• Member Since 21st Jun, 2012
  • offline last seen September 2nd

Vermilion and Sage

The first step to getting better is admitting you have a hobby.

More Blog Posts79

  • 105 weeks
    Why are you here?

    Logged into this page years later to find a recent comment on old work. That was a surprise. Who else is around?

    0 comments · 123 views
  • 236 weeks
    Ink On Life's Paper

    [Note: ch3 of It's Not You They Fear has been edited and updated. 'Bout darn time.]

    So I was gonna write some deep post about silver linings in pain and training hard for your struggles, but I realized the struggle for today was finishing those edits. Check it out if you have the time and boredom to do it. And here is an adorable picture of Luna in case you need to smile.

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    0 comments · 218 views
  • 242 weeks

    Looking at the timestamps, it seems it's been nearly three months since I last posted on here. Life still has water on the ground and running down the sides of the streets, but the sun is shining once again.

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    0 comments · 238 views
  • 253 weeks
    Forever and A Day

    Well hello everyone, it sure has been a while. While I've put out a new chapter of The Long Road Home, this place hasn't seen a lot of other attention. I've been very busy trying not to leave any free time at all in my life to think.

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    0 comments · 268 views
  • 261 weeks

    Once upon a time, a man much wiser than myself told me something. He said: 'We are what we do. The only difference between a writer and myself is that the writer picked up a pen or pulled up a keyboard, and wrote something.' I suppose that makes me many things. One of the easiest for me to see is running until I became a runner.

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    1 comments · 316 views

Steps · 1:24am Sep 18th, 2015

Once upon a time, a man much wiser than myself told me something. He said: 'We are what we do. The only difference between a writer and myself is that the writer picked up a pen or pulled up a keyboard, and wrote something.' I suppose that makes me many things. One of the easiest for me to see is running until I became a runner.

When I did my first half-marathon, it was almost completely by accident. I was nineteen years old and a sophomore in college. Friday afternoon rolled around, and my friends and roommates had left for a sports game I wasn't interested in going to. My homework dried up long before the evening drew to a close, and I had too much time on my hands. So I went to run.

Most of the way through the five-miles-and-change route I normally took, I realized I wasn't quite as tired as usual, and had no real reason to hurry home. So I decided to go the long way around the creek to the next bridge down, and then a turn through a park, and then up and down a nearby mesa, until I had eventually covered thirteen miles and stayed out nearly a hour longer than I'd planned.

That evening wasn't the first time I'd gone and pushed myself, but it sure marked a tipping point. The following year I ran my first marathon, the Bataan Death March in New Mexico. I suppose run is a misnomer. It was a half-run-half-march with a rucksack, but still my first marathon. Over the following years I kept up the habit, for the sake of my mental and physical health.

People have always reacted two ways to my habit of running. The most common outburst is some variation of 'you're crazy!' And I suppose I might be. There is something about running that takes away all of my dark thoughts, pain, exhaustion, and sorrow even if just for an hour. It's far more than just a form of exercise to me.

Those who stay long enough to see how I run become even more incredulous. They note that I have poor form when I do, and ask how I seem to outpace most folks they know and outdistance the rest. What they speak of is several things. My stride is too short, forcing me to take more steps than I should. My gait is off, whether that be by my spine, my feet, or simply too many hundreds of miles of worn habit. Perhaps worst of all is how I stare at my feet when I run.

On a physical level, such a stance makes it more difficult to run for long distances by reducing how much air I can hold in my body, and making it harder to inhale. In the mind, I've heard it said that there is a symbolism in looking down, that I am not keeping my eyes on the goal. I don't think this could be further from the truth.

Every time I set out, there is a goal in mind. That goal is to win the race against myself, to take less time than number from the last time still winking in my mind. When I go, I know the way. I do not have to look up, save for a few occasions if I need to re-orient myself. This allows me to stop and focus on the most important thing in that moment -- my step. So rarely do I have the luxury of running over a surface that is a kind, soft, uniform face that will promise me a thoughtless journey.

There is always something in the way. One day it was simply a slight sudden rise that left me sprawling on the concrete, scraped up and bruised. Another had a slight dip in the dirt that caught my shoe the wrong way, hurting my ankle. That night in which I caught a small chunk of loose asphalt with a toe, fell and caught myself with my hands, and sprained one so badly that the doctor couldn't decide it wasn't broken without x-rays was probably the worst.

Everyone has to look up sometimes. Even if it's just to observe the sun setting on the horizon, or see the final hundred yards before the end. But these are fleeting moments that I take when their time comes. Unless I focus on every step of the run, I will not get to the goal that is the whole purpose of that trek. I find that in every little step, because that is all there is.

This mentality gets a little more challenging when I have to travel somewhere I don't know. When I'm more concerned about where I am going, I stop focusing as hard on how I get there. There is a kind of irony in that shift in focus, as doing so often makes it harder to reach the end. That's when I have to do both. Look up to see where I'm going, look down to get there. Repeat until there are no more 'there's' to get to.

The most difficult, yet beautiful thing about life is that the run towards a better you never ends. There is no point where you can cease to look up at where you're headed next, yet there is no point where you can get away from trying your best with every step.

In this philosophy, I have failed utterly.

In my former engagement, I was looking up the entire time. All I saw was the end, of us married, to the point that I neglected to look at how I trod. In the end, we both tripped and fell. Now I have to pick myself up, alone. It seems that wanting to even get up was a struggle in itself, and now I have to go forward on my own. The next step of that is finding myself, which is something I can't do with just one way of running at it or the other. I may have a good idea of who I want to be, but this time I can not afford to fail to stare at how I get there.

I must be deliberate. I will not suffer myself to make the journey only to fail to remember how I got there. When I arrive at the next point I must reach, I will do so having made a conscious effort the whole way place each step. If I fall again, it will be because there was no other way to move forward. If there is one way I won't look, it is back.

I'll see you at the end, me. I can't wait.

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