The writer in me vs the runner in me

I had to run four miles Saturday morning to meet my weekly goal of 20 miles. I chose a route through my neighborhood and a nearby subdivision. I run the 4.3 mile stretch often – it’s the flattest path I have without driving elsewhere to run.

Since making the goal of 20 miles a week and 500 words a day on January 1, I haven’t missed one week of my miles. Last week, I did most of them on Saturday when I ran my first half marathon in two years.

But the writing though.

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Running while female & other subversive acts

karen-switzer

This famous image captured the moment Kathrine Switzer was attacked by Boston Marathon organizers in 1967 when they found out a woman was running the race.

During the 26.2 miles, she was physically attacked, and then, if that wasn’t enough to break her stride or focus, her boyfriend broke up with her…during the race. He’s the one on the right, in the dark shorts with meaty legs turning to look at what’s unfolding behind him.

Kathrine’s boyfriend punched one of the guys trying to stop her – then got mad at Kathrine because he feared he had just jeopardized his Olympic aspirations after hitting one of the race organizers.

No matter. Kathrine kept running. She ran all 26.2 miles.

Kathrine’s historic marathon finish happened six years and three months before I was born. There are many, many women running today who were alive when Katherine was being held back by men grabbing her sweatshirt, yelling at her to, “STOP RUNNING!” because they didn’t want a woman running alongside them.

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What can happen in a month? 103 miles & 20,563 words

january

Yesterday marked the first month of my 2017 goal – 31 days of writing 500 words a day and running 20 miles a week. I ended up running a total of 103.7 miles  and writing 20,563 words.

I’m not gonna lie – that calendar brings me a deeply satisfying, closing-in-on-smug, sense of accomplishment.

My running routine is steady. I never expected it to be a struggle. I’ve been walking or running three to five miles nearly every day for more than three years now. It’s my lithium.

But finding making time to write 500 words has not come as easy. I get it done, but it’s usually the last thing I do for the day. It’s 8:36 p.m. and I’m just now sitting down to write. Even here, as I type past 20.5K words so far this year,  I’m struggling to come up with anything worth posting. I keep checking the word count to see how many more words I have to write before I reach 500.

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This is not going to be easy for me

Yesterday, it was clear most of the day, but as I drove home from the coffee shop where I had been working, the storm clouds began to collect above my zip code. I knew it was supposed to rain later in the evening, but I was hoping I could squeeze in three miles while it was still dry. I tried to beat the rain, changing into my running clothes as soon as I walked into the door, but I wasn’t fast enough. During my final check of work email, I could see raindrops hitting our deck railing outside the kitchen window.

As far as my goal of 20 miles a week, I only needed five more miles and had three days to finish them. Still, I zipped up my yellow (mostly) water-resistant wind breaker and opted to run without music. Knowing my feet would get wet, I switched out my regular running shoes for my back-up pair.

Three miles, I thought to myself when I trotted out of my driveway, three miles in the rain is still just three miles.

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It was a dark and story night

[DAY LATER EDIT NOTES – I meant for the title of this post to read “It was a dark and stormy night.” After writing, and revising, and editing and revising a bit more, I shared the post on Facebook last night. I didn’t realize the typo in the title until this morning when I saw it in my social feed…I’m keeping it, because it kinda works.]

I ran in the rain tonight. At least, I started running in the rain. A half mile into my run, the rain turned mostly into a mist, but it was still wet and cold and the wind was blowing, and by the end of my 4.2 miles, it was dark.

It was a hard run. At the half-way mark, I was miserable. My inner dialogue was a nonstop calculation of how far I had to go. “This cul-de-sac, and then the big hill, and then the back of the neighborhood.”

I only had two miles to go, but in my head it felt like I was never going to finish. A gust of wind smacked me across the cheek and my iPod started playing the opening chords to a slow Coldplay song – which was both perfect and dispiriting. I stopped running and started walking.

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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

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