I’ve heard people at parties express their annoyance with people who paste those 13.1 and 26.2 bumper stickers on their cars. It’s not clear to me exactly why that bothers them, but it does. When I’m part of the conversation, I respond saying, “I’m so much worse than that. I’ve been writing a runner’s blog for over ten years.” That puts me in control of the dialog and shuts them up.
After ten years, I’ve written over five hundred running-related blog posts. I’m not sure I know why I do it anymore than people know why they slap a 26.2 sticker on their car window. Actually, that’s easier to imagine, they do it to capture their accomplishment. I might do it for that sometimes, certainly when I’m writing about a big event. Mostly though, I’m relating my experience during some routine workout. I can’t imagine people are interested in that, but it doesn’t stop me from sharing.
I know that as I write, I’m looking to express how I felt on my run. I fail every time, but maybe, if I could parse out a turn of phrase here and a sentence fragment there from all five hundred posts, I might be able to stitch together a description of how I feel on a run.
My senses first come alive with the simple act of stepping outside the house and feeling the air on my skin; the beginning of warmth in spring, the onslaught of heat in summer, the comfortable coolness in fall and the piercing cold of winter. Being there to witness the change of seasons is magical and makes me feel like I belong to nature. Words can’t describe the awareness I experience.
Then comes my warmup, which for me, is a good two, sometimes three miles. I’m Sisyphus, pushing that rock up a hill. My entire world is under the weight of gravity, until it isn’t. My legs unwind and suddenly I’m an object in motion with no resistance. This is what I run for. That moment where my body detaches from my mind like a train leaving the station. For the next three, six, ten miles, depending on my conditioning, my legs are a force that can’t be stopped. Running feels like the natural state of being and well before the endorphins kick in, I’m in a state of bliss.
I’ve been trying for the last ten years to describe the joy running brings to me. Had I ever once succeeded, I’d likely stop blogging about it. There’d be no more story to tell. Instead, my literary failures keep me at the keyboard, tapping my story out with expressive fingers as the spent muscles in my legs tighten and I finally withdraw to a bath of salts and hot water – to run and write yet another day.
Running online writing.
The 1zt two steps are the most difficult. After that you are committed not knowing how it will turn out. Sometimes you feel right from the very 1st steps. Other times you have to work at it.
Oops, I thought I’d already commented, but unless you deleted it as inappropriate I guess not! This post makes me wonder which comes first, the need to run or the need to understand why you run. In your case, I think it is as John Lee Hooker said:
“One night I was layin’ down
I heard mama and papa talkin’
I heard papa tell mama let that boy boogie-woogie
It’s in him and it got to come out
And I felt so good
Went on boogin’ just the same
It’s got to come out, Ed. Both the running and the writing. On the other hand, I started blogging when I wanted to train for a swim race, which wasn’t my thing. I figured that if I committed to it publicly on a blog, I couldn’t back out. That worked wonderfully, but blogging and doing have really fed off each other ever since. As you say, once you start blogging, all of life becomes just a search for content. It is a very positive experience. I love reading your posts. They make me want to do better. They do not make me want to run a marathon, but they make me want to do better.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Ed Mahoney said:
I posted this on both sausage makers and my running blog. You commented both places. Thanks for the kind words. I agree as the writing and running seem to compliment each other. I was running a lot more events when I first started. Now I mostly blog about workouts, but it seems to still be sufficient content.