I woke up this morning (late, reluctantly) and had a long internal dialog with myself about whether or not I should go for the 3 mile run I had planned. My sister talked me into joining another Ragnar team last minute and I’ve been increasing my milage the last few weeks so I’m prepared. Yesterday I did my long run of the week (6 miles) in the morning and then went to circus class like usual in the afternoon. Consequently, I fell into bed exhausted last night and woke up this morning with a full body of complaints.
My quads and my hip-flexors ached from the run, my back, abs and biceps groaned from the pull-ups on the trapeze and the backs of my knees and my shins were bruised from the tricks we learned. It’s too much, I told myself. I can’t run this morning and I definitely can’t do a yoga workout at noon. I need a day off. My body needs to heal.
But taking today off would throw off my entire schedule for the week. If I want to keep up with the running AND the ballet AND the circus and continue to build all of the muscles I need to be good at all of these things I need to keep training. Plus, the entire point of Ragnar is running when you haven’t fully rested or let your body heal from the last run. I know it can be done and I will survive because I’ve done it before. I’ve done lots of things that push me past what feels like are my physical boundaries. It turns out these ‘limits’ are really just imaginary self-imposed restrictions. I haven’t yet reached the ones that aren’t only in my head. I’m sure they exist, but it turns out they’re far beyond what I often try to tell myself is the end of my ability.
So I got up and headed out on my 3 mile run. Quickly my legs loosened up and I started to feel better. I took my normal 4 mile route but with a couple of abbreviations to cut it down for a shorter ‘recovery’ run. As I was running I got lost in my own head and the music on Pandora and I forgot to take the shortcuts I planned. It’s just habit to turn left instead of going straight and I was already another quarter mile down before I realized my mistake. But it was fine. I ran faster than I have recently and I felt good. I could have kept going.
One of my lifelong goals has been to write long-form fiction. It’s probably my ultimate goal. I love writing this blog and I feel proud of my work on it and what it has both brought me and taught me, but it’s definitely not the end-goal. The end-goal is books, maybe a screenplay. Something bigger, longer, a greater work.
But I haven’t started it yet. I haven’t even taken the first step down the path of writing something longer. I’m intimidated for 600 reasons. Writing anything long will take a considerable amount of time. If I pick the wrong topic I’m stuck with it for months, maybe years, and if it turns out shitty, all that time is wasted. Plus I don’t have any extra time. I have to write my blog and take care of the kids and sell real estate. There’s just not the time. I don’t know how to construct a long narrative. I don’t know what voice to use. It needs to be perfect. It has to be the best. I’m not ready.
I’ve decided this is the year I’m really going to do it. I know it can be done. I completed NaNoWriMo a few years ago. I can string together 50,000 words on one topic. I can do this. It is possible. I know I need to stop thinking about it as if it will be THE story; my life’s work, in one novel, my greatest accomplishment. Nothing works like that. I’ve written hundreds of posts for this blog (this is the 714th, to be exact). Some are stupid and pointless. Some are funny. Some I love. Some I hate. Some got thousands of reads and some I’m pretty sure only my dad read. If I want to write long-form fiction, it needs to be the same. No one writes one fantastic book, nothing before, nothing after. No one steps onto the board the first time and perfectly surfs an amazing wave. No one wins the first marathon they run.
So I’ve pep-talked myself this far. I’m ready to take up the metaphorical pen.
But maybe it’s too much writing? Maybe I can’t both think about what to write on this blog a few times a week and daily writing on the book? Possibly I should set aside the blog for awhile and force myself to focus on the book?
Ah, but what did I learn this morning?
It’s not too much. It’s only too much if it kills me. It’s actually just more training to build those muscles I need to reach my goal.
Habits take my brain out of the equation. If I don’t have to fight that Me who is convinced it’s all too hard and I can’t do it I have more energy to devote to actually accomplishing my goals.
So here I go. Running runs that both are slow and suck and are swift and feel good. Taking ballet classes where I’m the worst and ones that make me feel beautiful. Going to circus when I’m already drained and when I’m strong and can do amazing things. Writing blog posts that are too long and not funny and not particularly interesting and ones that get shared and liked 1200 times. Writing a story that’s long; not THE story, just A story. Because then I’ll write another. And another after that.