Writing and Running (Part One – Fat-man Jogging)
My pulse is used to a sedate 80 beats a minute, and is somewhat confused by its current pattern. The stress of pushing my limbs and breathing, further than a long flight of stairs, has awakened dormant chemistry and stretched flesh, with once muscular potential, into shambling action. Fortunately the crisp bright morning (where there should have been snow) stimulated my skin, eyes, morning breath and maybe even a few lazy brain cells. It helped me open my eyes a little more.
Running and writing is what it sounds like. An amount of running followed by and amount of writing. Best to avoid to many variables at this point. I’m not entirely sure how far or fast I can cope with at the moment. Last night’s pizza weighs heavy on my mind, cheese oozing though tightly packed arteries to a grumbling heart. I tell myself this isn’t the punishing gruel of a new years resolution delayed, or a lifestyle improvement designed to keep up with the exercise fads of the masses. I saw a tweet the other day mocking the slacker generations drift towards the ‘fitter-happier’ paradigm they swore to avoid. I try to convince myself of something more poetic. A battle of mind and body, straight from Hemingway’s Nietzschean desire for a more physical approach to writing. If I want to toughen the calluses of my mind, I’d better get moving or at least stand up while I’m typing this. Despite doubting the sincerity of my self as the ‘superman’, there is some kind of battle going on here. Not fighting the flab as such, but perhaps proving a point or sparing with demon or two. The best way to get me to do something, is usually to tell me its impossible, or at the least beyond my capabilities. Sadly this has rarely worked with feats of physicality, which I have often been ready to abandon. An image occurs of myself aged 12, helped by two happier runners to finish the 1500 metres in last place. Painfully wheezing across the line to the jeers of my idling peers, who had long before recovered their repose. I am not sure who pissed me off more, I expected the jeers, but the helpers confused me. I wasn’t used to sympathy and didn’t like the smell of it. This moment of humiliation still smarts, I told myself the problem was technique. Others alternated between running and walking, I tried to run the whole way, thinking to do otherwise would be cheating. Unaccustomed to the burning pain and death/life feel of hard exercise, I drained to a slow motion jog, ridiculous to see, as the walk/runners tripped past me. I have learnt my lesson and this morning I alternated, uncertain whether my thirty-four year old body would allow me to push quite as hard as in my teens. At least there were no jeering punks to or happy helpers. I ran solo.
This experiment was inspired by a half-cut conversation with Mr Erwin last week, about the merits of mixing physical exercise and creative pursuits. Having written inconsistently for many years, hoping to get something useful from the monkeys on my back, I have tried all sorts of challenges and tools to increase my output. Some have worked to various degrees and I think I might be on the right path, but maybe running will help me travel a bit quicker. Sometimes these attempts feel like those of 80’s TV heroes, completing arcane challenges to get home, only to find themselves foiled ad-infinitum, battling ever onwards to eventual cancellation. Its has to be worth a try though, and if not, I hope to enjoy the episodes.