How does running connect with your job in journalism?
I pour myself into running. I look for beautiful scenes, and stop to Tweet them every morning (@BrittanyWallman). I work on stories in my mind. I think about interviews I’ve had, or need to have. I have eureka moments. I pray. I have runner’s high. I have runner’s low.
Running has carried me through all kinds of ups and downs. If I didn’t have it, I can’t imagine what addiction could replace it - certainly nothing positive! (Non-stop eating of Doritos comes to mind.)
As I approached turning 50, I signed up for the Chicago Marathon and got in by lottery. A few months later, 17 people were killed in the Parkland high school shooting. I knew it was going to be a rough year, and I was grateful to have something healthy and life-affirming to balance with my work life.
The marathon itself was incredible, and when I reached 13.1 miles, I remember feeling a little sad that half the miles were behind me now. When I crossed that finish line, the first thought that popped into my mind - strangely - was the Parkland shooting. It struck me that most of my training I’d spent thinking about it. I felt like I’d carried something really heavy all those miles, and I could symbolically lay it down on the finish line. Tears flowed, and a stranger hugged me.
On a smaller scale, running does that for me every day, allowing me to lay down my cares, worries, or problems, at the end of the run.
One of my favorite run mantras is “this is the best part of my day.” It is!
One last thing: I’ve always been able to fly in my dreams - it’s slow, like how you’d use your arms as wings to come up from the bottom of a swimming pool. Running is like flying. It’s freedom.