Time changes when you run somewhere new. I can’t say for sure whether it speeds up, or slows down, but it feels different. The explanation is probably as simple as: you don’t look at your watch as much; or you aren’t making calculations in your head based on landmarks because you have yet to commit any monuments to memory.
I know how far it is from my house to the train tracks whether I’m looking at my watch or not so I always have a sense of time on a local loop, even when I’m not checking for it. As I set out for my first run in Florida I didn’t know how far it was from the villa to the golf course. I didn’t really know where anything was at all, really. I didn’t know how long each road was, I didn’t know how steep or shallow the rare ascents were, and so I didn’t have any grasp on how each section should feel.
That first morning I ran just under 7 miles, and it didn’t feel long or short or fast or slow, it just felt like I was out and running and then suddenly, or perhaps not so suddenly, I wasn’t.
It is impossible to bottle that feeling. Later on in the trip time re-entered the equation. I checked the watch and the landmarks grew to monuments in my mind. Cognitive tissue connected the concept and the concrete.
It has happened before. Running new trails: distance and time blur, become pure abstract. Miles slip by, get caught, drag, are confused in the linear stream. Return to the trail a second time, after the data, and time returns with you. A mile becomes a mile defined by whatever a mile means to you rather than just the abstract Mile. The Platonic form of a Mile. Perhaps if we never ran with watches, ever, this would be a recurring sensation. Perhaps as soon as you’ve ran with a watch, even once, and you’ve created that connection between the ticking clock, the feeling of movement in your legs, and the vision of the world around you, your chances of slipping out of time are diminished.
Or perhaps it’s just that I’ve truly, finally, cracked.