate to this! I enjoy the solitude on a run and just being able to make the choice I want to make. I do enjoy a run every once in awhile with someone, and when I started marathon training I was intimidated about doing it alone, but I know now I could do it. With a group or friend you have to worry about their pace, if they think you are to quiet, to talkative, etc...
    Your days sound extremely busy, and I know parents love to talk, I can see why you love the solitude of a run :) I think it sounds like the perfect way to recharge!

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  16. As an introvert, I am all about this post. I get too overwhelmed if I'm around other people all the time and I definitely need my alone time. I do my best thinking alone on my runs and I really cherish that time that I get to spend with myself, too.

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  17. Thank you for joining in on my first Wednesday Word linkup! Even though I am very active in two different running groups, I love my solo runs. I especially love the peacefulness of being at home when no one else is there. Like you, I love my family, but It's nice to be alone and enjoy the solitude.

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    1. Great link up! I'm already looking forward to next week!

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  18. I wish I loved running. It's always so painful and boring for me. Much rather be on my bike. I guess everyone is different!

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  19. I feel the same way when I bike on the lakefront on Sunday mornings or during the week when there aren't too many people on the trail. #wowlinkup

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  20. Sometimes I feel the same way. There are days that I enjoy running with my husband, but there are other days when I prefer to go at it alone.

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    1. My husband doesn't run, so it's just me! I wouldn't mind if my boys wanted to join me for at least part of the run.

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  21. I get it totally. I did almost all of my running alone till about 3 years ago when my husband got back into it and now I rarely run alone. I kinda miss it.

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  22. I totally get wanting that solitude on your runs! It's such a good time to decompress and just be! Like you, I enjoy running alone and ESPECIALLY having the house to myself! I will run with one other person (love running with my training partner), but don't prefer more than that!

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    1. Being home alone is especially nice! And so rare.

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  23. Glad you are cautious about your runs, that sounds fantastic. I never think about the busy hustle everyday but you are so right. I loved running alone when I was training, there are many life issues I've worked through running. But when I'm not training, I don't mind running with someone, it's a great way to catch up with friends!

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    1. If I wasn't training for anything, I'd be all over running with other people. Otherwise, I like to focus on my pace.

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  24. Interesting Wendy....I almost always run alone because that is my thinking time as well, but I'm thinking that when I train for the full marathon next fall, I'll want to join a running group for those long runs....12 miles on my own I'm ok....longer than that I think I may need company.

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    1. I used to think that, but I really cherish those long runs! Who knew?

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  25. I am also a solo runner! It's funny, because today I wrote a post on trying out a group run for the first time ever! I liked it, but I didn't like having to try to talk to someone else/work at someone else's pace when I was just trying to focus on myself. Solo running is fun, relaxing, and way less stressful!

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    1. If I did a group run, I think it would be for pace only...I'd still put in my headphones and get in my zone.

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  26. I totally get it! I'm more of a solo runner too. I won't run trails by myself for safety reasons but when I'm out there in my own head I might as well be alone :)

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  27. I have a good mix of both and I love the balance! I run a few days a week solo and other with friends. I love that it's sometimes social and other times, it's just me by myself. I couldn't do either exclusively. It makes my running that much better!

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    1. It's nice to have that mix, for sure! Great balance.

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  28. I run by myself too, I wouldn't mind a few runs now and then with someone else, but really like you, it is my time, my alone time and I treasure it.

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    1. I feel like there are so many of us who feel this way!

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  29. I love how you take ownership of your me time and just enjoy yourself not let others infringe upon it. Good for you.

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    1. Thank you. It's been a work in progress. Saying no does not come easily to me!

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  30. I totally get it. Over the past couple years I've seen the value in running with others after doing it a few times, but I much prefer to run alone. I don't get much time to myself as it is and I really cherish (and honestly...I really NEED) the solo time I get during my runs.

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  31. I prefer to do most of my runs by myself. I don't mind one run a week with friends (more if I have my dad to run with), but my long run needs to be by myself. I need to listen to my body and get into my own head and not worry about someone else's pace. And I hear you on the constant noise and people...

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    1. That's why I like my long runs to myself too. I don't see them as hard--I actually enjoy them.

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  32. Hooray!!! Someone who gets it! I enjoy running by myself, too, and a lot of folks don't understand. I really appreciate the time to just let my mind wander and to zone out. It's such great me-time and a nice respite from the craziness of the rest of my life!

    Thanks for sharing the new link-up - I love this idea!

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  33. I am a people person but sometimes just crave the along time out on a run. There is nothing like the solitude of the open road or trail. Enjoy your solitude it can be energizing for sure!

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  34. I absolutely need the alone time of running. It's the time I need to recharge myself and settle my little introverted soul. :) I can't imagine having to share that time with someone else - it would honestly add to the work of it all for me.

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    1. I feel the same way. I just love the freedom of the solo run!

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  35. I totally get it! I run solo all the time. For about 13 years now. I run daily, and I never participate in races because I love running alone. Like you I'm rarely by myself. I have 5 kids, so running is my only alone time.

    www.momshomerun.com

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    1. The race experience can be a little overwhelming for us solo runners! When I ran Chicago last year, I put my headphones in and turned them up, tuning out the crowds.

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  36. This is a really motivating post. It takes a lot of self discovering to be at a happy place. Its great that something so basic like a run or a 10 minute meditation can have resounding effects of a woman's view of herself. Fitness is one of those things that every woman needs to spend a few minutes on each day, but the benefit is 10-fold.
    Thanks,
    Amy

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    1. Thank you! The benefits of running and fitness extend way beyond the physical, don't they?

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