Day 105: Week One In the Books

Well, the first of 16 weeks of training is over. Yesterday I dragged myself home after 10 miles, wondering how on earth I’m going to do 12 miles next weekend. Mostly trying to figure out when, since we have tickets to the PA Renaissance Faire for either Saturday or Sunday. We’ll go on the better weather day, though really, we went last year on a misty, light rainy day, and it wasn’t crowded and we had a lot of fun. Something to think about.

As far as the run goes, it took some creativity to complete 10 miles at the farm park. I got to mile 7.5 and had to backtrack through the hospital grounds, but I came in at 10.22 miles. Next week I think I’ll just hit the Schuylkill River Trail, go up 6 miles and then come back 6 miles. Easy peasy, plus I’ll pass the Betzwood Trail Head and refill my water bottle. Water, I’ve come to learn, is absolutely essential for long practice runs. My pint bottle needs to get bigger for the longer runs ahead.

But all in all it felt good. Yesterday after the 10, I kept moving and that helped keep me from stiffening up. This morning I felt fine, but I also let myself sleep a little and I went out to run at 10 a.m. Earlier runs are cooler temperature-wise but this was only 3 miles. “Just 3” felt like a cheat so I didn’t mind doing 3.55. I’ll definitely appreciate them after I’ve done an 18 miler.

Fifteen more weeks to go. It’s funny, I look at the rest days on the schedule and think, “You know, I could just go out and do a few miles.” But I only have 2 running bras. Two consecutive runs means I’m doing laundry again. And again. And again…

So this Saturday (or Sunday) will be the real challenge. Luckily I added a new song to my running playlist. Good pace, the title says it all, and Starz was free for the weekend while “Outlander” premiered so I finally got to see “American Hustle” so I consider the song motivation. 😀

Day 108: LaLaLa!

Different topic this time. (Though I will say I did my 3rd straight run today, another 4 miles, and I feel fantastic and I have no idea why. I feel like I should be exhausted but I’m not. Go figure.)

I belong to an amazing writing, critique, and support group called the LaLaLa’s. We got together because we didn’t final in the Golden Heart contest in 2010, and we all wanted to figure out what wasn’t working and start moving in the right direction. God bless Valerie Bowman for putting that first email out there. I can’t imagine where I’d be in this world without the LaLaLa’s. Granted, I think a certain someone was perturbed that I was focusing more time and energy into writing and less into him, but I will never ever regret joining this group of caring, talented, amazing women. I’ve met some and can’t wait to meet everyone!

Valerie happened to talk to Barbara Vey while at RWA National this year, and Barbara asked her to write up an article to post on her blog. It went up today, here. 🙂 That’s Jaye Garland in the first picture; she gave me my nickname, God. Long story. Buy me a drink and I’ll tell you some time. 🙂

But there was more to say so Ashlyn MacNamara and Abigail Sharpe added to the story: http://ashlynmacnamara.net/the-divine-secrets-of-the-lalala-sisterhood-two-more-stories/ I had to share just because it gave me such a laugh. It seems I’ve grown a reputation for butt-kicking. If it only worked on myself or teenagers…? 🙂 I hope everyone someday knows what it feels like to know they’ve made a difference in just one person’s life. Thank you, Ash! I might stop grinning some time next week. 😉

You know, I have to laugh. I went back to get links to everyone’s websites, and I’m pretty sure when we started in March 2010, none of us had websites. 🙂 I had this blog. Didn’t use it much. I’m getting there.

Thank you, ladies! You are my angels and my blessings and the wind beneath my wings!

Day 110: New Normal

My 16 week training plan started yesterday…with a rest day. Kind of anticlimactic if you ask me, but I rested just like they told me to. (Who am I to disobey orders?) 🙂 Today was my first official training run so I took a pic to commemorate. Let’s see if I look any different in 109 days:

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It was a good 4.17 miles, 55 minutes. It’s hot today but that’s par for the course: it’s August. 🙂 Tomorrow 4 more, and Thursday 4 more. Rest day Friday, 10 miles Saturday, 3 miles Sunday. I’m keeping a spreadsheet of my mileage too.

Today it begins. I think I’m ready to try this new adventure. Let’s see what happens next, shall we?

Oh, and if you’re so inclined, as you can see I’m running for the OAR, the Organization for Autism Research, a terrific charity that helps people and families with autism. My fundraising page is here. I’d love your support! 🙂 Thank you!!

