Beau Miles
A Mile an HourFilmTrail Running

To my body, the idiot

By May 30, 2018May 31st, 20193 Comments

I’m back at the desk, blobbing about on my Swissball, working blood into my tight hips. In ode to my laps of the block I’ll get up shortly (at the top of the hour), and wander the halls, chatting to boxed-in academics, and myself. Slow walking and slow writing to unpack things, especially in the wake of an event that seems different, or special; lapping my mile-long block 26 times (as a split-marathon), and doing a truck-load of tasks between each lap. Aside from about 30 minutes of sleep, the 24-hour period was the busiest, most diverse day of my life.

A rough breakdown of the day looks like this;

  • 4ish hours of running (and planting 40 trees as I went), doing every bit a marathon, and likely more with Chris and Mitch demanding I double back a dozen or so times to get a better shot (bless em’, the bastards)
  • 3-4 hours of table making
  • 2 + hours of cooking and eating
  • 1.5  hours of paddle making
  • 30 minutes of lawn mowing
  • approximately 8 hours of jobs (28 completed); pruning trees, fixing broken things, mending pants, hanging pictures, oiling the fence, chopping wood, shaving, playing scrabble, writing…
  • Laying down in the ute for 2.5 hours between laps- between 12:30am and 5:55am, thinking (not sleeping),
  • 30 minutes of sleep (2x 15 minute bursts)
  • 30 minutes of sitting (mostly eating, or working on a task)

Lists, however, reveal very little insight. Whilst I’ll save some of the slow-burning idioms for the film itself, to give you a sense of One Mile an Hour, here are some key moments or feelings that came from my trivial, meaningful 24-hours.

  • You can do a lot in 86,400 seconds. We get this slab of time, as the reading goes (as we all know) every day of our lives (thanks Johnny). Filling it with what might be called ‘tasks of purpose’, you subject yourself to feeling time as slow, fast, exciting, or cruel- based on the task at hand. Your body, which is in fact your brain (which is you), dips and spikes around a whole range of realities and energy.
  • Being ‘present’ felt attainable when completing a lot of the tasks, especially the more tired I became. By the same token, with so much going on, being present also felt impossible; there was always somewhere to be, and something else to do. However…
  • Running, as a circuit breaker each hour, was the perfect way to re-set how I felt, what I would do next, what I was doing (and feeling), and what I’d just done.
  • I ran the 1-4am laps without a head-torch (or crew), drifting around the roads like a ghost. It was a spellbinding experience.
  • Something can be said of a circadian rhythm being our master and controller. That is, sunlight giving the human body energy. Having run my whole life between dawn and dusk (with the odd late run, or early start), my body thought I was an idiot when running between the hours of midnight to 5am, try as I might to override the resistance with food, positive self-talk and swigs of home-made wine. I lay awake between uninspired laps wondering who ruled me– a bloody great star, or my own pea-brain? Loyal to the experiment I was happy to run through the dead of the night, but my legs and lungs had seemingly turned off the desire. Yet remarkably, this is where I gained the most powerful insight to what might be called embodiment; as the magpies crackled, my body came alive again, raised by the sun. Laps 20-23 were the easiest and energised, rolling out as if I’d started with a new set of legs….

I’m getting carried away, and must now make coffee and head to a dark room with co-producer Mitch and make this experience into a film (clipped together from 8 hours of quirky, chafed, gamey, irreverent footage). Thanks to Chris Ord for shooting the project with us, and Helen for opening up the triples on Scrabble.

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Pete says:

    I am unsure as to how playing scrabble came under the category of jobs. However, as a humble P.E teacher this can be quite a job with an English teacher as my wife. Well understood!
    Sensational effort mate, looking forward to the film!!

    • Beau Miles says:

      Good point Pete. Scrabble was to keep the mind active and my measuring sharp for the building projects. It would also be the only real time I sat down. But really, we played because Helen was being a pest, pressuring me into it after beating me badly a few days earlier with a score of 403. So, I thought I’d try and crush her at scrabble whilst running a marathon and rebuilding the house at the same time, and therefore would be forever the champion of the world (our farm). Anyhow, whatever, she won (and I might be the first person alive to have progressively worse chafe whilst playing a game of scrabble).

    • Derek says:

      As a school principal I have been inspired by this. We’ve got some students that are going to take this on. We are going to see how much we can accomplish in a day, doing some physical activity every hour.