I am exceedingly good at setting impossible and only half-thought out goals for myself. Case in point: The Hugo Endurance Project.
You may have noticed that my posts have become less and less frequent. Often my only posts for weeks are my actual reviews and it seems every week is harder to post, even those, on time (regardless of when I actually finish the book). Well, behind my absence of posts, there is actually a lot going on; I am have been working through some problems. So, since you’re all along for the ride, how about making some time for the airing of grievances eh?
Issue 1: Finishing books on time. I suck at that.
Do you remember back when I was reading Stand on Zanzibar and thought I was so clever for choosing to start the book early because it was “too long”? It’s funny how I thought I had conquered the Hugos and was rapidly marching my advance with nothing to stop me.
I am an idiot. I think I’ve said this before.
So then came Downbelow Station, and you all know how that went. And the very next week my wife came home from the library with her hand hidden in the library bag and just said, “I’m so sorry Jeremy,” and pulled out CYTEEN.
Issue 2: Long distance running. I suck at this too.
About the same time that I was struggling through Downbelow Station, my marathon training schedule was starting to get ridiculous. Up until that point, I had been running in the evening, often after my daughter was put to bed and because my runs were always pretty short, I was done quickly and still had some time to spend with my wife before reading and blogging. But now while my weekend runs have rocketed to upwards of 15 miles, even my week day runs have gotten long enough that I just don’t have time to do this and actually be a part of my family AND read crazy amounts of pages and then talk like an idiot on the internet about them.
So I started thinking about the early start time of the Space Coast Marathon – 6:15 am – and said hey, I better get practicing at that time. I figured I’d stumbled onto the secret to making time for running and for books and from here on out, life would be peaches. I hadn’t and it isn’t.
Issue 3: Listening to my body. I don’t.
I am always treating my body like I’m still a little kid. In my mind, I still run my high school sub 6:00 mile. In my mind, I can wake up on any given day and my body will do any given thing I ask of it and I have super powers. In reality, my body does not respond the way I want it to, sub 8:00 miles are tough and recovery seems to take weeks (my wife suggested I’m just getting older which sounds to me like she is crazy). Unfortunately, I do not have those super powers, and that is just one of the harsh realizations I’ve had to face up to since the double-whammy of C.J. Cherryh and miles and miles of training created the perfect storm of collaboration against me.
ANYWAY, making the switch was way, WAY, harder than I expected. The first time I ran eleven miles after waking up, my body almost called it quits. I refused to believe it was my fault. It must be the heat! Maybe my Camelbak isn’t big enough? Maybe I just need to do it MORE! Then one morning I was listening to Foundation’s Edge and thinking, how is it these people, with such incredible mind control, can still have hidden parts? And in a moment of inspiration I thought, You do…you don’t listen. You don’t listen…and you know it. It was a moment of clarity and intense self-loathing, inspired by none other than 1983’s Hugo winner (my birth year, freaky huh?).
Issue 4: Following directions. I can’t.
So after some soul searching, I decided I needed to get serious about making some changes. I needed to go to bed earlier, wake up earlier, pay more attention and just keep working hard. So what is the first thing I do? Decide to start a new (to us) TV series on Netflix with my wife. I told myself I needed balance, not just between pages and asphalt, but with my wife too. I was probably right, but that led me to continuing to make the same poor sleeping and reading decisions. The result: I’m still not even half-way through Cyteen and I continued to struggle with waking up early enough to run before work. So you add that to all the other rules I’ve broken in the course of this dual challenge and wow, my record of violations is embarrassing.
But you know what? Who the hell cares! Despite all my complaining, I’m getting a heck of a lot better and smarter as a runner (15 miles last Saturday and another 13 this week); I’ve actually amassed over 200 training miles now. That must count for something…right? I’m also over half-way through the Hugos.
Yeah. I’m half done and I’m only behind by one book. I’ve been listening to more audiobooks and 24 became too stupid for me to continue watching so I’m back to slogging through Cyteen so it’s looking like I’ll be back on track soon. BOOYEAH!
Despite some of my setbacks and complaints and not being able to follow my own rules, I feel pretty good about finishing this thing. In just over 9 weeks, I’ll have run a marathon. About 20 weeks later, I will have read every single Hugo winner. In terms of my own personal fantasy-world opinion of myself, I’m kinda feeling like a BOSS right now (not really, I always feel like crap ;-) ).