Running with Big Brother

You may recommend that I get a psychiatric evaluation after reading this blog post. Go ahead. Whatever.

You see, I’ve been running a lot lately. While my body has been adjusting nicely as the mileage increases, I’ve noticed a peculiar change in my mind. Maybe too much jostling from running on pavement—I don’t know.

The clearest way to capture my brain’s inner workings, dear reader, is to tell you: There are voices inside of my head. I must assign them with a name and describe their personality so you may have a glimpse of understanding. Admittedly, there are two characters that jump into my mind when I press start on my sweet GPS watch and (um…) they are from the cast of Big Brother 16.

First, I will introduce you to Frankie. He is a YouTube Personality who describes himself as sparkly, charismatic and unreserved. Frankie is usually the first one to greet me: “Hayyy, aren’t you excited for our run today? This is going to be so fun.”

Next, let me introduce you to Caleb. He is a fearless, “in it to win it” cowboy whose skills include having gigantic muscles and repelling gorgeous women. Caleb makes his appearance by asking me: “You sure you have enough beast mode in you to finish this one?”

Frankie adores me and thinks I am capable of everything and anything, doting on me with comments like, “Girl, you could run like this alllll day.” Caleb appeals to the competitive spirit of my inner cowgirl and chides, “That daggone girl just passed you right by…”

Both parties provide their own unique perspective as the minutes and miles pass. Frankie tells me, “Oh Ali, I love how you smile and say good morning to the other runners on the trail.” Caleb sees the same thing and says, “What you wavin’ at all them people for? You ain’t the Mayor.”

After a strong mile, Caleb congratulates me: “You smoked that last mile! Do it again, sweetheart.” Frankie, on the other hand, thinks reward should immediately follow good performance: “Do you want to stop for some water? I think we should stop for some water.”

Around mile five, I assume that Frankie and Caleb are growing tired from chattering as their voices get softer and their comments are less frequent. We muster up a collective energy and repeatedly chant: “Just! Keep! Going!” I am imitating the movement of a runner while traveling at the speed of a walker with a gay man on one side and a cowboy on the other.

Shortly after our rally cry, the actors who have accompanied me step by step, take a bow and exit stage right. No more energy to play the schizophrenic dialogue over again. I am left with myself, some determination and a fleeting sense of knowing I will be able to finish what I started.

My watch chimes for that last mile, my legs stop moving and my mind stops wandering. I cannot remember my husband’s phone number or find a water fountain. I feel stillness. I feel the quiet I crave while I work or when I am in the Yoga studio. The mind is not stirring. Not thinking. Just enjoying and experiencing now. Only have to run nine miles to get to the place I always want to be.

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