Abra Goes

on theatre, running, writing, and looking up

The bumpy trail to a 5K

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The minute I step on the treadmill or out my door, I imagine hundreds of runners passing by and a finish line 3.1 miles away – unreachable, impossible, the alfa of my omega.

I want to run a 5K, but the thought of actually doing so fills me with a hopelessness equaled only by the thought of running a full 26-mile marathon. Impossible! It’s the same defeatist voice that interrupts my Hungarian lessons, smirks at playwrighting, and shoes my finger from the send button after I finish writing a query.

With running, defeatism physically manifests–Anxiety turns my legs to rocks, sneakers shrink or my foot expand (does running make your feet grow?), my head won’t stay level, my shoulders are too heavy, my back hurts maybe its my heart that hurts, I can’t see. I try not to look at the clock or my distance, but the gym is playing ‘My heart will go on’ and if I don’t look at my distance I will fall over. –And it’s not usually until my third mile that it passes.


I read that there are 7500 5Ks each year in the US alone- many of these are in places I’d love to visit on foot. Runner’s World even has a handy tool that helps you structure a training program. Training program?

Like writing, running is something that you have to DO and DO often if not daily. It’s not a surprise that so many writers are also runners. Like facing rejection, you can’t be afraid to hit a wall (as long as you are in tune with your body and how far you should push yourself). It doesn’t hurt forever.

With that I print out my training program, which I’ll transfer onto an index card each day and will not peak ahead. Per Runner’s World’s recommendation, I’m staying in the present. This training outline is way more intense than my current goals, but I’ll take it in stride.

I like Jen A Miller’s post on her approach to running. My new goal is to isolate the pressure that’s always gone along with running. It doesn’t work for me.


Written by abragoes

March 19, 2008 at 11:42 pm

Posted in running

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  1. Two of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to train myself to say and actually believe are:

    I am a writer.
    I am a runner.

    The issue with both is that there really is no end goal. Publish an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer? What about the New York Times? Write a book? What about a bigger book? It’s the same with running. I’m running my first 10 mile race soon, but I’m already being asked when I’ll do my first marathon. Egads, people, it’s 10 miles! I couldn’t even run three two years ago! And even after that, there’s ultramarathons. Insane!

    I’m glad you linked to my post because I think running is a very personal thing. We all run for different reasons. Mine is a health thing, and a stress relief thing. And you’re right — a lot of writers are runners (James B. Stewart writes about how he knows when to stop researching and start writing when he’s out running). A lot of doctors are also runners (and a lot of writers and doctors are smokers — I think running’s much healthier!)

    When you start to let other people’s goals shroud your own, then running isn’t fun anymore. It’s at that point that I want to give up. I’ve had to learn the same thing about writing. I don’t have a strong desire to get into Cosmo even though a lot of my friends think it would be cool. But it’s not for me so why bother?

    Anyway…check out First Marathons, edited by Gail Kislevitz, if you want running inspiration. Even if you don’t plan on doing a marathon, you’ll see that all kinds of people from all walks of life have picked up running, and love it.

    Jen Miller

    March 20, 2008 at 12:02 am

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