The Mental Dwellings of a Long Run

“Yeah, my 50k took me about 5 hours I am just hap…”

“WAIT WHAT!?!?!” I was interrupted, I knew what was coming next. The number one question of all non runners, I could almost finish her sentence before she started it. “WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT FOR 5 HOURS!?!?”

Seriously. I just told you I ran for 5 hours, would’t you rather know how I kept going? What sticky vomit flavored Guu I choked down? What shoes kept blisters off my feet? What the grass covered, hill scattered, thorn dwelling course looked like?!?! Nope, non runners are only concerned with the mental dwellings of us long distance creatures, I don’t get it.

You want to know? You really want to know. Fine, I’ll tell you, but I can tell you its not as entertaining as you would think it would be.

I think about starting, how hitting the tiny little Tiffany blue start button on my Garmin 735XT will signify my starting time or the time my run is born. How each run is like starting a new life and figuring out how and what you want to do with that life, as well as who you want in it.

I think about squirrels. How those little fluffy critters are no better than rats. How they scamper everywhere, terrorize dogs, pick at your garbage, and cause utter chaos to drivers who screech to a halt avoiding crushing there fluffy rat like bodies under thousands of pounds of pressure from the death traps we drive.

I think about my feet. My stride is perfect.

I think about the person who just passed me, they had an imperfect stride, yet still passed me with all the grace of an elephant doing a barre class.

I think about water. I take it for granted, but there are people out there that don’t have it at all. Then I remember reading about one of the runners during Nike’s Breaking Two, he never drank during races and they thought if he did he could run a sub 2 hour marathon.

I take a drink.

I think about hills. Not just this hill, the next one too, and the one after that.

I think about the expression making mountains out of mole hills. To a mole, his hill is a mountain. Perspective.

I think about that one time in 2nd grade I asked the strawberry blond girl next to me how to spell apple. She didn’t tell me, but she took my paper and drew a perfect apple on my large lined paper and proceeded to color it in with red crayons. The crayons weren’t brand named, they flaked and smeared red lines all over my paper. We’ve been friends ever since.

I think about my stride. I fix the mistake I’ve been making.

I think about the weather.

I think about the lady who I just passed pushing a double wide stroller up a hill. I wonder if those kids will remember when they grow up how there mom used to run with them. I wonder if they will appreciate it. Probably not.

I think about distance.

I think about miles.

About Kilometers.

About centimeters.

I think about conversion charts.

I think about temperatures. I always tell people to dress like it is 20 degrees warmer than it actually is. How the perfect temperature for a marathon is 40 degrees, this way your body sees it as 60. However at 40 degrees I find myself not knowing what to wear cause I would be freezing, but at 60 I would wear shorts and a tank top and be fine.

I think about margaritas. How I could go for one, or six.

I take a drink.

I think about how that was not a margarita.

I think about color. How lame I must sound when someone asks me what my favorite color is and I say pink or lime green. There are hundreds and thousands of colors out there and here I am saying pink.

I think about the next time someone asks me what my favorite color is I’m going to say Barbie Pink, or Pantone #DA1884.

I think about how no one asks me what my favorite color is anymore.

I think about how no one speaks in Pantone colors like I do.

I think about stopping to catch my breath. I don’t, but I think about it.

I think about my stride. My heels are getting heavy.

I think about the older man that just passed me. Clearly in his later years of life he runs hunched over, he struggles to look up as his head is angled down from years of work. His gray crew neck sweatshirt is spattered with sweat, and he sounds like he is breathing through a straw. Anyone around him might be worried about his heath, but he is smiling, being out and moving at his age is an accomplishment in itself.

I think about my cat, I wonder how long Taco could run for.

I think about direction, should I go left or right. Or straight. Or should I turn around. I’ll go right.

I think I made a wrong turn. I go left instead.

I think about margaritas again. I desperately need salt to replace what I lost in my sweat.

I think about winter. I miss snowboarding. The feeling gliding over snow, daring the closeness of trees, and feeling the soft sting of the cold from the air as I go down the mountain.

I take a drink.

I think that I am almost done running. I glance at my watch.

I think I thought I was further than I am.

I think about my form. I am tired. I am now a heel striker.

I think about how the majority of runners are heel strikers. There is nothing wrong with being a heel striker its just not the most effective way to run.

I think about how everyone asks me what I think about while I run. Such a silly question really. What do you think about during the course of the day? Everything. Well so do I, I just happen to be running and thinking about it.

I think I just swallowed a bug. I cough, and spit, trying to get the vermin out of my mouth.

I think i’ll write a blog post about thinking. I also don’t think that will be too popular because how can I write about thinking, that cant be entertaining.

I think about my pace. I glance at my watch, my beautiful metronome of cadence never fails to keep my time. How did they used to train without GPS watches? I am not good enough at math to calculate my splits without my Garmin, let alone calculate distance by the steps I took.

I think about stride. My form right now looks like a cross between a gazelle and a jelly fish. Picture that.

I think I am out of water.

I think about how I that you can only go 3 days without water. The Taklamakan Desert in my mouth begs to differ. Right now I think I would only last about 60 grueling minutes. Maybe less.

I think I just passed my stopping point. I look down at my Garmin. I most definitively did.

I think I am exhausted. I stop my Garmin. I can’t wait to upload this run to Strava.

I think I am going to do this again tomorrow.

I think about that margarita.


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