After watching the New York Marathoners run into Central Park today, I couldn’t help but notice a striking similarity between running and writing. As a back-slidden runner and writer, I could easily make direct correlations to my experience. If you’re reading this and a statistician – ignore the n=1!
There are several tiers of runner types:
Tier one – the hardcore runners. They do this everyday and they come in ahead of the pack with their names (not a number) on their chest. The Stephen Kings, Sidney Sheldon and JK Rowlings can tell you all about this. We won’t put EL James on this list just yet – there is a whole ‘nuther list for her. People in this category are dedicated and have a writing or running routine that is designed for them to make the A-list. For runners this may come at a cost. I wonder if their husbands say – “Oh wow, thats amazing you won the marathon, let’s have sex to celebrate.” I doubt it. If I was the guy – I would just say “Oh wow, you won, you’re amazing, you can take me out to dinner with your prize money.” Unless the sinewy look is what he’s into…
Tier 2 – the very good runners that don’t aspire to be hardcore but like the benefits of being good. For runners – the benefits can include healthier lifestyle and weight maintenance. I have to say, I watched the second wave of female runners come in and I saw they still maintained the desirable female figure. Writers in this tier are hardcore in that some of them may have a family and or keep a regular job where writing is relegated to a secondary priority but they still do it – a lot.
Tier 3 – these are a mix of really good runners that don’t need the headache of making this important such that they give up seeing their girlfriend to make time to write. They run or write when they can and this is considered a fun distraction. However, “when they can” tends to be relatively regularly.
Tier 4 – the wannabes. I’m quite familiar with is category although I generally fluctuate between Tier 3 and 4. This tier contains the most fun people to talk to about writing or running. In most cases, there is an eagerness to pretend some expertise in the field but will also honestly admit that they don’t really write or run. This is due to lack of any tangible or visible evidence that they do both. If they are unlucky and a bit overweight – they may have plenty of tangible evidence – muffin tops for instance – that goes against doing any sort of exercise. Writers will have a lot of incomplete writings in some form they would rather not have anyone read. OK – thats harsh but most people training for a marathon tend to be leaner than other people watching TV marathons on Netflix. This tier generally has no identifiable routine whether its running or writing, but we all get to hear about how much they want to do it.
According to a Seinfeld episode, I can make fun of Tier 4 because thats where I have been for the last year. Until Nanowrimo 2015. I am now working my way up to Tier 3. At the end of this, I can legitimately say #am writing. Forget the running thing – I’m built like a Kenyan runner so people automatically assume I run.
Wish me luck!