I'm James Maxey, the author of numerous novels of fantasy and science fiction. I use this site to discuss a wide range of topics, with a heavy emphasis on cranky, uninformed rants about politics and religion and other topics that polite people attempt to avoid. For anyone just wanting to read about my books, I maintain a second blog, The Prophet and the Dragon, where I keep the focus solely on my fiction. I also have a webpage where both blogs stream, with more information about all my books, at jamesmaxey.net.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

500 days on My Fitness Pal

Today marks my 500th day on My Fitness Pal. Cheryl and I ran 5k on the Al Beuhler Trail in Durham, the first time we've done 5k on hilly terrain. Our previous runs of this length have been done on the Ocanneechee Speedway, which is completely flat. The hills didn't really affect my time. I still made the run in a little over 50 minutes, though it certainly felt a lot longer than running the equal distance on a flat track.

Came home and did 80 seconds of planking. Cheryl and I have been doing planks every day for the last few weeks. They look like they'd be easy. Essentially, they're a pushup where you don't go up or down, just hold your body perfectly straight, supported only by your toes and forearms. But, ten seconds in, you discover just how difficult it is to hold you body straight like that. It's supposed to strengthen your core, and so far it seems to be working. According to the program we're using, I'm supposed to be doing 5 minutes of planking each day by the end of the month. We'll see.

When I'm hiking, I like listening to audio books, but when I'm running I don't feel like I can follow the narrative. Nor do I want just any random music. So, I've been listening to favorite albums as I run, which works out really well, since most albums mesh well with my 50 minute pace. Today, I listened to U2's Achtung Baby. I really consider this to be U2 at their artistic peak. It's stylistically much more daring than Joshua Tree, flows nicely from song to song, and is really unbeatable lyrically, with tracks like One, the Fly, and So Cruel. The next time I run, I might listen to a Radiohead album, or maybe the Coroner's Gambit by the Mountain Goats. The latter might be a little short for the run, but listening to a collection of songs about death will certainly provide some motivation to keep moving.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

5k Achieved!

So, when I said Cheryl and I would be building up to run 5k, I didn't think I'd hit the goal before the end of the first week of the new year. But, we decided just to go for it this morning, and, holy cow, we did it!

I'm again struck by similarities between the skills I've developed as a novel writer and skills I'm now using to become more fit. Novel writing requires lots of small, incremental steps in order to build to one large whole. To get to the 100,000 words requires lots of small sessions where you only get out 1000 words, or even 100. But, it all adds up. Progress that seems tiny gets you closer to your goal.

The same has proven true of our fitness quest. When we started almost a year and a half ago, we couldn't run 5 minutes without stopping, let alone 50 minutes. But, we got  here by running one minute, then walking one minute, then running one minute, repeat. Then, once that was comfortable, we moved up to two minute runs, then four minute runs. It was only a few months ago I finally managed to run a full mile without stopping, and not that much longer after that I made it to two miles.

My writing motto is, little by little, the work gets done. It turns out to be true for running as well. I guess, with the 5k under my belt, I'll need to start looking for more ambitious goals. I mean, is a 10k possible this year? Or am I out of my mind?