to have run
I swear this is not becoming a running blog, but I’m finding so many parallels between writing and running that they spill into my mind all of the time.
You’ve probably heard the saying that writers don’t want to write, they want to have written. That is, they don’t so much want the hard work and anguish of stringing words together only to tear them apart as much as the warm glow of having finished the writing and sitting back to bask in the smug satisfaction of the work done. That’s an oversimplification, of course. And I confess that when the writing is hitting on all cylinders, there is little I would rather be doing than continuing to let the words pour forth.
And so it is — sometimes — with my running. Once or twice I’ve felt the elusive “runner’s high.” I’ve been giddy and weepy and unaccountably pleased to be alive a couple of times after my runs. I attribute it to the rush of endorphins my body is rewarding me with for having exercised. And sometimes, often at about mile four, the legs just seem to operate on their own. I just move down the trail and feel pretty good about myself.
Most of the time, however, that ain’t the case. Most of the time I’m in agony, telling myself that I must complete the next mile before I can allow myself to stop and grab a breather. I’m trying my best to ignore the burning in my chest or the wobbly feeling in my legs or the sweat in my eyes or the ceaseless voice telling me to stop what I’m doing, dammit, and come to my senses. It’s times like that when I would rather have run than be running.
When I’m away from my laptop, the ideas for stories flow into my head, and I wish I was at the keyboard so I could get them down and see where they take me. Right now, I’m suffering through some shin splints. I understand they result from overuse, but my running schedule has not changed in recent weeks. In fact, I’m deliberately trying to run more slowly lately. (Long story.) The only thing I can attribute these sudden leg pains to is my new pair of running shoes, and I sure hope that’s not the case. (I try to get about 300+ miles out of a pair of running shoes, and I haven’t hit 50 miles with these yet.) So I’m taking the next few days off from running. It’s driving me crazy, knowing I’m not going to get my minimum 20 miles in this week. I feel like a slacker because I can’t get out and feel that anguish and pain and burning that I normally would enjoy four or five times a week. Just like being away from my laptop, being parted from my running shoes seems unreasonable and unbearable.
I’ll try running again on Saturday morning. And then I’m going to pack up my little truck and drive to my little cabin in the woods for a solitary weekend of writing and reading (and maybe swimming . . . and perhaps some beer around a campfire). I’ll return to my two interests and see what I can do with them. Wish me luck.