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Out on a High Note

Well, I didn’t expect this to happen. A couple of months ago I posted about how I came in third in a 5K race. It happened again. Except this time it wasn’t in a race where the majority of participants walked. And it wasn’t a 5K but a half marathon! I will clarify, it wasn’t third place overall. I was 70th and the 20th woman out of about 200 runners.

I won third place in my age group!

I ran the race with two women from church. OKAY we hung out before the race. Once it started, I was chomping their dust and that of a good portion of the pack. But I kept running and was faster than last year (my only real goal). I finished within 4 minutes of my Phoenix half time, which isn’t bad considering that race was at 1,000 ft elevation and this race was at 6,600 ft, only a mile or so difference.

The reason I’m giving so much space to an accomplishment entirely unrelated to faith, writing, or spec fiction is that it has a whole lot to do with all three. I’ve mentioned my leadership training. One of my recent activities was to document how I spent my day and if I had time for God. I did. I spend my mornings doing my quiet time. Although I could use improvement with prayer and Scripture memory.

As I went through this exercise, it was obvious I wasn’t giving up “bad stuff” but giving up “good stuff” for better. My only time wasters were: slow transitions from activity to activity, too much social media (mostly Facebook), and the occasional digital jigsaw puzzle.

I realized I had to devote a significantly larger time to writing and not the scraps of my day that it often received.

Now for the trimming. An app installed to monitor my screen time. Setting a timer to be strict about Facebook (30 minutes all social media). Done and done.

Next was paring down obligations. I had to back off from a STEM grant program I really wanted to join. I prayed about and received a very solid “no” to a couple of non-essential work roles as well as transitioning out of another one I’ve been doing for a couple of years. Saying, “no” is hard, especially when it comes to the workplace. Big step of faith for me!

Reducing my running. When I got to the 10-13 mile runs, they took over two hours. There was the issue of time after my run to shower and cool down. It takes me a couple of hours to be more than minimally functional. I’m keeping my two mid-week short runs (2-4 miles) and one longer weekend run (4-6 miles). Running will be for exercise and perhaps a 5K or 10K, which won’t require significant changes to this plan.

Have you ever had to give up something you liked so you could do or have something you loved?

Have you ever evaluated your life to see how you spend your time? What did you discover?

About Gretchen E K Engel

Chemical engineer by day, spec fiction writer by night

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