Monday, August 8, 2011

I am the Count, hahaha

I wonder if I am the only one who does this. Somehow I doubt it. When I am doing series (or anything mildly unpleasant and self-inflicted) I have ways of passing the time. In a race, for example, I will typically break it into three parts: the middle part is usually the part where I have to focus most because I am neither fresh, nor particularly near the finish line. When I am training I take this even further and start to think in terms of fractions. I've run one sixth, one fifth, a quarter, a third - halfway! I do this mainly because it keeps my brain busy as it is surprisingly hard to do fractions when most of your blood is anywhere but in the brain. Then I complicate things by thinking thinks like, "I'm a third of the way there, now I only have to run - what is it - a sixth? - to get to halfway, and a sixth is half the distance I've already run". Once I get past the halfway mark, then it's easier to trick myself because each milestone (less than a third to go, less than a quarter, etc) comes by quicker than the one before it. Maybe there is some science behind it and we actually perceive time on a logarithmic scale... One particular thought that invariably comes to mind after I have been running for 11 minutes and 34 seconds (and will no doubt always happen to you from now on if you continue reading) is that 11:34 is "Hell" upside down. When I get to the final minute, I start counting down in seconds. What I notice is that, if I visualize a clock counting down in my head then I am surprisingly accurate; as soon as I start counting the seconds in my head, however, I get ahead of the clock, counting more quickly the more I am suffering...

I'd be interested to hear what strategies other people use to get through a tough session.

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