Sunday, May 24, 2009

Running and writing is back - with a vengeance

Remember, I read this piece by Haruki Murakami in the New Yorker. He is one of my favourite writers, and also a jazz-aficionado and a long distance runner. He runs every day. He probably writes every day. Don't know how much he jazzes every day, but that's beside the point.

I said I wanted to run and write every day, because that'd help me write my thesis and also get me fit. Then life happened and it was snowing and dark, and there were too many excuses to choose from and way too much work. To my defence, there was reading and skiing, and data analysis and gym, but those things aren't writing and running, not even close.

So, here it is again: resolution to a) run b) write every day. Yes, this one comes with the same kind of a lame-ass set of rules that those Guinness World records. I was so disappointed as a kid when I learned that if someone had made the world record in rope skipping that would be 4 days 3 hours, they were actually allowed to take a 5 minute break every hour, and a longer break twice a day. How misleading is that? How about the record of holding your breath? Anyway, my lame and misleading rule is that there can be one day off per week.

Anyway, here we go. Yesterday's run was a bit longer, 70 minutes. I was aiming for an even pace that would be below one of the thresholds (never remember which one is the anaerobic and which the aerobic one...), but for some reason my HR was somewhat higher than what it felt like. I decided to go by the feeling, and although the average HR was about 165, it felt more like 155 to me. At some point I tried to slow down to get the HR below 159 (my approximate threshold), but that'd require a very slow pace indeed, so I decided to go with the higher rate, and run by the feeling. Yesterday was my day off writing, as I just finished a paper on Friday.

Today I went for a "shorter but sharper" run, about 35 minutes, and this time I was trying to be a bit faster. I kept HR up all the time, pumping it even higher by sprinting all uphills (there weren't many). It's really warm already and I really don't like running when it's hot. Today's temperature was around 20, but with the sun shining and especially when the wind wasn't cooling, it was almost too much for me already. Nordic people, pfft. But, the run was OK, and I hope the writing will be, as well. I have an idea of a short technical section I could write today.

Oh, one more thing about writing. Just like in training (for any sport, really) you have these periods when you build basic stamina, then others when you focus on technique, or really gaining mass or flexibility or speed etc. I'm now thinking of writing in the same way. My basic stamina period (loads of reading) is finished, for example. This week is "mass season", when I try to bulk up and get as much raw text as I can. After that, I'll start organising and pruning. I have the basic outline and structure already set and know pretty much what goes where, but I feel I need one more of these textual surges to accumulate enough material for the book. We'll see.

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