I’ve been pretty lax with my running over the last few weeks and I’ve suffered for it: I’m slower, heavier, and the motivation is harder to find. My eating habits have gone completely off the rails and there have been days where I’ve woken up surrounded by chocolate wrappers, empty crisps packets, and tiny ice-cream cups. There are reasons, of course: I’m tired, I’m busy, I’m lonely, I can’t be arsed to cook and everything’s closed now because it’s so late and I’ve only just realised I’m hungry, I’m heartsore, I’m PMS-y, I’m sad… but it all boils down to the fact that I’m really not being disciplined enough. I’m not taking care of myself; and my body and my mind and my heart are feeling it: my back is sore, my tummy is complaining, my mind is a step slower, i’m always tired…
Running- exercise, really- has always made me a little bit more sane, more resilient, more able to deal with the world without wanting to collapse into a howling mess of ‘i hate everything’. And to make myself get up and put on my trainers, I need discipline and I need a routine. And I need something to help me get out of the door.
I’ve been listening to Haruki Murakami’s excellent ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running’ as I run- I started it at the end of August and through my two (!) pathetic runs in September. As all things Murakami, it is absolutely wonderful: he talks about running, solitude, writing, frustration, motivation… and it is everything I need as I force myself to run harder and faster and for a little bit longer.
This section at the end of chapter two struck me, in particular:
Up till then, it had been a question of sheer survival, of keeping my head above water, and I didn’t have room to think of anything else. I felt like I’d reached the top of some steep staircase and come out to a fairly open place and was confident that because I’d reached it safely, I could handle any future problems that might crop up and I’d survive. I took a deep breath, slowly gazed around me, glanced back at the steps I’d taken here, and began to contemplate the next stage. Turning thirty was just around the corner. I was reaching the age when I couldn’t be considered young anymore. And pretty much out of the blue I got the idea to write a novel.
I never had any ambitions to be a novelist. I just had this strong desire to write a novel. No concrete image of what I wanted to write about, just the conviction that if I wrote it now I could come up with something that I’d find convincing.
These words made me feel something that feels a lot like possibility. I wouldn’t call it an epiphany or anything-certainly not- but that he talks about survival and just getting to a certain point, reaching an age when one couldn’t be considered young anymore… it is so achingly familiar to me. I feel as though this is something that I am slowly, ever so slowly, running towards. I cannot deny that I have had the urge to write and just write for a while now, no particular grand ideas of publishing a book or being published. I’ve always put myself off: nothing to say, who would ever want to read this, no typewriter (!), but perhaps I’ve been setting myself up to deny myself the pleasure of just writing, no end goal.
Perhaps I just need the conviction to write, to write now and that I would come up with something that I would find convincing.