It was warm over night and my legs were jumpy from all that running yesterday, so not the best night's sleep. I was glad to get up and go for a recovery run before most of the denizens of Leith re-surfaced after a busy night of drinking, shouting and throwing rubbish around in the street.
I've been reading papers about running and therapy as background for my dissertation. I came across a tantalising paragraph in a paper called "Running as an adjunct to psychotherapy" by Frederic Leer in Social Work, January 1980.
Altshcul maintains that the psycho-sexual stages of development are represented by slow, moderate and fast running. According to his conception, slow running promotes in the individual a fantasy state similar to the passive floating sensation described by Fenichel and Freud as relating to the oral stage of development. In contrast, running at a moderate speed promotes an attention to body mechanics and economy of motion that is characteristic of the anal phase of development. Finally, all-out fast running promotes feelings of aggressiveness and competition connected with a sensation of flying that rouses feelings characteristic of the phallic stage. (p.23)I'm not sure about a 'sensation of flying' but maybe I never had a phallic stage because I'm a girl. 'Sensations of dying' gets closer. Anyway, I wanted to read the original article to see what Altshcul had actually said, but I couldn't find it anywhere on the web. I googled him and found he is an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Yale University. I couldn't see any harm in dropping him an email anyway to see if he could give me any pointers to accessing the original article. He wrote back and said he was embarrassed about the original article (I don't think it was intended to be that serious). He also mentioned that he used to go running with Jim Fixx, who was his pal. For those that don't know Jim Fixx was a big part of the running boom in America in the 80s and early 90s and then he went and died of a heart-attack while out running. I think I've read since that he had a strong family history of heart problems so running may well have allowed him to live longer than he otherwise would have - but at the time it was used by those who would knock running to prove that you're safer with a cigarette and a Martini.
Anyway, I feel I got closer to a little bit of running history through this whole escapade. Who says my Saturday nights have lost their sparkle?
Good luck to the Marathoners marathoning today. It seems like there's going to be a lot of it about this month.