The Mind During a Long Run

“People ask me constantly, ‘Now, what do you think about during those long runs of yours? How do you not get bored?'”

Note the use of quotations. This is something that I think most–if not all– runners say to both each other and to non-runners. I find myself expressing this often as well. The actual truth of the matter is that very few people ask me this. Runners simply lead themselves to believe that people are fascinated by what goes on in the mind during a run, but in actuality, few people care.

My mind most likely fascinates myself more than it fascinates others.

But in case any of you are curious–actually curious, not just politely curious–about what could go on in a mind during a run, this is for you. Mostly because I was pondering this very question for myself, and during my Saturday morning long run, tried to be as observant over what passed through my thoughts as possible. So here is a condensed look at the goldenness that is my mind during a 14.6 mile run this past Saturday:

Time Context Thought
-00:15 Alarm goes off; 6:43. Urghhuh
-00:14   This really isn’t even that early.
-00:08 Eating the pre-run Fig Newton and drinking water. Off-brand Fig Newtons (or shall I say, Fig Bars) are actually quite terrible. Note to self: splurge a little when it comes to the Newtons next time.

New favorite to add to the list of “Favorites”:

My favorite song to listen to when I’m eating Fig Newtons: Ed Sheeran’s Give Me Love

-00:06 Putting on shoes Man, my two toenails are getting really black, there. I’m conflicted, because I’m so very proud of earning them, but I acknowledge how socially unacceptable this pride is.
-00:01 Going officially out the door Okay, okay. Start “Gone Girl” audiobook, check. Start “Map My Fitness” app, check. Lezzz doo thus!
00:01

0.2 mi

Crossing the first street Why is it that every time I cross a stress, there is inevitably a car?!
00:02

0.4 mi

Upon coming to the first stoplight Yay! The stoplight is very rarely red, this signifies it’ll be a grand run!
00:09

1.2 mi

On the Linear Trail, developed a rhythm Okay, Jos. You know that once you reach 5 miles, you can literally run forever*. You’ve already gone 1.2, which is almost to 2.5 which is just shy of 5 miles when you can run forever. Dude, you’re doing so well!

*this is a lie that I tell myself, but I’ve told myself this for so long, that it’s actually become somewhat factual.

00:15

~2 mi

  Such a beautiful, gorgeous morning.
00:30

~4 mi

  Hey! Look’e’there! Just 1 mile until 5.Dude, a mile is nothing!*

*That’s a lie. A mile can be a significant distance.

 00:45

~6 mi

Just passed a guy walking with headphones in;

Apparently scared the daylights out of him.

Bro. Sorry that I couldn’t wheeze out a louder “on your left!” to combat the pumping Drake that is harvesting your brain through your headphones right now. No need to get angry.
1:00

~7.4 mi

Turn around point: ingestion of a GU Espresso Love Gel I don’t understand why anyone would want to run with another person. First of all, I feel like the beauty of a run is getting to escape reality and expectations and one gets the sole opportunity to control everything around them; direction, pace, time, etc. Not so when worrying about keeping pace and time with someone.

 

Secondly, I would not have very many friends if people witnessed the way that I attempt to consume gels while running after 7 miles. For reals, more of it is plastered on my left cheek and mangled in my hair than actually makes it into my mouth.

1:15

~9.4 mi

Unexciting part in Gone Girl. Man. What should I have for breakfast? I do love oatmeal. But this is a friggen’ long run, maybe I should treat myself more.
1:30

~11.1 mi

  I could run forevvvvver!
1:31

~11.2 mi

  Lies. I could not run forever.
1:40

~12.2 mi

  I wonder what my blog post should be about. Maybe about what I think during a long run. Oh gosh, that would be a terribly boring blog post. Most of my thoughts are thought for me, that’s the point of a podcast.
1:47

~13.11mi

Officially longest distance I have run to date. Ayyy! This is the longest I have ever run, and I feel good! I wonder if my toenails are going toofficially  fall off after this.
1:49

~13. 60mi

  Okay, the excitement is a bit wearing off. I’m ready for some peanut butter and oatmeal.
1:52

~14.4mi

House is in sight. Yayayaya! Breakfast is coming soon!
1:55

~14.6mi

Through the backyard door. Whoopholla. That was fun.

 

So if you didn’t think that was exciting, then I don’t trust your judgment of what is.

Just kidding.

Most of what goes on in my mind during a run is a lie. I convince myself that if I reach this distance, I can go forever! Or hey, you’re at .6 miles, which is almost 1.2 miles, which is just a step below 2.5 miles which is halfway to 5 miles, which is the point where you can run forever! It’s also a lot of telling myself how much fun I am having, how well I am doing, how much I am enjoying the day. The more I repeat these things to myself, the more I tell myself, “Why yes, I do love hills! Give me allllll the hills!” the more it actually comes to happen.

See, running is so much more than a physical exertion. It’s a mental game. I fully believe that anyone can be a runner, regardless of most medical history, most physical abilities. It’s all born from the mind. If one can convince themselves that they are having actual fun during a run, than that’s when that person becomes a runner.

Life often is a mental game.

 

 

 

Peace and Blessings,

Josie

 

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