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Friday, November 6, 2009

On the Plains of Marathon

Week Nine
Goal: 25 miles with a 10 mile jog

Actual Miles Run: 25!

Endnotes: It's only taken me nine weeks but I've finally managed to actually achieve my weekly running goal! Clap on the back for me! Twice Fortuna tried to derail my efforts but ultimately I was able to get around the roadblocks she placed in my way. The first was a doctor's appointment Wednesday that lasted about 2 hours too long and the second was some impromptu mechanical tapdancing by my automobile, yet in both cases I strapped my shoes to my feet and pounded the pavement anyway. That's the sort of sticktoitiveness it takes to run marathons, and I'm awfully proud of my achievement. So for any of you haters out there I make it like Kandi* and fly above y'all.

As a second endnote I figured I should maybe elaborate as to why I feel blogging about running is somehow relevant to writing. My primary reason for this is that running long distances is very similar to writing a novel. Both take long-term, concerted and passionate, solitary effort that, in the end, produces a positive result only for the runner/writer. Sure in both cases one could be enormously successful and win races and get novels on bestseller lists, but for the vast amount of us regular folks we strive to run those races or write those books because we have some internal thing that we are struggling to get out of us, not for an external positive result.

I write not because it is fun, or will win me adulation, or because it's sexy, although writing is all of those things. No, I write because I have to, because there are stories inside of me that I simply can't hold in any longer, because if I try to keep them tucked safely away in the dark corners of my mind and heart they will fester like some rotten thing and threaten to strangle me. I write because I yearn to be creative and I have been given this gift and it is my expression of my little strand of humanity. I write because it's what I do, and if I didn't do it, I don't know what I'd do.

And in this way writing is a lot like running, because after you run long enough you start to feel wrong if you don't. It starts to become a part of you that you may not even recognize is there until you try to not go for a run, and then suddenly you start to feel antsy and uncomfortable until eventually it's like there is this little monster inside of you that has to get exercise everyday or it will threaten to go berserk inside your head.

So, for those of you who are runners or writers, if someone ever has the audacity to ask you why you do what you do simply look them straight in the eyes and say, "I do this because I have to, because if I don't the little monster will eat me up".

I'm setting my goals really low this coming week because I don't expect to be getting any good long distances in. Therefore, a few three and four mile runs will be just fine with me to maintain until week eleven when I attempt a 12-miler.

Week Ten
Goal: 14 miles