26 October 2009

On Running and Thinking about Running

I ran 7 miles yesterday. SEVEN MILES. That's a little over 1/2 the distance of the half marathon. From my house around Greenlake and back again...7 miles. Kind of cosmic that I should do 7 miles after last week, but I digress.

Bet ya'll thought I'd have quit by now didn't you?

There is some point when you really realize that running is a mental game.

There is a point along the way, when you've hit a certain amount of miles, when you have found your stride and rhythm and breathing and if you don't think about what your body is doing, it's almost like being in a state of stasis. It's still work, don't get me wrong, but it's almost easier to keep going than it is to stop. You're not working any harder or breathing in a labored way. You're just...running.

This is when the mental debate begins.

"I'm bored"
"I should think, think, think of something to think about"
"But I already thought about all the things I had to think about"
"Well, start thinking about creative things"
"Like what?!?!"
"I dunno, don't we have something we need to be creative about for work?"
"Well, let's think about that"
"Ok, forget it, just think about running to that tree"
"Ok now just run to that lamp post"
"Ok now run to that leaf on the ground"
"Shut up. I'm walking"

And that's when you stop to push the reset button, to clear your head, to take 30 seconds to realize that your hips ache and your baby toe might be asleep and you wish you had stopped at that water fountain. But most importantly, you realize walking is really slow and running wasn't that bad, and hey, you have 3 more miles to do.

So you pick up the pace and you turn up the tunes and you think about what you are going to think about for the next 3 miles and wonder a little bit if maybe you'd be better off if you had more drama in your life.

I am sure there is some big life lesson hidden in all of this. Some romantic notion of milestones and motivation and striving to push yourself to do something you never did before.
Maybe I'll think about that on my next run.