That's the length of a half-marathon. A full is 26.2 and that's another story entirely, a goal I have yet to achieve. Believe me, 13.1 miles is plenty. There's this point between nine and eleven miles when I always hit the brick wall, so to speak. My feet go numb, stopping at the water tables feels like more work than it's worth, and I begin cursing myself for having this stupid, horrible idea. That's the point when I say I'll never run another half as long as I live.
And then I hit the twelve mile mark and think...I can do this. Am I stupid? Probably. Was this a horrible idea? Ask me tomorrow.
I hit the brick wall recently in other areas of my life. The querying of my women's fiction novel wasn't going well. I'd received several rejections, a couple on fulls, and I write this knowing there are several queries still lingering in the ether, which I may or may not, ever hear responses to. I was attempting to revise, query agents, research agents, blog, and keep up on social networking. (if you don't think there's research involved in querying, you're not doing it right.)
Then there's the housework, taking care of the dog, doctor's appointments, after school sports, yardwork, Booster Club Meetings, school volunteering, cooking, laundry (oh, the laundry).
I started to feel that I wasn't completely there for my husband and three children, the most important people in my life. I was letting the query rejections control our lives, and it made me sad to think that the subjective opinion of one agent was resulting in my children having to eat leftovers for the third night in a row. In essence, I started to feel like I was failing in every area of my life.
When I hit the brick wall, I honestly thought about giving up. But it wasn't until I was running one morning that an idea popped into my head. Maybe it's symbolic to say that on mile four of a six mile run, I had an idea that hasn't yet left my head, for a contemporary young adult project. I sat down that afternoon and began to write again. I stopped querying, social networking, blogging, and volunteering for awhile and finished a first draft in three weeks.
Maybe my women's fiction won't be published. Maybe it will. But I'm not yet ready to give up. Because no matter how hard it is to write, or how numb it makes you, it won't let go. Sometimes you've just got to take a break, clear out some of the extra stuff bogging you down, and run with it.
Oh, and I registered for another half-marathon. Stupid? Ask me in June.