I started taking music on my run because it helped me not focus so much on the messages my brain was trying to send to the rest of my body to stop. Tonight though, I wanted to see if I could run without it. I have been reading a lot by other runners who talk about experiencing some of their clearest ever thinking when they just let their mind wander on the course. I had a lot on my mind this evening. I knew that the physical exertion alone would leave me calmer but I wondered if I was cheating myself out of some of the other benefits of running by focusing on the music and not letting my mind go where it wanted. So out I went.
So I tuned in more to the conversations with myself that I have to have on every run. They go a lot like this:
Within first 5 minutes:
BRAIN: Oh, everything hurts! This is crazy, why are we doing this? You're not a runner and who's going to even care if you just go home? You're great at lots of other things, let's just leave this one alone.
ME: Oh, it's you again. Didn't you try this 3 times this week already? Chill out, in another 2 or 3 minutes the pain will go away and you'll be just fine. I don't want to hear another word out of you until we get to the end of the next bloc.
After about 10:
BRAIN: OK, I did what you asked, I kept quiet but have you noticed how heavy you're breathing? You should take a break and walk. You're getting pretty sweaty too and, if I may say so, pretty stinky.
ME: I know, I know. You told me you were going to die last time at this same point and I ran another 15 minutes so let's just keep going. Besides, once I slow down, you are absolutely no help in getting me to start up again.
BRAIN: heh heh, that's pretty true.
At about 12 minutes:
BRAIN: OK, how about a small break at 15 minutes? Just for one or two minutes. Really. I promise.
ME: You promise? We can walk and then start right back up again?
BRAIN: Scout's honor.
ME: OK, in 15.
At 17 minutes:
BRAIN: You know, there's really not a reason to run the rest of the way home. You've already done more than some people do all week. Let's just stroll home.
ME: You promised!
BRAIN: I know. Fine. Let's go. And I'll keep quiet until we get to the corner where our street is.
BRAIN: Really. I'd rather work on a few of your other problems for a while, I've lost interest in this running thing, you seem to have it pretty well mastered and don't seem like you're going to give it up anytime soon. See you in a few.
At the corner:
BRAIN: Yoo-hoo, look where we are!!! And look at your watch. 27 minutes, that's 2 more than you set out to do. Can we stop now?
ME: OK, sure.
BRAIN: I think we deserve an ice cream cone.
BRAIN: Fine. Cold water it is. Can we be friends now?