Put yourself in a position to get asked lots of basically the same type of question and you better come up with different answers, lest you become ornery (learn how to pronounce that here) and not fun to talk to. In addition, if you hear the same question, you can often surmise the reasons behind it and the follow-ups. If you are good, you can answer them all at once and make the person asking you the question think about their reasons for doing so.
This seems to be a pretty heady way to approach being asked a simple question. Believe me, I am not that heady. My point is being in front of people means people are going to ask you tons of questions. I love hearing them but I also often know what is coming. However, sometimes I surprise myself with my answers.
"What do you think about when you are running?" is one of the top questions I get when people learn how far I run. I have come up with many answers, all true, but one day it hit me to turn it around.
"What do you think about when you aren't running?"
This often gives people a little bit of pause. I know they are trying to think that one's mind must always be engaged or distracted in order to get through many miles of running. But there is also this air that comes with the question that unless I am thinking of something I am wasting valuable time.
The things is, very few of our thoughts each day are groundbreaking, if any at all. Most of them are rather subconscious reactions to the stimulus around us. By this, I mean, it is not as if those that aren't running are finding the cure for cancer when they are watching Duck Dynasty or reading a book or fighting with the masses around the holiday season to get that perfect gift.
You see, when I am running, I am often thinking about many things. Often I think about next to nothing. It doesn't mean my mind is idle. It means I am concentrating on what I am doing. I am listening to my body. I am paying attention to aches and pains. I am learning more about my body moving through space and how unbelievably different one can feel from one day to the next on the exact same route.
I am not saying I am some great thinker. But I do get many of my ideas for articles I want to write, things want to do or just basic clarity when I am out on a run. I can catalog the day, put things into order and make decisions for later.
And sometimes I don't think a damn thing other than "It feels so good to be able to be out here doing this."