Summer Sunday Stats #5: Marathon or NaNo?

Summer Sunday Stats for today — only one more weekend to go before I’m doing Fall Sunday Stats.  Depressing thought.

Miles run:  12.19 in 1:37:11.  It was the same run as last weekend, but oh, so much better.  The training is starting to pay off, I got more sleep on Saturday night, and I had time to eat breakfast before my run.  My left hamstring started to ache at about mile 8, and my right hip bothered me a bit starting around mile 9, but they slowed me down much less than I would have expected, and the ice bath I take after these long runs goes a long way to dealing with the little aches and pains.  Yes, I said ice bath.  Try it, you’ll stop screaming eventually.

Only one more week until the Chicago Half Marathon, and I’m feeling like maybe it won’t be a complete disaster.  Even if I don’t finish with a better time than I did last year, if it feels less like a death march, I’ll be happy.

Weather:  beautiful, sunny, not too warm.  Can’t beat Chicago in September.

What I was listening to on my iPod:  Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing #59 (Clarion Graudates), and Phedippidations #151 (Starting a Beatless Heart).  I only started listening to AISFP in the last few weeks, and so far, I like what I hear.  Shawn and Sam get some great interviews with well-known writers as well as up-and-comers, like the graduates of this summer’s Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers’ Workshop.  I always wanted to do Clarion when I was writing science fiction in high school and college.  Obviously, I’m not in a position now to drop everything and go to San Diego for six weeks; I’d do better to find a local critique group of people I enjoy working with.  I attended one meeting of a crit group a few months ago, but I’ve been traveling so much I haven’t been able to go back.  I’m not sure that group is for me, anyway; it just didn’t click.  I should probably look for another one.  I might do better with an online crit group, too; I’m not really excited about another thing that gets me home late and causes me to miss the kids’ bedtime.

Happily, Steve Runner, the host of Phedippidations, has decided to go back to a weekly schedule after several months of only podcasting once every three weeks or so.  Fdip was the first podcast I ever subscribed to, and Steve has been a great running buddy, even though we’ve never met.  I’m glad he’s back at it on a regular schedule.

Words written of Meet the Larssons:  1402.  Certainly an improvement over last week, but here’s the problem:  while I wrote 1402 words of MTL, I wrote 3902 words of “Secretary-General,” the short story I started 10 days ago.  I need to be better disciplined about this.  I’ve decided I have to — have to — finish the first draft of the novel by Halloween, for any number of reasons, from needing to end it so I can put it down for a while and come back to the revision process fresh, to the fact that I’m starting to lose track of the plot because I’ve been working on it for so long, to wanting to possibly do NaNo this year (more on that in a moment).  If I’m going to get MTL put to bed in seven weeks, I need to put other writing projects away and not create any new ones.  Any bright, shiny ideas that come to me in the next seven weeks will get put into a box labeled “Do Not Open Until November 1.”  They can come out to play then.  SG is temptingly close to finished, but it isn’t coming out the way I wanted it, anyway, so I’m going to put it aside until after Nov. 1 (after Nov. 30, if I end up doing NaNo).  A few days ago, my daughter and I realized that she was reading five books at the same time (four novels, one math book); I told her she could do what she liked, but she might get more out of them if she finished a couple before she added any new ones to the mix.  She finished Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban this afternoon, and has been making good progress on a couple of the others without starting anything new, so I guess she took my advice.  I should do the same with what I’m writing.

Marathon or NaNoWriMo?  That is the question.  I had no plans to run a marathon this year; instead, I started the New Year planning to enter NaNoWriMo — National Novel Writing Month — in November, after having worked on my writing chops by starting this blog and writing a couple of short stories.  Instead,  I’ve written two short stories and gotten nearly 90,000 words into a novel, which I will finish before NaNo starts on November 1.

At the same time, I’ve been running better than I expected this year.  I managed to keep my long runs going — not perfectly consistently, but well enough — through the spring and summer, and now I’m heading into the fall with a pretty good base.  I would still just be thinking about the Chicago Half Marathon next weekend and the World Wide Half Marathon in October, since there’s no way I’d be ready for an October marathon (Chicago or Milwaukee), but then I found out about the new marathon in the beach town where we spend our summer vacation.  It isn’t until the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and instead of the craziness of the Chicago Marathon, this would be a small, friendly race; Mrs. Unfocused and the kids would be able to see me at different points of the race without having to wonder if they missed me in the crowd, and I’d be able to see them.  I’ve never traveled for a race before, but the whole family could go, and we’d have a place to stay.

But, but, but.  It would mean missing several days of work just for travel, and having to decide whether to rush home to be in the office for Thanksgiving week or just blowing it off and staying at the beach for some or all of the week.  Even if I could swing it, I’m just not sure I should.

And finally, I think the two things are mutually exclusive.  If I decide to do the marathon, November will be almost all taper, so it isn’t that the running would interfere so much with the writing.  Instead, it would be the travel and the associated stress. I don’t think I could possibly crank out 1700 words a day for the month if I’ve got an out-of-town marathon scheduled.

Plus, I know what I’m like in the weeks before a marathon — I’m a paranoid, hypochondriacal wreck, obsessing about every bruise, bump, sniffle, or twinge.  The weeks before a marathon are not a fun time to be Mrs. Unfocused.  From what I’ve read about other people’s experiences with NaNo, there are certain similarities — the NaNo participant becomes obsessive about the writing, muttering about the novel, failing to provide any domestic assistance, sleeping only fitfully, etc., etc.  Again, not a fun time to be Mrs. Unfocused.  I have no desire to be kicked out of the house and forced to move into the YMCA for being a self-absorbed, germophobic, hypochondriac chained to my laptop who never sleeps and constantly talks about people who don’t exist; that’s not a bad description of me now, and if it got worse, she’d be well within her rights to change the locks.

I’ve finished four Chicago Marathons (started a fifth, but had to drop out due to injury).  I’ve never done NaNoWriMo, but the point of NaNo is to get you off your butt and make you write; I’m writing now.

So, marathon or NaNo?  I haven’t decided yet; I think I still have a few weeks.  But it isn’t going to be easy.


2 responses to “Summer Sunday Stats #5: Marathon or NaNo?

  1. I say marathon. Like you said, you are writing now. I think forcing yourself to write the 50k in a month is going to result in a sloppy story that may be too hard to fix.

  2. I think I’m doing nano this year. I skipped last year because of some life stuff, but this year I really want to get ahead on a novel. I won’t actually write the whole thing in a month, because it’s much longer than 50,000 words, but it’s a good way to build up a head of steam on a project. Love the boards, too …

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