Gym Day Twenty-Seven: Game On, Bitches

So much for not freaking out! Today’s run was painful in ways I’ve not yet experienced. As I sit here, in this lovely cafe, supping lemon and ginger tea while listening to the babble of ambient conversation, I can almost forget the agony of earlier this morning. The burn in my legs, the sweat in my eyes, the searing coolness of each breath as I sucked it down to fill my desperate lungs.

Today I ran for two eight minute blocks.

Given that I’ve never run before this programme, I’m unspeakably proud of myself. I had tears in my eyes when I was done, a mixture of agony and elation. I did it, but that second eight minute run was nearly the end of me.

I wanted to quit. I wanted to slow down, hop off the end of the treadmill and go home. Never mind that I’d had a late night, my muscles were still aching from Jit’s power workout yesterday and that I knew I’d have to go home and deal with the kids. I just didn’t want to do it any more.

But something really curious has happened to these runs, something that kept me running and spitting through gritted teeth ‘I can. I can. I can. I can.’ Somehow, these runs and my trips to the gym have become tied up with my career. Confused? I’ll explain.

I’m a writer. You may know that already if you’ve explored this blog in any way, but for those of you who don’t know, that’s my day job. But when I say ‘day job’ I don’t mean I sit in an office 9-5 working on books. I cram my writing in and around caring for my children which, until September just gone was a full-time job in of itself—now they’re at school for three hours a day. I’d write while they slept, cram it in while they played, and do more when they went to bed, even though I was exhausted from a day of cleaning, cooking, playing with toys, reading books and breaking up fights. But I’m an indie author, meaning I haven’t got an agent or a traditional publishing deal. I publish my own works through my own label, so, as far as the tax man is concerned, I run my own business. This means I’m not just a writer, I’m also a publicist, editor, proof reader, copywriter, cover designer, marketer, PR person, formatter and street team. Everything and anything that I can’t delegate to another professional (cost is sometimes an inhibitor) I take care of myself.

This means that my success is all down to me. That if I want to sell any books, make a living and do what I love for the rest of my life, I need to work hard every single day to make it happen. No one can do it for me.

For some reason, on that treadmill today, I convinced myself that if I stopped running, if I gave up because it was ‘too hard’ or ‘because I was tired,’ I wasn’t just giving up on that run: I’d be giving up on my career.

It seems strange, but it mirrors the battle I have with myself every time I sit down at my laptop. Do I work at the sixth round of edits that have me pulling my hair out, or do I sit and watch cat videos on YouTube? Do I email my cover designer and chase up the latest novel artwork or do I curl up on the sofa with Jessica Jones?

So . . . if I stop running before I’m done, if I give up because the sweat makes me feel icky, because my legs are sore and my thighs are complaining about the fat-girl problem of thigh-rub, then I’ve failed. At everything.

o.O

I know, it seems a bit melodramatic, but my rational thinking is this: I’ve given up on a lot of things in my life. I’ve stopped learning plenty of crafts (knitting, crochet, guitar, piano, recorder, foreign languages) because they got tough. I gave up a lot of hobbies (line dancing, belly dancing, stamp collecting—yes really—drawing and sketching) because I got bored. Writing is the only thing I’ve held onto and I’ve been doing it since 14 years of age. To give up now seems like a bloody waste of all that time, learning and effort and the same goes for these runs on the treadmill.

I’m at week five of the Couch to 5k. Today was run two. The course is only nine weeks long which means I’m now over half way. To give up now is to waste all that hard effort up to this point and prove that I can’t stick it out.

I don’t want that to happen. I can’t let it because I don’t want to prove to myself that I’m a quitter . . . because quitters don’t make successful writing careers.

Today I completed a run that I thought was going to break me in half. Friday is going to be worse. But I’m not going to give up. I’m not going to let all my hard work to this point be a waste of the time I have so little of. I’m going to push myself harder than I ever have before and meet the goal I set myself at the end of the line: a 5k/30 minute run. I’m going to do it because . . . that’s what successful people do.

Success isn’t about getting there first, or even being the best, it’s about meeting your own personal goals in spite of your own fears, reservations and self doubts. Success is about pushing on through and finishing with a smile on your face, safe in the knowledge that you refused to quit.

Couch To 5k – Week Five, Run Two: Complete

Friday is going to be tough, I know that. I’ll use the rest of today and tomorrow to recuperate and give myself the best possible chance to make it to the end.

Yes, it will be hard, but I say . . . bring it on bitches.

Bring it on.

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