Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Part of running is sitting still.

Anger fuels me. I'm not sure why but I find I have the best runs when I'm angry about something or I need an outlet for my aggression. Katherine says that anger fuels her need to run but that she can't carry the anger with her into a run or she'll burn out too easily. So far, that hasn't been the case with me.

I come from such an organized, regimented background that sometimes I actually catalog the things I need to think about on my run. I make a mental list, "I have to figure out what I'm going to do about the GREs and then there's the issue of this weekend and also, how am I going to talk to so-and-so about this-and-that? That should take me about five miles." It's weird, I know. Amy looked at me like I had three heads when I told her that I do that. But I still do it.

Inevitably though, even someone as hyper-organized and detail-oriented as I am will find that my thoughts start to wander during the course of any given run. I'll realize when I'm done that I never did come up with an answer to that question and that one car with the dent in the fender made me think of another thing that I hadn't thought of for a while so I mentally set out in that direction for a few miles. And that's fine. I realize that you can't regiment thought like that. Nor would you want to.

But when I'm angry, I run fast. I run far. I run hard. For some reason, I'm capable of sustaining anger and aggression over the course of longer runs. Perhaps it's because I've never been the kind of person to make rash decisions. I think of things from all possible angles and consider all outcomes before making a choice and acting on it. Or not acting on it as the case may be. Those thoughts fuel my runs.

Today, for the first time in a while, I didn't run angry. True, it was hot and true, my legs are still feeling a bit like they're made out of cement after Sunday's 7.5 miler. But I stopped after two miles. I stopped and I just sat in the sun and listened to music and watched the river for a little while. I never do that. I never sit still. I'm beginning to realize that sometimes you need to. And I also realized I wasn't angry. Maybe I'd run all the anger out of me. Doesn't mean that it won't come back, I'm sure it will. But for the time being, I think I'll need to find something else to fuel me. I'm all angered out.