Nitty gritty time

At running club last night, I christened week seven with another 8 kilometre run.

Note to self: pee before you go, dummy.

Since the hardest part of running with people is forcing oneself to keep up (or at least a few paces behind), it was brutal. It is continually humbling to know that my companions aren’t trying that hard.

But we completed the route nine minutes faster than when I’ve been doing it alone during the week—that’s where pushing yourself takes you. Farther than you’ve ever been.

I’ve been stretching myself in other ways too in the past couple of months, trying to promote my first novel in the regular style: readings, book signings, and looking for promotional opportunities. It hasn’t been easy for me. I don’t like personal attention.  But I’m quickly learning that how to sell a product is as important as the product itself, and to the sell the product, you have to sell yourself.  I can’t tell you how difficult it has been for me, but I’ve gotten through it by taking one step at a time.

Just like that 8 kilometre run. You finish one step at a time.  It doesn’t help me to think about the finish line, because I only see the yawning distance ahead. So it helps to have people require more of you—they come alongside and say, “Don’t stop, you can do it!”

When I’m alone, I stop when I feel like it. I plod along and don’t worry about it. The most stretching experience in this program has been having once-a-week running partners who push you through just at the time you’re running out of steam.

Or, when you just stop, exhausted—right there in the middle of the road.

“No, no, keep going!” they protest, from over their shoulders. Then they run back and push you along physically from behind.

Whether you allow yourself to be pushed depends largely on your attitude. I could quit. I’ve thought about it. But I’ve already gone farther than I thought I could, so why stop now?

This week’s homework: A 5 kilometre run, a 3 kilometre run, and five 400 metre hills (4 kilometres).

P.S. My next reading and book signing is at Chapters bookstore in Dieppe, New Brunswick. Sunday, November 20, from four to six pm. (I’ll be stretching, if you wanna come watch.)

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