“Are you training for a marathon or something?” Was the question I was asked in response to the 11.2 mile run.
“Nope.” Was the answer.
But it was a lie.
I’m training for everything.
When I get out of bed at 5 a.m.ish to run or rollerblade or bike or swim every morning, I’m:
- Strengthening my body. Feeling good in my skin is vitally important to my productivity, self-esteem, health. I literally write stronger, sit in my chair stronger, think stronger and create stronger when my body feels like this. The muscles, the solidness, the firmness, the lines, the curves, the soft bits—they are all an integral part of my writing. When I don’t feel good in my body, when I feel heavy and frumpy, I feel bad about myself and it contaminates my creativity.
- Fortifying my will. It takes determination to get out of bed. To run when I don’t feel like it. To trust that the nervy feeling in my knee will go away if I just relax. To go farther than I’ve ever gone. To do the same damn run I always do. To take a day off (I think that’s the hardest, actually). To stop if it doesn’t feel right. To practice rich self-care.
- Reinforcing my belief that I am good, full of follow through and fruition. I like to have a lot to do. Boredom destroys me. So I usually have many projects going at once. And while this is a choice and typically feels good—there are those days. Where I’m drowning in my to-do list, terrified that I can’t get it all done. Sometimes it’s just the blank screen with a new project title at the top and that feeling that I won’t be able to pull this one out, that the words won’t come, that I’ll never be able to write ___ pages. And then I remember that I got up early this morning in the snow or humidity or wind and sweat for 8 miles before the sun was even up. And then I start writing…or living, as the case may be.
- Taking comfort in the fact that there are always lessons to be learned. Should we count how many posts I’ve written in the last year about the correlation between my work and my running, my life and my rollerblading and my writing and my _____? Maybe because ‘on the road’ is the diametric opposite to ‘in the chair’—and the juxtaposition is the great revealer.
- Plugging into the source. My mind writes when I move in the methodical ways that these workouts invite. I don’t listen to music. I don’t try to think about things. I just put one foot, or hand, in front of the other and literally make space for my own personal ticker tape feed in my brain. I don’t plan it, it just happens. Problems are solved, clarity surfaces, decisions are made.
- Single-tasking. This is the only time that I’m not multi-tasking. It’s single-pointed focus. It’s meditative. It’s rhythmic breath and step. I can’t help but be present to the sensations in and around me. And it forces me to listen to me—when I shut out all the other noise.
- Dramatically sweeping. I live entire lives on my runs. From elation to defeat to having massive brain bursts to having my heart break to memories that come sweeping through with the force of a rhino to exhaustion to floating. There is always a beginning, a middle and an end. Like any good story.
- Sharpening my brain. How do you melt something frozen? You put it in the heat. I sharpen my brain by taking it as far away from my computer and the work and the think tank environs as possible. I get the most out of my brain by putting it in the place where it is needed the least.
How do you train? And what are you training for?
Image credit: TheOwl84