Posted by: David Stewart | July 10, 2013

Understanding the connection between running and writing

George Sheehan writing, from the Runner’s World site

I have been writing blog posts since March 27, 2006.  I started in those days on LiveJournal, because its what my daughters used. When I moved to WordPress in September 2008, I set the tag line to “Running, Technology, Christian Spirituality and Running” since those were my main interests – nay obsessions – and consumed enough of my thinking that I felt I needed a way to write about them.

This week I was catching up with Runner’s World after being out of the country for a while this Spring. Editor David Willey wrote a fine editorial honoring the memory and work of Dr. George Sheehan, a cardiologist and long-time columnist for the magazine. I was struck by one particular line from Willey’s note:

“To me, he personified the idea that running and writing have something in common. Something approximating soul.”

How could writing and running be so connected?

Running is considered by many to be an unpleasant business, something to be endured to get fit or to lose weight. Certainly I have seen it in this light many times. But it has also been for me a time to listen to the inner voice that is so often suppressed by the noise I am surrounded with in my life.  I have “written” countless blog posts in my head when I’m running around my neighborhood or around work. Many do not make it to the internet because they are just too personal. (For the past six years I have written on a daily pen and paper journal where my more personal reflections get expressed. Kudos to Moleskine, by the way, for making an awesome paper journal for my cheap fountain pen writings).

These times of running meditation give me many chances to work out my philosophy and spirituality in ways I can’t explain. Perhaps its because when I run, the pretense and positioning all gets stripped away and I am laid bare. I may be limping and groaning after a particularly heroic effort, but something about my core being is revealed.

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