Out There: 6-Word Running Stories

Sometimes, all it takes are six words to get your point across. Illustration: Matt Collins

Most of us struggle with the idea of being complete, yet concise. 

“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” —Ernest Hemingway

Legend says, in the 1920s, Ernest Hemingway’s colleagues bet him he couldn’t write a complete story in only six words. He was up to the challenge, and in addition to collecting beer money for his efforts, he wrote what he considered to be “his best work ever.”

Most of us struggle with the idea of being complete, yet concise. Read any blogger’s race recap, and you’ll see exactly what I mean. When someone asks, “Hey, how’d your long run go last weekend?” you’ll rarely hear a runner say, “Oh, great!” No, that would be far too simple. Instead, we unleash a tale of nutrition, hydration, cramping, chafing, Porta Potty and total mileage, right down to the centimeter. Then we exhale: “But, ah, I finished, so…” Because every good story ends with a triumph over adversity, right?

The experiences and stories that come with running are universal. Some things can be conveyed with just a glance (Ever given your significant other the “this is not going well” look on the sideline?), while other things, like the runner’s high, simply can’t be described with words. Our pal Ernie was right about one thing though: You can say a lot with just six words. Holey tights today. Bum was cold.

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My run shoes are my therapists.

Runner’s dilemma: to wave or not?

Night of fun; run of regret.

Post-run shower. Chafing revealed. Yikes!

Running friends can be like family.

Tonight’s big matchup: Hills vs. Couch

Long run. Low fuel. Long walk.

Morning run. Two poops. One dog’s.

Rest day: time to be indulgent.

Life’s meaning revealed at mile 21.

IT band massage. Pleasure and pain.

Dog thinks I’m a salt lick.

Sunday morning: run and pancakes. Bliss.

I run because I can. You?

This piece first appeared in the March 2014 issue of Competitor magazine. 


About The Author:

Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman Triathlons, and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). In addition to writing for Competitor, she serves as Resident Triathlete for No Meat Athlete, a website dedicated to vegetarian endurance athletes. Susan lives and trains in Phoenix, Arizona with three animals: A labrador, a cattle dog, and a freakishly tall triathlete boyfriend. She claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke

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