What I Think About When I Run

A lot of people have told me “Ugh. I hate running. It’s so boring.” To those people, I say “Pooh-pooh. YOU are boring.

Maybe that’s a bit defensive.

I have to admit, there are times when I’m running where time seems to stand still, and not in a “This is so beautiful and meaningful, I wish this moment would never end”  kind of way – I always want it to end. I’m not one of those “live to run” folks.

But,  any endurance athlete will tell you, it’s not the actual miles that are the challenge. It’s your stupid brain. Ok, sometimes it’s the miles, too. But mostly it’s your stupid brain screaming “No!” or “Stop!” or “I will turn this body around!”.

Here, let me show you. Below is a scientifically gathered representation of what went on in my brain on my most recent long run.

  • Ok. This will be fun. Just a quick 9 miles, and we’re done.
  • Um. 9 miles is never quick. Not the way you run.
  • Ok. But what else have you got to do today?
  • Sleep?
  • Shut up.
  • Fine. I will shut up. As a matter of fact, I’m going to shut so far up that I won’t remind your legs and lungs that they are actually capable of this for the first mile or so. So enjoy feeling like a lumbering, asthmatic brontosaurus for the next 13 minutes.
  • You’re a jerk.
  • Hello?
  • You know we’re in this together. Let’s just get halfway and see how we’re doing. If you still hate it, we’ll stop.
  • Ok, number one, you lie. Number two, I’m thirsty.
  • Look! Pretty! Trees!
  • Yeeeeeeahhhhhh. Wait. What’s that weird feeling. You feel that? What’s that? I’ve never felt that twinge in my foot before. Oh god. This is it. We’re injured. We have to stop. Forever! We’re going to have to go to physio… We’ll have to miss all our fall races…
  • It’s gone.
  • It might come back.
  • It’s gone.
  • … I’m thirsty.
  • Oh look! Another runner! Time to nod! Hey, fellow runner!
  • He didn’t nod back. Jerk.
  • He was fast!
  • He was so fast the wind resistance wouldn’t allow him to nod back? He was a jerk.
  • Uh oh.
  • What?
  • Don’t look.
  • Don’t look at wha… HEY! You didn’t say anything about a HILL on this run!
  • Come on, one more mile and we’ll be halfway.
  • One more mile up a freaking HILL. Come on!
  • Here, have some Honey Stingers.
  • Oooooh! Candy! Yum!
  • Look – we’re halfway done. Look at this beautiful vista.
  • Well, it is pretty.
  • Aren’t you glad we ran up this hill?
  • No. I’m thirsty.
  • Have some more water.
  • I don’t want water. I want a beer.
  • Guess what? We get to turn around and run DOWN this hill!
  • Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
  • Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
  • Oh no.
  • Oh god, I can’t stop.
  • Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
  • Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
  • No, it’s ok, I got it. I got it. We’re good.
  • Ha! That was fun!
  • I have to pee.
  • You’ve got to be kidding me.
  • Hey, we’re almost back – look how close we are.
  • Yeah, that wasn’t so bad, was it?
  • I guess not. But you still owe me a beer. Wait, that cupcake shop is around here! Cupcakes! Now!
  • Copy that, brain. Copy that.

For the record, we did get cupcakes.

So, what do you think about when you run?