Day 112: Or Is It One?

Today is the last day of normal life. Well, technically. My 16-week marathon training programs starts tomorrow, so today was my last “freestyle” run before a chart on the wall mandates, between now and November 22nd, how far I’ll be running and when.

The pre-race nerves fluctuate. One day I’m scared spitless. The next day I’m confident I can finish. Remembering how bad my nerves were the night before my first 5k—I think I got 3 hours of sleep, wondering if I had everything I needed—and knowing that now, I sleep like a stone the night before a race, I expect I’ll need to try to go to bed at 8 the day before if I hope to close my eyes by 10. Let’s not forget that I’ll probably have to be at the starting line by 5, as my friends had to do last year. The race starts at 7. I keep telling myself it’ll all be over by 1. God willing and the creek don’t rise, it’ll be over a while before that, but we’ll see.

So as of tonight, all fun ceases. Well, not ALL (Bradley Cooper, call me? 🙂 ) but no more wine. Watch everything I eat. No cheat days. I’m officially in training in a few hours, which is why there’s ice cream in the freezer and a glass of white zinfandel next to me. I’m told if you want to change your body, take up running. If you want to change your life, train for a marathon. We’ll see.

I ran Kelly Drive and MLK Drive this morning, 9.22 miles. I started feeling it at 8 miles, with my feet hurting and my hips aching. All I could think was, “Oh great. I have 3 times this distance to go and I’m tired now? Lovely.” I’d planned on 10 miles but stopped when I got back to the car. But I got some beautiful pictures:

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And as luck would have it, I got to the Art Museum and started up the steps, videoing all the way, when “Gonna Fly Now” from Rocky came on my iPod. For once, iPod, your timing was excellent. Could’ve been better because I was halfway up the steps at the time, but still, I appreciated it, and I ran around the fountain just to enjoy the moment a little longer. If you’ve never run the Steps or been to Philadelphia, but you wanted to run in Rocky’s footsteps, here you go. Sorry about the heavy breathing. Couldn’t be helped. 😉

Tomorrow it’s official: I’m training for a marathon. I’m scared, excited, anxious, and, well, just hand me the thesaurus. I’m sure I can find more adjectives. 🙂 Here goes everything!

 

 

Day 125: “Yo Adrian!”

I had a great run this morning. So great it should be in capitals, I think. Part of it was that I kept going, very few walk breaks. Part was that I was running with a friend, no music, just conversation. Part was that it was mostly flat; my kinda course. (Kelly Drive) And part of it was because it’s a beautiful day in Philadelphia. Nine miles of wondering what I did to deserve to be so blessed.

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I came home and made a fantastic brunch. I’d been craving homemade waffles for a while, and for a long moment I looked at the frying pan. I haven’t had eggs since Friday because I had to get up early for the Color Run yesterday and the Sunday Funday Runday run today. Though I do miss the eggs, I opted for the waffles and they were awesome, and I can eat them guilt-free  after burning 1200 calories on the Drive.

Now that I’m home and clean and relaxing, I went looking for something to watch on TV, and I tripped on a “Rocky” marathon. Of all the things! I was just at the Art Museum, and I just took my photo in front of the Rocky statue.

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Timing being what it is, I turned on the movie right at the start of the fight scene, and I cried all over again. I’ve seen this movie at least 100 times and I cry nearly every time. In my head I started making a list of the reasons why:

1. It’s a true Philadelphia movie, and I love this city. I was born and raised in NYC but I call Philadelphia my home. Somehow I knew I always belonged here.

2. The music at the end inspires me. If you haven’t had the Rocky Theme come on your iPod while you’re out running, you haven’t really lived.

3. When I was in middle school (or to NYers, intermediate school) I was in the band. It started in 4th grade and kept on through 8th grade. Because of that, I took typing 3 years in a row rather than any of the other electives, because it was the only class that fit the band practice schedule. Because of that, I can type 100 words a minute, which has led to paying jobs and a lot of finished manuscripts. But when we were in band, we played music from the Rocky soundtrack at concerts, and we were good. We were damn good. Hearing the music in the movie brings me back to being 14 with my whole life ahead, and the friends I had then.

