Okay, so I’m running a bit these days. (I’ll give all of you who know me a minute to regain consciousness.) I’ve always wanted to run (okay, part of me has always wanted to run, and part of me has always wanted to sit – it’s a fairly even split with the sitting half winning the race, ironically, most of the time). I see these people moving down the street with grace and speed, and I want to do that. Now, I realize I will never look like the guy in Apocalypto who breezes through the jungle with the speed of a panther, but at least I want to be able to do three or five miles and hit that “zone” runners talk about so often. I think I crave that because it’s the same thing I seek when I write – that place where the world gets fuzzy around me and my focus becomes keen on the only thing I’m doing.

You see, I am a woman who likes to do lots of things at the same time. I like to read a lot of books simultaneously; I like to have lots of side projects going; good grief, I even have four part-time jobs and three side businesses. I just like variety. I hate doing the same thing all day (data entry sounds like hell on earth to me), and the idea of sitting in an office all day makes me grow weary. I really thrive on variety.

But I also love when I drop into places of deep focus. I am not a good multi-tasker, which I know sounds paradoxical given when I said above, but I can only do one thing well at a time. Just watch me try to listen to Kathy while I check my email; it’s impossible. So when I do each task, I let myself fall into it completely. I am always seeking those moments where a conversation becomes so wonderful that I can’t imagine doing anything else at that moment. I long for writing periods where I get so engrossed in the words on the page that I don’t even know when I’m hungry. I wish for afternoons when laying in the grass and staring at the clouds can be absolutely absorbing.

So I’m picking up another activity – running. I have given myself two goals to help with this – a 5k in Frederick, MD on May 1st where I’m raising money for an orphanage in Haiti (see this link if you’d like to donate or if you’d like to run; it’s a great cause) and a 5-mile trail run in Lancaster at the end of May. I may be nuts, but this is another new thing, another way to change up my day and hopefully, one day, find that moment of focus where the city falls behind as I move by.

How do you find that zone? In writing? In life?

Running on the Beach