When I was a kid I went on a fairground ride with my sister. I can’t remember how old I was, maybe 12 or maybe younger. The ride was called The Zipper and from the ground it looked like a lot of fun. There were these buckets spinning around this long oval wheel which was also spinning and the whole thing didn’t look too bad. I was tall enough to ride it and my sister was older than me so into a bucket we hopped.
It wasn’t fun; it was terrifying. I was terrified. We were being spun around and around and up and down at the same time and it wasn’t stopping, it just wasn’t stopping. The bucket spun around without warning and without any rhyme or reason. It flipped every which way while spinning around and around. The sky and the ground rushing towards and away from me, the screams of other people on the ride. It was terrifying. It seemed to go on forever. I screamed and screamed for the ride to stop but of course the only person who heard me was my sister and she couldn’t do anything about it. I don’t remember getting off the ride but apparently I was crying and I yelled at the ride operator because he didn’t stop the ride. I was so scared and upset at being so scared.
What scared me the most was the complete and utter lack of control I had. Fair rides were never the same for me after that!
I’m sharing this story because it’s the only way I can describe what happens to my thoughts sometimes. It’s like my brain hops on a certain thought bucket and then this thought just spins around and around in my mind, always spinning, this way and that with no control. Sometimes I can take hold of these thoughts and stop the ride, other times I just can’t. Sometimes the thoughts are benign, sometimes it’s an idea or a question or a plan. Other times, it’s a dark, nasty and negative thought; usually about myself.
What does this have to do with running? Today; everything.