I finished my second race of the year yesterday. I have a great friend who is a brand new runner and needed a 5K for her first race this weekend to coincide with her chosen training plan. The only race she could find was a half marathon relay. So she recruited her daughter and I to run the other two legs leaving her with the final 5K leg into the finish. It worked out perfectly for me. We called the team "Two Old Ladies and a Ringer". Her daughter - being the ringer at 21 and a serious athlete - ran the first 4 miles all up a canyon. I ran the next 6 miles down the other side of the canyon. It was a great run even though I hadn't trained hard. Sometimes just getting out there is all that matters. It was all downhill and a distance I know I am capable of running so I wasn't stressed that the two weeks before had been a whirlwind and I hadn't been able to stick completely to my weekly workout schedule.
I was all alone with my thoughts and the tunes on my iPhone, surrounded by the changing leaves of fall in northern Utah and IT WAS SO MUCH FUN. Did I wish I had more time to devote to running so I could have gone faster? Yes. Did I revel in the fact that I was still capable of 'riding' this particular bike because I had been doing what I can whenever I can to keep in shape? Yes. Did I find an analogy to make in order to compare this to my writing? Of course!
Hubby and I took our girls camping a couple of weeks ago and I persuaded him to trek into the woods alone with the kids and the dog so I could have at least an hour of uninterrupted writing time. He fell for it - further proof that he loves me - and I sat down and dusted off my manuscript that I still haven't finished from NaNoWriMo last year. I read the last chapter so I could remember exactly where I'd left my characters and started writing. Amazingly enough, I was still writing when the hikers returned two hours later. I'd taken myself from the end of the middle to the climax of the ending. And there are only a couple of 'holes' in the middle where its still a little muddy with placeholder statements of "this is what happens here" left to fill in. Perhaps I'll get this draft complete and pick up the editing process where I got mired down before November yet!
The current lesson here: writing is an ongoing process of getting on the bike but you have to keep getting on it to get any better at it. It's not a new lesson, just a different way of looking at it for me. I've also learned that in my own writing process I have to finish getting the story down before I can start editing. And, much like my exercise plan, I have to squeeze writing into my insanely busy life wherever I can in order to keep myself progressing forward. Someday when both of my kids are in school (and perhaps Big Sister is driving herself to dance) I'll still be writing and be better at it than I am now. And I'll look back on this part and know how much it was all worth it to stick with it.