When I started running, someone lent me an iPod Shuffle. It proved very beneficial on long runs (especially on our clinic runs in High Street at The Fort). My running playlist consisted of songs by U2, Kings of Leon, Eraserheads and other pick-me-up songs.
My favorite tracks were Seasons of Love with Stevie Wonder (not a fast song but its 'celebrate life' feel would inspire me and make me want to push myself some more), Ligaya by Eraserheads (I don't know why... the tempo feels like my running pace and it's a generally happy song; Ligaya nga eh) and Ray of Light by Madonna. The last one... I love the line, "...and I feel, like I just got home...". That song always made me want to raise my arms up in the air and smile widely. I was running and it felt like home. But I didn't raise my hands and smile. Lest the motorists passing me by think I had gone bonkers. But in my mind and in my heart, I would rejoice and be thankful for the chance and the ability to run.
I got carried away there. Sorry. Now back to the topic at hand.
Recently I have been weaning myself from running with music. I've started thinking that running with music feels like watching TV. It reduces running to a brainless activity. There must be some benefit to running with music but I am just testing out my own theories here.
I want not just the physical benefits of running. I also want the mental benefits. The benefit of focusing on the rhythm of my body, the breath and the form. Usually, I focus on those three at the start of a long run. But at some point, probably when I've reached a comfortable pace, my mind starts to wander to other thoughts.
Most of the time I think of what I would like to eat after the run. Haha. That's normal, I guess. Food has always been a motivation for me. When I was still deeply into yoga, I would tell myself in the middle of a really difficult pose: "di bale, magma-Max's ka na mamaya", referring to the Max's Restaurant near the yoga center. And it would work.
When I'm not thinking of food, I think of designs. We sometimes run by the window of the Gap store in High Street and I like looking at design details in the clothes on their huge store billboard. I also look at what people are wearing and try to think of nice things to make later on.
On some days I remember old friends and wonder how they are.
On other days I try to dissect a problem and figure out a way around or through it. I also think of decisions I have to make and weigh the pros and cons.
Sometimes I look at the cars in line for parking and wonder who's driving. Driver/chauffeur or owner? I don't know why. I guess I wonder at how patient car owners are with lining up for parking on a Friday night. Or do they leave the agony of waiting to their drivers?
We pass by a few restos and some bars and I also like peeking at the people inside. I wonder what they're eating and wonder too if they see me and the other runners huffing and puffing around the block. I wonder if they feel envious that we are out working out (whilst they are inside pigging out) or if they are laughing at us for punishing ourselves on a fine Friday night.
After a while, I have to go back to focusing on the next step and the next breath. I have to get back to "coaching" myself and telling myself I have to pickup the pace or just keep at it, no matter how tired I felt.
It's nice to have silence too during runs. The absence of music allows me to think of "real" things. Whether it be as simple as keeping my breathing at a steady rhythm or as profound as what accent color would go well with a b&w polka dot dress. Haha. Kidding.
What do YOU think of when you run?
P.S. I should write about this again maybe after three months. I wonder what my running thoughts would be then.
P.P.S. I decided on cream for the accent color. Hehe. In case you were curious.