Remember when you were a kid and you’d fill your plate with a huge tangle of spaghetti, glop a giant blob of mashed potatoes next to a pile of Thanksgiving turkey, or grab the biggest corner slice of cake? Then you’d feel full after eating maybe half of it? My mom called that “having eyes bigger than your belly.”
I still have this problem, and not just with food. Most days, I tend to think a race distance like a half-marathon sounds totally doable. I mean, I drive that distance to work in what? Twenty minutes? It’s no ultramarathon. But I’ve run five half-marathon races and more than a dozen double-digit training runs over the last two years, and at the beginning of each one, I suddenly remember just how f-ing long 13.1 miles really is.
Why does my brain do this to me? There’s no evolutionary benefit to this warped view of distance. Not like women who forget the
excruciating pain details of childbirth, at least until the next kid’s labor begins all over again. I’m not ensuring the survival of the species with my distance amnesia, so why, unless I’m actually in the midst of a long run, do I walk around thinking that 13.1 won’t be that long/painful/difficult?
Until I tackle that first mile and I remember. Again.
Does your brain trick you into thinking a double-digit run sounds easier than it really is?