This bemuses me no end. Because he’s been shortlisted five times but never taken final prize, Flanagan formally boycotts the Miles Franklin. Writing is writing, and reading is reading, and a writer wins an award because a certain group of readers admires his/her book. Surely luck will always play a large part, i.e. the precise group of readers doing the judging. On the other hand, I don’t intend to waste any more emotional energy fussing over this. It’s his choice and so be it.
A couple of weeks back I extended my cycling to 70 kms for the first time. I know, I know, for many this is a triviality, but the ride was a biggie for me. My body is used to running for just over an hour without carrying food or water. After some initial problems, I’ve learnt to carry about 100 grams of nuts and M&Ms on a full day’s hike. So on this 70-km journey, which I tackled slowly in order to ensure finishing, I took a liter of water and 100 grams of nibbles.
A lesson hard learnt! After two hours my legs grew a mite heavy and I sipped and supped. At the three-hour mark, I was nearly out of supplies and from then on my entire body faded. I did finish but could barely lift legs off the bike. In cycling terms, I’d “bonked.”
Since then I’ve read that you should eat 50 grams every quarter hour in excess of an hour and a half. I think that may exaggerate the requirement, so this week I’ve trialled muesli bars, about 50 grams per half hour over 2 hours. It seemed to work but the distances weren’t as great as the 70-kmer, so quite what suffices over four or five or six hours is yet to be determined. As for water, at what point does one need more than a liter?
Lately I’ve been saying how fine this Fitness Big Year has turned out to be. I employed the word “joyous” once. But daily I still grizzle. With 23 days to go, to hit my 4,000 kms cycling/1,000 kms jogging/100 gyms, I must run eleven more times and this means four times in one of the three weeks. That makes me quake with fear. Cycling is more flexible – I can’t run further than 10 kms in a session but I can contemplate logger rides – so I’ve pushed this week to notch up 138 kms, nearly 30 more than any previous week, the idea being to get comfortably close to 4,000 as soon as possible. Five days planned in Darwin over Christmas complicate matters – the heat kills kilometers. My left hamstring still niggles. I might be down with a minor cold. Thursday’s run was hellish and today’s will be the same. On and on and on . . . one complaint after another.
Maybe the bitching goes hand in hand with the joy? The pleasure is often the bodily sensation of being stronger and healthier – if this was easy, there’d be no progress.
So . . . I’ve exercised 64 days in a row and how special is that, eh? Riding a borrowed Canondale road bike along the Cooks River yesterday was special, today I’ll be there in my joggers. I’ll grizzle but I can’t wait.
Back at Kelby’s Cafe in Marrickville, after too long a gap. Thursday sang especially wonderfully but yesterday was also great, and I have high hopes for today. Inching through the plot points, making sense of it all, and hopefully talking sense to the world . . .
I’m reporting the same mixed bag as a few weeks ago:
- Writing Big Year: how disappointing can it be? I’ll never set up a “conquer the world” humongous Big Year again – only by pure luck will it work as planned. All that said, I’m inching forward with the book and without the pressure this Big Year has put on me, I wouldn’t be where I am. Smile, Andres!
- Fitness Big Year: I called it “fitness” and I’m markedly fitter. The discipline is, so weirdly, joyous!
- Rock Music Big Year: I’ve listened each and every day, and have conquered 110 albums. But I can report no epiphany, no new anchor in my life. Is music dead to me?