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I’ve realized, looking at my running log, that I only ran two days last week and only one day so far this week (and it’s Thursday). What’s up with that? It’s hard running without my running partner, who has an injury; she definitely motivated me.  I’m feeling lazy and I think I’ve gained a few pounds. I’ve definitely been eating too many sweets lately. Making a lot of exceptions (the cupcake as reward system).

I’m feeling a little down about my novel. It’s a complicated feeling: disappointed, angry, frustrated, annoyed, discouraged. It’s not about another rejection, it’s about realizing that I’m not finished. I thought I was finished a year ago. I went through an edit and thought—that’s it—I’m done! And now, after a friend read it, and told me that a couple of chapters were slow (“boring,” was her actual word), I know it needs more work. I’ve known all along that it needed that work. I just didn’t want to do it (the ignore it and it will go away school of thought). Plus, now I’m realizing that there are a few other issues in the novel that I need to deal with; issues of continuity. I wanted so to be done. This has been such a long process. Years and years (three at least). I did so much work last year, I really thought I was there, and now I see, if I’m honest with myself, that it needs revision in a few chapters and then there’s this really important thread throughout that just kind of disappears near the end without any resolution. I need to deal with that. Last week, I finally became willing to do more work on the novel and I’ve actually enjoyed it, most of it, getting back into the characters and the story; however, this week, I’m losing faith. Will this ever end? This process is so long and tedious it really has me wondering if I want to write another one.

It makes me think of my last race—the four miles—and how I thought the finish line was closer than it actually was. They moved it. The finish line wasn’t at the point where we started, but around the corner—an extra block to run—and then I thought it was where the guys in yellow jackets were standing but NO, they waved me on, “keep going, you’re almost there.” Sure, I thought, I’ve heard that one before.

When I logged in my run this morning, I noticed this quote at the bottom of the page: “Not all runners can go faster, but everyone can run longer. It’s pacing, patience, and persistence, more than talent, that allows you to cover longer distances.” —Joe Henderson, a Runner’s World columnist

Writing is about choices.

 I’m in this novel-writing thing for the long haul. Pacing, patience, and persistence are what it takes. I think I have talent, some anyway, but perhaps not at the level of some more prolific writers. I need to take it easy on myself. I’m not in a race to finish my novel. I want it to be good; I don’t want to publish something mediocre, just because I want to be done with it. This is hard now: the final push when I had already used what I thought was the last of my reserves. Now, I need to summon resources from the depths of my being, vigor I feel I no longer have. Persistence. Doggedness. I’m not fast, mind you, but I can persevere. I ran the last “race” in 12 minute miles—no, not fast—plodding and determined, am I.

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I’m choosing writing over dust bunnies, over putting on make-up, if it comes down to it. I’ve set my egg timer for twenty-one minutes and I’m going to write, then I’ll get ready for work. I’m sitting here at the computer in a damp sports bra and running shoes. I did take my cap and sunglasses off, but I just came in the door after stretching and cooling down. I wish I could tape-record my thoughts while running. There’s so much I think about and it all seems terribly deep and ponderous; I’m sure everyone would be awed at the wisdom and inspiration that springs to mind as I’m running. Maybe it has something to do with endorphins.

My morning routine these days: I get to the computer as fast as I can; after cooling down a bit; changing into something dry (usually); grabbing breakfast and a cup of coffee. Today, I’m eating steel cut oatmeal (already made but heated up in the microwave) with raisins and walnuts and some almond milk that I’m trying out (good stuff, low in calories, non-dairy). I want to write about everything—nutrition, because running has been changing the way I eat (except for those cookies I still find ways to slip in), and the path—the actual terrain I run on—(that one sounds deeply metaphorical, may have to go with it), and the people who block my path as I run.

People who block my path: Today it was a woman walking her dog on the trail in Hyder Park. It amazes me how people won’t get out of the way, won’t move (some of them). Of course, who am I to think they should move out of the trail and let me stay on it? I suppose I feel more significant somehow because, after all, I’m running. I am the one really exercising here—the one with purpose—look at me puffing away, you can see I’ve been running for a while and I’m very serious about the business of running, so get out of my way. After all, you are only walking your dog. Your dog does not need a trail.

Wow! Didn’t know that was in there.

It’s funny, some of the things people do. Some do move aside, other runners mostly. Runners seem to be aware of each other, glance when we pass one another; a look that suggests, “I’ll move over” and a nod to says, “thanks.” Runners are such nice people. Then there are the people with headphones, (runners and walkers) who don’t even know you are there and you just have to dart around. That’s a different breed entirely.

 People who get in my way, hmm; I thought I would write about one thing, but another is coming up. Maybe they aren’t in my way, maybe they just are. Maybe my path is supposed to go around them, into the grass, off the dirt trail, that is my path, the one that goes around. That’s a very Buddhist sounding idea; it makes me think of water. Water flowing around the rock, instead of complaining that the rock is in the way. I suppose I want the easiest path, nothing blocking me, no rocks to go around. I definitely have to think about this some more. Think of myself as water, or the journey as one that’s fluid and meanders here and there around obstacles. I think “obstacle” isn’t really the right word, either. Is a rock an obstacle to water when water can easily move around it? Aren’t there meditations on this, water flowing around rock for years, shaping it over time?

 My egg timer just went off: I have to shower and go meet eighteen different obstacles to my serenity today. Not a good attitude; I know. Maybe I need to see them as something that changes me while I change them, the exchange of energy, flowing around them, breaking off bits of old ideas and shaping their little minds (still not there yet).  Today, I will be water and obstacles in my way are rocks in a riverbed; I will flow around them like water. I am water. (Or am I the rock? I’m getting confused.) They can’t ruin my day by being there, they just are.

I flow.

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