My brains reaction to running I liken to music of a symphony orchestra. Simultaneously opening with brass, percussion, strings and woodwind I create a gigantic instrumental noise. Multiple bum notes develop into a harmonious melody and the final phase of my masterpiece ends with a magnificent clash of cymbals.
The first orchestral phase I shall call ‘mind-field’; an explosion of thoughts, feelings and emotions as I start to turn over my feet and pick up pace. In the time it takes Usain Bolt to run the 100m I’ve already processed my work day, comforted myself multiple times over that I did lock the door yet have no memory of doing so, become acutely aware of which body part is going to be the niggliest of today’s venture, and figured which tree will best disguise me pulling out my wedgy without looking too ungainly. Following this, I generally will insert one of the following options:
1. Curse myself for eating too late before running and rapidly become conscious of that rising feeling from my stomach to which I may repeat my meal mid-run,
2. Not eating enough and knowing this will be a constant battle between belly and brain for distance or
3. Forgetting to brush my teeth and having that lingering taste of tuna accompany me the entire run.
Just like Bolt pulling up over the finish line, my lightning speed thought processes ease as my cadence settles and my breathing drops into a comfortable rhythm. Let’s say phase one, it’s all about me. I’m self-centred, self-absorbed and a down right bad-ass.
*Phase 2, my thoughts quieten, my body frees itself of daily tensions and my mind opens. That water logged feeling ebbs away, I kick off my gum boots and just like a freshly rung sponge, my thoughts begin to bounce back with energy. I feel each brain cell sucking in fresh air and a shift occurs. Rather than my brain being compacted to the front of my forehead, I feel it drop back, expand and that serious looking frown dissipates from my forehead. It’s here my thoughts become external. I take in my surroundings and I’m present in the moment. I become mindful of my movement, I don’t focus on the calf niggle or tightness in my torso but instead the freedom of my body that can move, dance even, fluid and youthful. My eyes widen, like I can see for the first time, and I’m thank-full for my ability to test my body to push it without breaking down.
*Like some kind of divine intervention I’m hit headlong in phase 3 with a hefty slap of inspiration. Now I’m alive, I’m empowered, I’m confident and I can run buildings Spiderman style (Ok so I feel like I could!). That troublesome patient at work that I just can’t figure out suddenly becomes so simple, the chip I’m carrying on my shoulder from a mid-week tiff slips away and my stupid first world problems (Why can’t I have instant internet access in our new digs?), everything just disappears. I suddenly know the next step to take, the calmness I need to exude and the unimportant ‘stresses’ to leave behind.
I get why people run, I get that for some its more than just a want to get fit or keep fit, it’s a necessary function of your being and without it, that gremlin that lives under the staircase, it comes out to play and no-one, no-one wants to meet that.
So, come rain or shine I’ll be out there and with each step I’ll be running from that mind-field toward my superhero epiphany.
Senior Sports Physiotherapist & Born to Run Coach