Staying the Course

I had an interesting discussion this past weekend. My buddy recently gave up running. It wasn't because of an injury or a lack of free time. He'd simply tired of it, and it didn't feel fresh to him anymore. The pleasure had gone out of it. He was at peace with his decision, and he mentioned he might play more tennis to keep his activity level up.

Still, I felt a little sad for him.

I just jogged out to the Round Marsh (that's local photographer Will Dickey's image above; he's a fine Jacksonville artist...) an hour ago and I was struck by how much I still enjoy running. I love the scenery, love the act of challenging myself, love the benefits that exercise has for my health and sanity.

And since my time off from teaching began in earnest on January 3rd, I've used my daily sojourn to work through some tricky plotting on a thriller novella called Frozen. I've written almost 20,000 words in thirteen days, and it's been an exhilarating couple of weeks.

I wake up and spend the morning with my daughter, get to the computer and write, take a jog, hang with wife and daughter, make dinner...rinse and repeat. Having my summer in the winter/spring has been a blessing, mostly because I'm able to enjoy that simple routine. It's a mental reset, and I'm a better educator (at least I hope I am) because I'm fortunate to have the cool months off to run outside.

Running is crucial to my creative process. I couldn't provide a perfect answer for my friend when he asked me why I still enjoyed knocking off some mileage every day, but I think that's about the closest I can get. Running forms the foundation of what I do at the word processor.

Here's to hoping that those of you reading this are enjoying the new year and drawing inspiration from your passions. If you're in Jacksonville and you want to tour some pristine running trails, drop me a line and we'll hit a good run!

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