I am now five weeks through Hal Higdon’s Novice Half-Marathon Training Program, and seven weeks away from the Philadelphia Half Marathon. I am one day further than this photo indicates because this morning I ran 7.4 miles (my long runs are a little longer than the novice program suggests because I didn’t start the training from scratch). I hit a bit of a wall in my running this week, and I had channel the most recent episode of The Biggest Loser to push myself the last mile. (Mental Bob Harper: Are you going to quit now? Are you going to quit now? Me: Nooooooo.)
Last week, when I was a bit under the weather, I took one day off my schedule, then another. I still managed my long run on the weekend (6.25). But this week my motivation had just gone off track, eroded, and every day the idea of putting on my running clothes and heading out the door was borderline insurmountable. I skipped yet another day (bad!) and then rallied Friday to do a few miles. This morning I successfully broke seven, but still felt quite daunted because of the basic fact that seven miles is still just over half of the whole distance I’m aiming for next month. I’m following the plan, Hal, but 13.1 miles still seems so ridiculously far!
To distract myself while running, I thought about my novel. I thought maybe I could multitask and solve some of my plot problems while chugging along at 6 miles an hour (I am not fast). Then I realized that this week, how I feel about running has been not entirely different from how I feel about writing. When I open Microsoft Word in the morning, I see this:
and for a moment it’s really inspiring (especially if I play inspiring music while I open it and watch the numbers increase). Then I think about how I still feel like there is so far to go; there are still areas of the story where I ask myself: “Well what the heck happens there?” “How do they get from ___ to ___?” And there are times when I think I’ve bitten off more than I can chew; the story’s complex; I’ve never written a novel before; it’s hard to see how it will all unwind and then who will read it anyway?
But then I picture writers running a writers-only marathon: everyone I know who writes jogging along down the street together, trying to solve their plot problems.
This, I like. And so I keep plodding.