Another week has passed. Time for another update on my “Race to 40!” challenge to accomplish three goals I set myself before my 40th birthday on June 26th.
Sixteen days of 32 gone. Only 16 left to complete the race and accomplish the goals. This is the half way point!
The following is a progress update on how I have fared.
Progress on Goal 1numerology behind the name of my protagonist
Last week I decided to deprioritize writing my blog so that I could get more writing on the novella done. What this meant was that I usually ended up writing my blog post the last thing I did in the evening before going to bed.
I am proud to say that I have managed to successfully post to my blog each day. There were one or two days where I almost decided to call it quits and go to sleep. On Tuesday in particular, I was so knackered from a long day at VANTEC and then a Board Governance training that by the time I sat down to write my post late in the evening I was half asleep. The post I had scheduled to write was on the numerology behind the name of my protagonist in the novella that I was writing. Not the easiest post to bang out when you are brain dead.
I did the best I could on the couch while watching TV and then moved upstairs to complete the post while tucked into bed. Not a good idea as the clickety-clack of my fingers on the keyboard disturbed my wife while she wound down to sleep. After a couple of stares from my wife, I was about to give up when I recalled that my laptop has a touchscreen keyboard. I tapped away at the screen for another 30 minutes and got the post out. I slept soundly that night.
Overall, I score myself 10/10 on my progress towards this goal. I posted on 7 out of 7 days and even managed to stick to my post schedule. Best of all, by doing the posts the last thing in the evening I was able to make better use of my time during the day.
Progress on Goal 2
According to the training program that I am following, I was scheduled to run 18 km last Sunday.
The weather was particularly hot on Saturday – it hit 28 degrees Celsius – and a quick check of my weather app showed that Sunday would be worse. The forecast was for 30 degrees during the day. Not the best weather to run 18 km.
There was no other option but to get up at 6 am, lace up my trainers, and get out the door. Since this is Canada, the Sun is up around 5 am. Nevertheless, at 6 am it is still low enough that it casts long shadows, and there is plenty of shade to run in.
This time, I chose to run around the sports track close to where we live. I ran laps and then intermittently ran back onto the road for a couple of kilometers before heading to run laps around the track again.
The 18 km run experience was similar to my 16 km run. This time, I was able to manage at a reasonable pace till about 14 km before I started to struggle. The feet started to really hurt as well as the knees. I had to slow down a bit and though I pushed through and completed the 18 km I was slower than my intended race pace of 5.43 minutes per kilometer (I averaged 5.50 minutes per kilometer).
It took me three days to recover. The muscles were stiff on Monday but better on Tuesday. My feet, however, were bruised, and a toenail was turning black. I decided to skip the Tuesday run, but I did run the 7km run on Thursday.
What to do about my feet? This is the big question. Is it a shoe issue? I have a very expensive pair of Nike running shoes, but they are a snug fit. I chose the size so that my toes touch the tips of the shoes because I didn’t want my feet sliding around in the shoes causing blisters. Maybe they are too tight in retrospect.
Then again, it’s a big risk to change shoes so close to the race. If the new shoes don’t work out, they could do more damage to my feet.
I tried out some shoes at the mall today, and I found a pair of Asics on clearance that I liked. Unfortunately, they were a little too big, so I didn’t buy them. I may try looking in a few other stores this weekend, but if I don’t find a pair I like, then I guess I will just have to stick with the shoes I have.
Overall, I score myself 7.5/10 on my progress towards this goal. In summary, I ran 18km for my long run close to the race pace I set myself. 18 km is further than I have ever run before so that felt like quite an achievement. The longer than planned recovery, however, meant I had to skip the Tuesday run.
Progress on Goal 3
Progress on Goal 3 has been much better this week. By working on my blog later in the evening, I made more time to work on my novella during the day.
The early part of the week I wrote and/or edited about 750 words per day. While this was a dramatic improvement from last week, I still felt this was not fast enough to get the novella done on time. By Thursday, I was totally stressed out. Stress sometimes can lead to a nasty feedback loop. You are stressed because you are behind on a task. However, being stressed, your productivity takes a nose dive, and you get even more stressed.
I was getting nowhere on Thursday, so I went for my 7 km run. Once I was done, I felt a bit better. I took a shower, had some tea and a snack, and gave it another shot. I got about 1,000 words done, not bad.
Today was the best day of all and I’m so glad I finished the week strong towards my writing goals. I estimate I have written / edited about 2,000 words today. Best of all, I am getting to the point where I am very happy with the flow of the first few chapters. The hero is introduced in an interesting way as well as the central problem that he faces.
Still, it looks like I am behind where I need to be at this stage. I wanted to complete the writing at least in draft form by Sunday, June 12th as I wanted two weeks time (from June 12th to June 26th) to get the editing done. Though I will spend most of tomorrow writing, I have commitments on Sunday, so I probably will not be able to get all the writing done by Sunday.
Overall, I score myself 6/10 on my progress towards this goal. It was a better week than last, but I still need to increase my daily writing output. I fear that soon it will come to the point where I’m going to have to sacrifice some sleep to get this novella done. I’ve done it before and if I have to again I’m sure I can manage a few long nights…suddenly I feel like I am back in university!
Finally, I would like to add, that my shoulder has been a lot better. I’m still on painkillers but have been able to cut them down. I’ve also been able to find a more comfortable sleeping position – I now sleep with two big pillows so my shoulders are partially lifted off the bed. So far, this has not affected my neck. I am so grateful for a good nights sleep.