Back to writing, training and running

After two weeks of not writing and three weeks of not training or running (due to illness), it is hard to get back in the saddle. What was once a breeze is now a pain — staring at that blank page or lacing up is now a terrifying ordeal. The easiest thing to do is cut myself some slack and not write, not train, not run… and feel like a failure.

So I put a timer on for my writing, and forced myself to just work on it for 15 minutes. Timers are a godsend for this. They always help me get over the hardest part of writing, which is starting.

As for the training, it helped that Streaks was nagging me about it, but that wouldn’t have been enough of a motivator at this point, since it was so long since I’d trained and I was still not 100% well. So I selected a beginner’s workout in NTC, and told myself that I could take as many breaks as I needed, skip a few of the exercises, and stop if it was too physically punishing. It took a lot of the pressure and guilt off, and I ended up surprising myself by completing almost all of the workout (NTC’s 46min Start Training, I did everything but the burpees, for those interested). It felt great, and gave me the confidence to go out for a 20 minute run today.

Was it my best run? Far from it. It was slow and hard and I had to stop and catch my breath halfway through. But I finished it, and I now know where my new baseline is. There’s only room for improvement from here.

Back to writing, training and running

Three Good Things

After reading the great “How to Be Miserable” I decided to start keeping a “three good things” journal at my bedside and write in it every night, right before I go to bed.

The idea is to write three good things that happened to you today, and if possible attribute them. It breaks off the habit of always remembering the bad, upsetting or embarrassing parts of your day, and I also found that it helps me (together with regular journaling) clear my mind and fall asleep sooner.

The good things don’t have to be large, sometimes they’re just a nice meal that I shared with someone, or something good that I read or watched, or just a friendly exchange with a friend or someone at work. The thing is, once you start doing it you:

  1. Realize that even in the shittiest of days there is something good to remember.
  2. Train your brain to look for those things throughout the day, so that you can have something to write down at night.

I’ve been using the Field Notes Resolution weekly planner for that, but you might want to use something larger. I just chose the Resolution because it gave me a reason to use the notebook, and it’s small enough that I’m sure that I will have something to write in it every day.

Three Good Things

My 2017 – an utterly positive roundup

 

2017 was the year I ran a race in my underwear.

I also read 42 books, almost twice as many as I originally planned on reading.

I finally finished the first draft of my novel and started working on the second draft.

I went on the Big Thunder Mountain Ride in Disneyland Paris, despite being afraid of heights, and I ran a 5k and a 10k mere hours apart in the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Weekend.

I translated and heavily adapted a Parsley game for a friend’s wedding, arranged a Tabletop Day gathering, played  and I started playing Pandemic Legacy 2. So far Matt Leacock is killing it with the story on this one.

I saw and enjoyed Wonder Woman, and I saw and loved Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I planned on going to more movies (I can’t believe I missed Coco, but travel plans will do that to you), but I’ll make up for it in 2018 I’m pretty sure.

I ran three 10K races, two 5K races (and 3 virtual 5Ks), more kilometres than I have ever run in a year (over 700), and I broke my 10K PR. I ran like through downtown Washington to the Mall and Lincoln Memorial, and through Greenwich Park all the way up to the Greenwich Observatory. I learned to appreciate yoga.

I joined Tel Aviv’s Urban Sketchers and went to sketchcrawls in Jaffa, Neve Zedek, the Carmel Market, Rothschild, and Florentine. I drew 100 people in a week as part of Liz Steel‘s challenge, and I sketched more frequently than I ever have. Learning to let myself experiment with my drawings, let my lines be looser and fortunate mistakes to happen has been a revelation that I plan on exploring more in 2018.

I journaled each day for most of the year, and finally started filling all those notebooks I bought. 2017 was also the year I fell in love again with Moleskines, but more on that perhaps later.

I challenged myself to take a photo a day, and succeeded, and I plan on continuing with that challenge in 2018. It makes me stop, look around, think about composition, lighting, atmosphere — all things that are valuable to me both as an artist and a writer.

2017 wasn’t without it’s challenges, fears, troubles — but it was also full of triumph and hope, good things that I plan on carrying on with me to 2018 and beyond.

Happy new year!

IMG_2439

My 2017 – an utterly positive roundup

Underwear Race

Ran a 5k in a memorial charity “Underwear Race” to raise awareness for colon cancer prevention. It was wonderfully organised, a fun and colourful race in perfect running weather. We all got colourful underwear to wear over our tights (some put it on their head). Two clowns ran around the pre-race crowd, a polyp in rollerblades that cackled and hugged people, and a “doctor” in scrubs that chased after him. There was great music at the starting line, the runners were all amped up, but lovely people (no pushing, a lot of positive interactions with people in the park), and the course was a runner’s dream (flat and wide and beautiful). A “must repeat” race for me in 2018.

Underwear Race