I can’t believe it has been 9 days since I launched the “Race to 40!” challenge to accomplish the three goals I set myself before my 40th birthday on June 26th.
To recap, the three goals are to:
- Post to my blog at least once per day; this is a minor goal, but required to bring my blog to life; it’s been anemic since its inception in March this year;
- Compete in my first half marathon; I am targeting a fairly challenging time of less than 2 hours; I consider this a major goal given that I have only ever run 10 kilometres before competitively; and
- Finish and self-publish my novella; this is a major life goal of mine! I’m about 75% done with the writing but have tons of editing to do.
Nine days of 32 gone! Only 23 days left to complete the race and accomplish the three goals. That is a scary thought especially regarding the progress or lack thereof.
The following is a progress update on how I have fared so far.
Progress on Goal #1
I am proud to say that I have managed to successfully post to my blog each day! And what’s more, each post is fairly sizeable (i.e. a page in length) and took at least an hour of writing and/or research. I’m quite happy with the quality of the writing in each post though I did notice a few typos and editing issues.
What I did not achieve is sticking to my post schedule.
According to the post schedule, I was supposed to do an “Angel Investing” post yesterday; instead, I did a second “Science Links” for the week post. The reason is that I was totally smashed yesterday and didn’t have the brainpower required to complete the intended post on “Angel Investing”.
Why? I had two business meetings in the first half of the day which also included a 1-hour commute each way. Then there was a visit to the doctors. Then there was cleaning the house / preparing for a work crew that was going to come by for a small renovation. Then various other errands.
Also, I haven’t been sleeping well due to the pain I have in my left shoulder. I have bursitis caused by subacromial impingement (you can read more about the condition here and here) in both shoulders; the right one has gotten better over 14 months but the left one aches constantly. It is a 4/10 pain but it is constant and with occasional spikes into the 6/10 range; if you have never experienced it, constant pain is a mood killer and a demotivator.
Irrespective, whatever the cause, I was totally knackered and could not think straight. I drafted half of the “Angel Investing” post, but when I realized I should create a graphic in PowerPoint to illustrate the steps in the process, I gave up, and switched to a “Science Links” post.
The “Science Links” post required less brain power than the “Angel Investing” post since it is the difference between curating interesting articles (an acting of filtering and organizing) vs. writing brand new content from knowledge and expertise (an act of creation). The intended “Angel Investing” post, once done, will describe the angel investing process from the perspective of an entrepreneur approaching an angel investing group such as the group I belong to, VANTEC, for funding. I intend to complete the “Angel Investing” post on Sunday, June 5.
Overall, I score myself 9/10 on the progress towards Goal #1. I posted on 9 out of 9 days and swapped a “Science Links” post for the “Angel Investing” post.
Progress on Goal #2
According to the training program that I am following, I was supposed to run 16km last Sunday as well as 8km on Tuesday and 7km (with hills) on Thursday with a day of cross-training in between.
However, last Sunday my wife made plans to celebrate Spot Prawn season in Vancouver with friends; so, instead of running, I ended up gorging on delicious Spot Prawns, cranberry pistachio sourdough bread, a fresh salad with local strawberries and greens from our friend’s garden, all washed down with a nice bottle of local Okanagan white (I can’t recall the variety/vineyard/vintage unfortunately). My friends on Facebook may have seen the pictures. The prawns were bought live right off the dock and we had to pull the heads off of them in the sink (our friend did most while my wife and I just did 1 each). With prawns so fresh, all that needed to be done was pan-fry them lightly in a little garlic lemon butter. Delish!
So the 16km run had to be postponed by a day…but it was worth it 🙂
On Monday, I decided to run the 16km practice run in the late afternoon. It was a nice cool day (approx. 15 degrees Celsius / 59 degrees Fahrenheit), and I thought I would run around Burnaby Lake to keep the run interesting. I normally run on the road to a sports field close to where I live where I run laps and then intermittently between the road and track again (to break up the monotony of running on the track the whole time). My wife and I have walked around Burnaby Lake once, and that was a while ago, so I thought it would be interesting and scenic to run around the lake.
