As much as I look forward to my weekly long run, there’s something to be said for the short, fast ones too. Long runs make me feel strong and tough but they also give me a lot of time to think. Sometimes that’s great — I have a lot of stuff to figure out. Sometimes it’s ridiculous and my mind wanders to such weird places.
Like a song will come on that reminds me of an ex boyfriend or a friend I haven’t seen in a long time and I’ll start to think about how weird it is that you see and talk to someone every day for eight months or a year or three years and then one day you just never talk to them again. And then I wonder, “on a scale of forgetting-a-co-workers-name to going-to-the-movies-with-someone-as-a- friend-and-then-realizing-you’re-on-a-date…. how awkward would it be to see that person again?”
And then the song changes and because I’m concentrating so hard on ignoring what I’m actually doing — moving my legs forward at at least 5.5 m.p.h. for many, many miles — my mind bounces off in another direction like what kind of pie to make later this week, or what the fairest way to judge educator effectiveness really is, or xyz problem I’m trying to solve at work, or did I screw up at abc meeting….
I’m sure that I’m supposed to be concentrating on things like my form and paying attention to how my body feels after each mile, but that gets boring after like 2 miles if you’re running slow miles.
Which is why I’ve decided that short, fast runs rule. There’s no time to brood or even really to think about anything. When I’m trying to beat a personal best time (today it will be three miles in 26 minutes) my interior monologue goes completely like this, “gogogogogogogogogogogoGOFASTERMEGANDONTBESUCHAWIMPgogogogogogogogogogogogooooo!” which leaves a lot less space for self-doubt, introspection or anything besides total focus on moving my body fast.
It seems like both ways — slow and thoughtful/fast and focused — of approaching a task are useful. In running and in life.