It’s called Chamber of Commerce weather. This means the weather is absolutely perfect for holding outside events, making your town look and feel great for visitors. I hear SanDiego, California has about 300 days of these per year. Here in the Midlands of South Carolina, we have a couple this time of year before the humidity sets in.
This past Saturday was one of those days. Fortunately, I was signed up for a race with my long-time training buddy, Craig. At 5:45 am we set out to Aiken, SC for the Aiken Electric Co-Op Half Marathon.
It had been eight weeks since my disappointment at the Myrtle Beach Marathon, but I had been training hard and was looking for some redemption in Aiken. Last week’s chest cold was not helpful, but I felt like I was back to at least 95%.
Now, with the perfect running weather – 50 degrees, low humidity, and no wind – I stood at the start line, thinking about my race plan and wondering if this might be one of those magical days. After all, I had pulled out my Batman racing shirt to match my shoes, which meant I was feeling good AND looking good. Maybe I’d even pull off an award.
Then I looked over and saw him – an arch nemesis. Not only is he one of the best runners in the state, but he also happens to be 51 years-old like me- the ageless Eric Ashton. I knew immediately the overall win was out of the question for me. Even with my Batman shirt, I didn’t have a chance against that joker. I’m zero for my lifetime against him (I’m not alone).
Actually, I knew the overall win was out of the question long before I saw Eric. Now, what I hoped was that I had a decent day and Eric won either the overall or masters title, leaving the 50-54 age group to me!
The starting gun went off, and soon Eric was long gone from my sight. So, I settled into the plan my coach and I had laid out. The first three miles went right on the money, but I slipped a bit on the next few. That’s OK, I thought at the halfway point, time for me to stomp on the accelerator.
I stomped, but the Batmobile was not responding. I wasn’t crashing, thanks to the weather doing its part, I just couldn’t go much faster. It was kinda like the time our SUV’s transmission went out, and we could only manage 35 mph on the Interstate.
Miles seven through ten were a slight improvement, but not what I wanted. After mile ten, I told myself to just hang on and at least make another goal of the day – a negative split (running the second half faster than the first). I slipped a bit on my targets for the final miles, but I did manage the negative split.
I ended the day with a 1:39:23, good for 20th place out of 231 but about 21 minutes behind the overall winner, Eric Ashton. I also finished behind a couple of other really good fifty-somethings and did not win the 50-54 age group. Holy slowpoke! Batman never loses in the movies!
However, I did OK with what I had that day. So, that’s today’s Mental Monday advice: Run your race.
Thanks to all who participated in my reader survey. Voting is now closed and the vote between fiction and non-fiction was very close. Much closer than Greg versus Eric. In the end, fiction eeked out non-fiction by one measly vote after being tied going into the final day.
So here’s my decision. I was leaning this way before the survey but wanted to have some feedback. Had the vote been a non-fiction landslide, I may have changed my mind, but my decision is to pursue fiction right now.
Here’s why. First, it’s the scarier option. I feel I’m an OK non-fiction writer. Fiction, not so much. Lot’s of fear and doubt there. Sure, I’ve self-published one fiction novel, but I have a lot more to prove to myself. I have this nagging feeling of “unfinished business.”
Second, I think fiction is the right “art” for me at this time. To me, much of non-fiction is about gathering the facts and presenting yourself as a professor or expert on a subject. A lot of people fake it till they make it in this arena. I probably could as well. However, I feel fiction is more about creating from scratch. I like that idea better. It’s my creation, not my spin on what I’ve discovered.
I’m a little late to the fiction writer starting line, just like my pursuit of long distance running. And there are plenty of arch nemeses out there in fiction land who don’t know me and will continue to leave me in the dust. Kinda like a certain great 51-year-old runner in my state.
That’s OK, though, because it’s Chamber of Commerce weather for independent authors. There have never been better tools available for creating the art, learning the craft, or reaching the audience. I just need to show up and run my race. And if anyone is crazy enough to believe he can do it…
Thanks for reading,
PS. There will be changes coming to the blog frequency. I’m still working on that plan and will keep you posted.