I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, July 19, 2010

Why I run Marathons

Simply put, I’d rather run than be on the sidelines. In 2006, I watched my sister-in-law run her first marathon…for five hours. And I only got a two-minute glimpse of her (gasping like she needed to die, actually). Yet, if these people—everyone from a Ronald McDonald look-alike to a ninety-year old grandma—could do it, surely I could too.


Couldn’t I? I mean, how many people actually finish 26.2 miles—in less than a week? Turns out, only 0.1-2% of the population does. Okay, so the odds weren’t exactly in my favor. Not to be deterred, I got home that weekend, paid the race’s entry fee for the following year, and signed up.

Then I panicked. And prayed for a broken ankle.

But I did something else, too. I trained. I did my research. I found a plan—a plan I could follow to log the miles each week. (I also ate those nasty energy bars and drank lots of water, but that’s not where I’m going here.)

Like running a marathon, sometimes as we slog through the middle of our novel, we feel like the odds aren’t exactly in our favor either. But, like running a race, we’ve trained. Attended conferences. Plotted. (And maybe downed a couple dozen bags of peanut M&Ms.)

The point is, even on the days you consider trotting out in front of a bus just so you can quit running, or chucking your computer out the window because anyone can see the cursor is obviously mocking you, or had a ceremonial burning of your WIP…don’t quit.

The biggest challenge of running a marathon is getting to the starting line healthy and prepared, knowing you can go the distance. And if you’ve written the first half, or even the first chapter of your novel, you’re there. At the starting line. So don’t quit.

Amy Lindberg

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  1. You are such an inspiration, Ames. I'm so out of shape and have never run more than a couple of laps around the field in the hated gym class. When you talk about running, I feel inspired to try. But I'm not so sure my poor feet would agree.

    Thank you for the reminder to train hard and well to finish the race.

  2. Thank you, Ames! Slogging through the middle. Probably the hardest part of writing a book. Other than starting. lol. But you've reminded me of the prize at the end. Knowing I can go the distance. The reward of finishing the task God has given me. Great blog!

  3. Okay, I'm at the starting line of a new book, and I admit that I even cleaned house on Saturday instead of taking off. I know how consuming it will be once I start, but now I'm inspired, Amy! If you can do it for a marathon, I can do it for something I absolutely love!

  4. Thanks guys! Can you tell I'm trying to motivate myself for the novel's grand finale? Let's set a goal for today in our WIPs and make it happen!

  5. The last time I ran was about a month ago when my daughter and I took took a Maltese and a long-hair Chihuahua for a walk. Sarah planned to run with the Maltese and I was going to walk along with the Chihuahua. Only the chihuahua belonged to Sarah and as soon as she took off, so did the wee doggie. I had a choice of either running to keep up with them all or feeling guilty of restraining a sweet puppy who wanted to keep up with his master.

    I thought I might die.

    I resolved to get in shape on my treadmill.

  6. Loved what you said, Doc. But even more, loved how you said it! Your voice just shines through on this post!! And, girlfriend, you are rocking that race number! I'm seeing the finish line on my WIP and your post today was a nice drink of water when I needed it!

  7. Teri,
    I can SO picture that, especially in light of my new Coop-dog. He's not quite figured out the leash thing yet though. Although, it's been a pleasure watching a creature that excited to be alive (and eat sticks, and leaves, and ants...) Sometimes I wonder if that's what God thinks of me, darting off to sniff and eat the stuff I shouldn't. Thank goodness we can be tethered to Christ.

    TEE (aka Beth), thanks! I also rocked a MASSIVE sunburn the next day! It almost distracted me from the sore muscles...almost.

  8. Back panting. Did my treadmill and ran for the last part in honor of Amy's post.

    It lasted 60 seconds.

  9. great great post, Amy! You're such an inspiration!!

  10. Thanks Susie! So are you, Ms. Thirty-Plus Novels!

  11. I think writing and running both go better with partners, don't you? Just knowing someone is running alongside me keeps me going when I might want to drop out or turn around or maybe skip the entire run. And meeting up with other writers--brainstorming scenes, talking about the Voices in our heads--keeps my writing in forward motion too.

  12. I SOOOOO enjoyed this post, Amy! As I ponder being at the very beginning of the "writing marathon," I am learning it can be overwhelming just to be at the starting line. Your determination to run a marathon (something I will probably NEVER do!) and your zest for living are an encouragement. I will remember to "keep at it," whenever I get to the middle of my story. Thanks for the uplifting words and thoughts!

  13. Oh, I run too...okay, so I jog...okay so I jog a little in between walking, but hey, we're not really training for a race, we're just exercising, but we did train for a 5k :D
    It was fun.

    I'm proud of you for that!

    Thanks for the encouraging words, i'm entering the middle of my novel, and it looks not-so-promising :( But I've got God on my side giving me all these ideas and plots...He'll work it out soon.

    Have a good day, dear, and good luck on the next race!

  14. Woohoo! I'm so stinkin' excited! I only ran for 60 seconds (after my 30 minute walk) but I wrote the entire first scene of my new WIP!

    Like a true Ponderer, I'm happy danging.(Not a typo.)

  15. Okay, so I would only run if I was being chased, and even then I would have to really weigh out the pros and cons. That being said, I was still inspired by your analogy, Amy. All of us who have written even the first sentence of a novel have not only lined up at the starting line, but we've even crossed over into the actual race. I think that may well be half the battle. I spent twenty years getting myself to that place! And each sentence seems a little easier than the last. Although I definitely have days when a severe charlie horse in my brain keeps me from my training, I know that I want to keep moving forward.

    And I totally agree with Beth...ANYthing is easier to accomplish when you have a partner! (Or two...or seventeen, lol!)

  16. Awesome post, Amy! (And sorry I'm just now commenting...took a hiatus from Mr. Internet for a couple days.) You're hilarious...and love your use of the word "slogging." It's one of those words that so totally feels and sounds like what it's meant to portray!

    Also, I am so proud to be able to say I roomed with a marathon-er. So, can I call myself a runner by association? Sometimes I try to run on the treadmill...I'm usually reading at the same time...which means I usually fall at least once...which means I provide pretty darn good entertainment for the other gym-goers. Dude, they should be paying me instead of making me pay for membership!

  17. Amy,
    You are so amazing! I get tired at the thought of running! I'll walk or sprint out 20 miles on my bicycle, but running has never been on my list of things to do. But, we all have a race to run don't we? We have to put our plot through its paces. You make a great analogy.
    Great job!

  18. Keep writing Jeanne! You can do it!

    Kelly, so glad there's a fellow runner out there, 5ks are definitely the best races to run...3.1 and you've likely earned a sweet t shirt. (I'll do most anything for a t shirt).

    HEIDI!!!!! My MIA Ponderer buddy! SO fun to hear from you! Glad you are making progress in the midst of all you do!

    M-Tagg, you can be a runner by association if I can be a Fraiser/Genesis finalist by association, roomie!

    And yes, thanks to all who have writtn beside me, I couldn't have made it to mile 22 (er, chapter 18) without you all!

  19. Written (sorry, TEE). Silly phone.

    Jennie, you bike, garden AND write? So not fair!

  20. Great post Amy. Although I don't think anyone could inspire me to run, you do a good job of inspiring me to keep writing through the hard stuff. Buddies are great. Especially if they don't laugh at your efforts.

  21. Wow, Ames, you don't say much about your accomplishments--we usually have to pry it out of you. GLAD to read here about you finishing the Marathon and the excellent writing parallels. Well-done and LOTS to ponder here.

  22. I know this is a year late, but this is exactly what I needed today. Thanks Ames!!!