I am now in the winter of my discontent. March — especially as we get closer to the ides — is where my resolve to not complain about the ice and snow and cold and slush and gray is worn down to nearly nothing. I am, officially, over it.
Which is too bad, because there are at least six more weeks of this crap. It's like we are in the last 10K of our winter marathon. Despite the moments where the sun breaks through and we’re feeling good, we all know that a grinding slog remains. To misquote Churchill, the only way out is through, my friends.
Unless you live someplace where spring can already be felt. I know these places exist because I see them on social media. They fill me with hope — and not a small amount of bitterness, if I’m being honest.
The crappy weather means that I’m inclined to take the path of least resistance for most of my runs. Whenever I find myself debating between digging out the Yaktrax or driving to the indoor track, I default to the track. I suspect that I will be able to only make left-hand turns once I’m outside again. It beats breaking my hip sliding down a hill, which happens frequently in these parts.
Besides, I’ve made friends at the indoor track. We don’t actually speak much, mind, or know each other’s names — but we are in the same place doing roughly the same things on the same days. There’s the local coffee shop owner, whose name I do know because I’m in his shop frequently, who walks insane numbers of loops with a buddy of his most mornings. There’s determined walker woman, who wears gigantic headphones and always looks straight ahead. There’s zippy dude, who’s a little older than me and really freaking fast.
My favorite might be the loud senior citizen, who has FaceTime conversations every morning with a relative in, I think, China? Could be Japan? My ear for Asian languages isn’t finely tuned — but I can testify that the relative is usually watching TV, because I can hear it each time I go around. He is usually yelling at her because he has chosen to not wear Aftershokz, earbuds, or use a tiny mic.
Then there are the student-athletes, who fill up the basketball court below for shot-put or lacrosse or baseball practice. What amazes me is how much standing around most of them do, as if they have all the time in the world to waste, because they kind of do. None of these young adults are middle-aged moms who have literally 45 minutes for a run that should take 50 minutes, which means they had to hustle. I did the same thing in college, too, though not for any sort of sport, unless you count hours spent in dark theaters a "sport."
It might be that I’m extra sensitive about wasting time because I feel like I have none to spare. It's been busy behind the scenes in my neck of the woods. Now that the contracts have been signed, I can tell you what I'll be scrambling to finish by mid-April.
I’m pleased to announce that Somebody’s Gotta Do It, which is about running for local office and why you (yes, you) should do so, will be published by Henry Holt in early 2020. I’m very, very excited, as you might imagine, and very, very anxious about getting this draft done. Full details about readings, pre-orders, etc., will come later. Know now that I will go just about anywhere because that’s how I roll.
But first I have to, to quote Anne Lamott, finish the shitty first draft. I’ve accepted that I’m going to be a little bit nauseous every minute of every day between now and then. It’s a do-able time-frame, mind. Just tight.
I’ve also accepted that for the next five weeks three-quarters of my brain will be working on it, even when I’m not currently at my computer. So far, my absent brain has led to my corgi getting a hilarious haircut over the weekend, when I clearly didn’t process what the groomer was telling me and she clearly didn’t state that what I was agreeing to was stupid. It’s really a matter of time before I forget where I have left my children. Fortunately, they are old enough to problem-solve, even if some of the solutions they come up with are weird.
All of those indoor track runs help keep my first draft anxiety manageable. They are meditative, almost, as I go around and around with nearly no visual excitement. My brain uses them as a giant reset button as I write the words I am in, rather than focus on the words I have left, while I try to figure out what language that old guy is shouting in.