I’ve hit 200 runs on Nike+, as tracked by my iPod.
These days, there is actually a point in the run when I get “in the zone”, hit the runner’s high. The point where the endorphins in the bloodstream have eaten past the pain and all you do is stride wide; eat up the miles. Euphoria, the head floats while the body runs.
As I underpronate my way towards the 1000 km mark in my Nike+ runs, I realize I now spend most of the runtime inside my head, but outside my body. An out-of-body experience.
When I first started running, I used to be acutely aware of the physical exertion. Like The Police song. Every breath I took, every move I made. Nowadays, the muscles are used to the demands of the run. The pumping arms and legs, the steady gait, the entire engine of my body knows what to do. The muscle memory does not require conscious thought. I zone out and think about something else.
My playlist is a lot of corporate punk. It’s aggressively cheerful music. These bands have sold out, cashed in on the demand for lead singers who wear too much runny eyeliner. They’re happy, rolling in a bed of cash like Demi Moore in Indecent Proposal. Whatever angst and anger that they might have felt when they were lean and hungry has long ago evaporated. Now they snarl about corporate-sanctioned themes with expensive instruments. But I need that happy synthetic beat in the background to drive the run.
The great Ethiopian marathoner Haile Gebrselassie runs on TV, a special on the Sydney Olympics. His head floats above his body, and everything about his gait is calm and efficient, very little drama. The etymology of “endorphin” is Greek, “endogenous” + “morphine”. Dreams within. Another manifestation of the floating head.