4. The story of Stallone rewriting the entire script in 3 days. To a writer that’s Herculean. When you analyze the story and plot, it’s really well written. I don’t know if Stallone knew the Writer’s Journey formula but he did a great job, and like Rocky, he never gave up on the story he believed in.

5. The underdog story theme in it. He busts his ass through that last fight. No one believes he can do it. He’s on the mat and even his manager is telling him, “Stay down!” but he gets up anyway. It goes to a draw but essentially it’s a win. A win of the heart.

6. The romance of it. Aside from the part where Rocky and Adrian realize they were brought up different but the same, this is my favorite piece of dialog:

Paulie: [talking about Adrian] You like her?

Rocky: Sure, I like her.

Paulie: What’s the attraction?

Rocky: I dunno… she fills gaps.

Paulie: What’s ‘gaps’?

Rocky: I dunno, she’s got gaps, I got gaps, together we fill gaps.

That’s what I want in a relationship, and I won’t settle for less.

7. Oh, and did I mention my cat’s name is Mickey? 🙂

Today I ran the Museum steps just like Rocky; I even took two at a time on that top level. (I reminded my running buddy Jack that even Rocky couldn’t run the steps at the beginning of the movie.)

At the moment, “Rocky II” is on and Rocky just proposed. You know, I think in their hearts, every guy who asks a woman to marry him reacts like Rocky did; like he’s thinking, “She really wants to marry a big dumb jerk like me? Holy crap, how did I get so lucky?” 🙂

I was wondering earlier what I should use as the starting line song when I run the Philly Marathon. I was thinking “Let It Go” but maybe it’ll be Rocky’s Theme. As I’ve been telling people, training starts August 4th. Nerves start August 3rd. 🙂

Day 133: Deutschland Uber Alles

I’m just a little psyched, and also a little melancholy. Most of my genetic history comes from Germany, including my father who came here in the 1950’s with $2 in his pocket. Germany just won the World Cup, and aside from all the controversy about Brazil’s social priorities during the games, I’m really very happy.

See, my dad is in his 70’s. He’s seen Germany win the Cup before, but he’s in his 70’s now and there’s a possibility this is his last chance to see his birth country win the World Cup. (Oh, and did I mention he ‘s a big soccer fan? He doesn’t go to the games but he used to coach soccer, he put my brother through soccer, you name it. He lives and breathes soccer. I visited when Germany was playing one of the first round games and the world essentially came to a stop so we could watch the game. I didn’t mind; I watched right along with him. Well, until I conked out during intermission.)

That being said, more than anything else, I wanted Dad to see his team win just one more time. He could very well be kicking harder than ever in four years, but who knows for sure? He and Mom have already laid out their wills, named their executor, set out their last plans. I hate that they did that but it’s practical and I get it. I have to do it too. It is what it is. We’re humans, and we don’t live forever. I’ve had lots of friends lose a parent or both parents, and I don’t want to have to imagine how I’ll feel to be in their shoes. The day will come, but today is not that day, and I’m grateful for that.

So seeing Germany win today, and seeing on Facebook where my mom said in regard to that lone OT goal, “About time. Dad is going nuts here.” I wish I could see the grin on his face now, but I know he’s happy. Life will go on, and one day life will end, but today, Deutschland Uber Alles, and my Dad was here to see it, and I couldn’t be happier for both of them.

Great game, Argentina. You deserved this trip to the finals and you played a very tough game. I don’t know how Messi stood on unshaking knees with that last free kick; I was breathing shallow and I’m not even there.

World Cup 14

 

Day 139: My Bully, Myself

I have an odd reputation among my Facebook friends as something of a “grammar Nazi”. I don’t know where it comes from because I don’t correct other people’s posts gratuitously, but I occasionally get things posted on my timeline, teasing me about picking on other people’s grammar and spelling. In reality, grammar isn’t my strong suit and I know that. I wish it were. In high school I *seriously* wanted the award in senior year for best in English. No idea where I placed in the standing, but I didn’t get it. (I know who it was and I still haven’t forgiven her.) I couldn’t point out a gerund with a gun to my head, and every so often I’ll write something that looks so wrong, but I can’t figure out why, that I’ll just re-write it to say something I know isn’t wrong. It’s been mentioned to me that I sprinkle commas across the page like they came out of a pepper shaker. My AP English teacher accused me of having a love affair with a semicolon. But yes, I do like the crispness of a well-written sentence, and I can spot the bad ones pretty quickly. (Just ask my mom. She let me read a complaint letter she sent to a certain manufacturer and I spotted an error on the first line. She was mortified.)

