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.