|Friends and I working hard in high school math class.|
Lately, I've read a bunch of lists on Buzzfeed and the Clymb about things you think about while you're on a run, and they're probably true for most people. But there is something they all fail to mention that I spend doing at least two thirds of a run, no matter the distance: Math.
As my feet hit the pavement and my heart works my butt off (literally), my brain maths all the math it can math.
I calculate distances and time and miles per hour. I calculate the number of houses I've passed and what my average house per minute is. I take educated estimates on how many trees are in a forest taking into account acreage of its area and average tree trunk sizes and distance between trees and other absolute absurdities. I look at my watch. And then I try to speed up and calculate my time and miles per hour all over again.
I calculate calories and heart rates and what percentage I've finished of my run. Dang, that's a lot better than having to positive-think my raging heart through to the end of a jog.
I'm a distractonaut. I live for the exploration of distractions. I lay in my bed and thoughts unravel. Plans for my life and death unfold, bills and loans to be payed pile up on the hall table of my mind, and the to-dos of weeks and months to come lay their heads onto the pillow next to me. At my desk, it's a fight to make sure I keep my keyboard-tapping fingers on the task at hand. It's a challenge to not be constantly thinking a million miles a minute about anything and everything that's happening outside the refrigerator I like to call my office.
On a run, though, I ignore all that garbage. And I just math.
If you hate math, this probably sounds repulsive to you, but god, thinking about math is so much better than running each step at a time and thinking about the next step and the next and the next.
Mathing on a run is my favorite distraction. I don't have to turn it in or pay it off or tell anybody about it later. Hell, half the time I don't remember any of the solutions or equations to tell myself. If math isn't your schtick, find your something that gets your brain occupied on other things for a while. Things that don't matter. You don't have to be running to give your brain a break from the world. Do it while you're meditating or laying in bed or taking a minute on a park bench during your lunch. Write a little story in your mind. Think about good memories. Think about something you don't have to remember to write down or do later. Think about pie. Or, if you're like me, think about pi.
Even for an insane extrovert like me, solitude is where I find my sanity. Find your math and run with it.