Five Mile Thoughts
I tend to view running the same way I view long road trips headed back east, mindless. I enjoy the fact that for whatever amount of distance is in front of you that is what you are doing. There is no real thought involved, you just run or drive. I began running when I was in high school because I was really bad at all other sports. I have a terrible equilibrium and I’m just not coordinated. Although I really tried I was not the track star that my both of my older brothers were. By the time junior year rolled around my track couch made it very clear that it would be better if I just worked on my tan. So I began to run long distance, I figured that as long as I kept putting one foot in front of the other it could only get better.
I kept running, I didn’t get a whole lot better, but I found I really enjoyed the mindlessness of it all. I would just set out to run for a set amount of time or a set distance, beyond that I didn’t have to concentrate at all. In fact I found the less I thought the better the runs would go. I would turn my music on and try not to fall or get hit by a car. Running was a break from my thoughts.
So why when presented with a five mile run, as part of a relay triathlon, I was terrified of the idea of it. It hadn’t been that long since I ran 13 miles, surely five would seem like nothing. The difference was that I couldn’t have my music. I started to freak out about the idea of being alone with my thoughts for that long. As I’ve grown up and become a better person I have become much more comfortable with being alone, hell I even live alone and spend a good deal of time alone. But I realized that I’m never really alone in silence, I always have music on, I even fall asleep to music. I have so many outside influence that I only let in the thoughts that I want. So being alone and running without any noise to block out the unwanted thoughts terrified me. I actually stated to think about things that I could think about while this run was taking place. I told myself that I was worried because I don’t like letting people down and being part of a relay team was way too much possible disappointment. I told my team mates to ask me thought provoking questions before the race so I would have a thought plan. I laid awake forever the night before, paranoid that I mentally would not be able to run five miles without music.
Well the triathlon took place, and I did in fact run for five miles and although I desperately tried to think of nothing other than the words to Katy Perry’s latest inspirational pop hit, real thoughts crept in. I have been fooling myself. All these years working on becoming a better and stronger person who is okay with themselves has all been in vain. If I can’t even spend forty five minutes alone in my own head, how on earth could I think that I like myself? I don’t like myself, I never have but I thought that I would never have to admit it. I thought if I could just seem like a functioning human being I was fine. How is it possible that I still can’t stand who I am. I have worked so so hard. I know that I have been a shithead in the past, but I have dedicated the last five years to learning from my mistakes, growing and no longer being a shithead. But I guess it doesn’t matter. Sure I can fall asleep at night, or live alone and go days without actually speaking to people and be fine, because I have music, tv and computers to distract me. But give me a fucking five mile run and I fall apart. I’m not sure that this will ever change, I don’t know if my past will ever let me be. My Dad once said that I must have killed someone in a past life to hate myself as much as I do in this life. I’m starting to think that he was right. I guess I can either just keep plugging away at becoming a better person who is content with the path I have chosen, or never agree to run in silence ever again. I thinking the latter.