Ah, that is the question. Three weeks or so after the North Face 50km race, and my recovery is finally coming along. It took some strong words from the Dandenongs Running Group to get me back on track, to realise I needed to slow down and heal, as I had come out pretty fast and hard. The irony – in formulating my question the group, I almost laughed out loud:
“Okay experienced ultra-runners, can you help? It’s been nearly 3 weeks since North Face 50 and I am still so tired. I spent the first week after recovering and only ran 7k in total, last week I ramped it back up to 47k plus teaching 2 pump classes and 1 weight training day. This week I’m only up to 30k and 2 pump classes, and exhausted. What do I do? Should I be recovered yet? Feeling a bit of a dummy and wondering whether I am doing this right. (oh, and trying to gently train for the Surfcoast Century that will happen in September too). Any advice?”
Duh. Slow down, they said, loud, kindly, and in unison. I guess I kind of knew that, but somehow having real ultrarunners to validate my tiredness enabled me to take three days off running, to do a yoga session, and to finally, finally leap out of bed in the morning with a spring in my step.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m still going slow for the next couple of weeks, with my only real challenge the first race in the Salomon Trail Series, a 15km romp in some lovely woods near home.
But my heart and soul are calling out for the next goal. And I don’t just mean running. I have been contemplating the fact that it is June already, and that novel, my second, that I’d promised to get started, well, I haven’t got started. I’ve already written a non-fiction book, and a novel about a woman lost in the woods. This third book has been harder to birth. It began as a book called White Bird of Freedom, about a woman whose marriage had dissolved. It featured a cowboy named Jake Wyoming (a hottie of course, and very good with horses), and lots of soul-searching. The trouble was, I set out to write it as a call to environmentalism (the husband was the bad guy, destroying the environment while the wife wrung her hands in despair before he left her), and it became kind of talking-headish. At least the bits that weren’t a love story did. The bits about Jake and Carol sung. I don’t want to leave those characters, but I can’t write about the environment, just like I couldn’t write a book about Life Coaching. I can only write what I know.
Lately I’ve been contemplating making one of the characters an ultra-runner. But where is the conflict? And that is where my fingers stop moving, and I can’t go forward.
Similar to my choice of my next serious event. I feel the ideas simmering (Two Bays 56km; Surfcoast Century 100km; Roller Coaster 43km; events in New Zealand) away, but find it hard to unleash them, to let them flow away from my control.
Perhaps, like the autumn here in Melbourne, things are astir under the soil, getting ready to bloom. Like when we bought our lovely home, and the first spring, these wonderful bulbs burst forth that I hadn’t known were there. They were bluebells, and they were everywhere.
Perhaps White Bird of Freedom is like that. I need to let it simmer, and eventually it will flow freely. Or maybe I need to start writing. Build in some time when the kids are at school, lock my husband out of my office and find my soul-space again.
The words, just like the words of my blog, do not sing except in solitude. And being a wife and a parent makes that solitude hard to come by.
Truth or excuses. I found the time to train for a 50km trail race. I think the truth is I am afraid to birth a book in today’s world without an avenue to sell it. But that is not why we write – we don’t just write to sell. We write because what we say needs saying, for both our spirit and the spirits who find the words just when they need them. I’m going to write anyway, scared or not, just like I run. The words will come. It will take some work, but I am going to sing this book into life. Just you watch…