Friday, September 4, 2009

copy: walking around for write around

I will be walking the 10k Mayor's Walk in the Portland Marathon. I am a walker, not a runner - and I'm fine with that. I am not a race walker, I am a walker who is increasing her pace little by little, with a current goal of doing under 17 minute miles in a half marathon in November. And I'm okay with that, too.

I read Loren's post [on the Run Around for Write Around Portland blog] with a knowing nod about what keeps you going when you don't feel like it. I am just coming out of one of those stretches where I've had to drag myself out the door to go for the 5-mile pace building training walk, or the 8-mile distance building walk, or to walk up and down the hill to Mt Tabor 5 - 7 times. And that's been okay, too.

So what does keep me going?

Sometimes it's noticing how I'm feeling - like the time two weeks ago when I took a day off due to fatigue, and it was the day after my training day off. I was feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. So on the third day I set out on my training walk and I'd gone only a fraction of the miles I had to go and that cloud of doom lifted and I thought, ahhhh. Recognizing that my body has become used to the daily routine. Easier and cheaper than another therapy appointment or anti-depression medication *grin*. Or it's my partner telling me I've become a little crabby and wouldn't a walk feel good? And I know she's right. And it does.

Sometimes I keep going because I've signed up for some events and rallied others to join me on events I haven't signed up for yet. An example is that Sunday I thought, there is no way I can do that 8 miles today and then I remembered that, after the Mayor's Walk, my next event is the half-marathon in Seattle in November. Which now feels not so far away; and I'm out the door with shoes laced and my Camelbak full with a package of Stingers in my pocket.

The same is true of writing. If I go too long without being actively engaged in the writing process, I get cranky. I start feeling bottled up. Stuck. And sometimes I have to completely close that internal critic's eye and just write. I keep myself enrolled in a "Lit Star Training" course with Ariel Gore so that writing is kept on my list of things to do, with weekly assignments and peer feedback. And I find submission deadlines to give me an end-point or a reason to keep revising.

I write because I have something to say.

I walk because I feel better when I do and because I don't want to lose the muscle I've gained or gain the weight I've lost.

I walk and I write because sometimes I find myself smiling for no apparent reason, except that it feels good to be alive and I have something to look forward to. Or maybe I have a kayak tucked in the back of my car. Or snowshoes in the closet waiting for the snow to fall.

Or I find myself halfway up the four flights of stairs to Write Around Portland to pick up my facilitator's bag and realize I didn't even consider taking the elevator.