I am a runner; the kind that likes to train for long distance races, gets excited about tempo runs/PRs, and looks forward to Sunday mornings when I join the ranks of my fellow weekend warriors to do my longest run of the week. If you were looking for an approximate time of the sunrise for any given period of the year, I could give it to you because I’m usually up running pre-dawn and anxiously start to await the return of natural light around February. The internet is not devoid of people blogging about running, and while I’ve tried to go there in the past, and on some level kind of, sort of, want to go there now, for some curious reason, I just can’t. “Now wait, a second,” you’re saying to yourself. “Sarah, you are writing about running, darn you!” What an astute reader you are. Yes, I am writing about running, but only to tell you why I can’t write about running.
As it turns out, training is not very interesting, which isn’t to say that I don’t love it, nor that I don’t eagerly check my schedule to see what physical trials I will be subjecting myself to on any given week, but the nitty gritty of getting out there and doing it is practically impossible to make interesting unless you happen to be out there doing it with me. (I know you’re not, because I train solo. This was rhetorical, so don’t waste your time trying to remember whether or not we did, in fact, run together.) “Does this mean you hate running blogs?” Good question, you. No! I actually love them, and there are a handful I read religiously. I enjoy the blow-by-blow of timed intervals, I appreciate a well done mid-run selfie. You want to tell me what you ate when you were finished running? Yum, thanks for the suggestion! “So, you don’t like to write then.” No! Hey, you’re reading my blog. I love to write, which is how I got myself into this whole mess in the first place.
I suppose that while I do want a pat on the back every now and again for a race well run, running is more of a vehicle for me than an end. Running is the thing I use to shake loose, let me my mind go in 6,500 directions, or better yet it’s the thing that frequently shuts down the noise. I like to work hard physically, in a way that feels necessary to my own personal sense of well-being. I like having goals to work toward, and I think races are beyond fun. I do want to tell you about the frost on my hat that is really sweat – I made my own snow! Or perhaps you’d like to hear about the time I accidentally ran 16 miles in hurricane rain.
Maybe it’s just that I want to tell you about so much more, or it’s just that running feels too intimately mine, or that there are some things that are better done than spoken. Perhaps running has presented the ultimate thought experiment for me in terms of my own writing. You know what I mean, it’s the whole “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” thing. If I go for a great run and don’t write about it, or share a sweaty picture of it, on the internet, am I still a runner? Sound is vibration that travels through the air or another medium and can be heard when it reaches an ear, i.e. it’s still a sound even if it never reaches an ear. So, here I’ll be vibrating away in my sweat-clogged gear, but it’s possible that all this bouncing leads me to something else, and by the time I sit down to talk to you here I’ll have fluttered my way into something more enchanting. Or, perhaps it’s that running is the medium itself and not the sound.
Thanks for reading, and happy running, thinking, writing, buzzing, pondering to you too!
*Photo credit: Roberto Verzo