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Moments of Inspiration

20 Jul

Artists have a reputation for being a little odd. Freewheeling words and colors. They seem to create pieces out of nothing. Oftentimes people wonder what artists actually do all day, and many feel that they can never be an artist because they lack the moment of inspiration for creating “it.” But, what any artist, musician, or writer will tell you is that the moment of inspiration is really a myth.

Inspiration comes through perspiration.

Writers sit down at the keyboard every day and pound through thousands of words that will be edited away never to be read.

Ask an author what the hardest part of being a writer is, and they will answer that it is sitting down to do the work.

Ever walked past a practice room at a university to hear horrible music on its way to being a beautiful piece of art? Musicians play unrecognizable forms, not notes, in their process of discovering the right melody.

They start over, throw out their work, and get frustrated. But, artists are consistent about their passion. And, they actually put in the work. Every day.

Running is like that for me. I keep waiting for the moment of inspiration to get up early for a run. I wait for the inspiration to run after work. I buy new shoes, watches, and other gear in hopes of a little inspiration to actually run.

But, if I can learn anything from artists, the moment of inspiration is a myth.

It’s their consistency that I crave, and the process that brings enjoyment.

That is why I covet seasoned runners that have been practicing their art for decades.

These running artists are the shoulders on which we stand. Let’s be admirable artists in our own running.
Our inspiration will come through our perspiration.

Mark

The Old Man and the… Magazine

13 Jul

Running magazines will mess you up.

My roommate has started to get a running magazine– and I sneak it into my pile of reading every chance I get.

It is full of advice on everything from shorts to shoes to snacks. You can have a new diet every month with magazines like that. Every month it is full of the “new” findings on running everything. So what happens?

I try it.

Went for a run a few days ago. A mile in I was thinking about an article on stride length. Next thing I know is that I am galloping like a horse and teenagers in cars passing me are shouting names at me.

I am a sucker for trends of all sorts. Magazines and running blogs will mess me up.

But a while back I was at the YMCA. An ancient man that runs 6 miles a day, and has for decades was putting his shoes on. I asked him how he maintained running every day.

“Take care of your feet.”

Lieutenant Dan told Forrest Gump the same thing, so I decided to probe a little further.

The ancient man said, “Tie your shoes comfortable after you’ve broken them in for a week, then never tie them again. Leave them tied just tight enough you can slide your shoe on and off. That’s the first step to taking care of your feet.”

And then he walked away without another word– not much of the conversationalist in the middle of the men’s locker room at the YMCA.

But since he told me, I’ve done it. And my feet are fine.

A magazine will change from month to month. But the ancient tends to last a little longer.

Do you have an old runner to talk to?

Mark