A daily practice

I ran again tonight. It was dark out and spitting rain most of the time. There was a steady wind blowing from the west side of our neighborhood, pushing against me whenever I was facing my subdivision’s entrance. The two layers I was wearing – a ribbed tank top under a long sleeve neon yellow running shirt – wasn’t enough to keep me warm, and my run was too short to heat me up from the inside.

I had planned on running earlier when the sun was up and the temperature was holding steady in the fifties, but work got in the way, and when I did have a block of time to spare, it was raining too much for my comfort. Then the school bus was on its way with my second grader, and there was still work to finish before his 5:30 drum lesson that my husband wasn’t going to be home in time to take or pick up.

I didn’t lace up my running shoes until 6:47 – but, I did it and will now be able to write 3.2 for the day on the wall calendar where I’m tracking my daily miles and words.  It’s 11:01 p.m. I have 59 minutes if I want to get 500 words down

As a working mom, my days feel full as soon as I wake up. Plotted out hour by hour. There’s breakfast and showers and snacks to be made and making sure teeth get brushed. I have a second grader and a seventh grader – one in grade school, the other in middle school. Two schools, two separate start times. The grade school bus shows up nearly an hour and a half earlier than the middle school bus.

I know that if I want something in my life, I have to make it a priority. If I want to run, it has to come before other things.

But now, I’m adding 500 words to my day. I don’t care what the words are – a blog post here, a rewrite of a first draft, fresh pages towards something new. The goal – right now – isn’t so much the work, but making time to do the work.

For almost four years now, I have made running or walking a nearly daily practice. Outside of the writing I do for work, I haven’t been able to make the same daily commitment to my writing – no matter how many times I scribbled across my morning pages – “write more, write more, write more.”

My goal in tying these two practices together here is to bring writing into my daily practice of running. Braiding the two activities together so that they are, at least for now, irrevocably intertwined.

Before my first half-marathon, I kept a log of every run I completed during the 12 week training plan I followed. Shorter runs during the week with long runs on the weekend. Each Saturday I would add a mile to my distance from the week before. At the end of every run, I used a black Sharpie marker to put an “X” over whatever day it was on the makeshift calendar I had printed and taped to the inside of our pantry door.

I still have the calendar with the black Xes lined up on top of one another leading up to the race. I’ve often wondered how much I would have written if each of those Xes represented words instead of a run.

My hope here is that I’ll soon find out.

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