Tag Archives: novel

Mt. Hood? Nope! Neighborhood. The Adventures of a Stay-At-Home Runner

THE BAD NEWS I SUSPECTED WAS COMING arrived a few days ago. The Mt. Hood 50, the other UTMB qualifying race I’d signed up for, has been cancelled.

It’s a July race, so I was holding out hope. But Oregon has extended its group restrictions through September, so that was that. It’s not such a bad thing, though. It meant either driving across the country and back, or risking a plane flight, something my wife was definitely NOT in favor of.

So I’m now officially committed to no races at all. I’m a stay-at-home runner for the foreseeable future, and my tales of adventure will be confined to my house and my neighborhood.

I know what you’re thinking. What kind of adventures could a stay-at-home runner possibly have? Well, here we go.

Virtually as Good

The running event companies may not be doing actual races, but virtual races are going strong. For a lot of people they are better than nothing, and they like the “bling” that comes with them. I don’t need more T-shirts or medals, but if that’s what gets you out and moving, by all means go for it.

Confession time: I did one virtual race, and because of the medal. But only because it struck right at my heart. I’ve played D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) for over forty years, and this virtual 20K came with a medal shaped like the 20-sided die (the icosahedron, for you geometry geeks) which the game is famous for.

BTW, I’m still playing D&D through all this, with my regular gaming group, via the “roll20” video app instead of meeting in person. It’s nearly as good, and has saved me countless calories from binge eating at someone’s house. Something about group D&D begs for continuous eating. Less of a problem at home.

Going Streaking

RF Events, a racing company that would be going all out normally right now, is offering monthly challenges instead. May’s challenge, dubbed “50K in May” is to run at least one mile every day of the month. At the end, you’ll have at least 31 miles, which, as all trail runners know, is a 50K. Not a bad plan, and they could use the income, so I signed up. It’s a “pay what you want” challenge, with swag you could buy if you wanted to.

Some of us (ahem) far prefer to do the entire distance at once. And nothing says I can’t go out there and do a 50K run for fun. But the “run every day” part is enough of a challenge. I have never done a running streak of any meaningful kind, and I take total rest days pretty seriously. Since I decided to take on the challenge, I need to define “rest” at least for this month.

So far, so good. I’m averaging about 5-6 miles per day, with a Saturday long run as usual, and “rest days” of two miles or so. Most of it is slow and easy, but I’ve included some tempo work and hill work, too. My legs are feeling the cumulative fatigue, but that also keeps me from training too hard right now.

For those of you who don’t think this is quite enough of a challenge, I’m following a blog of someone (longruntom) who’s running 1K per number of the day. That was 1K on May 1, 2K on May 2, and so on, up to 31K on May 31. The daily distance is getting interesting for him now. Have a look at his progress (May 17), if you dare.

Ticked Off

My run club leaders continue to put out a weekly email, with suggested routes (solo) and encouragement to keep running. In a recent email, they warned us about how bad the ticks are around here, and to check carefully after a run.

I’ve seen some in our yard from time to time, but have never worried about them. Until today. I’d done some weeding in our garden beds, in blue jeans, and when I took them off a little bit ago, I found one happily attached to my calf. That was after this morning, when I removed one from my hair. How it got there is anyone’s guess. My cats profess total innocence, and perhaps I brought it in myself.

Both of them got the alcohol bath treatment, as recommended by websites everywhere.

The only good tick. . .

These little forkers are Hard. To. Kill. I even slammed a book on one (on our table) last night, and it still kept crawling along. And they can go months without food, so don’t try to starve them out, either. Alcohol or high heat is about the only thing that does the trick. So put your pillows in the dryer if you’re worried about it.

A Novel Approach

And, finally, (for now), I have been hard at work on a novel. That’s the good news. The bad news is that what takes place in it would be impossible under current circumstances. Hopefully by the time I finish it, life will have returned to a semblance of normalcy. Either that, or I’ll have to set it in 2015, or 2050.

I am now releasing the first two chapters to a select few intimates for review and feedback. Perhaps sometime soon I will expand my review audience. If you are interested in such things, drop me a private email – jeff (at) runbikethrow (dot) net, and I will keep you posted. Only if you really want to. In the meantime, thanks for reading my blog, and please stay safe out there.

Putting the P.I.E. Together

IT’S BEEN A QUIET FEW DAYS at the Fitness at 50 household, primarily because I’m spending a lot of time writing. It’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and my goal this month is a novel, from scratch, of at least 50,000 words. I’m trying for an average of 2,000 words per day, which is tough given a full-time day job, and Aikido and running in the evenings, but so far I’m close.

So what is my novel about? At this point I will say only that it is science fiction and it’s in very rough form. I spent a few days in October putting together character sketches and a plot summary, but the story itself is just sort of coming out as I write and think about the next day’s direction.

I won’t be sharing much of it for a while; the idea is to use November just to write, and not do any editing until December. That means what I’m writing now – the first draft – is very rough and full of unfinished ideas and conversations. Even the main plot has shifted a couple of times already, but that’s okay. It’s all part of the adventure.

I did find time this weekend to make a pie, at the request of my daughter, and who can turn down that kind of request? Here’s a photo of the finished pie. Can you guess what kind it is?

Give up? If you guessed it’s a custard type of pie, you are essentially correct. But I’ll bet you don’t know its featured ingredient. Here’s a photo of a slice, although I doubt it’ll be much of a hint.

I won’t keep you in suspense any longer, especially because I have no idea if anyone’s bothered to get this far in the post anyway. (Reading about writing is rather like watching golf. No, scratch that, it’s even more boring.) Anyway, along with sugar, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, and a touch of maple syrup, the featured ingredient is…well, here’s the recipe:

Apple cider vinegar? That’s right! I never would’ve thought you could make a pie featuring vinegar. And yet, the result is not sour at all – it’s sweet and tangy. Now you can definitely taste the vinegar, and it stays with you a bit, so I think I’ll play with it some more before I officially add it to The Recipes I Am Famous For. My daughter is a big fan of it, however.

P.S. The title of this post comes from an article I read online that talks about proper paragraph structure. You can read it here.

New Novel and Nouveaux Chocolats

WELL, RATS. Today’s weather was sunny and warm, with some fall color still out there to be seen, and I was stuck at home with some kind of bug. I could have gone for my Wednesday run with PR Fitness, but decided not to push it, with Aikido and the downtown Public Art Awareness Run tomorrow. The weekend is busy, too – Saturday night is the Headless Horseman 5K race in Howell, and Sunday morning I’m a pacer in the Wicked 10K Run in Plymouth.

On the good news front, my new truffle flavor – Chai with vanilla – has gotten a big thumbs-up from all who have tried it. Another big hit involves my wife’s caramels, which I dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with Himalayan pink salt. Both can be seen below, along with my more traditional (and personal favorite) almond amaretto, and a cinnamon-ginger experiment (on the far right with the red pattern).

Finally, if you’ve been checking the right sidebar, you’ll see my October goal has been TBD all month. Couldn’t come up with one this time, so I’ll just have to let it go. But I did get a head start on my December activity – compiling a list of 50 memorable things I did this year. You know, it’s a lot easier to create a list of 50 memorable things to do than to list 50 things you actually did. Want proof? Just Google “50 things to do”.

Next month’s goal is crystal clear, however. November is National Novel Writing Month, and the annual challenge is to write an entire novel in one month. So my goal is 50,000 words from November 1-30. I have a concept in mind, and need to get going on an outline. Guess that means I should end this post and get busy.