Uncategorized | February 04, 2004

Until last Monday, I had a strict policy of running only when chased. Running for exercise was a concept that barely registered on my “things I would even remotely consider” radar. And then, last Monday, I woke up and decided I needed some exercise.

Here are the things I’ve learned about running so far:

1. It’s really hard. First of all, it’s hard to make time for it. It takes time most of us don’t have and, to be perfectly honest, don’t want to make. Then, once you make time, you have to go out there (or in there if you go to a gym) and stretch out for what seems like eternity. It’s worse on the second day when you feel like you can’t even move your leg, much less bend your knee and hold your foot behind your back for a couple of minutes. Then you try to run and CONTINUE to run for the time or distance you set as your goal.

2. I’m not good at it: I’m a wimp, okay? Most of the time I give up before I reach my goal. It’s too hard. My chest hurts and my legs hurt and I get sweat in my eyes.

3. I’m getting better: The last time I ran I made my goal. I got there, I cooled down, and I thought to myself, “Way to go, Morgan! Let’s never do this again.”

4. Running is a heck of a lot like writing.

How can this be, you say? Writing is an art and running is something you do so you can have that cheeseburger whenever you want it. Well, that’s true, but what’s also true is that they are both hard work, sometimes painful, and you’re not always going to be good at it. What’s also true is that, if you keep after it long enough, you’re going to get better.

Like running, writing is hard on so many levels. Not only does it take brainpower, concentration and stamina, but it also takes hard-to-come-by ideas. If you can get past those obstacles, you still have the problem of time. Most of us have work or school and we come home wound up and worn out. It’s hard to take on that last project after a day full of projects. I hear you. I have the same problem.

Sometimes, you feel like you’re not a good writer. You look at what you wrote and you close and don’t save and hope there’s no way some hacker cracked into your hard drive while you were working on it and published that sad jumble of words on the internet.

Lastly, as it is with running, if you’re lucky and if you work hard at writing, you find that you’re getting just a little bit better at it. After you’ve spent some hours working on a paragraph, sometimes you read it and you think to yourself, “Every single line is now as good as it can be. Oh, and THAT line is maybe the best line in the history of the universe.” Okay, that’s probably not true, but after a few hours of tweeking it, it FEELS true.

I make time to run because I’m starting to feel better, more fit. I make time to write because I’m starting to write better. I think I’m going to stick to the writing for a while, but the running…well, we’ll see.