[DAY LATER EDIT NOTES – I meant for the title of this post to read “It was a dark and stormy night.” After writing, and revising, and editing and revising a bit more, I shared the post on Facebook last night. I didn’t realize the typo in the title until this morning when I saw it in my social feed…I’m keeping it, because it kinda works.]
I ran in the rain tonight. At least, I started running in the rain. A half mile into my run, the rain turned mostly into a mist, but it was still wet and cold and the wind was blowing, and by the end of my 4.2 miles, it was dark.
It was a hard run. At the half-way mark, I was miserable. My inner dialogue was a nonstop calculation of how far I had to go. “This cul-de-sac, and then the big hill, and then the back of the neighborhood.”
I only had two miles to go, but in my head it felt like I was never going to finish. A gust of wind smacked me across the cheek and my iPod started playing the opening chords to a slow Coldplay song – which was both perfect and dispiriting. I stopped running and started walking.
“I’ll still go farther than my 20-mile goal for the week,” I thought, walking against the wind. My legs felt stiff and my butt ached. The run had literally turned into a pain in my ass. The cul-de-sac loop where I started walking is exactly a half-mile stretch – as I was coming out of it, I realized I was getting colder than when I had started and it was getting darker.
Running was the only way to warm myself up as best I could and finish my 4.2 miles as soon as possible. I changed the song on my iPod to Dr. Dre and picked up my pace to a slow jog.
Tonight’s run took it out of me. The first thing I did when I got home was eat a navel orange. And then three squares of a dark chocolate bar with almonds and dried cherries. And then the last slice of prosciutto in the meat crisper. I sat down and tried to find something to watch, but immediately went back into the kitchen for more. I found a Ben and Jerry’s pint of coffee ice cream with caramel and toffee bits in it. There were only a few chili-spoon sized bites left – and most of the toffee candy was gone – so I finished it.
After scavenging my cupboards for anything I could eat without having to cook, I took a hot bath and read two essays from a book I bought earlier today at Carmichael’s Bookstore, “Wave Form: Twenty-First-Century Essays by Women” (I have a sneaking suspicion that most of what I read this year will be written by females).
I’m not hungry or cold anymore, but my ass and legs still ache. I exceeded my 20-mile goal for the week, so I won’t have to run tomorrow. From my constant checking of the weather.com, tomorrow looks even colder and wetter than today.
And now, I’ve nearly written 500 words here. I figured out last night that if I write 760 words a day between now and April 1 – the day of the half-marathon I signed up to run – I’ll be over 90K words into my existing first draft. If you’re going by word count only – that’s a complete novel.
I’m not ready to up my daily word count from 500 to over 700. The aim of committing to 500 words a day is to get me in the habit of writing every day. In addition to these blog posts, the essay starts I have, and a few other projects, I have a word doc saved on my laptop called Letters to Myself.
It’s for nights when my writing feels exactly like my run tonight – unbearable. The nights when I have to push myself through to 500 words like I’m clawing onto my keyboard to keep from falling off my writing-goal-cliff. It’s nearly stream-of-conscious writing – I pull thoughts from my day and write down memories that showed up in the car on my way home from the coffee shop. I complain about Facebook posts by people I don’t know.
Last night, I figured out the calculation that 760 words would get me to a finished first draft, and then I started complaining about Trump…
Letters to Myself, January 12, 2017:
I’m not letting the state of politics ruin me. It’s still hard, knowing that in eight days Donald Trump will be our president. I am scared by his politics. I am scared by the threat of large scale war. I am scared by his policies, his cabinet, his racism, his misogyny. And I don’t like him. The way he is unable to put coherent thoughts together. His arrogance. His complete lack of grace and style and dignity. None of it makes sense to me.
You know, the usual.
It’s true though. He does scare me. His administration scares me. But, I’m not going to let it ruin me. That’s why I’m doing More Words. More Miles. To keep from feeling ruined – even if I do end up with butt aches and empty pints of Ben & Jerry’s.