Not long after my first trip to a yarn festival, I became a yarn snob. Until that point I didn’t really know what the good stuff was (baby alpaca, I’m looking at YOU). I thought good yarn was whatever I could grab on sale in the mill ends bags at AC Moore. My stash was so loaded with acrylic, it stood a good chance of surviving the next apocalypse. Then I found out about merino and superwash wool and alpaca and cashmere and yak down and qivuit. I stroked and fondled and cuddled some excellent yarns. I held something that made me tell everyone around me, “I want to make this into underwear and then never leave the house.” Somewhere around here I have a pic of a good friend all but having a mini-climax over some Dream in Color Smooshy, and I get that. From then on, my love of acrylic was limited to putting the right colors together for afghans and slippers, and then washing them with dryer sheets to make them softer. I use (one particular mass-marketed brand) for scrap afghans just to get it off my shelves. The stuff could still withstand nuclear war, but next to my skin, I want The Good Stuff.

Which brings me to last night, when I posted on Facebook what I thought was a useful chart showing what natural remedies could be used to combat cravings for unhealthy foods. I really liked it because my therapist once pointed out that you can erase a chocolate craving by eating macadamias. The reasoning is that a craving is the body’s way of telling you you’re missing something in your diet, and it’s recalling where it got that element last. The crave-able element in chocolate, for instance, can also be found in macadamia nuts, at fewer calories and with more nutritional value.

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However, after I posted the chart, a writer friend of mine good-heartedly informed me that you can’t replace chocolate with nuts, and that chocolate “feeds the soul.”

I blew a gasket. I’m getting health advice from someone who wears much bigger pants sizes? The last time I saw her, she was sporting a couple of extra chins. Honestly, I saw her across the room and, since she hadn’t shown up to a group get-together in a while, all I could think was, “Holy cow, how much weight did she gain?” Yes, I’m being judgmental and I hate myself for that. I learned months ago that it’s wrong to judge someone on their size alone. That large lady at the gym later complimented me on my workout, and we’ve since talked a few times and she’s one of the nicest, hardest-working people I’ve ever met. I should know not to be a weight snob, to live and let live, right? Well, live and let live right up until someone who wears size 24 pants is telling me after I ran 10 miles that she believes chocolate is a better choice than macadamia nuts? No. Just no. Or, in this case, just say no. I worked my tail off to lose 40 pounds, and now I’m signed up to run a marathon and committed to the training to finish that race. I’m going run a few hundred miles just prepping for that last 26.2. I’m sure as shit not going to jeopardize it by “feeding my soul” with chocolate. The issue at hand is, solving the problem of unhealthy cravings with healthy choices. Leave my soul out of it; I’m feeding my body what it needs. Up yours, comfort food. If I wanted to be comfortable, I’d keep my butt firmly affixed to the couch until the EMTs need to widen my doorway to get me out. (At this point I think, “When did I become a weight bully?”)

What I found funny was when I pointed out my current success to her and I had the numbers to back it up (BP, cholesterol, etc.), she responded with, “Then I’m happy it worked for you.” My reply: “It will work for anyone if they want it bad enough.” Her reply: silence.

The real world, and real success, is just outside your comfort zone. She extolled the benefits of comfort foods, but she can’t walk to the bathroom without getting winded. I ran ten miles and then spent an hour getting groceries. (And not a single piece of junk food hit my cart!) My legs are stiff today but I love how they feel. I have muscles where I had fat. Where once were Thunder Thighs is a hell of a lot of strength and competence. Chocolate can’t make you feel that good.

Sweetie, you know who you are: I hope you figure it out before it’s too late.

So yes, in addition to being a yarn snob and a grammar Nazi, let’s add weight bully to my growing list of judgmental side jobs. My theory is that if I can’t be a good example, let me be a horrible warning. J But I think I’m doing pretty good at being a good example. If I live to be 95 and I’m still running, and I’m cancer-free and not taking a bucket full of meds every day, I won. Too bad the folks who didn’t listen to me won’t be around to see it.

