Right now, I’m a fish out of water. I’m floundering.
I’m gasping for breath even though I’m hardly moving at all.
Too much stillness allows thoughts to zoom through my head. Thoughts that have no business being there. Thoughts that do more harm than good. Too much sitting is not relaxing, is not calming, is not restful. Too much sitting is anxiety-provoking, is unsettling, is infuriating. It’s the paradox of movement creating calmness. Of stillness cultivating chaos.
I’m a runner who can’t run. And it sucks.
Yes, I’m trying to compensate. I’m doing strength training right now – something needed, something I had been neglecting. It’s fine. It is toning my triceps. It is the band-aid on the wound.
It is not enough.
Nothing feels the same, nothing give me the same rush as running does. No other type of exercise even comes close. Yes, I can work out, but I don’t get the head-clearing release. I don’t get the skin-tingly euphoria.
My orthopedic surgeon told me that he can repair tendons, ligaments, cartilage, but he “can’t fix runners”. Runners are broken people, before they get injured. Runners need running for self-repair, even if it destroys their bodies in the process.
I’ve been dreaming about it, lately. Dreaming about running pain-free. Night after night after night. I’m running and I’m strong and I’m happy. And then I wake up and I remember. I mourn. I miss it. Nothing feels the same.
Writing sort of does.
It’s the closest thing I’ve found. Way closer than strength training. I don’t know how it works, but I get the same feeling in my head, the same tingling on my skin.
Maybe it’s because just like my legs move back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, on the pavement, my fingers are performing the same action across the keyboard. Over and over and over and over and over. For hours.
Maybe it’s like when I make my two fingers crawl across the table and then use them to tickle my daughter under her chin – my fingers race, mimicking the action of running, my fingers find that sweet spot, making my daughter erupt in giggles, mimicking the euphoria at the end.
With either activity, the writing or the running, there’s always a time goal, a publishing goal, an endurance goal, a self-preservation goal. Some kind of goal. There’s always the elusive search for a personal record.
With writing, or racing, sometimes I hate it, more than I could ever hate anything, and sometimes it feels better than I could imagine, leaving me high for days after. I never really know going into it how a session will pan out.
Either way, both are always hard. Both make me scream out loud. Both make me cry. Both make me laugh. Both help me breathe more deeply. Both make me frolic and jump out of my skin with excitement. Both wring out my body and wring out my soul. Both are energy depleting, but are exhilarating in the process.
Both expose the real me.
Right now writing is my racing. Until racing can be my racing.