How can you run for three hours without an iPod, is what people seem to want to know most. I did a trail half-marathon in a leisurely 3:22 yesterday, walking the last mile and a half because of knee pain (might be IT band again, might not; a few days will tell). I still want to attempt the 50k before I'm 50, which gives me a year and a half. (And at my pace, it might take a year and a half to run it.) But if the IT band is back, I might be stuck with 10-milers forever. There are worse things.
I also saw two copperheads.
So I run through pain sometimes, and there is a lot of pain, there's no getting around it. My great discovery arrived by accident, as they do. I found that through my alternating of three basic thought patterns is associated long, sometimes painful runs with pleasure, sometimes great pleasure. First there's the union with the earth and what it gives: In my polymorphous perversity simply putting my right hand down on one of the Grandfather rocks on Bear Island can make my head spin happily. Then there's the association with creative pleasure; writing poems and prose in my head when I run. The third secret--and there must always be three--was recalled to me recently by the wise counsel of a friend who recommended: "Next time you're standing around in line or traffic getting impatient and angry, think about the last orgasm you had."
TMI? Well excuse the fuck out of me. Did you happen to see the sign up top that says "blog"? TMI is intrinsic to the medium.
My ongoing games of "who would you do" on the trail keep me in the moment; when the moment becomes too painful, something similar to my friend's advice gets me out of the time and place that's troubling me. Of course, a man would be the source for that advice and arguably would find it most useful. It's a little more difficult for women. Oh, that's not what I meant. I mean women are more apt to ponder not only the event itself but those precipitating and succeeding it, i.e., "well, that was fun, but I'm still mad at him nonetheless," or, "will that be the last one ever?" or, "why couldn't it have been with this or that person, instead?" or, worst of all, my sisters, and you need to STOP this, "was I too fat/loud/silly/strange/etc." At that point, one needs to cycle back into living in the moment, and touch a rock or something.
Sometimes I also think about landscaping or health care policy.
But never baseball.
Photo: from the NPS website, Bear Island, where the rocks are like none other.