When I had some down time yesterday, I caught the movie “Without Limits”, a bio-pic about Steve Prefontaine. I’d already read the biography, but it re-inspired me to go find the poster with his quote: To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift. Well, life is a gift. Don’t waste it on chocolate. Once in a while is fine, but don’t use it as a crutch. You know who I’m talking to.

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Day 144: Tapering

No, I’m not tapering back in my training yet. I haven’t even started, so I’m a long way from tapering. Scared spitless of it, too. By the time I start to taper my training, I’ll be 2 weeks from The Big Day, but to earn that medal, I have to train. A marathon is just the party celebrating the end of all my training. I’m going to run a lot more miles in training than I will on November 23rd.

June was a crazy month in my house. We ramped up to the end-of-quarter at work, to the point where I was at the computer for most of my waking hours. Not solely for work, either, since I had to revise and send back my Sheila contest finalist entry, which I needed to send back before the June 30th deadline because we were going to Ocean City for the weekend, and on the 30th I’d be nose-to-grindstone for work. I also needed to figure out the changes to the ending/Big Black Moment, because the original one just wasn’t making my heart bleed enough.

So now it’s July and I have to taper my life back to normal speed, and I’m not sure I remember how. Yesterday I was restless, trying to find something I could grab onto and work on fast and hard, the way I’ve been doing for the last two weeks in June. There was stuff to make up for, like the things I didn’t get done in time, or the things I made mistakes on that needed correction, but come the afternoon when I needed a few minutes to lie down and relax, I couldn’t get my mind to stop whirling. It takes effort to remind myself to just pay attention to my breathing, but it can be done, and it’s a little easier than it had been.

The afternoon was pretty busy, too, but I got things done. Unfortunately I got them done to the point that I still hadn’t taken the time to catch up on home stuff like food. I posted on Facebook, “We’re so out of groceries that I have two choices for snacking: an avocado and water.” I ate the avocado but it wasn’t satisfying. Since we got back from OC, I’ve been madly jonesing for fruit but I didn’t want it going bad while we were gone so I didn’t restock. Now that it’s payday and I have time again, I was keeping myself so busy that again, I wasn’t going and doing the other things that needed doing. The real world stuff like dinner.

Alex dragged me out to Impact because it was his treat for getting all A’s on his 4th quarter report card, and when that was done we went to get a few groceries. It was satisfying to see food in the fridge again but it wasn’t all we needed. I know I can get better food prices at Aldi or Bottom Dollar, but I didn’t plan on going to 3 stores for groceries, so I grabbed what I could at Mega-Lo-Mart (I hate Wally World for so many reasons, but sometimes I just don’t have a choice; no other stores carry bird seed in 40 pound bags–I have a lot of hungry birds to feed–and Mickey’s favorite cat food) and left the rest for today. We grabbed Panera bagels on the way home and that was dinner.

By 6 I was feeling guilty that it appeared I wasn’t making time to work out again. I hadn’t exercised since Saturday morning, when I went for a run before our trip to OC. My plan had been to up my run frequency to 3 or 4 a week for July, since starting next month I’ll be running 5 days a week. I need to get used to the boost in volume. I felt like a slug until 7 when I decided I’d had it; I needed to drop whatever was in front of me, lace up and go. I was going to go to the gym and do 3 miles on the dreadmill, just because it was ridiculously hot/humid, but I remembered I also didn’t have time to refill the gas tank since NJ, so Farm Park, here I come.

Maybe another part of the problem with being crazy busy for so long was how tired I was. More than once I started feeling like hey, it’d be nice to have someone give me a hand once in a while, but I’m a single mom. This is what I got. It wasn’t my choice, but it’s my situation now, so I have to pull up my big girl panties and get on with it, right? As the song in Evita goes, “But all the same, I hate it.” I can do what I need to do but it gets lonely. Even if I still have all this work to do, it’d be nice to have someone to come back to, someone to tell me “It’s all right” or “Hey, nice job.” But In the last nearly 3 years, I’ve had to learn to do that for myself. Maybe even longer than that, considering that may have been part of the beginning of the end, when I stopped needing John’s reassurance that I was someone; I learned to be that for myself. (The end of codependency.)

