Finishing ahead of schedule

photo-436Distance running and long form writing can both be painful. They can also be fun. So I’m grateful, going into Thanksgiving week, that my two November projects in these categories were more in the latter category than the former. Both also took less time than I thought they would!

I’d signed up for the Philadelphia Half-Marathon, which was Sunday, but after the Rock n Roll Half on October 31, I was wavering. That Halloween morning, Lynda and I waited in the cold for a long time for the start, and I was sleep deprived from a bad night with the baby before. I finished (see the “Just run the mile you’re in” post for that story) but with a meh time. All together, let’s just say I was burned out on cold distance running and races.

The weather forecast for this past Sunday at first didn’t look promising (low of 28!) But it turned out the 28 degree part was going to happen Sunday night, not Saturday to Sunday. Sunday morning was actually going to be 50 degrees. I also figured that even if it was painful, the pain would only last a few hours. On Saturday, I was even thinking things like “in 24 hours I’ll be on the other side of this.” I put little toastie warmers in my gloves, snagged one of my husband’s old sweaters that was bound for the donation pile, set my alarm for 5 a.m. and settled in to try to sleep.

Having braced for unpleasantness, though, things went surprisingly well. I slept OK. I stayed warm in my corral. Also, the race director deserves major props for getting people over the starting line in a lot less time than the Rock n Roll half took. Lynda and I crossed at about 23 minutes after the race start, vs. 50 with the prior race. I felt a lot peppier too. The result was that we ran this half more than a minute/mile faster than the half-marathon three weeks ago. We even managed negative splits, which is more remarkable to me because at around mile 8, a woman slipped on some leaves and dirt right by us. She smashed her face on a parked car, shattering her sunglasses and possibly chipping some teeth. Lynda, in addition to being a helpful person generally, is also a doctor, and was not going to run away from an injured, bleeding person. So we stayed until the police got there to take care of her. Even with that, though, the miles fell by swift and easy. When you’re saying things like “oh wow, we just passed the 11 mile mark!” in a half-marathon, that’s a good sign.

photo-437So that was the running. As for the writing: I participated in National Novel Writing Month again this year. This project calls for writing a 50,000 word novel in a month. I started on November 1 with a goal of writing 1700 words a day. I tried to get a little ahead of schedule so I could miss days. Weekends are never guaranteed in my house. However, I had so many train trips this month, and I squeezed in enough NaNoWriMo time while doing things like sitting in my car after dropping a kid off at a birthday party, that I got to the finish line today, the 23rd. So now I’m truly off for Thanksgiving break!

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the novel. I haven’t read back through it yet. It needs serious work, but at least there’s something there that I can work with. When I splice in some of the stuff that I want to keep from the 2014 NaNoWriMo project, I may have something approaching an actual story.

In other news: When I came home from running on Sunday morning, I thought my daughter’s hair style looked a little strange. “Did daddy put your hair up?” I asked. Then I looked closer. Nope, she’d taken a scissors to her hair and had cut it into a mullet. I’m not sure precisely when this happened – she may have done it Saturday when no one was watching, and I had gone to bed early enough Saturday night that I didn’t notice it then. In any case, my husband took her to the hair salon on Sunday afternoon and got it shaped into a little pixie cut. It’s pretty cute. Have your kids ever hacked their own hair?

9 thoughts on “Finishing ahead of schedule

  1. Ah, haircuts. My two-year-old got a hunk of her hair cut off at the scalp by one of her older sisters, then a few days later she found the scissors herself and finished the job by cutting the front of her hair off at the scalp. Now all the short parts are about an inch long and sticking up all over. Lucky for her she’s still cute, and maybe it will grow out in a couple of years…sigh.

    1. @Catherine – oh, fun. At least my daughter’s cut could be turned into something passably normal. It could be worse!

      (And glad you’re feeling well enough to be reading blogs!)

  2. yes, my daughter cut out her ponytail this summer, and i laugh every time i look at the spot and it’s progress. granted,she already has bob, and the piece she cut was a small ponytail on top of her head, but it makes for a funny spurt of hair growing out of the crown. honestly, i think this topic is hysterical and just laughed when i saw the discarded ponytail on the playroom floor. she has not shown interest in doing it again.

    1. @Griffin – humorously, my daughter actually put her cut off hair in the trash can. It was nice that she at least cleaned up after herself. Now she’s been saying “next time I want a hair cut, I should tell you first and you’ll take me to the barbershop.” I guess she learned!

  3. Your race attitude sounds similar to mine when I have a child- brace for it to really suck and hopefully be pleasantly surprised. (Worked for all but number 3! I didn’t brace myself and it really sucked!)

    We have only had one haircut experience here but I know there will be more. It feels like a parenting rite of passage. Like when you see the marker on the sofa, or your newly-walking one year old playing in the toilet water. (Happened this morning).

  4. Laura, it doesn’t really fit this post, but I read “I Know How She Does It” this summer and really appreciated it. I found that I already put a lot of the strategies in place, but it helped me to identify the strategies and think about their impact which has helped me identify other places in our life to streamline, outsource etc. It also got me thinking about my time more proactively than I have before. I also like how one of your themes about finding joy in small moments fits in very well with trying to practice gratitude, which I have made a conscious effort this year. We are a professional couple with 2 young children (soon to be 3) and I feel that this insight has helped me to really succeed in my roles at work and home. I also read your book “All the Money in the World” and enjoyed that too. So, thank you and keep up the good work! Lastly, any good tips on finding evening babysitters for weekdays? I find this the hardest time slot to find occasional babysitters for. Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. @Hilary- thanks so much for your kind comment! I’m so glad you enjoyed my books. As for finding sitters, we’ve used either Care.com or a job board at a local university. Also, sometimes existing sitters have friends who are looking for gigs. But yeah, it’s all about managing the pipeline. Because people are great, and then they graduate, or get different jobs that require evening hours, etc.

      And congrats on #3 on the way!

  5. Congrats on the race! I ran the Philly Marathon on Sunday and the temp was perfect! Especially since I live in LA and it has been 80 degrees plus my whole training cycle. Not fun.
    Your city is great!

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