The Mind-Body Conspiracy



Running has to be one of the dumbest things in the world to do, particularly if no one is chasing you. With that being said, I’ve tried every morning for the last several mornings to dutifully get up and instead of enjoying my morning cup of tea on the front porch, watching the fog dissipate and the sun rise, I have pulled on my sneakers, done some minor stretching, and hit the gravel road. It has become abundantly clear to me that my mind and my body are in cahoots and it has nothing at all to do with what I want.

First, I’d really like to have a talk with Mother Nature about the design of the female anatomy and how two pregnancies screw it up royally. Despite having gone to the bathroom twice before leaving the house, as soon as the jarring motion of the jog begins, I can feel that my body has saved up a little pee just for this fun occasion. Since I live in the middle of the woods, I put some thought into popping a squat to see if that will help, but it is already too late. Luckily, I need to do some laundry today anyway.

But hey, I’m up, I’m running, and hopefully working off some of the calories of that calzone I ate last night. At first, I don’t pay any attention to the forest around me. I am focused on getting into that groove that lets you run while your mind distracts you from the sheer boredom of running or the fact that at about 8pm tonight, my hip joints will remind me why I prefer walking to running. Walking, however, is not helping get rid of those numbers on the bathroom scale or stop the lecture I receive my doctor every three months. Sigh. Jog, jog, jog.


Each day, I’m trying to run a little bit further than the previous day. Today, I say to myself, maybe I’ll go as far as the second power pole. Jog, jog, jog. My mind then wanders off to think about the spider web that I just ran through for the third day in a row. When’s that little guy going to figure out that he’s in a bad spot? And would that make an interesting children’s book? While I mull over the details of this potential story, my body does not continue the steady jog. Step, step, step. I’ve reached the second power pole and without a conscious thought, I moved immediately into a walk. What the? Why didn’t I keep running further? I wasn’t in discomfort; my mind was on other things, and yet the mind and body had already made this plan and were sticking to it.


Well, I’m still walking at a good pace and I’m getting ready to go up a hill, so maybe this is okay. I’m diverted about halfway up the hill by a turtle hidden partially in the dead leaves by the side of the road. He’s a pretty orange pattern and on closer inspection, I see he has a bubble wound on his face. What would cause this? This makes me think of another children’s book idea – do turtles have turtle doctors? Step, pause, step. I’m thinking that this is not as good of an idea as the spider web, when I realize that I am walking much slower as I ease my way past the turtle, hoping he won’t duck into his shell, so I can look at him. In irritation, I kick it back into a faster pace and move past the turtle.


About twenty feet past the turtle, I see an interesting old stump with almost perfect round holes in it, like little doors drilled by little hands. Now, this has all kinds of possibilities. In my mind’s eye, I can see little fairies zipping in and out of those holes. Or maybe it could be a little mouse hotel? Would a shrew be the doorman? Why are my children’s stories so much more light-hearted than my ‘grown-up’ stories? Now I’ve stopped moving altogether. I’m standing in the middle of the road, staring dreamily at this stump. Dag-gone-it!

I begin my trek back to the house, and it is with conscious effort that I keep my feet moving at a steady pace, step, step, step. Now, kick it back up to a jog. Did I mention that I think running is a dumb thing to do? Evidently, my mind and body agree.

Author: creek2river

Cheryl Kula lives on a mountain in WV with her husband, Ted, and her two daughters. After years of assuming that her children would always have four legs, she is now a happy mother of two precocious daughters. Her first children's book is Play Day with Daddy.

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