When I’m Alone With My Thoughts, Crazy Happens

Something so awful happened to me yesterday. I can hardly talk about it. But I can definitely blog about it.

I was all set for my run home from work. I was pumped– I had my best sports bra on, I’d hydrated all afternoon and my shoes were laced up.  The spring evening beckoned me.  This is gonna best run in the history of recreational running.

I flicked off the light and grabbed my phone and queued up my best playlist.  My stride was loose and confident.  I dodged the commuters taking the train (lazy asses) and made my way to Milwaukee Avenue.


Oh, sweet tea on a window sill, y’all, my battery went dead. D-E-A-D.  I had the phone by the charger for the previous 9 hours, but didn’t take that final– and crucial– step of plugging it in.

You know what that means? I was alone with my thoughts for the rest of the run.  37 minutes of “me” time totally fucked up by the stream of chatter in my head.

I stopped at a red light.  I said to myself, “Christie Prefontaine, You’ve gotta get a grip.  You can’t be alone with your thoughts or the sound of your thighs rubbing together during the rest of this run.  Think of something else.  Invent something. Cure something. Draft a constitution for a small island nation. GIVE YOUR BRAIN AN ASSIGNMENT.”

When I get all yell-y like that I tend to do what that voice is saying.  I pouted for a few more blocks and considered stealing this short woman’s iPhone as she plodded along in front of me.

Then, it hit me.  I would think of ways to make some money.

Here’s my best idea:  I rent Oprah’s old studio and host a talk show.  My style would be something like Gordon Ramsey meets Suze Orman.  Confrontational. No nonsense. Savvy.  Other than having to get a shorter, blonder hair style, it’s pretty much just me.

My first guests would be Adele and Governor Chris Christie.  I’d be en fuego that first night. My house band would be bluegrass-and-MC-Hammer mash-ups. It’d be confusing but it would also sort of work.

When Adele comes out, I’d be all Where have you been? You drop the hottest album ever in the history of vocal cords and then you disappear?  I’d be hostile in a tough love-y sort of way.  I would get up in her face.  She’d try to talk in that adorable English accent and I’d be out of my chair screaming, “DON’T TELL ME MOTHERHOOD HAS YOU BUSY! That’s crap.  Get to your next album, you British millennial.”  But then I’d turn all sweet like Ellen DeGeneres and ask her questions about her eye make up and why Boden clothes don’t fit ladies with big breasts.  We’d end on a high note and she’d love my “brash American style.”

Image credit: Emile Warnsteker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Gov. Christie Image credit: Emile Warnsteker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

With Governor Christie I could be more ruthless.  Let’s face it, if he’s had gastric by-pass he can handle me.  I’d be all up in this face, asking the hard questions that the American people– my viewers– want to know.  “Gastric bypass? What ever happened to healthy living? Can poor people get gastric bypass? Do you support healthcare that would allow poor people who similarly suffer from obesity to have the surgery? Why was it a secret?”

My tag line would be “GIVE ME ANSWERS!”

If my run had been longer, I would have more sample guest scenarios for you.  You should thank your stars I only have the lung capacity for 4.5 miles.

The key takeaway from this whole situation: Always charge your phone so you don’t have to resort to your own thoughts during a run.


36 thoughts on “When I’m Alone With My Thoughts, Crazy Happens

  1. This is one of my worst nightmares! The run without music! I love your talk show idea by the way! I would totally watch you!

  2. Can I be your DJ Tony from Ellen? I promise not to use any Top 40. By the way, you built some major tension in the open there, I was actually worried that something horrible happened — I mean aside from the devastation of having no tunes. Other than that, I mean. I’m going to charge my phone right now.

  3. Can I be your assistant? I have a television background and am great on research so I can dig up the juiciest tidbits about your guests. Plus I have a very strange crush on Chris Christie that even I don’t understand.

  4. Running w/o music = B-R-U-T-A-L. I love what you cooked up in that 37 min. I’d watch, call in, be in the audience heckling, everything!!! (bluegrass-and-MC-Hammer mash-ups…fo’ sure) Do it! There’s definitely a market out there for you. And I do the same thing with my phone too..

  5. I gave up music during my runs about a year ago so that i could be in my own head. When I was living in Manhattan I felt like my thoughts got all crowded up with everyone else’s as I went about my business so running was the only time I could untangle them, and the habit just stuck. But I’ve thought of some weird ass things during those silent miles. When does your show premier? I’m setting my DVR to record.

  6. The story in my head says “if you need music you’re not a REAL runner”. The stories in my head are rarely true. I run with a posse (like live music). We chat & solve the world’s problems while we run. On those loathsome days when I’m without my gals, it’s music. Precisely as you described…to drown out the voices. I’ve experienced DEAD battery. It’s painful, but something I aspire to do. I think I’ll feel I’ve arrived as a runner and a healthy human when I can endure an hour on the path with my own thoughts. Until then, Ke$ha, Michael Jackson and I will stay one step ahead of my demons.

  7. I once exercised with only my thoughts and came up with several brilliant work ideas. In my post-workout high, I promptly emailed one of them to my boss thinking he would probably promote me immediately. Once the endorphins wore off I realized it was a ludicrous idea and I was an idiot for sending it to him. Not surprisingly he never even responded to my mail. Next time I’ll just blog about it.

  8. haha!! i only run to my thoughts now! it’s funny, but it’s true, give your mind assignments and you can keep yourself busy. last run, i spent 30 minutes between my last title – My call of duty and Duty Calls. My father answers. back and forth back and forth, until i went insane. hmm.. this is not a great support story for ditching the music.. sometimes i quietly judge everyone i run past.. or think about what i’m going to eat for the day… okay, you’re right stick with music, although i love your free running brain!

  9. I don’t mind the thoughts in my head, wherein I am a bloody freaking genius, but I cannot STAND the sound of my feet plodding against the ground as I run. With music, I am liquid speed, I am middle-aged Leglolas flitting through the forest without fluttering a leaf (and alliterating). Without music, I am Bilbo Baggins shuffling down the dock to the elf boat.

  10. So funny. I’ve never run with music because I fear the day the music died. Or the day my WalkMan dropped my favorite mix tape at my feet.

    So it’s me and my thoughts. On long walks, I get panicked about money. On runs I get out all the cluttered thoughts, and after I hit 4 miles tend to solve major problems with my writing or my life.

    Running in silence is lovely, if you’re in the habit of fearing technology.

  11. Pingback: Feature Friday: Outlaw Mama | Stuphblog

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