We have five senses. We can see the track as it veers left and stretches out before us. We can feel the rush of the wind as we cut through it in running stride. We can hear whatever noise that surrounds us, be it crowds cheering, traffic horns blaring or nothing but the whoosh of that wind. Our noses can also smell whatever happens to waft our way. Finally, we can taste the air as we deeply inhale what our lungs and muscles crave and we can actually taste the proof of our exertion, the sweat.
Sight, let’s focus on that one. There was a solar eclipse and for a moment, at the time when the sun shone unbelievebaly bright we are told to always look away or risk blindness. But let’s be honest, when we are told something is a definite no-no we HAVE to of course do it and look at this beautiful image that is such a taboo.
With running sight is a funny thing. There are runs where the entire time we’re struck by oddities that catch out attention on the route: things people do, things you catch them doing when they think no one else is looking…isn’t it great how a lone runner can become invisible to the world, the fly on the wall that can catch them in the moments they think they have all to themselves?
There are runs where I’ve been so wrapped up in other things that I’ve gone through the entire thing, gotten home, am taking a shower and honestly question how in the world I got out the door through the entire thing and back without any real memory of the events of the run. I was completely running on auto-pilot and my body knew the route all on its own, making each turn on muscle memory.
Other times vision is a distraction. There have been training partners in the past where I could close my eyes and paint a picture of their backs, about shoulder level, right where my eyes lock in during workouts and the entire time all I focus on is that tiny freckle between their shoulder blades and NOT letting a gap develop between me and that freckle.
I’ve done tempo runs on the treadmill and of course I HAVE to have something on the TV to distract me, but as the tempo progresses I’m paying less and less attention to the actual show but conversely I’m staring harder and harder at the screen. As I finish the tempo I have no idea what’s happening plot-wise but an outside observer would think I was completely engrossed in it…actually I’m just trying to NOT look down at the little screen closer to me, the one that really holds my interest but I can’t look at it. Because if I look at the treadmill’s screen I may risk something worse than just blindness, I could risk a chink in the mental bridge I’m trying to build to block out the pain. The fortress protecting me from myself, my own mind that would then tell me to stop.
Vision for a runner is interesting and seems to be solely dependant on the given day, the run, and what you want to accomplish. But you have to appreciate all of them in their given form, as a completely open people-watching addict it is awesome when you stride upon pure gold and catch sight of something you really weren’t meant to see.
Long trail runs could imprint images that you remember for the rest of your life and seem to be far more breathtakingly stunning because you are running. For the moments and races where you actually don’t see anything but a blur or the freckle of the runner in front of you, sometimes those non-images are the most beautiful but only because of what happens after you cross the finish line.
1) On your last run, what did you see? Was it an auto-pilot run, did you catch something hilarious, discover a new trail, or were you staring at a freckle?
2) Pick one of the other senses and can you call up a particularly interesting memory tied to is?
When I was in high school the throw coach would usually set up a BBQ and start grilling up sausages and any other slabs of meat he could find to reward his shot-putters and discus chuckers. Now, because the 3200 was always run at the very end of the meet when all of his athletes were done, by the time I had my 8 laps to do the BBQ was in a roaring, smoking, meat-fest state. The smoke and smell of sausage and cooking flesh would be wafting full force right at the first turn and it would make my nose and stomach churn! Hehe. But I couldn’t hold it against my throws coach because he was just too awesome of a guy. 😉
3) If someone tells you that you can’t do something do you then have to do it? This actually can work as the perfect motivator if someone tells you that you can’t actually achieve a particular goal.