When I’m not training for any particular races, I spend a lot of time on long, meandering walks with the dogs through the forest behind my house.
During one of these recent walks, words floated around in my head, finding their way into phrases, sentences, and even occasional paragraphs. Most of my writing happens on trail, with only a fraction of it actually finding its way from brain to fingers to keyboard.
A phrase kept arising that finally caused a serious conversation between Artistic Writer Me and Grammar Teacher Me.
“I ran slow.”
A fair statement, no? I mean, much of the time I am slow! But you see where Grammar Teacher Me has a problem with this, right?
Run is an action verb. You don’t run slow. You run slowly.
But I can’t gripe about my pace in a race by whining, “Man, I was running so damn slowly!”
Artistic Writer Me asserts: It wasn’t my legs that were slow; it wasn’t the action of running. It was just me!
I was slow!
And this is just fine, Grammar Teacher Me says, because “to be” is a linking verb. It expresses a state of being. It names the subject. Me=slow. Therefore, adjectives, not adverbs, are the menu item of choice.
I can be slow, but can I run slow?
It was then that I recognized this one truth: Running is a state of being. “To run” does not have to be an action verb.
I can run slow or fast. I can run happy, sad, heavy, or light. Sometimes, I just run. It's me being who I am.
And I felt quit triumphant at finding a conclusion that satisfied both Me’s.