On Mud Pits and Fatigue

Hey can I tell you guys something?

I’m tired. Really, really tired.

But in a good way.

Last year I ran the Dirty Dash with some people from work, and it was hard. Much harder than I’d trained for, and much harder than I expected. But it was also the kind of hard that didn’t leave any room for contemplating how hard it was; I just kept going. Mud pit with pipes to climb over? Cool. Rope swing? Sure. Hay bales? Awesome. Running a quarter of a mile through a freezing lake? Don’t mind if I do. After the initial shock of sliding into mud that splashed like a frozen mud slurpee over my head at the first obstacle, the rest of the 10k was very zen and very fun. It wasn’t until the end, right as I got to the double-pit of goopey mud you have to run through to get to the finish line that I turned to my family, supportively snapping photos (and throwing water balloons) a safe distance from splashing mud, and said “This is really hard.”

I’m feeling that same dialtone-head feeling now that I did then. I’m writing. There are obstacles and mud and work and things to do. I do them. I keep writing.

No one said this would be easy, least of all me.

In fact, I’m almost relieved that I’m feeling fatigue, that it isn’t all easy and practical. If that were the case, I’d worry that I was phoning it in – saving energy for the next eleven (oh god eleven) novels yet to come. I’m giving this one all I’ve got to give it – I’m working hard on the plot, on the characters, on creating scenes that will lead to a successful ending. It might actually suck despite the effort in the long run, but the effort is still there.

I ran past one obstacle in the dirty dash – a tall rope wall to climb over. It was after the afore-mentioned lake run and I was fatigued.

That is the only thing that haunts me, that I didn’t try to get over it. The rest of the run I feel awesome about, because I did it.

I let that missed obstacle teach me something – I don’t skip the hard stuff if I see it coming. Even if I’m tired. Hell, I probably could have gone up and down that wall easily if I’d taken a moment to sit and rest first, but I wanted to plug on and finish because it was hard.

This blog is, funny enough, the hardest thing for me right now. It’s a totally new skill, and the learning curve is daunting. Often I get to it after a 10k of writing fiction. It’s tempting to skip it and move on, but I’m learning to rest and climb over it anyway.

Very tiring. Very fun.

Like running up a hill of mud wearing old worn converse sneakers that slide and slip and it makes me laugh.

Today, my brain is totally empty. To think of all those years of Buddhist meditation, what it’s taken for me to find an empty mind is to write so much my ego is all used up. My body is sore from working out as well, and I’m beginning to think of it as the same kind of fatigue, the tired stiffness of spent energy in pursuit of greater strength.

Because when you work yourself, you get tired. Then you get stronger.

Keep writing, my friends. Get stronger. Give it everything you have until you’re empty and tired beyond reason.

Because you’ll come back stronger and hungry to do it again.

I’ll be running the Dirty Dash again this spring.

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