Apparently, when you are running and your mind starts wandering off onto other things rather than just concentrating on the next step and the next breath, you have reached a certain level of running fitness. Or so my good friend Emma tells me. And I believe her because she is a very experienced and super fit runner.
My other source of running advice, Tina, told me that she runs with a friend and they chat the whole time. Apart from being completely in awe of being able to talk while running - a skill that despite my ability to multi-task in almost all other areas of my life is definitely beyond my fitness level - I don't think this is for me because I quite like the way that running alone allows you to completely escape from everyone else.
Except, of course, yourself.
My brain has definitely started to wander off as I run. And the 50 songs I have on shuffle on my playlist in my ears helps to trick my body into running a little faster and to not think so much about how much further there is to go. It offers a soundtrack to 30 minutes of my life.
Things I think about while running:
-Imaginary conversations I would have with Tina if I was running with her (and by some miracle I could actually talk and run). We chat about old boyfriends and that time that we almost but not quite met up with Nicki on a beach in Italy. And then we move on to my lovely Godson and his fondness for books and what wonderful letters he writes to me. I ask her advice about my lollipop lady running outfit and she assures me I look great.
- When Let's Hear it For the Boy comes on I'm 15 years old again and Rachel and I have free tickets to the cinema to see Footloose (thanks to my mum who won them in a radio competition).
-And when Des attractions désastre by Ettienne Daho plays I am in a café in Paris imagining what this French guy is saying to me. I have no idea what the lyrics of this song are about but in my head he is talking directly to me and telling me how wonderfully I am running.
-The Obvious Child by Paul Simon makes me think of Samuel dancing around the kitchen playing his drums... Of course, my version is "we had a little son and we thought we'd call him Sammy…."
- Ramblin'man by Lemon Jelly and I am trying to count how many places he mentions in the song that I have been to. I love the way he says "Kentish Town" and makes it sound like somewhere exotic.
By now I’m hopefully more than half way. Sometimes I imagine that tough American woman from the TV programme The Biggest Loser is shouting at me to keep going and pick up the speed. I just need a few more good running songs to transport me away. Something like Ready to Run by the Dixie Chicks and Glor på Vinduer by Szhirley.
To finish off, it has to be noisy and if I'm lucky I'll get a bit of Desolation Row by My Chemical Romance and Rock Star by Nickelback to get me up the final hill.
And then I'm home.