Running changes time itself

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Today, as part of the exercises for my back, I was draped over a Swiss ball for 10 minutes. It seemed like a long time, but I’m sure had I been sitting on a park bench chatting to a pretty woman 10 minutes would have flashed by. This reminded me of a post I made on my running website a few years ago http://getmarathonrunning.eu/16.html. It is reproduced below with some slight edits.

Running Changes Time

When I say running changes time I do not mean that getting some good training runs in will reduce the time it takes to run a specific race. What I’m talking about is more fundamental than that, although getting some good training runs in is pretty much a prerequisite for reducing race times. No what I am saying is that running affects the currency of the Grim Reaper; it changes time itself.

He’s mad I hear you say, or would do were it not for the fact that due to the wonders of modern technology you are probably reading this hundreds of miles outside my hearing range. I might be mad, that is a different debate, but I do have evidence that running changes time.

I was running along a familiar route, through a wood, which is apt in light of what I am going to say later. There was snow on the ground and it was hard to run in it. It seemed to take a lot longer to get through this section than usual even though it was probably only a couple of minutes. It certainly felt like about ten minutes or even more. Originally I put this down to the frustration of running slowly, but then I remembered another time when it seemed to take ages to get through this section. Then I was running fast, I was trying to keep up with a much faster friend. The amount of time it took seemed to be the same as the run in the snow, however, it could not been because I set a personal best for that route the day I was trying to keep up with my friend.

Distance covered is a function of time and pace. The distance covered was the same and the time it took seemed to be the same so the pace could not have been different, but it was. What was going on? I was about to concluded that it was my perception of time that was different when, in amongst some distant memories of ‘pay attention boy’, ‘you will never amount to much’ and ‘sit up straight when I am berating you’ (I went to a grammar school) drifted a picture of Wittgenstein wandering through an orchard touching a tree and saying ‘I know that this is a tree’ before passing on to the next one. Also mixed in there was something about dining-room tables disappearing when you close the door.

From this soup of strange ideas in my mind, which seemed to relate to philosophy principles taught in general studies at school, I concluded that things can only be said to exist if you perceive them.

Reality is what you perceive and perception is therefore reality. My perceptions of time were the same and were real, therefore it must have been time itself that changed.

Even if I have the logic slightly wrong runners still get a good deal from the Grim Reaper. There is strong scientific evidence that runners live longer, healthier lives than sedentary folk.

Heady stuff this running.

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