Wednesday, June 08, 2011

When You Can't Get Out of Bed

Most runners rise at dawn and run before the day has a chance to sabotage their effort. Some days they jump out enthused about pounding pavement. Other days they hope for rain and any excuse to skip. The diligent get up, don their sweats and shoes, and start the routine. All will tell you that they are glad they made themselves do it.

Since returning to jogging (haven't had the nerve to call it running yet), I've realized that the dedication is one and same for writing. You plan a time to do it, and you keep the appointment. If you don't, it's all on you, baby, and nobody else.

At the suggestion of my runner son (the tall one with the long hair in this picture), I read a running blog entitled Running With Karen. This lady started at age 36 running two blocks, and increasing her run by a mere 20 feet each time until she ran the NYC Marathon. Yep, that's 26 miles, people.  And she did it two years from the time she could only huff and puff two blocks, almost throwing up at the end.

While I'm a few years older, I used to run - nothing fast, but I finished what I started. I've done 5Ks and 10Ks. When I was younger. Here I am now, with sons ages 28 and 26, trying to return to the sport. Yes, it's hard. Yes, I make excuses. Yes, once I finish that last lap, I'm happy I did it. And the final yes, the next day gets easier (usually)...well, at least every OTHER day.

From Karen's website:
Running with Karen is my way of sharing the ups and downs in my journey towards many more marathons and other road races. It is intended to help others see that anything is possible if you decide to do it and keep moving towards your dream, even when everyone else tells you that you’re crazy! (And they will.)

Hello! Can we insert writing here in the place of running?

Last week, however, Karen replaced her post with that of another runner...Alison. Alison blogs on Tales of a Former Fat Girl. But on Alison's guest post, she spoke about her days of hating to get up and exercise. You'd think someone who's lost 70 pounds would have a schedule down pat now, but she spoke of hating to go into Weight Watchers because she hadn't quite maintained her loss for two years, thus losing the right to brag. Still almost a whole person smaller, and she fretted about not meeting a goal.

She looked at what she hadn't accomplished instead of what she had.

Grumbling all day, she even endured an off-kilter run that wasn't satisfying. Later at the pool, she swam, still not happy with herself. (This is a woman who runs triathlons.) Then she saw an overweight woman looking upset at the water's edge. In their conversation, the woman asked Alison how far she swam. "A mile." The distraught woman seemed ready to give up. So Alison advised the woman to start with five minutes one day, six minutes the next, and so on. The woman brightened with a doable goal.

The whole day Alison chastised herself for her shortcomings, but managed to build the esteem of several people at the gym and later at Weight Watchers. It took someone telling her that she was such a motivating force for her to see her own ability.

Three lessons for writers here:

1. One word at a time . . . everyday . . . whether you feel like it or not. You don't improve without regular exercise.

2. Allow yourself to feel good about the road you've covered. Don't forget your successes, regardless of the setbacks.

3. Aiding others helps you see how far you've come. It's not an ego thing. It's a reality check. Suddenly you realize you've learned quite a bit along this hilly journey.

But to get from point A to point B, to lose the weight and to build the muscle, you have to set the schedule . . . and keep it.

Gosh, now I want to run a half marathon AND make the NY Times Bestseller list.

(NOTE: That's my future daughter-in-law, baby son, oldest son and me...the one with a little more (cough) meat on her bones - at the end of our 5K run last week.)


D. Bianchi said...

Loving the analogy here considering I am working on both of these right now. Did just run my first 5K last weekend and did have a few things published in my local newspaper, and will keep on chugging. It is the only way I am going to get to that longer run and that national magazine :). Great picture!

Sioux Roslawski said...

And just like marathon runners hit a "wall," writers battle writer's block.

As usual, Hope, this was a great post.

carol j. alexander said...

Not a runner, Hope, but love the analogy. I could equate it with gardening (which I do do) and add "pull the weeds."

Karen Lange said...

I needed this pep talk today. Love the analogy too. I enjoy encouraging others but am very hard on myself, and just this week have tried to focus on the little things that I've written or checked off my to-do list. Talk about getting inside my head...:) Thanks, Hope.

Hope Clark said...

I love getting in people's heads. Glad I could be of service. Funny, preparing for that run with the boys was so rejuvenating that I'm running daily now. Lost 8 pounds in three weeks. Yay! Granted it's not very fast.

Sarah Tokeley said...

Interesting how we motivate others and encourage them whilst beating ourselves up about the same achievements. It's hard to turn it around, but so good for us when we manage it.

Cynthia Briggs said...

Great analogy, Hope. I always go away feeling inspired after reading your posts.

Nice family picture, and the future daughter-in-law is adorable. You all look so...well...ready to run.