The Long Run Daydream

I once wondered what I would think about on my long runs. Never, in a million years would have I believed the answer would be “more running”.

You know the run; I’ve read about it elsewhere enough now to know I’m not alone. You’re out there on mile 5-6 of a long run. Your head is full of random noise, like a radio between stations. What are you going to do that afternoon? How much work do you have left on that work project? Snippets of songs and visuals of whatever browser game you last played swim in your head alongside the constant struggle to hold form, shoulders back, eyes level, head up. Then, unbidden and not entirely appropriately, your endocrine system, giddy with adrenaline and dopamine and sunshine, starts arguing with your rational mind with the dogged persistence it’s supposed to be using to keep you moving forward. Annoyingly, it’s got some to spare, and so they start.

The marathon daydreams.

Maybe it begins innocently. This weekend mine began with thoughts triggered by the Pittsburgh Marathon sending out advertising material for their new running club, the Steel City Road Runners. I am feeling a bit envious of anyone who has a good running club, and the Pittsburgh organizers seem to be trying up a great one.

Of course, not by accident, all this talk of the Pittsburgh Marathon reminded me I wanted to sign up early this year and be all set to run the half.

And that’s where Mister Smarty Adrenaline kicks in.

Adrenaline: “Why don’t we sign up for the full?”
Rationality: “Well, I mean, I don’t know”
A: “Exactly, you don’t know. We should sign up, I’m sure it’s not much harder. And we can train all winter! You love training! WHEEEeeeeeEEEEE.”
R: “NO! This is why I had a rule.”
A: “What rule? Pfft, that 33 thing is stupid. You can do it! Let’s lose some toenails! Let’s run some 20 milers! Let’s sign up for an adventure race and run for a whole day! WheeeeeeEEEEEEeeeeee!”

My rational mind is weakened enough to let Mr. Adrenaline have his fun, but not give in later. So the reminder on my calendar still says to sign up for the *half* marathon. Don’t tell Mr. Adrenaline though. He got me through a great 12 mile run, thinking that next year would be the year in which I would run a marathon, an ultra marathon, an ironman and possibly take up a part-time gig as a spy.

Donald daydreaming.

Luckily the adrenal gland is strong on tenacity, weak on remembering to hold me to the terms of it doling out that sweet, sweet buoying feeling.

Sunday was a good run. How was yours?

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4 responses to “The Long Run Daydream

  1. I have SO had this run before. My adrenal gland must not give in so easily though, it usually convinces my rational side to go ahead and do whatever crazy thing that it came up with. (That’s probably how I ended up on the other side of the Earth. “Just do it, no biggie, c’mon.”)

    • I believe I can offer, based on your history, photographs and current situation, a diagnosis of a well-developed sense of adventure. Fortunately it is benign, but it will cause you to make some lifestyle adjustments!

  2. HA! OMG, I *have lost some toenails but I have not daydreamed about more running while running. Not yet. No. Maybe because I am not really a racer yet.

    What I have had Mr. Adrenaline say to me while running:
    1. Buy a car! An orange one! You’d love it for hiking and snowboarding! (Rational side: You live in Brooklyn. You don’t *NEED* a car. Zipcars are available. You are broke as a joke.)
    2. Run to work! (Rational side: There are no showers at work. How will you carry your suit? Running on the BQE is not allowed.)
    3. Take up Acrobat’s classes! Do breakdancing! You are strong enough! (Rational side: You are totally inflexible. Why don’t you stick to trying to be a good runner?)

  3. PS: Running to work is not a daydream about running because the point would be to sleep later…. 🙂

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