NaNoWriMo 2019 – Day 21

Yesterday the words came hard, but I did get a few. What I worked on instead was incorporating comments from the proofreader into “Lightning Scarred” and other writing-adjacent activities, plus errands.

In addition to the novel, I’m also working on a short story for Dean, which is coming slowly. I’m challenging myself to write in first person. The story itself strikes pretty close to home since the character is a back-of-the-pack marathoner, so I’m raking through the muck of my own feelings as I write. Writing so close to home, I have no end of experiences with half-marathons, marathons and ultramarathons to draw from.

The experience of being a back-of-the-pack runner, especially one who has run (or walked) many events at the back of the pack, is substantially different than a mid-pack or elite runner. I think the motivations are different as well. After all, we know we will never win. We may come in last. (I have.) And they may close the race down before we reach the finish line. Virtually no spectators will wait the time it takes for us to finish. It’s internal and it’s social. The people at the back are sometimes pretty weird or crazy in one way or another. So many are broken, either physically or mentally, and are overcoming their brokenness. It’s fun to meet them.

One strategy for picking races when you are very slow is to pick ultramarathons that have other distances. For example, the Kenosha Hot, Hilly, Hairy had six distances: everything from 85K down to 5K as well as an 18 hour endurance race. In that environment no one is going to care if a slowpoke takes eight hours to cover a marathon distance. The race is not going to disappear before the slow runners finish. No vehicle is going to follow the slow runner picking up traffic cones.

My character is a slow marathoner and ultramarathoner who has been tapped for a special mission. It’s interesting to spend time in her head and see the potentials of the back of the pack. Much thanks to my husband who pointed out that everyone has the potential for adventure, no matter their weight or speed.

I’ll be at the write-in at Laurelwood’s Panera Bread from 10am to 1pm today. Please do join if you can!

32,326 words

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