The Truth In My Tennis Shoes

Filed in Author Inspirations by on April 7, 2016 0 Comments

Tennis Shoes

Sometimes I think running is a lot like writing.

I learned this lesson after a long, hard run two years ago. I laced up dirty, embarrassingly tattered tennis shoes, and my ankles churned across the asphalt until the concrete beneath me yielded up truth and clarity. I had vowed to run away from all the things which were stressing me, but I did just the opposite: eight miles later I was winded, sweaty…and face-to-face with all the beautiful (and yes, even broken) pieces of my very human state.

They say running helps rid your body of toxins, purging your body of poison through sweat. It’s also usually pretty good at digging up the other poisonous things lingering deep inside: excuses, doubts, denial, fears, or frustration when things don’t move at the pace we want them to. I don’t know what it is about running and writing that digs and scratches those things out, but there they are, suddenly clear and strewn across the sidewalk or the blank sheet of paper in front of me. I can let them stop me, or I can run and stomp over them with those tired, tattered shoes; I can continue to type.

Running and writing have similar rewards as well. Running hands me a victory every time I cross the finish line. I’m competing against myself; even if I don’t set a personal record, I’ve won simply by doing it. Likewise, every paragraph, every chapter finished in your writing journey is a victory in and of itself: you chose to write and you finishedThose little daily victories stack themselves up, spreading strength, confidence and determination like the roots of the oaks that crack up through the sidewalk. Tiny, tangible wins, breaking through the concrete monotony of the average and everyday.

Maybe it helps that our value while running isn’t measured by the same thresholds which everyday life rewards us for: income, influence, beauty. A higher salary doesn’t make you a better runner or a more talented writer; neither does the prestige of a well-known last name. Makeup doesn’t give me an edge—in fact, if I’m doing my job right, it’s going to melt off anyways—and authenticity is as important to a writer as oxygen.

I went on that run because I’d had a heated conversation with a dear friend, I’d said things that hurt us both. There at the end of the sidewalk, drenched in sweat with one untied shoe, I saw my selfish intentions for everything they really were. Truth churned up from the sidewalk.

It’s in those moments that we find the gospel truth of it. Not the clever, cushy things we tell ourselves to steady our balance in the moment. No, it’s so much more than that.

It’s real, hard-earned, adrenaline-pumping, gasping-for-oxygen reality.

You see, it’s impossible to lie to yourself or complain about life when you’re too out of breath to talk. You can’t be self-important when you’re drenched in sweat. You don’t have energy to waste regretting a failure, blaming bad luck, or justifying your existence to a single soul when you’ve just worked that hard. And hopefully in the process, you’ve discovered a little something about yourself, life, and the people around you.

Truth and clarity, seeping up through the gritty sidewalk all around me, that eventually found its way into the black-and-white print running across your screen. That is what running does.


About the Author ()

Brittnee Newman, Marketing & Communications Strategist for Xulon Press, has been a blogger, freelance journalist and editor for just over half a decade. She joined Xulon Press as an editor in 2012, and now supports the company within the Marketing Department. Follow her on Twitter at @XulonBrittnee.

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