I’m one of life’s giver-uppers, a-path-of-least-resistance person. It’s always easier to walk up the hill, instead of run it, make a cup of coffee instead of write something. When I was being built, along with patience they forgot to fit the perseverance function.
So, why, I wonder, am I drawn to longish-distance-running and novel writing? Two things that need more patience than Mother Teressa possessed and the perseverance of a Suffragette.
I have once written that very last full-stop at the end of 80,000 odd (very odd, some would say) words, pressed saved, then print and parcelled it all off to a lovely publisher who very kindly said “Thank you. Yes please.” I won’t mention that it took five years to put that final full-stop in place.
I have a problem with the Give-Up-Gremlins who constantly whisper that none of my 80,000 words make much sense, that it is probably best to quit whilst I’m ahead, go make a cup of coffee and help myself to a biscuit. The Give-Up-Gremlins hitch a ride whilst I’m running too. Around five miles, they get bored and make mischief, reminding me how hard it is to breathe, how much my feet hurt, that my legs are falling off and that I’m probably about to have a heart attack if my head doesn’t explode first.
After a particularly large birthday last year I started picking up a few gauntlets friends had thrown down. The first and most sensible, to crack on with a second novel that I almost had an idea for. The second, was utter stupidity. We have this ‘thing’ where I live called The Long Course Weekend, it’s a three day warm up for those super human people who attempt Ironman (should be person, but I don’t want to start a row now). The organisers, eager to make as much money as possible, offer the event at the full, half and quarter distance, very thoughtful. “How hard can it be,” I think I said around January, whilst most of the way down a bottle of Prosecco, “To do the half Long Course?”. The Half Long Course being a 1.2 mile sea swim, (a wetsuit based, face in the sea type swim) a 66mile bike ride (proper Lycra biking, no baskets full of baguettes on your handle bars) and a cheeky half marathon to round the whole weekend off.
The answer to my question is VERY HARD! The Give-Up Gremlins are having a field day. And don’t get me started on the Jelly fish, smarting under-carriage and chaffing in extraordinary places. All I want to do is sit down (if I could without wincing) and write, but I can’t keep my eyes open long enough to log on to my lap top. To do this ‘thing’, I need to do something sporty most days, over and over again. Two weeks to go, I want to give up…
On days off from Lycra and during these beautiful evening that we’re currently having, I’ve been writing. I’ve got quite a pile of printed words, but I know the start just doesn’t sound right, needs tuning. “How hard can it be,” I keep asking myself, “To rewrite 2,500 words?” Very is the answer. For three weeks I’ve started and finished, but finally I have it! Finally, I’ve cracked it just before it cracked me. I’ve started now and I’m not giving up.
Sometimes 'training' looks a bit like this. Post Caldey Island 10k relax.