Shiny!

Okay, not particularly, but since I mentioned how much I like running bling, I figured I’d show the medal that was given out on Sunday.

My first medal was for a half marathon, my second was for a half marathon relay, and this one was for a 5k. I’m moving backward, lol.

Here’s my collection, minus the one I threw away from another half marathon relay.  Soon I’ll need a holder…

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You shouldn’t hate your hobby?

I’ve been remiss in posting, but a conversation with a friend today gave me a subject to write about.

We were discussing our weekend plans and I mentioned I’m doing a 5k (3.1 miles race).

She replied with something like, “Sounds fun.”

And my response was, “I hate 5ks.”

And she said the equivalent of, “If you hate running so much, why do it? You shouldn’t hate your hobby.”

Think about that a second and form your own opinion. What do YOU think about hating a hobby?

5k

Ever since that conversation I’ve had a particular Dorothy Parker quote running in loops in my head, “I hate writing, I love having written.”  That’s how I feel about writing most of the time. It’s awesome to have done it, but most days it’s pure torture to start and to continue to writing.

That’s pretty much how I feel about running.

Except I have even less skill/aptitude when it comes to running.  Boggles the mind, doesn’t it?!?

 

So why do I continue trying to run?

1) I like quantifiable goals. Mileage is measurable.

2) I like how I feel AFTER I’ve run. Okay, not the aches and pains, but I like feeling tired and like my stress has been beaten back a bit.

3) Runner’s high. Only kidding, I’ve never experienced runner’s high, but it SOUNDS like something to chase after doesn’t it?

4) I like a challenge where the success is (mostly) dependent on my effort and discipline.

5) Bling and Swag!  What other hobby rewards you with medals, ribbons, and a collection of ugly shirts?

6) The Impossible Dream — I’m completely convinced that achieving the “impossible” in one area of your life makes other things much less daunting.

 

So tomorrow I’ll do the 5k. It’s a small group so I’ll probably finish last and that’s okay, because I’ll still be lapping everyone sitting on their couch…okay, it starts at 6:30 a.m. so I’ll probably lap everyone asleep in their beds. :-)

Hopefully it will help relieve some of the stress I’m under. (Hahaha! If you only KNEW what I’m stressing over  you’d understand the circles under my eyes.)

But at least there’s the promise of bling!

 

What do YOU think about hating a hobby? Any hobbies you hate?

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Inner child

Part of my 100 Day thing is to do things that make me happy, so I’ve been trying to pay closer attention so that I can figure out what those are.

Like many little girls, i had a thing for horses when I was a kid. (If you’ve followed me for a while you probably know that my favorite book of all time is HORSE OF TWO COLORS by Glenn Balch.)

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Eventually I outgrew my love of horses.  “Outgrew” as in became terrified of them. They’re big and they’re high (and I’m terrified of heights and afraid of being trampled). So basically I replaced my love of horses with a fear of them.

But not anymore.

 

I’ve become enamored of a horse.

He/she (I’m just going to call him “He” for simplicity)  is a real beauty. Maybe I watched too much of the Lone Ranger growing up, but I think this white horse is just gorgeous.

I pass him once or twice a week as he’s grazing in a pasture and he always makes me smile. I’ve got to remember to take my camera with me so I can take some pictures.

 

Speaking of things I’d thought I’d outgrown, I can’t tell you how much I love riding my bike.

 

It’s really hard to feel like a grown-up when you’re pedaling like mad and the wind is blowing in your face. :-)

 

What kind of things appeal to YOUR inner child?

 

 

 

Forcing yourself

I really like the running group I’m part of, but I wish they were a bit closer because sometimes the 45 minute drive each way (esp. on  short run weeks when we run for less time than I drive in one direction) tends to make me wonder if the effort is worth it.

This weekend I almost bailed on the Saturday run (a short one) since I knew I had to back again Sunday to see Jeff Galloway speak to the group, but I decided to force myself to do it. I’m glad I did because I met a new-to-me member.

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Then I made the same trip last night to see Galloway. He was funny and inspiring. Again I was glad I made the trip. (If only because I’d like to have that kind of energy when I’m 68.)  I really love his Run-Walk-Run method. Find out more here

And hey, I ended up buying new sneakers and inserts, so maybe the trip will result in my having less physical pain. Win-win!  :-)

I also forced myself to try something new today. I’m not sure how that’s going to work out, so I’ll keep it under wraps for now. Let’s just say it was outside my comfort zone.

Now it’s time to force myself to write. (No, I don’t write when I’m “inspired”. I write when it’s on my work schedule.)

Do you believe in forcing yourself to do tough stuff or do you tend to take the more comfortable route (which there’s NOTHING wrong with)?

Not off to the best start

Thought I’d check in on my progress or lack of progress on my 100 Day Goals.

First a reminder of what they are:

1) Write 200,000 words.

 

2) Train for a half marathon.

 

3) Lose 25 pounds.

 

4) Meet new people.

