Do you have something important in your life that you can’t find the time or energy to do? For me, one of those somethings was writing. You see, even though I’ve been a professional writer for years (I’m an advertising copywriter by day and aspiring author by night), I had never really been one to keep a regular journal until recently.
But when, over the past few years, my life got more and more complicated, writing was there for me, like an old friend and confidant. I found that sitting down and just writing whatever was on my mind to be an incredible outlet for my emotions and all the things I couldn’t find a way to say in person to anyone who would listen. As I wrote it down, it helped clear my mind.
I also started writing about my running in a way I hadn’t since high school– when I meticulously detailed every single race I’d run for all four years of varsity track. It’s not just that looking back on that log today brings back some glorious past of mine. It’s that I now realize how important it was to me then to write it down. Writing made it real.
Even if the perceptions I had then were flawed and imperfect, writing gave me a chance to share what was going through my teenage mind and give light to things that were important to me. I had always thought a journal was about keeping memories– but I realize now it’s about letting them go so they don’t eat you up inside.
But from those high school days until I started training for The Mulligan Mile last year, I never had any reason to write about my running. It was just something I did, not something that really mattered in my life.
Yet with a pursuit like a big race and with a changing life taking place in front of me, I was learning so much about myself so quickly that my head was spinning constantly. I needed to write to sort out the trinkets from the treasure. In trying to cut seconds off my fastest mile time, with a specific plan, a specific goal, a specific race date and after I had told so many people what I was attempting to do, I was not about to leave anything to chance.
But where would I find the time to do all that writing as I was taking more and more time from my busy life to train?
What i found was counter-intuitive to me. The more I wrote, the more I ran. The writing didn’t take away the time from running– it freed up the mental energy that I needed to keep going when the training got more difficult. Writing illuminated the darkness.
By writing stuff down, I could let go of the thoughts and doubts and pain and stop carrying it around with me on my runs. Plus my writing gave me a magnifying glass to look at the little details of my life and a telescope to see the big picture— to gradually become aware of what was really going on inside me, as I recorded my thoughts when I got back from runs. I even sometimes used a dictation app to capture the thoughts as I was standing, dripping sweat on my patio– too much like a sprinkler to walk into my apartment and spray saltwater all over my computer.
Is there anything in your life that is a great challenge or opportunity for you? Anything that keeps you up at night? Write it out and let it go. Then take your mulligan and keep going.