Thursday, November 20, 2014

30-Day Running Challenge - Update #2

Still at it. 

At lunch today, I ran 3.5 miles to get me through my 20th straight day of running. 

This has been the toughest week yet due to the ridiculously cold November weather that we've been enjoying. 

My November 19 run was 1.08 miles, just enough to qualify as a run and keep the streak alive. When I headed out the door that morning, the temperature was 15 degrees. Easily the coldest weather I have ever run in. 

I was layered up pretty good, but my exposed skin, namely my face, took a beating. I thought about pushing it to two miles, but after a mile, my lungs hurt and my face burned.

No physical issues. My legs feel pretty good, and I haven't developed any lingering pain from overuse. 

I've even started to see a couple pounds come off. 


Monday, November 10, 2014

30-Day Running Challenge - Update

For those keeping score, I've now completed one-third of my November running challenge.

I've run every day for the last ten days for a total of 30.1 miles.

It hasn't been terribly difficult, and I really haven't experienced any pain or fatigue issues. I've been pretty good about keeping my pace steady and easy. Yesterday (Sunday, November 9) was the hardest day but that was because I stayed up way too late Saturday, um, sampling, uh, our region's finest craft beers. Yeah, that didn't end well.

The best thing about this project so far is that it's made getting my workout in automatic. I don't think about it or look for ways to get out of it. I just get dressed and go. And the deeper I get into the month, the less likely I will be (I HOPE!!) to bail. If I miss one day, that's it, it will feel like it was all for nothing.

The worst thing so far is that I haven't lost any weight. I've been pretty good about my calorie intake, and I think I feel a bit leaner, but the scale really hasn't budged.


I'll be back with another report on November 20.

Monday, November 3, 2014

30-Day Running Challenge

Running is my primary form of exercise, but it can get a little boring from time to time. I didn't have time to train for the upcoming Richmond Half-Marathon, which I've run twice before, but with colder weather setting in, I need something to keep me going with my fitness plan.

So as I debated this dilemma this past Saturday, November 1, it occurred to me that I could shoot to run every day this month. It actually works out pretty nicely on the calendar - we have 10 weekend days in November, and I'll have four additional days off from work due to various holidays. I work from home a couple days a week, which makes it easy to squeeze in a lunchtime run on those days. So that will leave me with only 9 days that I will be in the office this month, which will be the trickiest days to navigate.  

I've done this once before, back in 2008, when I ran every day in January. I logged about 90 miles that month, by far the most I've ever run in a month. I averaged about 2.7 miles per day. I experienced some knee pain down the stretch, but that seemed to resolve itself before the month was out. In reviewing my running diary that I kept, I see that I started to come down with a cold, around January 20, but that, too, seemed to go away on its own without affecting my streak. 

There are three big differences between this attempt (now three days in) and my 2008 challenge.

1. Last time, I did all of my running on a treadmill. We don't have a treadmill anymore. I'll be curious to see how my body responds to running outside without a break. 

2. Thanks to completing P90X in 2010, I've lost a fair amount of weight since 2008, weight that I've mostly managed to keep off. I'm hoping this will make things a little easier on me. 

3. I'm almost seven years older than I was in January 2008. That blows my mind a little. But I'm a much stronger runner than I was then, so I'm hopeful that the age difference won't have any impact. 

I'm now three days into November, and so far, so good. I've averaged about 3.3 miles per day (and plan to go a little shorter on those days I'm in the office). Since I will get no recovery days, keeping my legs fresh will be extremely important. To that end, I've dialed back my pace - I normally run an 8:45 to 9-minute mile. This month, I'm planning to run much slower, around 9:15 to 9:30/mile, even slower if I need to.

I'd like to break 100 miles for the month, but that might be a shade out of reach. Because of Thanksgiving, I'll be off work from November 26-30, so I'll see how far away I am from the century mark with five days to go (assuming I make it that far). 

Running every day without a break is a popular activity in certain running circles, and having done this challenge once, I can see why. According to most of what I've read, you need to log at least one mile for the streak to stay alive - so that will be my measure as well.


OK, so that's my challenge. 

Any long running streaks out there? 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

James River Writers Conference 2014

We just wrapped up this year's annual James River Writers Conference, the signature event for the James River Writers. It was a terrific event this year, and included a very high caliber of speakers, including my own agent, Ann Rittenberg, Hugh Howey, Jane Friedman, the Book Doctors (Arielle Eckstut and David Sterry) and a number of other authors, agents, and editors. 

It was a fantastic weekend with a lot of excitement, not the least of which was meeting Ann for the first time in person. I also got to spend time with Hugh AND LOOK AT ME NAME DROP WITH THESE FANCY AGENTS AND EDITORS. 

HAHAHA seriously - spending a weekend with these kinds of people is a master class in publishing. I learned all kinds of fascinating industry information from Ann, and I loved hearing about Hugh's experiences the last couple years. 

It goes without saying that Hugh is one of the most well-known and controversial figures in publishing today. You don't have to agree with everything Hugh says, and he'd be the first to tell you to do your own research, to do your own study of the business. 

But I say this, and I mean it, and you should really listen to me ... You ignore or underestimate Hugh at your own peril. He's smarter than me. He's probably smarter than you. He's thinking of things that the big publishing houses are not (or simply won't). That's not to say he'll be right on everything or that all his ideas or predictions will pan out. But I'm willing to bet that most will. 

And here's the thing. It sort of goes back to something I wrote back in February, in a post called Why Hugh Howey is Wrong - Sort Of. My main point then was that self-publishing had become a legitimate way to fail. 

The truth is that very, very few authors will ever be offered a traditional deal (me included). Self-publishing may well be the only option the vast majority of authors ever have. So we shouldn't be looking at this as a traditional vs. self-publishing argument. We should be looking at it this way - look at what's possible now. 

As for me - I'm more motivated than ever to get back to writing, whatever the future may hold.