 

5) Do things that make me happy 

 

And here I am 9 days in:

1) I’ve only got about 3000 words typed up. (gulp!)  Getting started on this new book has proven challenging.

2) Half marathon training starts in a couple of weeks. I’m flip-flopping every day (hell, every hour) on whether to do this, but I’m still running three times per week.

3) I’ve lost a whopping pound. (not that I made much effort, I’m distracted by so much else that’s going on)

4) I met someone new at yesterday’s running group. Nice lady. That counts, right?

5) I took pictures of rainbows. I tried to take pictures of hummingbirds. I planted my tomato seedlings. (the cucumbers did nothing, so I’m trying them again)  I watched a movie without doing anything else at the same time.  (Okay, this isn’t an impressive list, but they’re baby steps.)

Okay, time to refocus on my goals and get to work. What are you striving toward?

Reframing

Forgot to blog yesterday because I was so busy. Sorry!

Yesterday I was thinking about reframing a lot. (Reframing in terms of thought processes, not picture framing or house framing or something evil like framing someone for a crime they didn’t commit.)

Reframing is one of those great cognitive tools that I often forget about, but it can work miracles. Here’s how it worked for me:

I was stressed because I had to pay my estimated quarterly taxes. (They’re due Monday, but I’m habitually early.)

I don’t think anyone likes paying taxes so I was in a grumbling kind of mood. (I’m not against taxes. After all, I enjoy their benefits as much as the next person. I’m just not a fan of paperwork in general.)

At some point, the thought popped into my head, “What are you bitching about? You make enough money from writing that you need to pay taxes on your income. That’s awesome.  Do you know how many people would love to be able to say that?”

All of the sudden the paperwork inconvenience was a validation. Cool, huh?

Of course I didn’t maintain that positive outlook. A couple of hours later I was totally overwhelmed with how much I’ve got going on and what I had to do.

Realizing I need to stem my worries before they overwhelmed me, I whipped out my handy meditation CD. (Personally I find that I focus better when I use a guided meditation, but more power to those of you who can do it without assistance.)

When I was calmer, I made an effort to reframe the situation. Here’s what I came up with: Sure, you have a lot to do, but everything is an amazing opportunity that you’ve earned by working hard. You’ve got this.

Okay, the whole “you’ve got this” was more pep talk than reframing, but it worked for me.

What I haven’t been able to reframe is my fatigue. I’m just wiped out. (Which is making things even harder than usual.) I should probably follow the advice I gave a friend earlier this week and cut back a little. A couple of people have suggested I quit running for a while since I don’t enjoy it and it’s causing me so much physical pain. I haven’t decided yet. I hate the idea of being a quitter, but something is going to have to give. Maybe I should reframe the idea of quitting?  ;-)

What do you reframe? Any special plans for the weekend?

 

7 Days Down, 93 to Go

One step forward, two back

Yesterday I figured out everything that’s wrong with the book I’m writing.  Considering that I was only a couple of pages in, this is great. (Trust me, when you figure out everything that’s wrong with a book when you’re 3/4 of  the way through, it’s more than a little depressing. This was just frustrating.)

It meant scrapping my plans, literally balling up the sheets of paper that I’d scribbled all the plot elements on and tossing them in the trash in my best Lebron imitation. (My imitation sucks since this is a skill I’ve never mastered. Paper ends up everywhere BUT the can.)

 

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Of course accompanying the realization that the book was all wrong were those voices. You know the ones. The sneaky, insistent ones that chant a chorus of, “You suck.” “You’ll never finish this book.” “You don’t know what you’re doing.” “It would be a lot easier to give it up.”

Those are insidious little buggers, sometimes I don’t even realize they’re in my ear and I start to believe things like, “I’m tired.” This is a stupid idea.”  “Who am I fooling?” 

But I pushed through and replotted the entire book

Sounds awesome, right?

It would be, except that in my desperate attempt to not listen to the “you’re a hack” voices, I totally succumbed to the “It’s perfectly okay to eat everything in the house except the kitchen table” voice.  Grrrr.

One step forward, two back.

So I STILL ended the day feeling like a failure.

Today is another day. I enjoyed the cooler weather, courtesy of yesterday’s rain, on today’s run (though I didn’t enjoy much else since my PF is flaring up…no really, that’s not a voice, that’s real pain) and I stopped on walk back in order to watch Mama Duck and her ducklings. She started off with twelve ducklings and now she’s down to seven. I wonder if she considers that a success or failure….

How do you feel about having to start over? How do you drown out those insidious voices?

 

 

Starting late, trumps never starting

I planted tomato and cucumber seeds last week on the first day of this 100 Day experiment.

(I liked the idea of trying to grow some new life while trying to grow my own life. I’m into sappy symbolism.)

I know it’s WAY too late in the season for the plants. I’ll probably end up with a whole lot of nothing.

So why’d I bother?

Because I firmly believe in this t-shirt I have that says:

Dead Last Finish, Beats Did Not Finish, Which Greatly Trumps Did Not Start

It’s a running shirt, but I happen to think it applies to a whole lot in life.

