Today I ran as long as I ever have (1 hour, 5 minutes) without agony. The only pain I experienced was some aching feet at various times but I will say that around 40 minutes in I believe I may have been in "The Zone." I cannot say for sure for it happens so rarely, but I was not really seeing the world passing me and I felt bursts of energy and was more focused on my breath than on passersby.
The combination of a temperature below 80, lack of terror over work not done (work is still not done, but it seems manageable), a breeze, trees, a determination to keep going until my playlist finished. I have run for longer, but I have not enjoyed it as much.
I have not yet hit on the perfect running playlist. It seems very clear, however, that the best songs for running are those by artists whom I would never in a million years listen to outside of the context of running. Certain songs are ringers; I never get sick of them, they make me go faster, and I cringe to think of how much I would hate them if heard outside of the running context. I wouldn't even call them "guilty pleasures" because I don't feel guilty about them. And they're only pleasurable in this distinct situation:
"Holiday," by Green Day
"Let's Get Loud," by Jennifer Lopez
"Without Me," by Eminem
"Hey Ya," by Outkast
"The Middle," by Jimmy Eat World
"Lose Yourself," by Eminem
"Holla Back Girl," by Gwen Stefani (or is it No Doubt?)
"Hung Up," by Madonna
OK, looking at that list, I'm a little grossed out. I haven't even put some of the worst ones down because I'm not sure how I feel about "Absolutely Not (The Super-Extended Remix)" by Deborah Cox--I may be unable to stand it. It should be noted that the reverse is true as well: music I like normally is no good for running. (Whenever "Cuando" by Si*Se comes on, I lose the will to go on. I must remove this song from the mp3 player immediately.)
As is evidenced by the sample of music I listen to when exercising, while I am an advocate of humility in most every forum, there are certain areas in which I think hubris is acceptable, one of those areas being exercise. Without hubris, without songs extolling hubris, exercise is a bore. Humility in exercise is admitting defeat before beginning. I don't know if hubris would work for team sports, but for solitary endeavors, the "I'm so awesome, no one can beat me, eat my dust little old lady pushing cart full of cans" thought process can only help.
Other situations in which hubris might serve one well:
2. Standing up to bully
3. Giving birth
4. Being Jack Bauer