Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Rightside Running

While on a seven mile trail run this morning, I was thinking about the right side of my brain. The whole thing began, sort of, because of a conscious decision at the run's outset: I chose to slap on the earbuds and crank up the iphone.

I'll confess right up front that this is something I do rarely. I'm one of those types who ran long before the music in our heads was anything other than music in our heads. I actually like it that way as it frees me to go wherever I choose (mentally). Today, as has been the case on other earbuded occasions, I chose to run to the melodic tones of Dan Pink as he narrated his book "A Whole New Mind."

Pink's book, if you've never read or heard of it, is about the aptitudes, or "senses," needed to become successful in the coming (well, actually it's here today) conceptual world. The subtitle of the book is Why Right Brainers Will Rule The Future. It is, by the way, an outstanding book! But.... I digress.

The key here seems to be my conscious effort to listen to a story about the right side of the brain during an activity that completely engages the right side of my brain, running. While I listened to the logic of Pink's assertions about Asia, Automation and Abundance being catalysts for developing more R-directed skills and sensitivities, my mind continually raced to other interpretations, applications and then....... boom. It was Katie bar the door to the right side.

This movement of being structured, listening to the book, gave way to a removal of the delicate buds from my ears and a return to my own creative rightside running, which is right (pun intended) where I like it. For me this was a microcosm of sorts of how my brain works on most every run.

Oddly (or not), this is precisely how it goes. I do my organized, checklist kind of thinking in the beginning of the run. I'm more logical, sequential, informational. Early in the run, I am a WHAT kind of guy. I make lists, check things off old lists and I am organized beyond the capabilities of mere mortals. Once a few endorphins have been released, however, the thoughts become more simultaneous, more about context than text and I begin to look at things within a bigger picture beyond the lists and details. I become a WHY and/or a HOW kind of guy. It's a beautiful time. I've created entire classes, speeches and presentations on a good day and at the least, solved the world's problems on a bad one.

Don't get me wrong, on a tempo run, an interval session or when racing I am thoroughly capable of focusing on the run, the goal of the run, the bio-mechanical feedback from the run. I'm all about Associative running. I'm one of those people who like feeling the pain, or tightness, or jubilation. It's during the other runs where the rightside lion is released from the cage of my head to cruise the Serengeti freely in search of a better idea, a more creative approach or better empathy with the world.

Runner's High? I think not. I don't remember my last venture in to the land of the ever illusive Runner's High. Then again, maybe what many call the Runner's High is simply this: Rightside Running.

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