For almost ten years now I have fancied myself a runner. I run, not jog – there’s a distinct difference (if you’re a runner). It started as an almost challenge from my husband – ‘Why don’t we start running and enter the Hastings half marathon?’ So we did both of those things and running became part of our lives. Not something we do together but a hobby we share. Anyway, over time and several races later (even marathons), it has become something different for us both.
Whilst Mr Competitive has branched out into triathlons and is now in training for his third IronMan competition, my running career is in a bit of a sorry state. Well, not sorry, because I don’t feel the need to apologise for it. Rather its importance in my life has lessened and running and I are having a bit of a turbulent time. It dawned on me during a recent run that I have changed from the dedicated, time-driven, club-devoted runner to one who happily bimbles through woods with the dog, stopping to admire the view or a fetching piece of bark, or just to pause for a bit.
My 20+ mile weeks have long since changed to 20 mile months (perhaps) but the most important element of my running remains – the running commentary, haphazard musings, head-clearing therapy. I love that there is a constant stream of words, half-ideas, snatches of song and generally not very much flitting in and out as I meander along the trails and tarmac of Tunbridge Wells. The dog isn’t the best running buddy as he’ll either stop dead in front of me or dart off like a thing possessed – more on him another time. But that does mean I am pretty much left alone with my random notions.
Running forces me to step away from my desk and screen (though it probably won’t be long until someone patents a runner-friendly keyboard for working on the run). It’s the perfect time to consider projects objectively – if I’m stuck on a particular piece of work, or have been making slow progress, the clouds will often part and the solution pops up. When copywriting, be it a blog, web copy, article, it can be difficult to know where to start. Thinking about the whole concept or bigger picture whilst not staring it in the face can be an enormous help and usually leads to the solution. And of course this extends beyond work projects. Many of our perceived issues can be worked through with a little objectivity. Add in the benefits of fresh air and exercise-induced endorphins and your world can indeed feel a little less confusing.
Keeping my train of thought on a work problem is trickier than it should be. There’s a lot subconscious fighting to be heard and one popular recurrence is ‘Why isn’t there a word for…?’ As a big fan of all things wordy, it pains me to hear of words disappearing from everyday language, but equally there is always room for new ones. So is there a word to describe a super-happy, excited dog who you can just imagine is smiling from ear to ear? How about a beampooch or a gleehound? A pupgrin? Actually, reading this back makes me realise I need to go out for a run and find that much needed headspace…