I was about on mile 3 or 4 when it suddenly hit me, I like being alone. I do value that time of solitude, and I haven’t had it in a while. I’m at work where people can look over my shoulder the entire time; or I’m home, where the boys are ever-present (not to mention Mickey); or I’m at the gym with at least a dozen other people; or I’m driving somewhere on a public road. For a little while last night at the park, I was alone and it was beautiful. I smiled. It felt great. I had music playing, my form was good, my feet didn’t hurt, my knee wasn’t tweaking (the way it did when I tried to fast-walk; suck it, 90 degrees in the shade). I felt healthy and happy, and I was still alone. At the end of my run, the only thing waiting for me was more email; no smiling face, no happy eyes, no gentle hands.

Okay, so THAT’s depressing me again, but you know what I mean. 🙂 In the grand scheme, it was okay. Sure, I hate having to be the only one to get things done. I hate having to make a conscious effort to relax. I hate the pressure and the loneliness, but I like the solitude. Sometimes I do like the solitude. Isn’t it interesting how English has three words—alone, solitude, and lonely—and they mean the same and yet entirely different things?

We have a three day weekend ahead, and after the last couple of weeks, it feels like a vacation. I may be running the July 4th 5k in the rain but after doing a half in the rain, I don’t care. It might even give me a chance to rain-wash my Timex hat, and at last get the mud from my Love Run sneaks. I can do whatever I have to do, because no one’s going to do it for me.

As for those edits…uh, yeah; the same still applies. 🙂

Something else on my mind was positive affirmations. I’ve been working on thinking positive and seeing great things ahead in my future. (Bradley Cooper, I’m still looking at you, babe.) The odd thing was that some of the things I see ahead are so fantastic, so amazing, so wonderful, so joyful, that for a moment I was afraid. I mean, seriously, do I deserve all that? It’d be great to get it all but it’s scary too, because at some point I see myself thinking, “This can’t be real. This has to be a fantasy or a dream, and at some point I’ll wake up and go back to the real Orwellian world I live in.” Again, it takes effort to stop and say, “Hell yes I deserve to live in all that wonderful, not just because of the crap I’ve been through already—because in the grand scheme, bad as anything was, I know I’m really and truly blessed—but because I am who I am and I do deserve to have a wonderful life in which every one of my wonderful dreams comes true.”

So yeah, bring it. I got this.

Day 149: The Hard Things

For the last three nights, I’ve pushed myself to go to the gym. I didn’t want to. It’s not easy. My youngest is in summer camp, which means I pick him up at 3 to go home. Normally he gets home on the bus at 2:45, and home life starts from there. I sign in to work, work on whatever comes in, throw in some laundry or consider what to make for dinner, and if time allows, I run to the gym at 4-ish. With this change in the schedule, everything’s pushed back and time is at a premium, so I’ve been going to the gym at something closer to 6 or even 7, which gets me home closer to 8. Mostly I’ve been putting the boys’ dinner together ahead of time. Because I’m a veggie, I eat a different meal anyway, and since it’s hot, salad has worked out just fine.

But add that I need to get the revised partial back to The Sheila contest, too. I do as much as I can during lunch but the time I need to focus on the changes I want to make to the story? Mostly I do my thinking in the car between work, camp, and home. I haven’t turned on the TV in two days. I just didn’t care enough about anything to let myself be distracted.

Yesterday between dinner and 7, I decided I needed to go for a run. Not just needed, but needed. As in, my training runs are going to be 5 days a week and so far I’m only doing 2. I need to get up to 3 for the next couple of weeks, and then boost it to 4 before scheduled training runs start the first week in August. But before dinner we had a massive downpour: pitch black skies, sheets of rain, you name it. I may have seen a terrier in a basket fly by. The rain subsided between dinner and my food coma nap, and I thought, “But it’s so icky and steamy out. I should go to the gym…but I don’t feel like driving that far. Maybe I’ll sk–”

Cue the inner critic reminding me what a slouch I am, and how I’m going to make a total botch out of this marathon. I got up then and there, got my socks, changed clothes, pulled my hair up in a ponytail, and without another thought I went out to run at the park. Yes, the first mile was like running in a moving dryer full of damp clothes. More than once I thought, “You don’t need to do 5 miles. Four, or even 3 would be fine.” No, dammit, I’m doing five.

