This past weekend I set out for a long but slow run. My goal was to log some miles while not pushing the speed too much.
I realized a little while ago that I do this thing in my head while running where I analyze time and distance, which is fairly normal, I imagine, but I do it repeatedly and in rapid succession. I do not actually wait for the full answer to materialize in my head before I start all over again. I start with how many kilometers I've already gone and then start count in my head until I get to that number . . . but I actually count in 1.6 intervals, like 1.6 . . . 3.2 . . . 4.8, etc. It's funny though, for some reason once I hit 4.8 my brain starts to get a little fuzzy on the math, and then I decide that I went wrong somewhere and need to restart. Thus, another cycle begins immediately following my failed attempt. What is even more bizarre is the fact that I prefer keeping track in kilometers on my GPS, but I feel the need to convert those kilometers to miles in real-time. It is almost like I am trying to give myself affirmation that I'm running enough, and the only way to do that is by getting the mile equivalent.
I suppose counting in my head is most likely a way to distract myself from the task at hand, but I realized that by doing this I actually set goals--and sometimes barriers--while I'm doing it. Some days I realize that I am only somewhere between 1.6 and 3.2 and feel dead tired and the idea of a 5k (which I don't convert for some strange reason) seems nearly impossible. Other days when I do the math and realize I am way farther along than I thought, it powers me up and I am almost giddy at the thought of another couple of 1.6'ers. The mental game of pushing through and going the distance is more than half the battle of running.
Anyway . . . I am probably just confusing myself and all of you.
Back to my run on Saturday. I varied up where I ran this past weekend, and it was great. I logged an 8km run, without backtracking hardly at all. I got out relatively early on Saturday to enjoy the 45-degree, sunny weather . . . yeah, in Buffalo. In February. I wanted to be one of those weekend warriors who got their exercise in early. Let me tell you, it felt great knowing my workout was done before 2:00 p.m. I was ready to go for the rest of my day.
By switching up where I ran, I got to see different things. See Exhibits A-1 and A-2. Buffaloes at the Buffalo Zoo.
It was pretty cool to just run by the Zoo, something I haven't done since I was in college. I have pretty much stuck to the other side of the park since I graduated, but now that I can start pushing out longer distances I get to do both. And that's pretty exciting for me. It actually is kind of motivating because the longer and farther I can run, the more of Buffalo (and more buffaloes!) I can see. I know that if I can push out two to three kilometers more on my longest runs I can go down to the waterfront and run along the lake . . . something that is very enticing to me. If I get adventurous, I might even run to Canada. Who knows? After all it is probably just 1.6, 3.2, 4.8, or . . . 6.something more than I am doing now.
Weirdly, I used to obsessively keep track of speed and distance by using my patented “Miles per ‘Power'” system, where I ran exclusively to Kanye West’s “Power”, and used its running time (about 4.5 minutes) to judge how fast I was running each mile. I tried to average about a 2 Power mile for like a month before I realized I never wanted to hear that song ever again.
Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.
Seriously though, my entire experience with exercise so far has been statistics/metrics-driven. Last night I was on the elliptical and instead of watching TV or listening to music, I basically watched all of my metrics (time elapsed, calories per minute, total calories, total distance) and continuously did and re-did the math in my head. Not sure if it’s the best motivator in the world, but mostly I can’t help it.