Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Thinking about running

Runners fall into three categories: the talkers, the music listeners, and the quiet ones. If you run a lot, you will probably find yourself in at least two of these groups. (Whenever I pool run, I no choice but to listen to the radio playing or nothing at all). I find the majority of my time is spent in the last group, running on my own. Of course running ‘silent’ does not exclude the possibility of being in a group; there are many occasions where everyone is too tired to talk, or maybe just have nothing to say at that moment.

I hear time and again that Kenyans always run together. I imagine that much of this time is spent in silence. Tempo runs, strides, intervals; these are not chatty times. But for the easy and long runs, how much, or how little, do they feel like saying? It guess it depends a lot on the people. Some runs I’ve spent very quietly with a half dozen or so people. A conversation sparks up, then fades away. Sometimes it’s total silence, or nonstop conversation. Really, it depends on the people.
If I run and talk, I’m done sooner. If I’m alone, looking at my watch the whole time, then time drags on. So it’s better to run with people, right? Well, sometimes quiet group runs can feel longer than one alone. And then there’s the question of why run at all if I want it over with so badly? Do I need to distract myself, lest be bored to death? If not talking, or listening, then what am I doing?
I let my mind wander. There’s nothing special I’m thinking about, but it’s nice to have a time where I avoid distractions. I rarely remember what I was thinking about. Sort of a conscious sleep. Music never worked for me. I’ve tried a few times. But the music can’t always match what I feel like hearing (Also I never like crossing busy streets and not hearing the traffic). But moreover it can be like adding the wrong soundtrack. Tempo matters, and music keeps me from finding my own pace.  Instead, letting your mind wander is a way of sorting out what you didn’t even know you were aware of when you started. It’s a good run if you feel like you sorted something out when you’re finished.

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