Thursday, May 09, 2013

The 10K of Writing

Hello Writers!

Three weeks ago, I began the "Couch to 10K" running program. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to run, jog, sprint, whatever one wants to call it. I'd see people jogging down my street and say, "one day I'm going to do that". Somehow that day never came.
    Then my daughter and I heard about a running program from a colleague of hers at work. It seemed reasonable and the more I read about it, the more I felt confident I could do it. I have walked for years, but running? Well, that was a different story.
     The day of truth arrived. We headed down to the high school track, just below our house. I put my headphones on and started the program. The warm-up was fine. Even the first run was okay. And then it got ugly. The program is set so you alternate between running and walking. By the time, it came for me to run the third time, I was beginning to question why I was doing this. I became nauseated and with each new run time, I had to quit before the minue was up or start way late in to the run. On more than one occasion, I stumbled and knew I was going to do a face plant right on the cushiony track.
     I kept going though and even though I didn't run the whole time, I made it through the first routine. And believe me, it wasn't pretty.
     The second day, I was surprised to find I made it through half of the running spots completely and almost made it through the others. Day three arrived and to an even greater surprise I made it all the way, running through the spots I was supposed to.
     Wanting to make sure I had the first level down, I repeated it the second week. While my form wasn't great, I did it. One thing I noticed was that my breathing rate recovered a lot faster than when I first started. I was making progress.
     I missed the next day because I had appointments in the morning and then had to work until late that night. The next morning, I so did not want to get out of bed. It felt good just to lie there and do nothing. I thought about my running, but really didn't want to do it.
     Somehow though, I talked myself in to getting up and doing it anyway. I planned to stay at Level 1 for at least another week, but for some reason when I started the program, it moved to Level 2. I didn't realize that until one of my songs ended and where I should have stopped running, the program hadn't notified me to stop. Looking down, it was then I saw I had been bumped up.
     I pondered stopping, resetting the program and doing Level 1. Then I reasoned I had already warmed up, made it through a minute and a half run. What was the worst thing that could happen? I could only do part of the workout? I wanted to see how far I could go. Wanted to see how much progress I "had" made.
     Halfway in, I wasn't sick to my stomach. I had completed the running portions and still I could breathe fairly normal. My form wasn't great, but I was doing it. Thirty five minutes later, I had completed the beginning of Level 2 and had done it completely. I had improved.
     I wrote about this today, because writing is much like training for the 10K. We all start out taking baby steps. We may get sick to our stomach, not able to breathe and more than once feel like we're going to fall on our face. Our goal is not to go out there and run the 10K the first time. We wouldn't ask that of a person just getting off the couch. We shouldn't expect it of ourselves. We would expect first time runners to take their time and train, improve.
     That's the same thing we must do as writers. It doesn't matter when we first start out, how ugly our form is. I know my running is downright ugly. I've told friends if they see me out there, to turn away. My goal is to keep improving by doing my program day after day. I can improve my form when I get comfortable with the run and my breathing gets steady.
     For now, I'm happy with the little improvements. Every time I get out there, even if I can go just 30 more seconds, that's improvement. I'm not in competition with anyone. I just want to get better. If it takes fourteen weeks or twenty four, I'm not to judge. I'm to show up, do the program and trust the process. If I do, I will improve, be it pretty or not...for now.
     The same is true of writing. Show up everyday, at your keyboard or with your pen and notepad, put words down on paper, trust the process, and you will improve.

Until Next Time~
Keep Writing