I took a 10 minute break this morning to do a quick browse of the Westwood newsstand. I already have Runner's World and Fitness magazines since they are home-delivered, so I did a quick survey of the health mags and found the next magazine I keep in my mental reference that covers the sport - Women's Running. I leafed through quickly and saw that one of my favorite elite runners, Kara Goucher, is featured in an article. Great! Yes, I'll take it! So, I take the item over to the owner to ring it up, who glances at the magazine. Below, is a recreation of our conversation:
The newsstand owner, let's call him Lou (Imagine a middle-aged Caucasian man with dirty blond hair and a laid-back beachy attitude, a nice guy) in a relaxed semi-focused conversational tone, says: "It would be nice to find some time to go for a run"
Naz: Yes, the weather has been good for it.
Lou: I think it's both, you know, a mixture of the mind and body, more about the mind actually.
Naz: Yes, I agree.
Lou: You may not think so, but that's how I feel.
Naz: Yes, it's both!
I don't know if Lou is a runner, but his remarks, infers that he probably is - or at least has contemplated about it. I found his remarks to be almost Zen-like and very appropriate on the mental aspects of running. I think the mind-body running connection is important for at least two reasons. First, in order to run, to pick up that heavy foot and thigh and throw it, cautiously, in front of the other, the mind has to be strong enough to support that function. And not just the physical function, but the mental function. When you're running in the heat for hours, or just entering your second mile, how do you erase thoughts like "Why, am I doing this hellish act to myself?" It's easy to stop, and fall short of your goal. Your mental focus gets you to that place you need to get to. Second, running, especially long runs, are times when you can exercise your mind. I like to think of it as a time to meditate, but other runners may enjoy this time to reflect on anything from their daily task lists to the meaning of life. Truly is the skilled and peaceful runner who can pound the pavement and mentally multi-task at the same time.
Also, I'm adding two new runs to my "Races to Consider" section that are new to the scene. The first is a nationwide half-marathon series called 13.1 Marathon featured in cities around the country including Los Angeles. The second I found in Women's Magazine - The Inaugural Women's Half Marathon series in St. Petersburg, Florida. Check them out!