Time vanishes . . .
It seemed my jogs were of two types: I head off with leaden legs and huff all the way, or I bound away, run as fast as I can until the halfway point, and then struggle to the end. Yesterday, for the first time during this Big Year, felt different. Descending my first hill with ease, I wondered if all that repetition had changed me. Why not just run my 10 kms in comfort, almost out of breath but never out of breath?
What a run! Light on feet, barely noticing breathing, attentive to the world. Towards the end, I approached a stern-faced, elderly Indian woman pushing a pram, and the young boy gazed up at me, and . . . and . . . I beamed a smile at him. Who would have thought that possible?
It doesn’t take much. You bang out a scene and suddenly a voice says: “Such class! Why ever stop?”
It doesn’t take much. You wrestle with a scene and suddenly a voice says: “What utter nonsense. Why even bother?”
Some days I spring up, most days a bit late. Improvement expected Week 2. Otherwise effective.
How much more time consuming can this jogging biz get? Now I’m to chill my foot for 20 minutes every day for a fortnight!
So you’ve toughed out a half year, done the hard yards, put in the two hours a day every day, knuckled down . . . yadda yadda cliché . . . but legs are leaden and your other obsession, the more important one, the one that counts, the writing one . . . that one intrudes. Your jogging habit isn’t quite the habit you crowed about, is it? Isn’t it time to forget the nonsense? Remember the advice about taking it easy on yourself?
Personally I’ve no advice to myself other than this: out into grey, lovely Melbourne . . . a Currawong lilts low and high . . . a Coot scampers away.
1,001 kms, to be precise. To celebrate hitting four figures, I ran faster. I didn’t set out to but for once felt buoyant and at the halfway point was running an incredible 5:54 mins/km pace. I pushed up the final hill and found I’d done it in 5:59. My fastest this year and only the second time I’ve bested 6:00.
Another issue has helped to punch a hole in the hull of Chapter 2 (to use a metaphor that already seems tired). I’m telling the story of inventing and building reactors over 75 years. Chapter 2, covering the first 10 or so years, is nearly done. But over the top of the “X built this, Y invented that” tale, I need to overlay the big issues integral to nuclear power: safety, radiation doses, economics, and radioactive waste. I thought I’d be able to “slip in” these issues from the 1960s, since in the early days they received less attention.
Now I’m sure that won’t work. From the very start of my book, the reader needs to receive a basic education on, for example, how to measure radiation and how dangerous it is. Can I slip this into my Chapter 2 with a couple of artful paragraphs? Or (pursuing this one educational topic) should I take a bit more trouble, perhaps even employing a quick additional chapter, to survey early, pre-WWII radiation knowledge? If I don’t do it now, in Chapter 2, I’m just deferring the issue.