"What do you think about when you run?" That is, hands down, the most common question I get asked about running. Running to a lot of people is a chore or a punishment. Back in High School the teacher would make you run a lap if you were caught goofing off or not following instructions. Running was literally a form of punishment and that's exactly how I thought of it until I started running. That was when I realized that running is a lot more than just a great way to stay in shape.
Every single run is different. Sometimes I think about just about everything when I go for a run and other times it's like the world is in a pause and my brain empties. This is what goes through my head when I run --
9 times out of 10 I am thinking about what I am going to eat when I finish. If I'm on a long run, I'm thinking about a cheeseburger or maybe steak and eggs. Half the time I don't even end up eating anything special but I will spend a good 3-10 miles focusing on a cheeseburger if I'm having a bad run.
2. My Brother.
Today would have been my brothers 22nd birthday. We young people don't realize how quickly our lives can be taken from us. Never miss an opportunity to laugh till your sides hurt or tell someone you love them to the moon and back again. Now I'm going to go pull a Forest Gump and run really far. #RobertsFamilyAssemble
My little brother Scott passed away in 2009 and I don't think a run has happened where he didn't creep into my brain. Running has really become a way for me to grieve. I can think about him, talk to him or just remember him. Being outside is the best way to be with him and running helps me do it in a way where I feel like I'm moving forward.
3. My To Do List.
Do I have plans later? Did I do that thing that I said I would do? (Probably not.) What about that other thing I said I was going to do? (Nope.) How am I going to respond to that email? Did you respond to that email? My mental to do list triples every single time I go for a run.
4. My Future.
The moment when you realize that you finally did the thing that you didn't think you could do. It's not even about the time itself but that I had such a hard time believing that I could do it. Running a marathon is easy. Believing in yourself is probably the hardest things in the world. #RunSelfieRepeat #TCSNYCMarathon
I like to imagine what my future is going to be like when I run. Sometimes it's practical like when I brainstorm story ideas or flesh out future projects or it can be a little fantastical like when I plan my wedding and subsequent hilarious life with Andy Sandberg.
5. My Past.
Mistakes, choices, missed opportunities, regrets, embarrassing things I've done, I spend a lot of time remembering and reflecting on the good and the bad of my past.
I'll spend a good 5 minutes thinking about a hot guy who runs past. What's his name? What's his story? What does he do? Why does he run? Is he single? It's crazy but I spend a lot of time thinking about stranger men who run past me. (What? I'm being honest.)
7. I Daydream.
Running is like crack for my imagination. I already have a very vivid and active imagination but when I run, it's on another level.
GUESS WHO RAN A 7:19, 7:20 and 7:29 3 mile progression today?!?! 🙋🏼🙋🏼🙋🏼🙋🏼 YOU GUYS turns out I can run fast if I try! God bless @chloebullets and her @lululemon Brooklyn run for making me try. WHO KNEW?!?! (PS Running fast is not fun. Anyone who says otherwise is a damn liar. Slow is 10x more fun. And there was no dancing just tons of F bombs. BUT it is cool to be like damn that was hard look what I just did.) #RunSelfieRepeat
I think about how I feel and how my training is going. If I'm doing an interval or speed workout, I'll think about how miserable I am and how much I hate it. If I'm having a bad long run, I'll think about how much further I have to go and how much it sucks. If I'm having a great run, I'll think about how great my training is going. I spend a lot of time thinking about my next run.
9. That thing that I forgot to do and will inevitably forget to do once I get home. (Even though I make a mental note not to forget to do it.)
Running helps me remember all the things I forgot to do. (Unfortunately the second I stop running I often forget them again.)
10. What groceries I am going to buy at the store later.
I almost always end up planning out what I'm going to eat the following week while I run so I also make my grocery list.
11. How much further I have to go.
"Am I there yet" is often something I am asking myself when I run.
"Why am I doing this again?" runs through my head for the first half mile of most of my runs. I rarely have an answer.
13. I feel so much better.
That is until I get home and I realize that I feel like I can breath again. Even when I don't think anything is bothering me, I feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders after a run. It's pretty incredible what running does for your mind. It never feels like it during but even the shittiest, rotten, every step is worse than the one before it run is better than no run at all. Funny how that works. Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.