At first I didn’t notice. Not for a few strides. But then my head was lying there watching my body running off without me and I called after it. “Hey, stupid body! Come back! You done left your head back here on the roadside.”
When my head falls off I tend to talk like a hillbilly. That explains a lot of modern politics, by the way.
But my body, being rather lost without a head, had already turned back around. It reached down with an arm and picked up my head again. Then it placed one hand under my chin and we started off again.
“Turn left!” my head called out to my body. “We need to head back home and get this straightened out,” I demanded.
But my body wasn’t listening. Again. It has a habit of doing that. Sometimes when the head says to do one thing, the body completely does another. Maybe you know that feeling too.
If it wasn’t sewn on…
And as an endurance athlete, you know there’s a whole ‘nuther level of head games going on where mind meets body.
You can find yourself running down the road having this conversation between your head and your body, and wonder who is actually listening to who? Or is that happening at all?
Even worse, there are days when you feel as if you’ve gone and simply left your brain at home. Your can feel that your head is most definitely attached to your body, but inside your noggin’ there is very little going on. There seems to be no motivation to run, or ride, or swim.
Maybe you left your brain home on the bedroom end table, you think? Or was it sitting on the bathroom sink where you put on your makeup or stick those contact lenses in your eyes? Whatever the case, your squishy firm brain is left sitting somewhere at home when you need it most. But really, it’s best to carry it along somehow if you can. Perhaps those new tri-bikes will invent some way to do that.
Stop and think
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just stop in my tracks when my brain and body refuse to communicate. It happens more frequently than I’d like to admit. So I stand there staring mutely at the trail ahead and finally the body typically says something like, “Um, what’s going on?”
To which the brain, or the lack of one, replies: “We’re trying to figure out what we’re doing here.”
The body is seldom amused by this. “Well let’s just go home then.”
“We can’t,” the brain stubbornly says. “There are six more miles to run.”
And the body always laughs a little. “Yeah, right.”
Then the kidneys chime in and say to the bladder. “I don’t think we’re going to last that long.” So it often happens that while stopped by the side of the trail trying to get the brain to talk with the body, the kidneys or bladder or lower intestine take over and start to grumble, groan and twitch.
“What’s that noise down there?” the brain asks.
Then the body just farts and giggles a little. It seems the body is as immature as a child or grumpy as an old lady at a nursing home. That’s why the body thinks farts are very, very funny. It’s the shock value, we must presume.
It can be pretty awkward when you’re in mixed company and the brain and body get into fights like that. The brain might be trying to impress some handsome or cute companion while out running or riding, but the body cares not one whit about the vanity of the brain. So it rips one of those audible farts, and the first time it happens every instinct in your body tells you to take your head off your shoulders and throw it in a ditch.
So it’s a rather strange relationship we maintain between brain and body. It’s easy to wonder what the hell’s going on sometimes. Thus it doesn’t entirely surprise me when my noggin’ falls completely off like it did the other day. It’s just part of the routine.
This is your mind on race day
Race days are even worse. It’s almost like the mind has a mind of its own that day, and the body is having an out of body experience. It can be difficult to get all the mind and body parts working together. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.
So you finish the race and try to reassemble all the parts. People ask you how you did in the race and your brain starts spouting all this woulda-coulda-shoulda nonsense about how your mind and your body just didn’t seem to be working together that day. Then people stare at you for a moment and walk off to steal another bagel from the nosh tray.
But don’t worry. You’re not alone. We’ll all a bit like zombies or that pumpkin-headed character from Sleepy Hollow some days. Just carry your head home and lie down and take a nap. That usually works to pull the brain and body back together again.
But if it doesn’t, you can always ask for help putting your head back on your body. That’s what real friends are for. You can call them up and say “Help! My head just fell off my body,” and they’ll understand right away what you’re talking about.
Of course it gets a little creepy when your best friend comes over to find your head sitting on the floor next to your body. But usually they’ll say something nice, such as: “Did you go do that 28 X 400 workout again last night? You silly girl.”
The only real problem with your head falling off occasionally is when you’re swimming. A bobbing head in the pool can really, really freak people out. It’s bad enough when there’s a turd floating in the public pool and the place closes down for Code Brown. But when people find a slobbering head bobbing around in the pool, they can really lose it.
But if it’s your head bobbing there in the pool, simply say something polite such as, “Have you seen a fit looking body doing backstroke anywhere? We forgot that we needed to look up at the edge of the pool, and this is what happened! Sorry, this is a little embarrassing.
People who don’t run away are usually quite willing to help. And if that doesn’t work, simply call out the word ‘MARCO’ and see if the body responds ‘POLO!’ It’s a fun little game to play.