Tag Archive for: running
Who Says Women Can’t Run That Far?
by Bethany Maines
represent passion, competition, the wonder of the human body, and the
indomitable human spirit. And of course, the Three Stooges.
the Jurassic Era) and we would rent one just for the Olympics. I remember that
coverage started at 2pm and from then until about midnight we could turn on the
set and watch the magnificence of Sport.
We would promptly become engrossed in the minutiae of steeple chase,
rowing, archery or whatever other sport was on that day. We would debate
passionately over the merits of athletes and sports that moments before we
hadn’t even heard of. Practically the only thing that was agreed on in the
Maines house was that Rhythmic Gymnastics, while attractive in away, was not a
the Olympic women’s marathon. Not that he had any gender confusion, but he was
a running enthusiast and when the very first women’s Olympic marathon
qualifying time was announced he thought that the time was almost within his
reach and he made it his goal. And yes, you did read that correctly; I did say
the “very first” qualifying time. Until the 1984 Olympics there was no women’s
Olympic marathon, and for much of the history of Olympics women were thought to
be incapable of running that distance. My family actually traveled down to
Oregon to watch the Olympic qualifying run of women marathoners for the ’84
Olympics Team. Sports can be about more than just scoring points and sometimes
just running is a political statement.
persuaded my mom to let me camp out in the living room with the TV and I woke
up early and found a show on the television that I had never seen before. One
man made funny noises, that one hit the bald one, and that one tried to poke
the other one in the eye. They
were HILARIOUS. At least, that’s what I told my mom. Sadly, my mother
apparently didn’t appreciate their hilarity, or my loud laughter, at six in the
morning and I was banished back up to my bedroom.
decided to add less coverage of fewer sports with double helpings of schmaltz.
For a few years we were able to stave off the incredible crap of the American
Olympics by watching the Canadian coverage (a benefit of living in a border
state), but sadly with each Olympics the broadcasters get a little more savvy
about how to make us watch more commercials and less events. Which is not to
say that there haven’t been some improvements – NBC showed the women’s marathon
in its entirety. This year it was won by Ethiopian Tiki Gelena in 2 hours 23
minutes and 7 seconds. That’s a
new Olympic record.
Hi, I’m Bethany, and I have a statistical addiction. What? This isn’t Statistics Anonymous? Well, I might as well confess anyway – seeing as I’m already here and among friends.
Lee Child made what I thought was an interesting remark at Left Coast Crime earlier this month. Paraphrasing, it was that the fun part of writing is the daydreaming, and that the hard part is getting the words onto the page.
Ain’t that the blazing truth.
I’ve been thinking about that remark for weeks. Somehow I’ve had the notion all this time that getting words onto the page is easier for everyone else than it is for me. Given a choice, I’d rather visualize scenes hundreds of different ways than actually sit down and write one down. Why? Because the version I choose might not work, and then I’d have to cut all those pages.
I know: “Get over it.”
It takes a long time to put down thousands of words. Cutting them is hard. Why not decide first how I want the book to go, by daydreaming through dozens of plot lines, and then writing down the version I decide is best? For me, daydreaming is oodles more fun than typing words. Many writers say they have to write, that they are addicted to writing. Not me. I’m addicted to daydreaming.
A few years ago, David Morrell shared an interesting story about daydreaming that I’ll never forget. Coupled with this new statement by Lee Child, I grow hopeful now that my Writer Imposter Complex might possibly be unfounded.
The keyboard does not call me. I don’t get a charge out of putting down the words. My charge is always in the imagining.
In this regard, I fervently hope that my future as a writer will parallel my history as a runner. There was a time I did not enjoy running. The only thing I liked about it was how I felt afterward, and fortunately that feeling was good enough to keep me lacing up and coming back. Writing, the actual act, is a little like that for me now. Making a synopsis, staring at a blinking cursor, struggling for a word, or figuring out the best way to express an emotion is often frustrating. As with my running years ago, writing is frequently painful while I’m doing it. But, like the running, I feel an indescribable sense of accomplishment when it’s over. Huge. It’s the buzz that keeps me coming back.
Twenty years later, I’m still running. Now I actually love the run while I’m doing it. I feel disappointed when I miss a run and I’m always looking forward to the next one.
Today I’m daydreaming about a time when writing will feel like that.