Fall (?) Sunday Stats #2: Training Matters, and Did I Mention I Finished the First Draft of My Novel?

It’s 80 degrees at 4pm.  How is it fall?  In a few minutes, I’m going to go out and mow our front lawn, which is still green and growing in October for the first time in the six years we’ve lived in this house.  Thank the rain we had in August and September, I guess, because it sure wasn’t anything I did to keep the grass growing.

The lawn appears to be the only damn thing that is growing, of course.  I managed to stay fairly calm about the economy until Monday, when the excrement really started to hit the artificial wind machine, and when I listened to This American Life’s Another Frightening Show About the Economy.  This podcast provides a really good explanation of credit default swaps and the freezing of the debt markets.  The explanation is a little too clear, if you ask me; it left me in a state of near-paralytic dread.  I’ve managed to remain rational, at least so far.  I haven’t been able to convince myself to rebalance our retirement accounts to buy into the declining markets, however, even though I think that’s what we ought to be doing.

Miles run today:  13.1, for the third annual World Wide Half Marathon, part of the World Wide Festival of Races.  It was a beautiful day, sunny but too hot for a long run (and if I thought it was bad, pity the poor folks running the Chicago Marathon).  Still, I’m not going to complain about the weather on what could be the last really nice weekend until spring.

The World Wide Festival of Races is a virtual race series — the third running of the World Wide Half Marathon, the second running of the Kick the Couch 5K, and the first Zen Run 10K.  It’s led by Steve Runner of the Phedippidations podcast, and his co-race directors (whose names are impossible to find on the website).  It’s the easiest race you’ll ever run, logistically.  You sign up in advance.  You commit to run one of the distances on or about the assigned weekend.  Maybe you join a virtual race team.  You decide on your own route — maybe as part of an organized race, maybe not — and then you run it, and upload your results.

My race route itself was nothing special — my ordinary out-and-back to the lake front path, plus a couple of miles on the path itself.  There was a little extra poignancy to the run because yesterday was the 10th anniversary of my first marathon, and the marathon itself was in progress just a few blocks south of my own route.

As a race, my World Wide Half was, to put it mildly, a disaster.  I haven’t been for a run since my close encounter with a car wheel more than two weeks ago, and I’ve been even more sedentary than that would ordinarily mean because of the 1630-mile road trip to the Catskills we took last weekend to go to a wedding, and the push to finish Meet the Larssons.

Oh, by the way, in case you missed it, I finished the first draft of MTL.  More on that in a bit.

Back to the race.  Two weeks off, eating more junk than usual, sitting on my tucus for hours on end, left my legs and back muscles flabby and my tendons and ligaments tight.  I ached all the way through the run, and developed a massive blister on my right foot.  My finishing time was 2:09:48, which is 24 minutes slower than my time for the tempest-tossed Chicago Half Marathon.  I still hurt, six hours (and two Aleve) after I finished.  By comparison, I was well-trained for the Chicago Half and in pretty good shape, so the downpour barely affected my time.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m glad I didn’t skip the race today.  I run alone all year, and one of the things I like best about the World Wide Festival of Races is knowing that there are hundreds of other people running alone, and we’re all running together.

What I listened to during the run:  Phedippidations #156 (“Cheers from a Little Blue Bubble,” the annual episode of cheers and shouts of encouragement to World Wide Half participants); I Should Be Writing #102, and Adventures in SciFi Publishing #53.

Writing this week since my last Sunday Stats:  6,531 words (net) of Meet the Larssons, including “THE END” on Wednesday night.  I actually wrote 8,737 words, but I cut a 2,206 word scene as I went.   To finish the draft, I did my usual writing on the train to and from work, plus several binges at home and even in the car on the drive back from the wedding.  Despite my intent to leave the draft alone for at least a month, I’ve been reading Hooked, by Les Edgerton, which has given me a good idea for a new opening scene for the second draft, and a couple of other ideas as well.  I have made notes, but so far have refrained from going back to it.  A commenter here recommended this book to me several months ago; I’m too lazy to search out that post so I can give you proper credit, but thanks.

I took Unfocused Girl to a birthday party out in the ‘burbs yesterday afternoon, and spent the time up the street at Starbucks working on “Secretary-General,” the short story I started a little over a month ago then put aside to finish MTL.  I cut 500 words out of it as I re-read what I’d done, then wrote around 350 words.  I want to finish this story, polish it up, and submit it before I get back to MTL.

I’d also like to hash out one or two-page treatments of three different ideas I have for my next novel.  They’re very different, and I’m not sure what I want to work on next.  I figure that writing them out in a more extended form than the one-sentence summaries I have now will help me decide.

Right before we left for the wedding, TTB was rejected by the most recent outlet I’d submitted it to.  The night I finished MTL, I submitted TTB to another e-zine, one I had only recently come across and which seems to be looking for this kind of fiction.  We’ll see.

In other writing news, Unfocused Girl would like to announce that she has also just finished her book, The Adventure Friends and the Sword of Destiny.  It’s contemporary urban fantasy about four friends who go on a quest, find a magical object, meet a guiding spirit, discover special powers within themselves, rescue a friend, and fight their evil nemesis, all with the goal of bringing peace to their elementary school.  Yay, Unfocused us!


6 responses to “Fall (?) Sunday Stats #2: Training Matters, and Did I Mention I Finished the First Draft of My Novel?

  1. Congrats on finishing the novel! Mike and I will come by to get our autographed copy when you are doing your first Chicago book signing and say we knew you (ok, as much as you can know someone via a blog) when.

  2. Many congratulations on finishing the novel. A good feeling, yes, until you sit down with it again and realize how MUCH MORE work needs to be done. :) At least, that’s been my experience.

  3. That this american life show was amazing. I finally understood what was going on.
    Then I cowered in a corner of my house for the rest of the weekend. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

  4. Finishing a novel is fabulous. I am so danged pumped to start my new one in November, I can hardly stand it. Congrats! ~Karen

  5. Thanks, everyone. I’m very excited to have the first draft done, and I’m having a hard time keeping my mitts off of it.

    Jenn, I’ll sign your copy even before my first official book signing.

    Freshhell — I know the work is coming, and two months from now I’m going to be on the blog, kvetching about how much I hate editing, but for now, I’m done! Whoo-hoo! I even banged out a flash story this week and submitted it to one of the online flash zines this morning.

    C.E. — Yeah. It doesn’t get better, does it?

    Karen — Good luck with NaNo!

  6. Congrats on the draft! That’s excellent news indeed.

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