It’s the first day of 2017. We spent the morning drinking coffee and taking in as much quiet as we could before the kids were up. By the time my son was asking if someone would fix him breakfast, I had put on my running tights, a long sleeve t-shirt and my favorite gray sweatshirt with the zip pocket big enough to hold my phone across the front. If I was going to get one thing accomplished to set my intention for the new year – it was going to be a run.
I was late to running. I didn’t start until I was forty. At forty-three, I still feel like a beginner, even with one half-marathon behind me. I don’t try to beat any times or go faster than the day before. I don’t keep track of PRs. Mostly, when I’m out for a run, all I’m doing is trying not to stop running. There are days when even three miles feels like a struggle, but then, there are days when I get lost inside a run, and it feels…sacred.
The same is true for my writing. There are days when trying to get a single line of words down feels like a practice in wringing my hands. I revise as I write, deleting whole paragraphs and googling “synonym for….” whatever word has me blocked. But then, there are those times when I get lost on the page, and, like running, it feels sacred.
The difference between my writing and my running is that I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. The one thing I knew about myself when I was young was that I wanted to be a writer. I majored in English, but I took a wrong turn at the beginning of my career, taking a job as a marketing coordinator, then marketing manager and, finally, marketing director.
Three years ago, I committed to righting the wrong turn I had taken at the beginning of my career. Armed with a few years worth of op-ed columns I had written for the local newspaper and a handful of freelance writing work, I began a search for a new line of work.
As if kissed on the forehead by a conscious universe that conspires to give us all we want, I was hired in March of 2013 as a full-time reporter covering the digital marketing and SEO industry. It was – and still is – a dream come true for me. Now, when people ask what I do for a living, I say, “I’m a writer.” (A real writer.)
There’s a symmetry between my attachment to running and my writing life. Both follow me around like nagging kids when I’ve put off doing either. They ask me when I’m going to show up on the road or at the page – “How far will you go?” “How many words are you going to write?” Running is a young boy, his hair a mess as if he just woke up. He doesn’t want to plan ahead, he doesn’t worry about chores or tasks or what has to be done today – he just wants to get on with it already. Writing is my girl. She’s feisty and twirls her hair with her finger and thumb while her other hand scribbles words in purple ink on unlined journal pages, trying to find the best way to say what she’s feeling. They’re my yen and yang. And like any parent – I could talk about both for days.
I am starting this blog because my intention for 2017 – what I want most from this year – is to log as many miles and as many words as I can. I want to make a daily commitment to both. And this blog will be where I hold myself accountable.
More Miles. More Words.
It only occurred to me as I was writing this post that I started running the same year I started working full-time as a writer. (“A real writer.”) How I never made this connection once in the last three – almost four – years is beyond me. And the fact that it showed up here, in the very first post of a blog dedicated to my running and writing – that, too, feels…sacred.