I like running. It clears my mind, gives me a chance to sort everything out in my head and it’s like a Sarah-Brain reset switch. When I’m finished running, I’m far more relaxed and happy than I am if I don’t run.
However, despite really quite liking running, in most of my race photos, I look like I’m not having a particularly nice time. I've run in plenty of races but the pictures fall into distinct categories. There's the 'Competing in a Gurning Contest' picture, the 'Zombie Lurch' (usually complete with a grey face and slack drooling mouth), the 'Fallen Asleep Through Boredom' and the 'Shoot Me Now I Feel Like I'm Dying' photo. However, rarely, VERY rarely a race photographer catches me in a certain way and I look almost pensive. Deep. As though I’m thinking solemn, important thoughts.
So in the spirit of research, I decided to actually make a note of what I think about when I run. You know. In case there's something important and solemn actually going on.
I’m so sorry. So very sorry.
“Only 3 miles then I can have a gel.” (3 miles later ... takes gel.)” That wasn’t very nice.” (Forgets) “Only 3 more miles and I can have a gel.” Repeat thought for duration of long run at 3 mile intervals.
“Hope there’s nothing wrong with my knee. Ooh that rhymes with sea. Boat. Sails. Nails. Wonder what my toenails are like. (Psychosomatically toenails start aching) Bet they’re all purple and black. Maybe put some more nail polish on. Polish. Bet my work shoes need polishing. Wonder what everyone’s doing at work. Glad I’m running rather than sitting in an office. Wonder which is worse for my knees?” (knee aches in sympathy to thought) ... and repeat.
“Ooh lambs!” (Calculates how much time it will add onto average pace to stop to take a photo for 30 seconds, gets distracted by maths, lambs recede into distance.)
“Wonder if it’s too soon to stop for a wee.”
“I *really* need a wee. “Brain: You went for a wee before you left. Bladder: But I REALLY want to ... “Oh look grass and daffodils.” Forgets about wee.
“Oh look another runner! Bet they’re marathon training too! They’re going a bit quick. They must be running 400s instead. In the middle of nowhere. With a gel belt on ... “
Jump into your racing car
Say SUGAR RUSH!
(These 4 lines loop through my head intermittently for entire run)
If I'm running a flat route. “Flat routes are boring. B.O.R.I.N.G. Why can't there be hills. Hills are fun.” If I'm running hills. “Why did I choose a route with hills. I feel like I'm dying. Like I'm actually going to fall over and die on this hill. Why couldn't I choose a flat route?”
“Can I fart without anyone hearing me?”
(Strange look from dogwalker)
” Nope. “
“Running in trail shoes is the only real time grownups can jump in puddles. Puddles. Peppa Pig. I *am* peppa pig. “ (Splash)
“Those seagulls are a long way from the sea. Wonder if they like chips more than fish. Wonder why they don’t mob fishmongers.” (Next mile passes with visions of fishmongers being attacked by seagulls and having to beat the birds away by using the contents of fish shop)
“Ooh a canal boat. Must run past and race it! Ha ha! Have beat the silly slow canal boat. Oh bugger. Lace undone. Quick do up lace before canal boats sees I’ve stopped. Brain: it’s a boat. Feet: Doesn’t matter – it’s catching us!”
“Wonder if I can count drinking beer as carb loading?
Surely sitting in a pub counts as resting too. And peanuts have protein in, don’t they? Pork scratching definitely do – they’re pig shavings. Funny how none of those darts players look like runners though as surely they’re eating the right things. They’re like in permanent taper. ... but without actually tapering TO anything …“
“I’ve got a rest day tomorrow. Woo hoo!
Resting apart from cleaning the house, going to softplay, doing the washing, going to town for the shopping and chasing 4 year old on her bike. Oh and running home from school because she wants to be a runner like mummy. Gosh. Sounds exhausting. Maybe I can run instead. “
“A dog. A barky, bitey dog? Playful jumpy-up dog? Chasey dog? Ignored-by-dog ...”
“Is it illegal to run close to ducks so they have to jump in the canal?
Although bet they like it really. It’s just an excuse for a quick swim. They know people don’t hurt them. We give them bread and nice things to eat. They’re probably saying, “Oh look another person. I’ll HAVE to go for a swim now.” Wonder if ducks do swimming drills.”
“Do you reckon that’s why swans chase runners? Maybe they have points to see how many fall in. It’s illegal to eat swans. Wonder what they taste like. I wouldn’t want to have to catch one to try. Maybe sneak up on it when it’s asleep. Bet it tastes like chicken. Everything tastes like chicken.”
Practises running form. Swings arm and knocks out headphones. Retrieves headphones. Tries knee lifts and kicks. Speeds up too much. Goes back into practising-arm-swings-and-retrieving-headphones cycle.
So there you have it. Nothing deep, important OR solemn. This is why I feel all relaxed after a run. It’s basically the equivalent of my brain farting. Well. Mostly my brain.