Sunday, November 29, 2009

NaNo-Marathon: lessons in acceptance

Well, I walked the half marathon this morning. I suppose I could say record time, since it's the first one I've ever done. But I didn't quite make my goal of 17 minute miles, but I was less than a minute off in miles per minute (3h 55m instead of 3h 47m). I'll take that time; I completed 13.1 miles when a week ago I wasn't sure I was even going to be able to do it at any pace.

It's like with my NaNoNovel - I made the 50k at 1:45 AM on Wednesday 11/27 and feel proud to have done that. But my goal this year was to have completed the story by midnight on November 30th. I will not do that. My story is a mystery about a relay walking team whose quest for personal bests becomes a quest for survival. At my current word count of about 51,500 words, the characters have just arrived in the town the day before the event. I estimate I'll need about another 20,000 or so words to complete the story. Even if I wrote from now until midnight tomorrow (which isn't going to happen), I don't think I could do it. It would be a pace I can't sustain, especially not when I'll probably go to bed early, being pooped from the half marathon this morning. Nope.

Aside from personal accomplishment, each activity also provided me with a great community of fellow travelers in the journeys.

For the Seattle Marathon, there was a great community of friends from the Miss Fit Dragons - Karen, Teri, Kathleen, and Tawna - who agreed to do the event. Everyone provided mutual support and encouragement. This morning, a cousin and a husband joined in the walking - Rob and Angie - and it was great to have them with us. Among our supporters and cheering section were other husbands and a daughter - Louie, Lindsay, and Bob. I also want to say a special thank you to Karen for walking with me and being my personal encourager today; she could have completed the 13.1 miles at least half an hour earlier on her own, but our conversation and her "c'mon, Dot"s helped me keep going when I thought I couldn't do it. And a special thanks to Teri, who showed me some awesome trails, hills, training spots in Portland that I never knew existed. To both of them - thank you for joining me on the 9+ mile walks. It helped. A lot.

For NaNoWriMo, my community of writers went beyond local friends. My writing community included many in the Portland area, and a few from places such as Egypt, Wisconsin, New York, Chicago, and Texas - emails and forum posts helped keep ideas percolating and helped keep me typing. I want to especially thank Jenny for the multiple writing meet-ups at various hours of the day and days of the week and her email support. She is an awesome writer and she is an awesome human being. A big thanks to Christi for all of her support and blog comments and words of encouragement and congratulations. And to Alexander who gave it a shot and met up with us a few times to write. He and I will be working on completing our novels in December - as will, I think, Jenny and Christi.

November was a challenge I took on with excitement and a willingness to try what some people said was impossible: NaNoWriMo and training for a half marathon simultaneously, while maintaining my regular work and teaching. Two major events completed. Personal goals not met, but the minimum requirements met.

I am humbled and on my way to acceptance.