Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The A, b, c and d’s of Running

I run rather frequently. It’s my coping mechanism, stay sane solution and be fit formula. I highly recommended it. Since I have a rather regular running schedule (sorry for all the alliteration, I can’t help myself), I’ve been able to notice the pattern in which my thoughts develop. They consistently fall into a select number of categories. I’m calling them the “A, b, c and d’s of Running”.

A: Aerobic Exercise
I believe the only REAL exercise is aerobic exercise. If it doesn’t get my heart pumping wildly and for an extended period of time, then it might as well as be called sleeping. I find that I constantly remind myself of this when I’m running. I’m reassuring myself there’s a purpose to all the pain: “You’re exercising to exercise Jocelyn, and aerobic exercise is good for you!” or “Think how much better prepared you’ll be if you have to escape from an attacking wild animal! Because of all the aerobic exercise you do!”

B: Boys
Well, there’s only one boy in my life. He’s my stud, my John Doe, my Gangsta: Wes. I find running to be a time where I can reflect on my relationship. I usually try to think back to a year or two years ago and remember what stage our relationship was in. There was definitely a time where I would think about what a dysfunctional/“this is never going to work out” relationship we had while running. Not that this was ever the case, but I was crazier two years ago than I am today (if you can believe it). As much as I try to be positive, there’s a little doomsayer who frequently takes up residence my brain. I let him loose when I run, and then leave him behind on the trail.

C: New Criteria and Creativity
As I mentioned in category A, I frequently reflect on how physically painful it is to run. My knees are sore, my feet feel cramped and my legs are exhausted. I catalog all the different acute pains I feel, and then convince myself that this is forcing my body to use new criteria to evaluate how close to death I am. Even when it gets really painful and I think I’m going to die at any minute, I don’t. I survive! And now my body knows it can too!

I also try to be creative when I run. I make up stories about the people I see or try to imagine what their daily life must be like. It makes me feel like I’m being doubly productive. I’m exercising my body and my mind!

D: Drinking
Without fail, I always think about what kind of drink I can reward myself with after having burned all those calories during my run. I don’t think about donuts or ding dongs. I think about a chilled, crisp Riesling or a salty, frothy Margarita. Maybe I think about drinking because running makes me thirsty, or maybe because I really love my wine? I usually end up doing the responsible thing and reward myself with a huge glass of water, but that’s boring. There’s no way I’d be as motivated to run if I thought about all the lame water I’d get to drink when I was done.

And there you have it. My a, b, c and d’s of running. I'd like to think I've got a mind like a maniac, but the body of a babe.

Just kidding on that last part.

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