_Running and writing parallel each other: we start off slowly, not knowing where we're going, wanting to stop after a few minutes, but refusing to give in to our more base quitting instincts, and we keep going and keep going convinced that after a while it will become fun, until our momentum takes over, and before we know it, we're lost in the woods or much further out than we anticipated, having lost track of time and thought and distance and pace--which is the exact moment it becomes fun as we've stopped thinking about how much fun we aren't having and think about whatever we're thinking about instead--and the only way to finish is to keep going. (I should explore this symbiosis further at some point.)

It has always been my intention with this blog to occasionally discuss running. I haven't done so.

With this post I am changing that. I decided a year ago to run a marathon in 2012. Earlier this summer I broke my foot, which put my training a little behind schedule. But, as of three weeks ago, I went for an extremely slow 2 mile loop, and have three times since dusted off the Asics, stretched and ignored the creaky whining of my hamstrings, and absorbed the quizzical looks of my roommate when I jog down the steps at 10pm. I still intend to run a marathon in 2012.

Darren Rome Leo, at his blog Thoughtvomit, recently posted about the soundtrack for his novel's protagonist. It is a common question on writer's forums whether we write to music or not and, if we do, what we listen to when writing. This same question is applied to runners.

The songs listed below are the songs I most often go running to and will be listening to a lot of over the next year or so.

What are yours?

Start slow. Don't go too fast. You don't want to burn out your pace and be walking by the end. Start slow.

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Before I started running again in November, I encountered that problem frequently: after not running for months, sometimes years, I would start out trying to run at the same pace that I had run when I was running competitively, when I was 18 years old. But I'm not 18 years old anymore. And I would give myself nasty, tear-inducing shin splints, that felt a large serrated knife jabbed into my calf, turned sideways and pulled up and down.

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A sign of maturity and of personal acceptance is admitting that we aren't who we once were, accepting who we are now, and having the foresight to know what we want to become.

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All these things that I have done (Time truth and hearts)
If you can hold on
If you can hold on, hold on

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Let me try to make that maturity line sound good so I can include it in this essay when I get back.

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And how many anecdotes about running should I include? And should they be redeeming, uplifting, melancholy, or ironic, like the fact that Jim Fixx, the man who popularized running and writing about running, died of a heart attack after returning from his daily run? And how many books about running should I read to contribute to this essay to make it seem more scholarly, learned, and less like a jumble of fragmented thoughts?