I recently started training again. Really training. It’s always interesting when I get back into something that I used to be good at. I find myself comparing my mile times to the mile times that I had a year ago when I was training for this or two years ago when I was training for that. Sometimes in the midst of all the comparisons I forget that I need to enjoy the moment.
Sometimes I forget the way that the sun feels when it bounces off of my body, the feeling of sweat dripping down my back, the smell of sunscreen before I start. I forget what the world sounds like when I’m on a trail and traffic sounds are in the distant past and all I can hear is the sound of the wind caressing the limbs of the trees. Sometimes I forget all of that and sometimes, when I’m really focused on being present and in the moment, I remember to listen and to feel deeply while my body works for me.
Then there are other times when running reminds me of more immediate things, like Mexican food before any run, long or short it doesn’t matter, is always and forever a bad idea. It burns the esophagus and makes breathing hard. You want to eat healthier? Start running. Your body has no problem telling you what is healthy and what isn’t.
Running reminds me that nothing in life is easy all the time and is this amazing parallel for writing. Sometimes the words flow like a fast paced river. My fingers can’t move fast enough on the keyboard. Other times every word is a challenge, every sentence excruciating, every paragraph a struggle. The same thing can be said of all the miles. Sometimes my feet sail over the pavement, one tenth, two tenths, three tenths, and before I know it I’m cooling down, thanking myself for getting out there and going. Other times, more often than not if I’m being honest right now, every step is a struggle. My breathing is off and I can’t seem to find my stride and I have to convince myself that I don’t need a walking break.
Running and writing are two of the hardest things I do in a day, and they are also two things that teach me so much about life, about perseverance, and about myself. I never feel stronger than when I push myself, and these two sports (writing is like a sport, right?) force me to push harder than I’ve ever pushed.
With words and with running I have to remember that every day is a new day. Every story I tell is a new one and will have its own struggles, its own impossible parts, its own times when I want to give up and try something, anything, new. Every mile I push my feet through is its own mile, some easier than others. The beauty and the life is in the going even when it’s hard, even when it isn’t like all the other miles and words before it. The beauty is in the creation.