Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mile Markers (copy)

We have been talking “a lot” about journaling here at the library this week. Jill Thomas Knox presented an excellent program on the subject and many left inspired to tell their own stories either with pencil and paper or through blogging. She also brought examples from her previous students who turned their work into art by making colorful books or scrapbooks.

Jill proved that journaling is not a boring diary with statements like, “I woke up with a pimple on the tip of my nose” or “It rained all day and I was forced to read a book,” but the format contains inspirational thoughts, poetry, doodles, bucket lists, collages, materials, etc. Almost anything goes when it comes to journaling and expressing one’s self.

Last night while perusing the local bookstore, I ran across a journal in the wacky anything-goes category. Kristin Armstrong collected her journal writings (reflections on running) into a book titled Mile Markers: The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run.

Armstrong sees her running as, “the perfect parallel for marking the milestones of life.” There are 26 chapters in the book and each chapter discusses a different milestone she has encountered. The beauty of the book is that her milestones are the same as most women whether one runs or not, but it is based on running.

I was excited when I saw the title. I am looking for inspiration while running my first marathon. Yes, I mean “while running.” I am inspired to do it, but I know I will need to up the ante of inspiration at mile 15 or mile 20. Having run 4 half marathons, I find it hard to stay focused when I am dog-tired.

It takes more than the training of leg and arm muscles. One has to train the mind or trick the mind into staying the course. For instance, I just tricked my mind by writing that I am running a marathon. We all know that is easier said than done, but once it appears in ink I have to commit. (Insert your committed joke here.)

In the book, each chapter can be a mantra as one runs the marathon. The first chapter is titled “Warm Up” and the author gives a brief introduction of herself. I can use the words to remind me to take it slow and easy in the first mile instead of running fast by getting caught up in the race momentum.

Other chapter titles include: Play, Friendship, Purpose, Passion, Pace, Fear, and Peace. Ironically, chapter 20 is titled “The Wall.” This book may not be a normal journal, but I find it an imaginative way to record one’s bumps and scratches on the road of life.

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