16 April 2008

How do you stand to be in your head for so long?

Last weekend, fellow triathlete and I were talking about long-course triathlon and she said something like, "How do you stand to stay inside of your head for so long? I think I would go crazy." I've been thinking about that comment quite a bit over the past few days and I've decided that I think I like being in my head. I know I've mentioned this before, but one of my favorite things about racing and training is the mental break that comes only during those times. I welcome the moments of peace and clarity that only come during racing, which is probably one of my main reasons for continuing to race/run/train, etc.

This actually reminds me of a question that my mom asked me during the Walt Disney World Marathon back in January. This was our second day of running together and she noticed that I didn't have my ipod. I had purposefully left it back at the house because I wanted to start practicing running longer distances without the distraction of music, mostly because the USAT does not allow headphones during their sanctioned events. Anyways, she said, "You don't have your ipod." I said, "I know." She said, "What are you going to think about for the next 6 hours?" I think I smiled and said, "I don't know." After the race, she asked me what I thought about during the race and I really couldn't tell her.

Most of the time, I just allow my thoughts to flow in and right back out without really taking the time to actually think about them. Sometimes, it's enough for me to just "be" in the moment and enjoy the sound of my feet on the pavement and of my breathing. If I do find myself becoming bored, there are plenty of people around to make up stories about, which can be incredibly entertaining. I don't mind being inside my head for so long. I think that my thoughts work for me and I wouldn't trade any of the insights that I gain from these moments of complete clarity. I'm hoping that this will end up being one of my strengths as I embark on the long-course triathlon events.


GAIL said...

Hey AJ,
I love this posting because training time is my chance to think through lots of stuff. When I was training for my first marathon I was also leading a bible study with a group of high school girls. They asked the same question your mom did. When I told them I often spent the time praying for them, they thought that was cool. I also get some of my best work thinking done on long runs. I would come to work with a way to solve a problem and my teammates knew I had been on a long one. Good luck on the training - Gail