This April, I will be running the Nashville half marathon. There. I said it. You read it. No backing out now.
This won’t be my first big race – I ran the Boston Marathon back before it was in vogue and ran the Nashville half a few years back. I tell you this not to toot my own horn (well, maybe a little bit…), but to let you in on a little training secret that has gotten me through some pretty rough moments, out on the pavement.
Okay, so this secret. This secret has served me far better than any expensive running shoe, any stellar playlist (although I read some really interesting info on how music affects athletic performances here) or any perfectly mapped out training regimen. My secret? My secret is, well, let me just show you.
Make Believe Pretend Scenario in My Brain #1:
There’s been an accident. Brian, the boys and I are driving through the Mojave Desert from L.A. to Las Vegas (how we ended up in L.A. and why in the hell we are driving to Vegas is unclear) Everyone is fine, but Brian has suffered a broken leg Oregon Trail-style. It’s hot. Our car is totaled. I have to make a decision – fast. Do we stay together and wait for someone to find us or do I go for help? I hurriedly move the boys into a serendipitously placed cave and give them the provisions I’ve managed to rescue from the wreckage. I’ll go for help, I decide.
So, here I’ll pause to explain that each concocted scenario always comes with dialogue variations and the occasional plot twist that can be manipulated, as needed, depending on the length and general terribleness of any particular run. For example, here are the two harrowing conclusion options to Make Believe Pretend Scenario in my Brain #1:
A) I start running. Slowly at first, but as the desert sun beats down on my neck, I tread faster and faster. I think about the boys waiting for me back in that cave (seriously, thank goodness there was a cave right next to where we crashed!) and resolve to not stop running until I’ve reached help. Then, on the horizon, I spot something – a police car! I wave my arms frantically and shout at the top of my lungs for the cruiser to stop. The officer finally pulls up next to me and, exhausted and panting I relate my story and we head back to save my family. Hooray!
Happy ending, everything is peachy – except my real life run isn’t over yet. Shit. Okay. Rewind.
B) I’m back running in the Make Believe Pretend Scenario in my Brain again. But this time, it’s not a police car that appears on the horizon. It’s a creepy unmarked van. Nevertheless, I wave to the driver and he pulls over. As you may have expected, he’s a bad guy. Thankfully, back at the cave Brian gave me a knife (one of those plot variations I mentioned before) and just before the bad guy can cover my mouth with a rag soaked in chloroform, I stab him in the gut, kick him in the head and grab his keys. That’s right – I steal the unmarked van and drive to my family’s rescue. BOOM!
Make Believe Pretend Scenario in My Brain #2:
There’s a hostage situation at Gold’s Gym. Hey, if it can happen at a Kosher grocery store, it can happen at a Gold’s! Anyway, four men rush into the building wielding some pretty heavy artillery and demand everyone get down on the floor. I comply, huddling with some sweaty strangers near the treadmills. A man comes over to me and asks me some pointed questions, which I answer honestly, but won’t detail here, as I feel you should make up your own Make Believe Pretend Scenario in My Brain questions to best suit your own personal style. After our conversation, he seems to soften and tells me to get up. He drags me over to who I presume to be the boss-man and says, “This one goes,” and makes up a lie about me knowing his daughter. His request is granted, and I’m shoved towards the door. I go free.
Wow. After typing this, I realize that this is in no way funny. But it’s one of my scenarios, so it goes in the blog.
Make Believe Pretend Scenario in My Brain #3:
This is the “I’m currently extremely obsessed with WWII scenario”. It works particularly well for finishing a run when you feel like you’ve got nothing left to give. The premise is simple. I’m a part of a prison break from a Japanese POW camp and a U.S. B-24 bomber is waiting just up the hill – it’s leaving with or without me. So I bust my hump to get to the plane. Sometimes I’m dragging a fellow prisoner who is too weak to make the run himself; other times I’m carrying a baby in my arms – the obstacles change, but the goal remains the same. Get to the plane.
I always make it.
And so there you have it. My three, failsafe Make Believe Pretend Scenarios in My Brain that help me run kind of fast. I’m currently looking to turn this into a money-making venture of sorts, so if you’d like me to write you a personalized, pretend catastrophe script for your running pleasure, the cost is $1,500 per scenario.
Or you could just buy me a birthday present.