It’s OKAY to start late. It’s okay to be a beginner no matter how old you are. It’s awesome to start something new. It’s kind of cool to be a late bloomer.

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This has been a year of huge firsts for me. Some of them were forced on me because of my divorce. Some are experiments to figure out who I am and what I like. Some are conscious efforts to try things that are new or outside my comfort zone.

I’ve never grown vegetables before (and I’m guessing that I won’t this year either, but I’ll try).

I run with a group on Saturday mornings. (seriously, sooooo far out of my comfort zone)

I’ve been working on a project I’m not ready to share yet.

Speaking of projects: I just started writing a new Matchmaker Mystery. Yesterday’s start was painfully slow, only 765 words. You can see the beginning here. Maybe you’ll be able to supply an answer I’m looking for and make it into the book!

Are you a late bloomer? Are there things you’re dying to try, but are afraid to start?

 4 Days Down, 96 to Go

 

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The Good Stuff Sticks

I drove myself nuts yesterday trying to figure out what book to write.  I was the equivalent of a dog chasing its tail, spinning round and round for no good reason.  I tried plotting on paper. I tried plotting on my giant whiteboard. I tried plotting with Post Its.

I had lots of ideas, but NOTHING worked.

And I panicked.

Big time.

I was so desperate that I even pulled out an old manuscript I haven’t completed, thinking that maybe I could reformulate it to be the kind of book I wanted it to be. Even that didn’t work.

I lay in bed last night convinced I have no idea what I’m doing. My heart pounded. My stomach churned. My mind raced.

Finally, after hours of tossing and turning I fell asleep.

Of course the moment I woke up, I remembered I didn’t know what I was supposed to write today. I panicked all over again. Then I realized I’d forgotten to set my alarm so that I could get up and run. I was a double-loser before I even got out of bed…happy Monday to me.

I got up, took the dog out, decided it was too hot to run, took care of the plants, made my coffee and ate breakfast.  (The whole eating breakfast thing is one of the habits I’m trying to instill during this 100 Day thing.) While I ate, I worked on some affirmations, which helped to settle my chasing-my-tail-mind down a little.

Then I put my butt in my chair, picked up my purple pen and stared at a blank sheet of paper.

I started to sketch out an idea…one that was new, but felt familiar. I’d scribbled out notes on the entire first act before I realized I’ve written something similar to this before. It was then I’d realized what my subconscious had been trying to tell me yesterday. I DID need to go back to an old manuscript, just not the one I’d found.

I needed to go back, way back, in my archives. How far back?  This far back:

floppy

Yup, the book idea I want to work on was saved on a floppy disk. It’s been rattling around in the back of my head  for that long. Scary, huh?

A while back I saw a thing from Stephen King (can’t remember if it was a column or a speech and of course I didn’t save it) where he basically said he doesn’t keep notes or lists of ideas or anything because “the good stuff sticks”.

Obviously, since this idea has stuck around for so long, I think it’s some good stuff. Time will tell.

Do you hang onto stuff (recipes, projects, supplies, friends, plans, ideas) like a squirrel hoarding acorns, or do you let go of it, trusting that “the good stuff sticks”?

How’s YOUR Monday going?

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According to my schedule I should start writing a new book today. (Note that yesterday I talked about quitting running, today I’m talking about starting a new book…that’s pretty much my internal life, seesawing back and forth between two extremes.)

My work schedule SAYS it’s time to start, but I’m not ready. It’s not that I don’t have anything I want to write about. I have too many things. Too many ideas.  (I’m always so jealous of writers who tell me they only get one idea at a time. That sounds like heaven. I’m ALWAYS being distracted by shiny new playthings.)

I have three books I want to finish. And I know what the next Hitwoman book (EIGHT?!?!) is about. And I want to write the next Matchmaker Mystery.

Decisions. Decisions.

I’ll make a decision this afternoon. I find it’s best to make all important decisions AFTER the first pot of coffee, don’t you?

In terms of working toward my other goals, I ran with my running group yesterday.

It was the first time I encountered a loose dog on a group run. My instinct was to stop as soon as I noticed it (not wanting to engage the dog’s prey instinct) but the rest of the group seemed to continue on. Not sure if that was because they didn’t notice it, or if that’s the way they handle these things.  It ended up being a friendly mutt and his owner came chasing after him, but I still looked up what the “experts” have to say about what to do when you encounter a loose dog.

I found this article. While I agree with most of it, I’m not sure using a “firm” voice is the best idea. My personal belief is dogs can perceive that as a threat, instead I use a cheerful, almost sing-song voice — then again, I’m no expert.

 

In addition to the run-walk, which was probably about 3.5  miles total, I took a very easy 1.5 mile bike ride (my knee was killing me this week, so I trying to gently rehab it) and swam 5 relaxing laps. Not too much pain today…which puts me in a way better state than I was in earlier. :-)

Are YOU making any decisions today?  I’m open to advice about how you reach your decisions.

 2 Days Down, 98 to Go

Yesterday I was quitting, today I’m starting

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