I don’t need to run around in circles….

Condition: I hate running laps. I like for my run to have a start and a finish, and there’s something demoralizing about running around in circles, even if they’re really big circles. I realized that this had actually become an anxiety, causing me to map out long and complex routes to avoid running laps.

Problem: The Phoenix 10K consists of two laps of a 5 kilometer course, so I’m going to have to run the laps to complete it.

Solution: Exposure therapy. I learned this from watching Obsessed. The best way to get over an anxiety is to confront it head on. Plan a run that includes multiple laps of the same course.

So, that’s what I did. This morning was week 9, day 2 of One Hour Runner, a forty minute run. A park near my house has a small lake with an island. Running all the way around the lake is 1.1 miles, adding in the island makes it 1.5. Guesstimating that my pace would be a little under 10:00/mile, I decided to go for three laps including the island, which would leave me about a five minute cooldown walk to my car at the end.

I got up at 5:30, had half a bagel with cream cheese and a bag of caffeinated sport beans and then drove over to the park. It was still pitch dark for the first lap; except for a few geese and a couple of fishermen, I had the park to myself. By the time I started my second lap, the sun was breaking the horizon and I was sharing the pathways with walkers and homeless guys collecting cans. I downed most of another bag of sport beans with some water on the loop around the island. On the third lap I was wishing for sunglasses, but the fastest way to get to them was to finish the run. I got the five minute warning just as I hit the bridge to start my last island loop, and as I came around the south end of the lake I completed my forty minute goal.

So, do I like running laps now? No. Still not my favorite way to put miles on my shoes. But with 1.5 mile laps, it’s a convenient way to stack up some distance without actually going very far.

I just got a Facebook update from the Runner’s Den about the Arizona State Fair 5k Fun Run/Walk. Apparently registration includes admission to the fair and Stone Temple Pilots is playing that night. Hmm…

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