I’m not alone in here. There are passengers who have not presented a ticket, but who have still shown up for the ride, and the upshot is, I can’t really be sure where I’m going to land.

I understand that the primary challenge of distance running (or hiking) is managing my physical resources. Do I have enough energy (blood sugar), hydration, and patience to go the distance? My mind is very actively involved, even subconsciously, in both managing those resources and in convincing me to do less. If anything, my mind is working extra hard to keep me well within my limits.

I’m trying to go faster and farther and my mind, the part I don’t really control, is trying to slow me down and, if possible, get me to stop. For some period of time I can overcome what my subconscious mind wants, and that’s how I measure my endurance. It’s a fun, if slightly perverse, game.

But it’s not just the two of us.

Sometimes, flow shows up, that suddenly clear mental space where everything gets easy. The struggle goes out of what you’re doing. Speed is free (not really), and every step feels like a drop of water flowing down a windshield. Flow is carefree, joyful. It’s exciting. It leads to bad decisions.

Flow hijacks the ship and burns resources. It can really derail your plans, but only in the very best possible way.

Can I run in a flow state and also think about resource management? What happens when the subconscious mind, the one dedicated to protecting me from myself, loses its hold? How can these two opposing forces both arise from parts of my mind (brain?) that I don’t control?

These are not rhetorical questions.