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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pain & the Finish Line

Bloody Badges of Pride
Reaching your goal sometimes means pushing to the finish line in pain. In September, I finished the Pittsburgh Great Race 10K with painful, bloody, blistered heels. It was awesome, mostly because I finished in 46:17. My broad goal was to finish under 50 minutes, my stretch goal was 48 minutes. The pain was so worth it.

Last week I achieved another goal I had set for myself, something I had never done before: complete the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days.

I tackled this challenge like I would any race: I trained by writing in my journal almost every day since April. When November began I was in top writing shape: strong and mentally confident. I wrote consistently throughout the month but traveling to visit family did put me behind. I wasn't about to let this goal slip out of my reach so on November 28, I sat and wrote 7,000 words in one day. I was within 500 words of finishing, and I hit 50,000 words on November 29.

Success! But now I'm in pain, very real physical pain!

Since Friday, my neck and upper back and the muscles between my shoulder blades have been cramped, painful and aching. Sometimes they've been so painful I haven't been able to lift anything (like a cup of coffee, laptop or child) and on Saturday I couldn't even sit comfortably to write in my journal.

This pain is either the result of sitting at my desk for almost seven hours of straight typing on Wednesday...or it's an adverse reaction to the flu shot I got on Thursday. I'm more inclined to blame the flu shot based on a few other aspects of my symptoms...but I'm definitely never going to forget the incredible physical effort that writing 50,000 words requires.

And I am reminded once again how running, and training for races, provides mental discipline that translates to success in many other aspects of life. But not without a little well-earned pain!

My final NaNoWriMo total

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