I don't usually have my mp3 player with me when I run. When I'm in the forest, I prefer to listen to the sounds of nature all around me. When I'm in the city, I want my ears to be able to warn me about potential dangers, like oncoming cars. This morning I took it with me, however, because I knew I'd be running on the pavement, near traffic but not in it. I weighed the risks and decided they weren't that great. I still managed to almost get run over twice, first by someone pulling out of their driveway and then by someone driving out from a parking lot. I swear, a lot of people driving to work in the morning resemble zombies.
On my mp3 player I had a mix of upbeat hard rock and wanna-cut-my-wrists-with-a-razor indie. The thought behind choosing the latter for a long run was to get me to run more slowly. Instead, it brought on a wave of emotions that I didn't even know I was harbouring. I went through a wide spectrum, from anger to remorse, from worrying to unexpected, almost ecstatic happiness. And finally, relief and closure.
Society is built in such a way as to distract us from thinking too much. Work, tv, junk food, shopping, all leave so little time for reflection that we often repress all those pesky feelings that bring us down. They offer an overload of visual stimuli and little meaning. They fill our eyes and our stomachs, but not our minds. Sometimes we need to open those flood gates and let these emotions wash over us.
Needless to say, I've got things on my mind. Things that my running usually gives me the opportunity to analyse and work on. Having not being able to go for a long run for such a long time, these things have been building up in my mind. They've grown and grown in secret, without me noticing. With the help of music, these thoughts were released, and over the course of my long run, were analysed and brought back to their real proportions. Now they're not that big and scary any more.
And, as a bonus, a ray of hope broke through the heavy clouds hanging over Gothenburg. 22 km, the first long run in weeks, felt easy. At some point I realised: I was running. And then I smiled. My thigh cooperated as much as it could, despite some mild annoyances now and then. In fact, it felt better and better the further I ran. It's a week and a half left to Gothenburg Marathon. Hope springs eternal.