With apologies to Haruki Murakami and his wonderful book, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. . . .
When I run, I think about nothing.
Or the tunes I'm playing.
Or how I'm sick of constantly having to pull up my pants.
Or how long I've been going and how much longer I think I can go.
Or how there are dogs up ahead that I have to watch out for. Or sometimes it's the toddlers, depending on where I am in the run (there are some places on park trails where the path goes right by the playground).
In short, I think about really mundane things. Maybe that'll change as I get in better shape and can focus better. Who knows.
(I also have the rosary on my iPod now, too, and that's a good thing to focus on instead of the ridiculously mundane items.)
After I've run, though, I think about running in a different way.
First, it still blows my mind that I can do it.
At the same time, it's really not that special. In the same way I used to see pregnant women everywhere when I was pregnant, I now see runners everywhere.
What is cool, though, is making the mind leap into doing it. I'm someone who has lived so much more in my head than in my body. The intense physicality of childbearing and mothering kicked me a bit more into my body, but that's still not where my natural strengths lie.
I also think about how I am very grateful, though, to the fact that I have friends who have inspired me. Very quietly, too. It's not like I've really even talked much to them much about running. Or plan to, as I'm in a far different place. Plus, I'm selfish about it. I like to pretend it's special, that it's my thing. I also have to be very much in my own head while I'm running. But, before I started, I heard enough about people (mortals!) I knew doing it that it did become something I thought that maybe I could do.
Then, I also had my "Great Santini" moment with regard to running. My kids started a program, Marathon Kids, sponsored by these same running friends, where the kids recorded their running distances. There was a kickoff/pep rally, and I became aware that I had never and I wasn't sure I could even jog around a 1/4-mile track, which was part of the rally. My girls had no trouble.
At that point, I decided I was not going to be in a situation where my kids were beating me at something physical at the ages of 6 and 10. I read a ton of books (of course!) and figured out my own plan.
It wasn't that long ago that I was detailing my excitement at being able to run for 1/3 of a mile straight (maybe four minutes). Now, I can and do run for hours each week. I've also switched my focus. It was inspiring at first to think about my running in terms of miles; now, I focus on the amount of time more than the distance. Maybe I'll switch back to distance at a certain point, but for now I'm happy with measuring the minutes, not the miles.
Running itself hasn't really seemed to help with the weight loss, although it undoubtedly will, but it definitely has helped my mood and my resting heart rate.
And that's even better.