Wednesday, February 6, 2013

No Promises

Over the summer, I took up running. (Please don't roll your eyes and close your laptop. I'm not going to become an obnoxious running blogger.) It was during the summer Olympics and something inside of both Ryan and myself nudged us to attempt more than our daily walk. The human body can do amazing things, as evidenced by the high-flying gymnasts and torpedo-like swimmers we watched dutifully from the couch each night. There was a lot of evidence to suggest that our 35 year-old bodies could do more than we'd been asking of them.

First, we considered learning a series of back-flipping, triple-twisting acrobatics in our backyard, but found that our health insurance does not cover mid-life gymnastics injuries.

So we started running for 30 seconds.

And we pretty much thought we would die.

But we didn't.

We worked our way up to 3 miles, and while we were quite proud of ourselves, we pretty much thought we would die the few times we attempted 3.2 or even 3.5 miles. We stuck at 3 difficult miles every day, figuring we had met our limit. Every run was hard, but ultimately fulfilling in that I-guess-this-is-an-accomplishment-considering-where-we-started way.

Months later our friend Marianne asked us to do a half marathon with her in March, and we trepidatiously agreed to try it and begin training. When I looked at the training schedule climbing slowly up to 8, 9, 10 miles and beyond, I felt panic down in my toes. I couldn't imagine this future version of myself who would be able to do this. I questioned her existence as much as I had once questioned Santa's.

Here's the crazy thing: I really love the long runs. And though it makes very little sense, the 3-mile runs are still tougher for me than the 8's, 9's, and even the 10-mile run I had on Saturday. Here's another crazy thing: it's possible that I could have stuck at 3 miserable miles forever, if I hadn't taken that scary leap into something bigger.

Of course, all of this running has made me think about writing. My writing. For many, many reasons (some consciously explored, some probably unconsciously hidden), I sort of shut down my writing shop. Here on the blog. In the novel I started many moons ago. Pretty much everywhere except for the paid work I do copywriting.

I tried to explore the possibility that maybe I don't need to constantly feel the push to accomplish something bigger.  Maybe I should just be content with my little copywriting jobs and the life around me. Maybe I'm not good enough or smart enough to do anything bigger than that, and maybe that's perfectly okay.

I've tried to adopt that way of thinking, but could never really get past temporary foster status. It might be time to let that idea go to another home. I can't get over this nagging suspicion that I'd been stuck at 3 miserable miles without realizing it.

"No promises," I'd said to Marianne when I agreed to start training. Let's see what I can do. She told me I would surprise myself.

No promises I say today.


marialuigi said...

I was JUST wishing that you would write again. You are, by far, my favorite blogger! And, frankly, I'm a consummate blog, I have several [read: 100's] that I read.

Just a lovely post and whatever makes you, no pressure from THIS reader!

Jenny said...

I have ALWAYS loved reading your blog. You have an AMAZING talent for writing.

I hope to

Kim said...

So happy to read a post! I too am at the 3 mile mark, or in truth, 2.5. I've run a couple of 5ks but that's it. Perhaps I need to push myself a little more. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Ahh...I just wrote a big long comment and now it is gone. I will try to recreate:


First, I am so happy that you like running. I totally agree that the first 3 miles are the hardest. My person feeling is that it takes 3 miles to truly warm up your body. I know it isn't the point of your post, but I just had to say that I am glad that you are running and enjoying it!

Second, I am so glad you are at least entertaining the idea of returning to blogging and writing. You are beyond talented, witty and awesome. Your posts were always the highlight of my day!



Kelly S. said...

This is awesome. I've always wanted to be a runner. Never have I really done any running. Half marathon? YOU are awesome!!!

Kate said...

I'm so happy right now.

Miss M said...

I agree with Dede.

Christy said...

I had no idea it could get better after 3 miles. That's really good to know! My body started to fall apart at mile 3. I might have to get brave and try it again.

So happy to see that you might (no pressure here), start writing again. I have always LOVED reading your thoughts. When I saw that you had a new post, I devoured it like a piece of chocolate cake.

It was you who inspired me to start writing. As small as I felt, you taught me that I had a voice. Somehow writing about my life has helped me to make sense of it. For you I will always be grateful!

lizzie said...

i stopped by today to look for your mac & cheese recipe. as much as i hate running (and sometimes runners) i am glad for you! perhaps someday i will get past the three mile mark in my life.
until then, i will keep checking back. i miss you, my friend!

Shannon Cheney said...

I soooo get this! For both the running and the writing. I'm on a writing hiatus right now. Thanks for the inspiration to stop it.

Katy {and Kahler} said...

yayyyy!! for running AND blogging! I've kept you on my reader list because "one day that lady's gonna blog again and when she does, i want to be there!"

after 2 major back surgeries, i was not certain i'd ever walk a mile again... and now i've run 2 half marathons and continue to run regularly. like you said, its amazing what the human body was created to do! praise the Lord! :)

i know you aren't promising anything, but it's good to hear from you again!

Becky said...

A runner! I remember the mornings when you would stumble down the sidewalk- with one eye opened, and your curls bobbing with each sleepy step you took. It always makes me chuckle to think about those walking days so many years ago. And now look at you! So impressed!

Donna Bardsley said...

Been meaning to comment for a while. You've been missed in the blogosphere, is the main thing I wanted to say. Sincerely and truly.

Meredith said...

I just came across your blog today and felt so moved by this post. I too am a blogger and an aspiring writer. My husband presented me today with a bound copy of the unfinished manuscript that I was once fervently working on and have no abandoned. He wants me to finish it, and theoretically, I, too, want to finish it. But, something keeps stopping me. Anyway, I have had many of the same thoughts you have about my writing (and blogging) life. Thanks for articulating it.

Meredith said...

I just came across your blog today and as both a blogger and aspiring writer, your words spoke straight to where I am right now: stymied, particularly in the novel writing department. I am looking at a printed copy of the unfinished manuscript I've been putting off finishing for two years now. I know I need to push beyond the proverbial three mile mark. Thank you for reminding me.

Anonymous said...

This. My life right now is so so this. Maybe I'm stuck at 3 miles, too. Maybe I can get unstuck. No promises.

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