When I used to think about running, I remembered gym in high school. l had one teacher who loved calisthenics, and in his health and gym class you had to run, outside, in late November. Every time we passed him, he yelled that we had to go faster, a certain pace, or we’d fail. My lungs burned from the cold air and the only thing that kept me on that track was that I couldn’t fail because I could not stand to be in class with that guy again.
Something changed, though. This year, many mornings, when I wake up early to write – I also wake up wanting to run. This winter has been so much colder than that long-ago November, so I know I don’t really want to go outside. Yet I have that image of lacing up my shoes and taking off for morning run.
This morning I dreamed about it. I woke up too early, stayed in bed, and just imagined the scenery going by. How did this become something that I want to do so much that I dream about it?
Writing is often a sedentary pursuit, as was engineering. Yoga, while a fitness discipline, is often practiced in my home or at the gym at a stately pace. That static nature allows a lot of work on form and strength and patience. Yoga definitely taught me patience.
I’ve been reading Writing Down the Bones, where I finally understood the idea of a walking meditation. One foot raises during the inhale, comes down during the exhale. This slow pace brings focus to both the small movements and the world around. Finally that made sense, especially after attending a Tai Chi class this week. The slow, measured pace matches with the breath. You can’t hurry it. You use your yoga breath with a slow inhale and a slow exhale, which draws out those movements even more. All of it intended to make you relax.
Every morning since November, I have programmed an alarm in my phone that says “Sprint!” While that has been turned to writing, to pouring out my thoughts while my brain is still putting them together and allowing that creativity to drive my words, rather than allowing my analytical mind to drive order during the draft. Something has turned this into a want to run. To not just sprint after one kid or the other to prevent mayhem, but to really run with no other purpose than to go running.
While part of me is still recalling the grueling trek around the track, the rest of me is thinking it isn’t complete insanity to run. Just – maybe not outside. It is February and below freezing. And there’s always the possibility that it will connect things in my head for writing. If nothing else, I can make my characters learn to run, too.