Saturday, May 14, 2011

My Sweet Sensical Thoughts on Running Alone

I just have to make this clear that I have nothing against Never Run Alone. In fact, I am even a fan and a supporter of the Father and Son tandem, Vlad and Kevin because I am inspired by how they managed to run despite the the latter's condition of having Cerebral Palsy and Autism.

Having that said I can now divulge my thoughts about running alone...

You might be wondering how I started doing it? Well, when I started running I was already alone. I have no one to run with. It's by sheer motivation and will of my own that I do my runs around Bonifacio High Street since my friend who influenced me to run has a different time schedule with me so we have no choice but to train separately.

Believe it or not but the person that you see now, the cheerful, positive, sweet and carefree Amanda is not like that before. I am the exact opposite. I was meek, negative, loner and a worrier. I seldom go with groups of people. I don't have much friends. I always sit at the back of the classroom. I eat alone, I study alone and I go out alone. I am my own bestfriend. I feel so secure that way, and I hate taking risks because I am afraid to make mistakes, I'm afraid to fall and I'm afraid to fail...

I grew up in a competitive world when I started schooling. I am always told I'm smart, and that's the only mileage I got that makes me stood up from my good looking brethren and kins. I wasn't blessed with good looks, but at least I got the most good looking report card to show.

Good thing is that eventually, I got out of my introversion. But it's still a part of who I am so having my alone time is still a part of my itinerary for everything I do and will do.

So, why should you try running alone? Here are some sensible thoughts to consider:

1. Running alone will get you closer to your own self - People always do take care of their relationships with other people but sometimes, we don't realize that we take our relationship with our own self for granted. If you are having some troubles with social relationships, maybe it's high time that you consider befriending your own self. Besides, your secrets are surely safe on your own. 

2. Running alone can lead to self discovery - You might think, who doesn't know their own self? but believe me you don't really know well until you give it some time to discover, and that alone time will reveal things you won't even imagine. I discovered that when I'm at the peak of running, I can sing out loud to relax, and I won't know that if I would always run with someone.

3. Running alone can give you ample time to think about things - If you have a running buddy, tendency is you'll gonna chat your way from start to finish and that won't give you time to weight things on your own. Ofcourse you and your running buddy can talk about it and you'll get a good insights but at the end of the day, you're the one who will decide on your own. 

4. Running alone can give you time to consolidate your feelings and thoughts - There are those difficult times in which I get so confused about things that talking about it to friends will create more confusion. So before I lay my cards, I run alone, clear out my head and organize everything. So when I am ready to talk about it I am well versed and I'll get their perception and advices in a more accurate way.

5. In running alone, you can control your pace - Especially in my condition in which I cannot push myself to extreme limits. It's hard to run with a health concern. I am always wary about what I feel. I try to avoid running in groups whenever I don't feel well. I don't want to cause delays and slow downs to other runners. If you run alone, you are the pacer and the sweeper of your own. You can stop if you want and you can speed up if you want to, without pressure!

6. Running alone can help you gain friends along the way - This is very true to me. As I was doing my LSD's alone (Long Slow Distance), I come across some runners who happens to be just mutual friends over Facebook or Dailymile. Who would have thought that some of them will become real friends and even close! All you need to do is to wave your hands, smile and greet them a sweet "good morning!"

How do I prepare for my Alone Runs? It's just simple!
  • I eat a good dinner
  • I sleep early
  • I set up my alarm clock at 4:00AM
  • I take a quick shower
  • I eat an energy bar
  • I drink one full glass of fresh cold water
  • I always make a checklist of the following before I leave the house:
      • Hydration belt
      • Towel
      • Watch
      • Cash
      • Mobile Phone
      • Quick Munchies (Energy Bars, Cookies or anything you can grab and munch)
      • Blinker
      • My Eyeglasses 
      • Kennyson (My mp3 player)
      • Name Card (I have one that I put on my shoes for identification in case I pass out, it is also written there that I am Diabetic).

    Let me tour you around the route that I always love to run on alone...

    My Usual LSD Map that I run on every Sundays
    I set off at 5:00AM. I start at Kalayaan Avenue (Gate 1) Then to BGC, Old Lawton, Mc Kinley Hill, Bayani Road, Heritage Park, end of Lawton Avenue and back to Kalayaan. Most of the time, I do Lawton Avenue first then go down to Bayani, Heritage Park then down to Mc Kinley and back to Kalayaan. It'll take me approximately 3 hours to finish the whole course.

    So just to give you a view of the scenery, I took my camera on one of my LSD alone runs, see to appreciate! ^_^

    My starting point, Kalayaan Avenue
    Going to Bonifacio High Street
    Old Lawton! I love this route!
    Long Road of Lawton Avenue
    The Famous McKinley Killer Hills!
    Going to McKinley
    Going down Bayani Road
    For a different feel (softer in this instance), You can try running on the grass at Heritage Park
    My Pitstop. 7-11 Convenience Store at the end of Lawton Avenue
    A walkway going back to BGC. A nice scenario of a kind uphill.
    The route where I love to sprint!
    But running alone also has it's dangers. So if you wanna try it out here are some of things you have to bear in mind:
    • Never ever run alone on places that you are not familiar with, specially if it's on places where the security is not that good.
    • Never run alone at midnight or very early in the morning as this are the times where you can be exposed to the dangers outside.
    • Never run alone if you are not feeling well.
    • Never run alone if you think that the weather will not be favorable for you.
    • Never explore unfamiliar routes alone.

    A SWEET REMINDER: Always let your family and runner friends know if you are running alone on a certain date at a certain place just to have an assurance, and just in case something comes up. If you think you'll gonna get bored, try to bring an mp3 player with you but keep it in low volume so you can still be aware of the sounds from the environment. Remember to always smile and greet fellow runners along the way and enjoy the alone time with yourself.

    and you get to meet runner friends as well! ^_^

    Everyone's a hero
    If you want to be
    Everyone's a prisoner
    Holdin' their own key
    Every step I take
    And every move I make
    Always one step closer
    I don't mind runnin' alone
    (Running Alone by Steve Perry)

    I hope you'll enjoy running alone as much as I do.

    Good Vibes everyone and Sweet Running! ^_^


    czhel said...

    I get inspired, Ms. Sweet runner.

    The Sweet Life Runner said...

    Thank you very much Czhel! Sweet Running! ^_^