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Today is the one-year anniversary of my starting to run. It’s hard for me to believe I’ve stuck with it for an entire year—not my usual M.O. I think this blog helped (even though I abandoned it for a while), keeping a log helped, but it also helped to have a running partners and friends who like to do the different races in town. Thank you all for your support. I’m going to celebrate today with my favorite long run by the river and then I’m going to register for a 5K coming up on May 1st. Run for the Zoo: that was my first 5K, a year ago, and I walked more than half of it. I’d started out on a walk/run plan of running a minute, walking a minute and I did that through the 5K (I think I was up to 3-minutes stints by then).

I’m not sure how I feel about this anniversary. A bit emotional, actually. Very proud, but a little embarrassed or disappointed that I haven’t become a marathon runner yet. I suppose I thought I would be farther along now than I am. I had a few down months, slogging along, running maybe two or three times a week—a couple of times only once—terrible weeks. February was awful with below freezing weather. I did run some—never missed an entire week, in pretty cold temps mind you, but it did slow me down.  A terrible cold, the death of my cat (I actually ran more that week—running is good for grief I found), moving, chaos at work…lots of reasons not to run. And then, to my dismay, I gained weight; six or seven pounds, seemingly overnight. So now, I’m back to watching my weight and pushing myself to run more. It has not been easy. My legs have been weak, flabby in the thighs, muscles have gotten mushy; running has taken a lot more effort this past few weeks than I remember it being in the beginning. But for two weeks I’ve pushed myself to run longer and more often and it’s finally feeling like fun. I’m stronger; seeing some muscle tone in my thighs. I’ve dropped the weight and I can really tell the difference in the way my body moves, in the energy I have.

It’s amazing how quickly one can lose momentum, frightening really. A cupcake here and there; skip this run or that yoga class. It’s like I started thinking I was immune to calories. I was eating more but maintaining because, I told myself, I’m running now. Denial is not a river….The fact that I lost the weight by cutting out the junk and exercising wasn’t registering at all. I’m not cured of calories; good lesson there and it applies in other areas of my life as well.

My goals for year number two: keep watching what I eat and improve my stamina and consistency. Sure, I want to do a few 5Ks but I’m not concerned with racing. What I really want is to lengthen my runs (4o minutes instead of 25-30) and instead of running three times a week (sometimes 4), get up to running five times a week. I also want to do more trail running. That’s what I really love; running on dirt, under trees, and away from cars and buildings is inspiring and makes me love to run. 

Here I go, into my second year running…

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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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