As I got to the lake, there was a bear warning sign, which is typical for most trails in British Columbia. The first half hour I did not see anybody else on the trail so I was a bit nervous about the bears. I am still getting used to the concept of sharing the great outdoors with the bears; there are no bears in Dubai where I lived most of my life! Fortunately, the closer I got to the Burnaby Lake Rugby Club the more people I started encountering on the trail.
Running on a dirt trail was different to running on the road or a sports track; it was more uneven, but fortunately there were not too many roots or big rocks to twist my ankle on. The trail did have a lot of twists and turns though which meant that I ran a bit slower than I would have liked. This was compounded by the fact that I got lost and had to stop and look at a signboard map to figure out where I was. Overall, I averaged 10kmph while my target speed was 10.5kmph.
The run experience was similar to my 14km run from a week earlier. At the 12km mark, I really started to struggle. In fact, this time, I felt more tired than last time. Again, maybe it had something to do with the poor sleep I’ve been getting…or the fact that I overindulged on food and had a glass of wine on Sunday. The feet, knees, and hips hurt similar to the 14km run.
The final kilometer was exiting the lake loop and running up Cariboo Road. It is a steep climb and I could not run this after 15km, so I walked, though I wanted to crawl…
As a result of running on Monday instead of Sunday, the Tuesday 8km run got postponed to Wednesday. That suggests I should run 7km today, but I think I will skip this altogether as I want to be well rested for this coming Sunday’s epic 18km run.
Overall, I score myself 6.5/10 on progress towards Goal #2. In summary, I ran 15km out of 16km on my long practice run albeit at a slightly slower pace than I had targeted. Out of the two shorter runs, I completed only one but at a good pace (11.3 kmph).
Progress on Goal #3
Progress on Goal #3 has been the most disappointing. Over the last 9 days, I have written about 2,000 words out of the 10,000 that I estimate I require to complete the novella.
“Relax,” you say. You can get the remaining 8,000 words done in a week and a day; a 1,000 words per day should not be a stretch for a writer.
Well, the reason I am panicking is that I also have 45,000 words to edit. I have already edited some sections, but, on the other hand, I am revamping large sections of the novella including replacing one character with a new one, introducing a new “point of view” character, and modifying a couple of plot elements; the knock on changes could require substantial content edits / rewrites. It’s really hard to estimate how long I will need for the editing.
To be prudent, I am going to push to complete the writing by Sunday, June 12th. I think I will need all of the two weeks from June 12th to June 26th to get the editing done. A few sleepless nights may be ahead of me…and not just because of the shoulder pain.
What’s going to be important over this next week is to stay focused and disciplined: I must work on the novella every day, without fail.
Also, it would make tons of sense to prioritize working on the novella over the blogging. Over the last nine days, it has been the other way around. Perhaps I didn’t want to fail at the blogging goal because it would be the first task that the public (my friends; my family; you) would pick up on that I failed. While failing at the blogging goal may be more immediate, missing a blog or two, would likely be forgiven and overlooked by all of you who are kind enough to support me. Failing to complete the novella by my deadline, however, would be a much bigger blow to me psychologically.
Overall, I score myself 4/10 on progress towards Goal #3.
Applying the principle of “working smart” suggests that, each day, I should work on the novella first, then make time for the running, then the blogging. This week it was the reverse which reflects in the progress scores towards each goal.
Sometimes shit happens (warning: gross story; don’t click on the link if you are squeamish), other times “spot prawn feasts” happen. What we can be sure of is that “life happens” including times where we want to pause our goals to be present and enjoy a beautiful moment and times where the aches and pains will force us to delay our goals and reassess.
I need to remind myself, that the best part about setting goals is the journey; I should never be too rigid to adapt and adjust, especially if it detracts from the enjoyment of the process. Mind you, I am still determined to keep my goals!
Thanks once again for the support. Tune in next Friday for another progress update.