Managing my Chimp - Did you say RUN?

Posted on: 04 Jun 2018

I've called my blog the Anxious runner because, well I am a runner with Anxiety problems.  I am determined however..  

I'm getting there but I would love to hear from runners who have broken through this condition.  We know all to well that it's irrational, all in the mind so we've probably all heard 99 times that we need to just "switch off".  Mastering the off switch is proving a bit tricky.  I've no problem with a run being sabotaged by a blister, tweaked hamstring or typhoon but it gets a bit annoying when it's your own brain that's doing the sabotaging

What goes on in your head when you go for a run?

  • Do you think about the shopping?
  • Plan your week out?
  • Repeat a soothing mantra?
  • Relax and zone out aware of only your breathing and the breeze on your face?
  • Some like to listen to opera or Led Zeppelin.  Others a podcast...

The first ten to 15 minutes for me consist of a false dawn of "tra la la's" and "this is doddle" (first 2 mins) followed by a massive argument between body, brain and my chimp AKA The Anxiety Chimp.  (I've taken to reading Chimp Management in an effort to become a master of my own brain.  I know exercise is beneficial for Depression sufferers so I'm hoping it will treat anxiety too).. anyway, a big hoo haa ensues roughly as follows..

BRAIN - Don't panic, the Garmin is ON...this is all good.  Fah lah lah - I like this sound track, turn it up.

BODY - What are you doing!  Go and do some Pilates or Tai Chi or something.  Jesus woman - you're not a spring chicken!  Ok, Ok, no bother.. this actually works and you could do with losing weight. Let's crack on..  Just don't go too fast and make sure you put some DECENT food in me later.  Not rubbish or I'll have a word with your IBS monster and kick off!  Nice evening for a run to be fair..

BRAIN - Is Chimp asleep?

BODY - Yes , he's quiet. Work did his head in so he zoned out. I feel great today.  No shin splints and all is good with the world.  Cracking nights sleep as well last night, thanks Brain!

BRAIN - You're welcome Body!  That cycle did you good!

CHIMP - Way hey! What's happening are we going out?  Are we running for the ice cream van or the pub chubby rump? LOL!  Where's the fun.  Gimee, gimee a banana...  Why are you hot?  Why is your heart rate high?  You're leaking sweat!?  Why are you moving so fast!  Hang about. You're going to have a panic aren't you.  YES YOU ARE!  Ooh I love this, DRAMA!

BRAIN - Shut up, she's training.  All is good, there's no fire and she's calm and collected. It's a gentle run.  It's not hot.  Stop making crap up!

CHIMP - No, she's not, I know the signs.. I've seen them all before.  Wobble time!.  And BODY she had Udon Noodles for lunch with that spicy stuff. Fruity cider the weekend too tsk...Bound to stuff this up.  She won't hit a PB you know so she's wasting her time? I predict a panic here..Check her Garmin.

BODY - Oh not a panic.  I hate it when she has a panic. I'm feeling hot Brain! Check the Garmin!

CHIMP - It's too hot I tell you and why is she running? Something is wrong.  There must be wolves chasing her.  Lemme see...She's not running very fast..1 mile in 12 mins. Pfff.  Wolves would have ate her by now... perhaps its bears. Woooo! Check the Garmin!

BRAIN - Wolves?  Wolves? Oh there's a deadline she's missed in work.  Is the gas off?  Has she let the cat out, you know he's incontinent. Chimp what's happening?  Are there wolves?  Those teenage girls are sniggering..Stop this all of you!

BODY - Why are you always like this Chimp?  Always causing trouble.  Don't set the brain off.  It's all good. Check the Garmin Brain! So what if is slow?  a 12 minute mile is just as far as a 6 minute mile...FFS!

CHIMP - She's too fat to run.  She'll got hot and sweaty and thirsty and DIE! Its all gone wrong.  I'm bringing back every dreadful thought out of the memory file to stop this.  She must be stopped.

BODY - Die?  Thirsty? Hot.  HEAT STROKE!.  OMG. Who woke up IBS? Maybe you should stop.  Your calves are a bit warm now.  Is that right Brain?  It's not right, I know it.  It's a clot or a tear or Ebola or something..

BRAIN - Checking the Garmin.  100 metres. Why am I crap with men?  Why can't I lose weight?  What's wrong with my trainers?  I haven't got the right bra on?  What's happening to my calves?  Those noodles are killing me..Chimp, get out of the filing system!

CHIMP - Oh here's some Paranoia, here's Heartbreak, here's Shame, here's Failure, here's that time she was sick on the bus coming back from Birmingham..where is Mockery, Oh, here it is!  Come out to play one and all.  She must be stopped!  Check Garmin Brain!

BRAIN - I checked it 30 SECONDS AGO! Another 150 metres.  

CHIMP - She'll be 50 before she finishes this bloody run.. AND WE'LL ALL BE DEAD!

BODY - Water!  Water! I'm having palpitations.

BRAIN - Yes you are.. IT'S CALL INCREASED BP! Bloody hell.  It could be exercise and NOT panic you know.. Calm TF down!

CHIMP - Nah, its definitely panic. PANIC!

IBS - Hey girlfriend! Oh can I play now? Goody! PANIC! (Grips colon and shakes it like a tambourine).

BODY - The more the merrier.  She must be stopped. Check Garmin.

BRAIN - Farce!  Mayday! Mayday!

IBS - Let me sing you the song of my people..

CHIMP - It's best to stop Body... (bangs cymbals)

BODY - Yes I agree, I mean I could die or something..

BRAIN -  Ok, we'll get to 5k and walk for 1 minute.

BODY - That's ages away! PANIC!



BRAIN - PANIC! Turn up the soundtrack FFS!

And so it continues. ..

Chimp falls asleep about 20 mins in, Brain has a quiet cry but battles on.  Body has a fight with IBS until shortly before the end.  

Do you have anxiety - I'd love to know how you handle this sod of a chimp and his Mariachi band of hooligans.

Here's to the next run!

CHIMP - Did you say RUM?

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