Thoughts on a 3 mile run …

ImageI took special care this afternoon to pay attention to the thoughts going through my mind during my run. Mainly because a co-worker asked me “What do you think about when you run? I get so bored on long runs.” I told her the truth – not much. I’m very aware of what’s going on around me and I have quick observational thoughts about that, but mostly I’m just trying to focus on a spot on the horizon and go and I repeat my mantra: focus … breathe … glide.

This is more or less what a 30 minute run looks like … for context, this route starts in a parking lot and then follows a 3 mile paved trail. At the beginning of the trail there is a pond, then the trail does a loop through the woods, comes back to the pond and feeds me back into the parking lot. The first half of the loop is pretty much uphill. The last half is mostly downhill.

Go! … back straight … breathe … glide … head up. Ugh … next song. I forgot to update my playlist again. No pain. Wait … pain. Injury? No. Old. Feel tired today. Relax. Nice car. Geese. Move geese. Move geese! GOSLINGS!! Ugly and cute. Ew. Goose grease. Fly fisherman. So much fun. Miss that. He’s not paying attention to what’s behind him. I’m gonna lose an eye. Jackass. Focus … breathe … glide. Pick a spot in the distance. Focus. Focus … breathe … glide. Love this song. First hill, lean into it. Tired. Pace myself. What is my pace? Whoa! Slow down. Easy day dummy. Focus … breathe … glide.

That’s about the first 5 minutes. It’s the busiest time of the run because I’m navigating my way to the woods where there are far less people. After that first hill, I’ll see maybe 6 people over the next half hour. I don’t have many thoughts. I’m just running. When I do have a thought, it’s usually in response to something nearby. I’m not pondering life’s mysteries. I’m just in the moment. I’m just trying to be. I’m more or less meditating.

People. Is he smoking? On a fitness trail? Doing it wrong! Jackass. Smoke going to make me puke. Focus … breathe … glide. Pace? Good. Form? Back, feet slapping. Bad. Focus … breathe … glide. Smells like rotting fish. Cool flower. Focus … breathe … glide. Don’t bounce … glide. Lungs getting tight. Feeling asthmatic. Distance? 1.5 miles. Typical. Inhaler? Pocket. Relax. Focus … breathe … glide. Why can’t shuffle only pick songs that it hasn’t already played!? Bike. Expensive hobby. Bike. Helmet. Gear. Just run. Focus … breathe … glide. Cruising. Love this hill. Flying. 2.5. Finish strong. Focus … breathe … glide.

I then more or less repeated focus … breathe … glide to myself for the next 1/2 mile. That’s almost always the fastest part of my run.

When I’m finished I usually feel balanced, calm, and clear-headed. Lately, the asthma from allergies has been having a pretty serious negative impact on that though. I joke that running is what keeps me from killing folks. It helps me work out my stress. It is meditation.


About JamesisRunning
I'm a dad and a husband with a growing love of running, and an insatiable addiction to gadgets and camping/bushcraft gear. I work in a job that is an odd combination of teaching, sales and marketing. I'm also an unashamed Fantasy novel nerd and an organic gardener. Any or all of the above are fair game for my blog (

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