Returning the Favor

Over the years, I’d profess that running nurtured my writing. In fact, that is the idea behind Rite2Run, which is a play on words that can be reversed and extrapolated to mean Run to Write. Don’t give it too much thought; it likely makes sense only to me. Lately though, I’m finding the title of my blog more literal, because now my writing is nurturing my running.

If only the words would come to me as they did to Joyce and Yeats while running on a country road in County Monaghan, Ireland.

I had gone through a couple down years with my running. In 2009 I had arthroscopic surgery on my right knee twice, and my orthopedic surgeon warned me that I had what he referred to as, “more arthritis than I like to see.” He had first mentioned my arthritic knees when I had surgery on my left knee in 2003, and suggested I think about running shorter distances, like the 5K or 10K. I didn’t rehab as quickly in my fifties as I had earlier in life and reluctantly resolved to the notion I may have to abandon the marathon.

Creativity and writing production plummeted in tandem with lower running mileage. I was still pumping out narrative, but the freedom of thought I enjoyed during long runs was absent. Whenever I was stuck on an article or couldn’t find the breakthrough for a short story, I’d hit the trail for an hour-run and, inevitably, the endorphins would kick in and release the thoughts and words I craved. All would be well.

The words flow as freely as the perspiration on a mountain trail in Juneau, Alaska.

Then 2011 came along and I signed up for a seven-mile trail run in February and ran better than I had in years. I began my Rite2Run blog in April and by the summer I was running pain-free. Twenty-two posts later I entered a half-marathon and, remarkably, finished stronger than I ever could have imagined.

Now 2012 is right around the corner and the harder I write, the easier the miles unfold along the trail. I’m beginning to feel another marathon emerging in this aging body of mine. Perhaps Rite2Run was a premonition after all.

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About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
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