15 August 2006

I Ran 63 Miles in 8 Days and Boy, Does My Brain Hurt

Most of us are familiar with the idea that the human brain is composed of left and right hemispheres, with the former acting as the center of reasoning and logic while the latter is responsible for creativity and non-verbal thought. Sometimes, though, I'm convinced that my own gray matter (perhaps as a result of suspect genetics or a pronounced childhood clumsiness that left me with repeated knocks on the head) is instead divided into one side devoted completely to obsessive behavior, and an opposing lobe ostensibly dedicated to basic self-preservation but more typically given to making me feel guilty when I don't capitulate to the first one. Joining these two halves, of course, is an ineffective and short-circuited corpus callosum, which gamely attempts to negotiate some form of neurological detente between the warring factions before typically caving in and conceding advantage to the obsessive side. But from time to time self-preservation actually wins, and the almost irrepressible urge to engage in things like, say, running every street in Brooklyn is quieted, at least for a day.

And this, it seems, is one of those days. I went to bed last night fully counting on a run this morning, and was up drinking my tea and poring over my big map well before sunrise. But soon -- almost imperceptibly, at first, but then with increasing urgency -- I became aware of the pain in my heels and the aches in my thighs and an overall lack of energy, sure signs that I might be overdoing things a bit. Zombielike, and not fully believing the physiological evidence marshalled by the self-preserving side of my brain, I checked the official Runs Brooklyn spreadsheet and discovered that during the eight-day stretch from August 6 to August 13, I completed six runs for a total of over 63 miles. 63 miles! That number startled even the normally skeptical obsessive hemisphere, since I don't think I've ever run that much in an 8-day period before, not even in the midst of marathon training. After a brief internal negotiation, both sides agreed -- I should take another day off. And so here I am, dolefully gazing out my window at the streets below like a schoolboy forced to do his math homework while the neighbor kids are outside playing kickball.

Hopefully, I'll feel my usual energetic self tomorrow, and will be ready to head out and get in an quick eight or nine miles. But I'll take it easy today -- physically, at least. Because among all my ongoing intra-cranial skirmishes, perhaps the biggest winner this time around is that little cluster of neurons buried deep within my head that impels me to work on my dissertation, and so that's what I'm going to do today. And with an extra couple of hours now, maybe I'll actually make some progress. We'll see.

For your enjoyment, here are some photographic leftovers from those 63 miles:

Top of the old Loew's Pitkin Theater in Brownsville

House on E. 18th Street in Sheepshead Bay


At 7:17 PM, Blogger Dope on the Slope said...

63 Miles in 8 Days

You're an inspiration. I just started up again, and I can barely run twelve a week.

Don't even begin to ask how long it takes.

At 12:14 PM, Blogger Gary said...

Congrats on getting back into the running thing!

But I don't know how inspirational I am, unless you're talking about the fact that I can still walk... for now, at least!


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