Running and The Writing Life

Each summer I run. I run to lose the winter pounds, to deal with my migraine headaches, to still my mind when life becomes hectic, but most of all I run to take care of Stella, my silver Labrador. You see, she has a problem. She’s an adrenaline junkie. She must run until she’s exhausted or she has not had a good day. The above picture is what she looks like when she wants something. Each day I see “the look” from her until I put on my hat and sunscreen and tell her it’s time. If I don’t consent, she gives me no peace.

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Thanks for the run, Mom! Love, Stella

When I write, Stella knows my routine. She knows once I settle into my loft, I write for several hours at a time. If I haven’t exercised her, she pesters me until I do something with her, ANYTHING! Normally we run or run and walk (depending on how hot it is) about five and a half miles. When she and I were both a few years younger, we each had loads of energy. Now, however, Stella who will be seven in December, needs more time to recover. So do I. Growing older together is not a bad thing.

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Peaceful Stella after our morning run.

Lately when we’ve been out, we’ve run across three Sandhill Cranes, two of them are in the picture below. They are beautiful birds that normally keep away from us, but the couple who live here have a baby crane in tow, which is still huge. I’ve run into them in our neighbors’ yard, along the highway, in our backyard, and along our street. They eye me suspiciously as I pass. These birds stand an impressive four feet tall, so they are pretty intimidating when they posture and look me dead in the eye as they have done lately. I think the only reason they don’t come after me is that Stella is with me. She regularly chases them from our yard. The same pair of cranes attacked my youngest son’s car last year when he was on his way out of our neighborhood. I don’t think those birds are terribly bright, or maybe they are just incredibly territorial.

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Cranes aren’t the only creatures we see. When we are out on our normal route, we run across deer, blue herons, Canada geese, snapping turtles occasionally, and sometimes a fox.

Another reason I run is it tends to jog (sorry, couldn’t resist!) something loose in my brain. If I’m stuck on a problem in my manuscript, I usually can work out what is wrong when I run. Occasionally, I forget the solution I came up with–still trying to figure out a good way to take a pad or paper and pen with me–but usually I come back and remember the fix to the problem once I am at my desk. Today wasn’t one of those days, but my morning went well in other ways. I had only planned to walk with Stella, but the morning was cool, and I felt rested and strong, so we covered about three miles running and about two and half walking. Stella also swam three times, at each river crossing.

With both of us physically content, I sit at my desk to begin the last section of this pass on my manuscript. My head is clear, my brain is medicated with endorphins, and my body is relaxing with a cup of Lady Grey. I am optimistic about life, about writing, about everything. Stella and I are content to spend the next few hours right here in my writing space. She’s doing her job of keeping me company, while I’m doing mine, writing the best story I can.

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9 thoughts on “Running and The Writing Life

  1. For much of my adult life running and writing have been my main pursuits. The truth is they feed off each other and are my best friends. Many a friend has passed through the rear-view mirror but running and writing always sit right by me on the front seat of this one-way drive through life. (I like your writing space!)

    • There must be something about the solitary pursuit of both that feeds the soul. All I know is I’m better for doing both. I’m a happier writer when I’m running, and I’m a happier runner when I have a story to mull over to pass the time! I like my writing space too, especially the big window. Luckily it is offset from my desk or I would find myself gazing out the window instead of at my screen!

      • Whenever I run up against a writing problem a good run and time to think always comes up with the solution. I agree with you, both boost the spirit …

    • Nelda, you are so thoughtful, but I’m not teaching anymore. I resigned from my teaching job this past April. I was and am still burned out. I read posts from my friends who are already back at school or the ones who are gearing up for it, and I cringe. That’s how I know I did the right thing by leaving. I didn’t want to be that bitter, disgruntled teacher who only taught because it was a job to pay the bills. I truly loved teaching in the classroom, but so much of the job these days involves paperwork, record keeping, and documentation of every activity we do and every incident that occurs. That micromanagement of the kids and the teachers by the powers-that-be (for me at least) took away the art and the joy from the profession I once loved. I’m sure you are a devoted teacher as I once was, and I bet your kids love you. Don’t ever lose your enthusiasm for the job!

  2. It is so cool to read from others’ experiences how leisure time gets those brain cells moving, too! As I was walking my pooches this morning, I thought of two more e-books I can write based on my blog posts! I had to hurry home so I could remember what I thought 🙂

    • I think I will have to invest in one of those sexy fanny packs to keep a notebook and pen in for my runs. 😉 Inevitably, I think of something while I’m out, but it never sounds as wonderful when I’m trying to put it in words on the page as it did while I was running! Thanks for following my blog!

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