A sure sign of sickness: “I have to get my run in before the snow starts.”

At the beginning of the December, I found myself worrying about finding a way to regularly keep active during the winter, a time in our part of the world when the sun seems to set shortly after noon. I joined a group of hearty (translated – foolish) souls in Portland and for the past three months, I have been running on the roads of Saco, Biddeford, and Portland.

Along the way, something strange, but not entirely unexpected happened. I became addicted.  


Yes, that’s me celebrating after running for more than 90 minutes in the middle of February.

“It’s a sickness, but a good sickness,” my friend Dave said to me when I began to complain a bit about the increasing importance I was placing on these near-daily excursions outdoors.

Nearly three months ago I put my beloved bicycle in the cellar and wondered what I was going to substitute for my all but irrational fondness for all things cycling. I hadn’t really been a runner for a number of years, but I’d managed to lose some weight and I wanted to do something. This seemed like a good idea.

One of the most beneficial aspects of cycling is the way it allows me to almost miraculously work out issues with my writing. I am not sure if it is the fresh air, the increased blood flow to the brain, or the chance to step away from things for a period of time, but as sure as one foot tends to follow the other, it happens.

There were no guarantees, but I hoped the same would be true as I plodded along the streets and trails of southern Maine. Three months later, the simple answer is, yes.


One of my favorite places to run along the Eastern Promenade in Portland.

Now, each time I collect my running gear, I think about the novel I am working on, and I replay the last few chapters I’ve written and think about the lives of the characters that exist in the world I’ve created. I wonder what will happen next, where the connections will take place, and who will be the people they meet. How will I get to the end of the current chapter?  

One mile, two miles, three miles, maybe more, but by the time I declare myself finished, it has happened.

I’ve learned to carry my trusty smartphone with me as I run and after I roll into my all-too-utilitarian Volkswagen and wait for my breathing to return to normal, I dictate the notes and ideas that have become part of the story.

I smile to myself, hope no one has noticed, and I wonder when I’ll get to run again.

It’s a sickness – I know.

Stay tuned – as always, if I think it’s interesting, I’ll write about it.

Thanks again for reading my stories and as always, you may purchase my novel, Homecoming: A Soldier’s Story of Loyalty, Courage, and Redemption at your local, independent bookstore or online: DavidArenstam.comBrysonTaylorPublishing.com, or Amazon.com

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David Arenstam

About David Arenstam

Originally from away, but here to stay - Maine is my home and I love writing stories about the people and places from my end of the state. I am a teacher and writer and my first novel, "Homecoming: A Soldier's Story of Loyalty, Courage, and Redemption" is available now at www.BrysonTaylorPublishing.com