Monday, 27 April 2009

A Bit Of A Marathon...

When I was a youngish kind of boy, there was a playground craze of giving each other a 'dead leg.' This was achieved by simply whacking one's knee sharply against a friend's thigh. The resultant pain was numbing and lasted for an age afterwards.

At the moment, I have two 'dead legs,' not to mention dead hips, shoulders and ankles. I am not quite a 'dead body' yet though!

Yesterday's London Marathon was a treat, absolute hell, a joy and a nightmare all in one. That's probably what makes it so special.

35,000 runners each with a story that brought them there. Charity vests of all shapes, colours and sizes. Messages in memory of relatives lost to every kind of human fragility. And yet all those strong people weaving their memories, hopes and ambitions around the streets of London. Amazing too, the thousands of people who line the streets, play in bands, cheer you on, hand you sweets and put out their hands for a 'high five.' It's truly uplifting to be amongst such people.

Comparisons are inevitable and I've often been caught linking writing and running. But I did consider this. I finished in Four hours eleven minutes, my brother in three hours forty. I'm pleased with my time but for a whole host of reasons, I missed out on crucial training whereas he put the hours in on road and hill. That's the simple answer.

But it was more than that. He also looked into the technicalities, splitting his time down into pace per mile. Working out a game plan. Taking advice from other runners and using it. Making sure he ate the right food and took hydration seriously.

Me? I point myself at the finishline and run. That isn't quite true, I try to prepare but it's not scientific. My training regime could be described as 'sloppy' if we were being unkind.

In writing, we sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that because we've put the hours in we'll be rewarded with the deal. It's just as important here to look into the 'technicalities.'

Be scientific. You can only write your own story just like you can only run your own race but know which agent is more likely to read it. Which publisher has titles in the same genre? What are the submission requirements? How can you make your work look as professional as it has to be?

Will I run another marathon? Well, I used to write short stories and run long races but for a while, I think it'll be a case of longer stories, shorter races.


SarwatC said...

Well done John. Shame you weren't quicker at the booking in!
I always feel so ashamed of my lack of fitness when it seems everyone and their one-legged great-grandfather is doing the marathon.
Ho hum.

Caroline said...

I'm very proud of you young man!

SueG said...

A terrific run. A great accomplishment. But I also love the way you linked it to least the business end of it. When it comes to the writing itself, sometimes "pointing yourself at the finish and running" produces surprisingly great stuff. Congrats (on many levels)!

DOT said...

Congratulations, Jon. I love the way you switch, without breaking stride, from the technicalities of running a marathon to the technicalities of getting published. No wonder your brother was faster - I doubt he was writing a book at the same time as completing the course.

Tracy said...

Well you've officially achieved both, so well done you and congratulations.
Hope the legs are ok today. :)

JJ Beattie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JJ Beattie said...


Sorry I deleted that. I wrote your when I meant you're and I can't leave it if I notice it.

I said this:

Bloomin' marvellous Jon! I bow to your even being able to consider doing it. Actually doing it, well now, you're brill. Well done. JJx

PS the word veri thing is 'notthopr' I think it meant 'no hope' and it's talking about me!

Megan said...

Love that medal - huge Congratulations!!!

Jan said...

Some stalwart very wise thinking here!
I hope your family is very proud of you.

Jon M said...

Sarwat: Thanks, mate. I'm soooo gutted we couldn't get down to see you on Saturday. Seriously, it did overshadow the weekend a bit. We so wanted to meet up with you. I hope it went well. Looking forward to the launch!!!

Caroline: Thank you (especially for the 'young' bit!)

SueG: You could be right, Sue, I guess you've got to right the thing before anything else, thanks!

DoT: We try our best! Yes I do console myself with my other distractions but I can't hide the fact that he's damn well fitter than me! grrr! :)

Tracy: Thanks, legs recovering!

JJ: You have my sympathies, I can never leave a typo alone when I comment! Not if I've seen it.

Megan: sometimes huge medals and free T-shirts are all the motivation you need!

Jan: Thanks, I think they are...

john.g. said...

Congrats you nutter!

Pearl said...

over already. time slips by. congrats on a goal well run.

tim relf said...

Dead legs - gawd, that takes me back!
Congratulations, incidentally...

Jon M said...

John: Thanks!

Pearl: Yes it was suddenly here!

Tim: Thanks for visiting! No dead legs here now!

Tam said...

You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!

Very well done, I stand in awe of your fabulousness :-)

Vesper said...

Jon, well done!
I enjoyed reading this post and the connections you see between writing and running. :-)