Getting Old

Riverhead is flat, right?  NO!

This is my third “Mud Run” this year…well, ever, and I was really looking forward to being in shape and being able to blow thru this one fairly well.  Yeah….not so much.

The one in Jersey was flat and about 2.5 miles.  The one in NY State was hillier and 3.3.  That one just about killed me, but I got through it.  This one was going to be good.  I had run more, I was eating better and it was going to be FLAT!!!  Yeah, like I said, not so much.

Getting old blows.  Last monday, my ankle started giving me problems.  It’d decide it didn’t have to work right every 10th step or so.  Nothing in particular, just give out and make me look funny walking down the hall.  Yeah, I think it did it on purpose.  Plus the last 2 months, my lower back has been acting up too.  So why the hell am I doing these obstacle 5ks?  Because I’m an idiot.  Or I must be.

But it was fun man, this one was a real challenge.  The cool thing is, it was held at the 4H camp that my brother and sister and I went to for a week about 35 years ago.  It didn’t look really familiar until we got to the starting line and I picked out the lodge where we used to eat.  I remember the space between the cabins as being much bigger, but then again, I think I was probably 8 at the time.  As we got started and began running around the grounds, we started recognizing things.  My buddy J was there encouraging us on, especially since he could blow through this thing with ease and 30 minutes to spare.  Just running sucks, and I truly hate it which is why I never really got into 5k and 10k races.  I just simply hate running, period.

Exercise, I am not fond of, but I like it pretty well if I’m doing something fun.  These races are fun because there are lots of obstacles to go over and conquer, and I think that’s the whole thing behind this thing – it’s challenging.  Not many people really run for time.  I’ve seen people in business suits, chicken costumes, wedding dresses, you name it.  The people that try to cut in front of you at the obstacle saying “I’m going for time” everyone kinda chuckles at.

Ooooooh, you get a little plastic trophy!  Dude, I’m in this to have fun, challenge myself, and most of all, to get muddy as hell.  That’s the key for me, and this race had plenty of thick mud.  The best part was the end, you had to crawl through it under these wires, and you couldn’t help but dive into it.  It was right at the end, and the crowd is egging you on, so “SUPERMAN” I was and I got nasty.  As my brother and I were nearing the end of the pit, he yelled, ‘dunk your head!’.

Okay, so  you know?  That stuff is fuckin nasty.  It’s watery mud on this one, there are roots and branches and lots of gross stuff, but this is my older brother, have to listen to him right?  Oh yeah.  Sucky part is, I think I’m still pulling crap out of my ears at this point.

The reason I do these things is because they’re fun.  They also give me something to train for, and something to get excited about.  Otherwise, I’d be doing no exercise and eating garbage.

So pass the salad and the ben gay.  I’m getting ready for NEXT year’s Tough Mudder.  Longer distance, MUCH harder obstacles, and a real challenge.

1000 words

So here I am, once again, realizing that it’s been quite a while since I posted last.  In fact, it’s been a while since I’ve really wanted to write anything here at all.  Not sure what I have the blog for except for me to be able to look back on.

One of the things I’ve always wanted to do was write a story, so a few weeks ago, I started trying my hand at it to see what I can come up with.  I had done some reading about how if you want to write, shut up and write.  So I did.  I have several stories that have first chapters, but that’s what I’m good with, coming up with things to write about, getting the basic beginning down, and then something distracts me like work, or something silly like that 😉

So here is my shot to begin that, just doing it online.  1000 words isn’t too much to write.  It’s about the amount that someone can read in the average crap, though I hope you’re not reading this on the can, but if you are, enjoy.  According to some of the articles I read, a lot of them agree that Jack Nicholson’s character in The Shining was onto something.  “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is at least doing something to move forward.  Even the physical act of typing gets you moving, even if all your doing is typing the same thing over and over.

Sean Connery plays a poet in Finding Forrester who tells the young man in the movie just about the same thing.  Write, then write some more.  Don’t worry about where it’s going or what you’re saying.  Just let your hands do what they’re supposed to do.  He gives him an example by having him use the first line in one of his books to start and just go from there.  (By the way, it’s an awesome movie, so I highly recommend it.  Jamal Wallace is brilliant.)  So what do I hope to accomplish by doing this?  What am I doing anyway?

I’m going to attempt to write 1000 word posts (at least) on a regular basis and work out the muscles.  Not only in my hand, but my brain as well.  I also think that there are other elements that come into play, like experiences, situations, and feelings.  If you can believe it, I’m only at around 400 words so far.  We’re almost halfway there.

Why am I writing?  I think that is a really good question.  You remember when people used to ask us what we wanted to be when we grew up?  When I was a kid, I wanted to play baseball, and then be a doctor, and even for a few weeks, a priest – I know, trust me, it’s weird to think about.  I’ve always liked to read, but I’ve been a fantasy/sci-fi junkie for about 20 years now and one common thread ran through each book as I read it.

“I can do this”

Okay, JRR Tolkien?  Maybe not so much.  I’ve come across some really amazing stuff, and some absolute garbage, but they all had one thing in common.  They were published and I wasn’t.  Why?

Because I never sat down and wrote anything.  (And yeah, I used because in the beginning of a sentence because I wanted to.)

So what’s the difference?  The difference is, after 5 or 6 starts and stops, I caught the right line and wrote.  I’m at 8000 words at this point, and there are several places where I just wrote down the idea for a scene so I can go back and edit it later.  The other thing that’s different is that I wrote from what I know.  I’m the main character 🙂

Is it good?  Is it going to get published?  Will I make a million dollars?  I honestly don’t care about any of that.  What I want to answer yes to is, “Is it FINISHED”.  I feel like I have a chance of doing that this time.  I’m reading several books at the same time to see what it is about them that I enjoy.  I really like writing dialogue between characters, it’s the describing of the situation or the room or what someone is wearing that bores me.  I do describe things, but I am realizing that I am pretty good at it, and that the description part is all kind of set up for the dialogue, and I’m beginning to see what is wrong and what is right in how to do it.

One of the other things I’m thinking about is taking a creative writing class or doing something where I’m getting criticism on a regular basis on my work.  A friend of mine introduced me to NaNoWriMo, where you write every day for a month and they give you suggestions and critiques and hints on making a better story.  I’ll start with something else to see if I can keep it up for a month and take everything I learned and apply it to my running story, and who knows, maybe I’ll have two to publish 🙂

In conclusion, I’d like to pass on a piece of advice to everyone who reads this.  Do what you’re passionate about, even if it’s only on your lunch hour, or commute, or late at night/early in the morning.  Could I quit my job and do this fulltime?  Not if I want to eat.  I have to say that just sitting down and putting on my headphones to listen to the ocean in the background, and pulling out a paragraph onto the page is satisfying.  Sometimes that paragraph is 2 sentences, sometimes it turns into a whole string of ideas that sometimes make sense, sometimes not.

If you’re passionate about cooking, cook.  If you’re passionate about horned beetles, start a collection.  If you’re passionate about architecture, start drawing.  My Dad is the best example of how a hobby became a career.  He was working for AT&T as a project manager, but he had a pilots license that he’d been working on for a long time.  When AT&T was offering retirement packages for early retirement, he jumped at the chance and got a job working for a private company flying people around in lear jets.  Now he’s an associate professor in the school of aeronautics out at Dowling College.  He’s also going for his doctorate at 74.

Nothing is impossible, a lot of things are improbable, but if  you never sit down and start writing, you’ll never get anywhere but where you are.  And if that’s where you want to be, that’s awesome too.  (1106 words)