The last mile was the best. I hit my stride, I felt good, and I passed 6 teenage boys out for a walk by the stream. Honestly, they made me nervous. I’m probably not faster and they had numbers. There’ve been a lot of attacks in the area lately and I didn’t want to be a statistic, so I hit the gas…and it felt great. Jackson Browne’s “Running on Empty” came on my iPod and I found my back kick and off I went, all the way to the stop sign a block ahead. 🙂

But the main thing was, I was out there, sweating my tail off, wearing my OAR singlet, running in the heat. I did it. I didn’t want to. I knew it would be uncomfortable, but it was good and it was worth it.

In mile 4 I had an idea for the ending on the manuscript I’m working on that pulled together what I’ve been trying to do for a while: bring the heroine to her knees. No, not like that, but I knew she had to lose everything before she could truly save herself. I had to make her situation so dire that she would willingly go back to who she was, even though she hated that person. When the thought hit me, I pulled out my cell phone and tried to dictate it into speech-to-text. I didn’t have my glasses on, and when I got home, the result was so far from what I’d intended that it barely made sense, but I managed to piece it together into notes and then finish the rewrite of the synopsis. From there I can make the changes to the manuscript, though I will say it’s embarrassing how weak the original ending is. I only hope I’ve learned from this, and next time it won’t be so difficult to make the heroine miserable.

As I was taking off at the end of mile 4, passing 6 teenage boys who probably thought I was the oldest, fattest lady they’d ever seen attempting to run, it hit me: in writing as in running, I have to do the hard things in order to be better. I have to do exactly what I’m afraid of to get the best result possible. There’s a reason, something in my psyche (and probably everyone’s, to some degree, except that guy who sky-dove off a satellite) that says, “You can’t do this. It’s too scary. It’s too hard. Go crochet something instead,” or whatever your emotional junk food of choice is. But for the past few days, and yesterday in particular, I’ve made myself do the hard things, and I’ve gotten damn good results.

I’m tempted to not watch TV again tonight, but we’ll see. Last night I finished the synopsis revisions at 10:30 and said, “Oh yeah, break time,” and I read some more in “Game of Thrones.” I’m already hooked into it and I’m not 50 pages in. I can even forgive the backstory info-dumps because it’s so well written into the narrative. It was a real treat to take thirty minutes off and sit and read someone else’s work. Maybe there’ll be more time for that tonight, or maybe I’ll keep pushing through the hard things, because I want someone some day to pull out one of my books as a treat earned for a day well spent.

Day 151: Surprise!

Here’s an example of irony for you. I planned on going to my parents’ on Saturday. I made a list of things to pack but when the time came, I realized I didn’t have a jack to charge my cell phone. I’m not glued to my cell phone but I do like to keep on top of email, maybe check Facebook once in a while  (coughmybiggesttimesuckcough), and of course in case I needed the GPS, which alone is worth its weight in platinum. As I was powering down my laptop I decided, “Oh what the heck. I wasn’t going to bring it but I may just need it,” and the laptop is the only thing I had available to charge the cell phone. Off we go.

We made fantastic time getting there so I took a few moments to turn on the laptop so Alex had something to enjoy. He’s not one for sitting around, chatting with the grandparents; that’s my job. Somewhere in the middle of the afternoon I decided to see how he was doing, and in the process make sure he was using Chrome, not IE. IE is to the internet what dial-up used to be. I can’t believe I used that monster for DECADES, people. But in checking, I figured what the heck; I’ll look at my email and make sure nothing has blown up while I’m gone. I see this:

Congratulations Finalist, The Sheila Contest, 2014

What the what? I knew I’d entered, and I even judged (it’s my chapter so it’s kind of mandatory), but finaled? Me? SWEET! 🙂

The final round judge is an editor for Grand Central, so this week I’m knee-deep in making sure this turd of a synopsis shines like a conflict-rich diamond. The partial has to go back to the coordinator by Monday but we have a seriously busy weekend ahead—when do we not?—and I won’t have time, so it has to be done by Friday.

I just thought it was funny that I had no plans to check email all weekend, and as it turns out, it was a darned good thing I did. The first person I told about my final was my mom, so that was also pretty neat. Then there was seeing all the “like”s on Facebook when I posted the news. My scores were great (note to self: write thank-you’s to the judges) but the judge who gave me the lowest score pointed out a few things I missed so I’ll be leaning on her feedback the most as I get the partial and synopsis out the door.

Final placement news should come out August 18th. I’ll have officially started marathon training by then. Won’t this be interesting. 🙂