Mental runner

 

I have my weird and wonderful ways of entertaining/distracting myself during a long run. They may not be sane (but then nor am I) or entirely grounded but they seem to get me through the distance (except for when they don’t). In my defence (before you read these and rush to click the “unfollow” button), let it be said that I KNOW that people don’t know what distance I’m doing when they encounter me in the great wild that is Central London, they don’t generally find me amazing nor do they hail me as a demi-god. Just don’t tell that to the me that’s out running – she wouldn’t believe you anyway…

Upon seeing a police car:

My gait always picks up and I suddenly run “stronger” even if I am completely knackered. One of two reasons: a) I expect they are coming to get me after some poor pedestrian that I have ranted at for blocking the pavement has alerted them to the crazy person b) the police are totally in awe of my kick-ass-superwoman-strength and are coming to recruit me to their special forces. Trust me, I know how mental that sounds but when I’m running there is just no limits to the self-deception I have about my own awesomeness. And I would totally kick ass at that secret special force.

Counting:

Depending on where I am in the run (and how hard it is), the way I count the remaining distance varies. Sometimes I just plain lie to myself and even when I know I am doing a 25km run, I still take 10km as half-way point. The first 10km is anyway “filler”; after I enter the double digits I am basically into the meat of the run (in my head). Another highlight is hitting 16km and knowing that I have single digits left to run. By the time I get to 17km I feel I am almost there. I mean; I still have 8 km to go but the number “17” just feels good. But oddly 20km is always anticlimactic; the 5km that I still have to churn through looms larger than the 8km 3km ago. Keeping up??… If I am really desperate I just focus on the time, which weirdly sometimes seems easier to cope with than the distance – just imagine how fast an episode of Californication whizzes past and that’s 30 minutes.

distraction-cartoon

Brain teasers:

I don’t do this often but have done it: before a run I will look up a riddle or a brain teaser that I then try and solve during the run. Drives me absolutely bloody insane sometimes but definitely keeps me distracted from the run. For example: What gets broken without being held?*

Dementia:

As the mind wanders it occasionally gets stuck on something; be it the name of the band warbling on my Yurbuds or some other little detail that I should know but just can’t remember (aaaaarrrgghh!). I have on a number of occasions clocked a good bit of distance before an ecstatic a-ha moment when the greyed brain cells finally whirr into action and release the sought after details – ah, the glorious moment when that happens…

Grumpiness:

You know me and how I like to make a meal out of shouting at anyone out there that dares to get in my way.. Everytime someone tries to kill me by not indicating and then turning right into me, it does tend to get the old adrenalin going and that always boosts me for a bit. A bit like taking a gel, I would imagine (never have). Another way to while away the endless kilometres is to come up with new curse words and ways to insult said idiots. Current favourites are: cuntpuffin (also works as puffin cunt), dickwang and scheitzer.

Work:

And of course work is another distraction though one that I try to avoid thinking about when I’m running. Mainly because I always remember things I have forgotten to do and hate that I can’t set a reminder or write things down when I’m out there. I’ll then be stressed out about forgetting whatever I had forgotten in the first place again before I get back home. Work – best avoided. At least when running.

Relationships:

Now this is a favourite of mine. I love thinking about love. And lust. And trying to make sense of both. Or either. I’ll let you know when I manage, I’m sure I’ll deserve some sort of an award for that.. Ideally one that comes with a huuuuuuuge stipend to Ikea. Or the local off-licence.

Fictional conversations:

Tell me I’m not the only one who has conversations in their head and sometimes ends up gesticulating and making expressions (whilst running – multitasking!). Sometimes these conversations are re-dos from situations that have happened when the “right” thing to say comes to me just that little bit too late. Other times they are completely random conversations with people I might see out and about or are generally sparked by any old thing. As a general rule I am always very witty.

Music:

When I am not obsessed by a band to the point where I play them over-and-over-and-over-and-over again, my phone is on shuffle. I love the potluck nature of the songs that come one. Every now and again you get a right winner at the absolute right time that just boosts you along. Unfortunately it does tend to expose a few rotten choices as well that have somehow ended up on there… I blame the kids.

***

A runner’s mind is a wonderful thing and there is no limit to the lengths we go to distract ourselves; when the brain isn’t paying attention the legs just churn away. And whenever I actually have the chance to employ these strategies rather than worry about whether I will make it home in time to use the toilet always counts as a good run!

 

* A promise

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