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2013-52 Week 9

So March is here already. I know February is short, and a whole day shorter than last year, but it seems like things are moving awfully fast, no? I’d make a time “Marching” on joke, but I really want you to keep reading and not close your browser or throw your tablet in disgust (and those things are expensive, I am not responsible to any damage done to tablets from the reading of this blog). A new month means that it’s time to check back in on those New Year’s resolutions that got me into this whole mess over a year ago, although I will say that I am much happier with my progress this year than at this time last year.

1) One blog post (longer) every week this year – Allowing for some variance as to what constitutes writing for the week, and I’m going to since it’s my blog, I’m doing alright here. Again, this is an easier task than last year’s, although I might prefer the old format as it certainly kept me on track more than this way. Then again, the old way didn’t allow for any recovery from brain meltdown like I had after my massive writing marathon last week, which I’m still recovering from, so I suppose that is a net positive in this instance. – On Track.

2) Lose at least 20 pounds – Much like last month, I’m not far behind, and depending on when you count it (say, like after twelve mile runs), I’ve been ahead of pace a few times (yes, I know, water weight, which is why I don’t count it). I’m starting to count calories again, as I let myself get away with too much if I just use my default assumptions, and hopefully I can knock this number down a few pounds by the end of March. – Behind.
Current Loss: 1 lb – On pace loss: 3.2 lbs

3) Run 400 miles – I could have been even further ahead if I was able to complete my marathon training. As it is, I am pretty happy with where I am right now and glad that I’ve taken the pressure of the two marathons off myself. I’m still training, at the moment for the Ragnar Relay in April, but now I’m just not subjecting myself to the longer runs my body just wasn’t ready for. Overall my health is very good at the moment, although I have apparently not been conveying that in these posts. While training I’m also going to focus on getting faster, I was very happy that I was able to do six miles at a sub-ten minute average pace this weekend! I’d also like to see my three mile times dip below twenty seven minutes in the next couple months, so that’s what I’m working towards. – Ahead.
Current Mileage (Through February): 124.2 – On pace mileage: 66.66

4) Write an average of 500 words a day – The aforementioned marathon writing session of last week certainly helped make this more respectable, but I’m still pretty far behind. The writing class that I am taking to help is actually doing the opposite, but I’ll get into that after I’m done with the updates. I need to carve out some time to sit down with a few things, but life is getting in the way. An uptick in Karate classes (there are several milestones I have to hit before the next test in May), running, grading, and general business hasn’t helped. Reading some good books, however, has, and inspiration keeps inching closer. – Behind.
Current Word Count (Through February): 16089 – On pace word count: 31000

5) Read a book a month – Thank you Brad Meltzer. One of my favorite authors, I was able to knock out his latest novel, The Fifth Assassin, in several marathon reading sessions over the course of a week (the final one ended at 2:30 Sunday morning, and yes, I did make it to church . . . well, the 11 am service, which has pretty much become our regular service anyway). I’ll give my mini-book review after the updates as well. I do have to pick my next book fairly soon, I have several candidates but need to settle on one. Actually, I think I just did, so I’ll be off to Amazon after this. – On Track.

I’ll go more into depth with what the problem is with my writing class when the semester is over, but suffice it to say that I have been less than impressed with my first foray into the world of online classes. I’m seriously considering just walking away from the whole fiasco and taking a No Credit, but I’m not quite ready to go there yet. Besides, I want to be able to give feedback to someone in charge when everything is said and done, and I can’t do that if I’m not there at the end, so I guess I’ll have to stick it out for now.

I very much enjoyed The Fifth Assassin, and am intrigued as to where the story is going from here. The Fifth Assassin is the follow up to The Inner Circle, following the same characters in the next stage of the story, and the end of The Fifth Assassin leaves it very clear that there’s at least one more round in this fight. If you enjoy suspense, mystery, and a little bit of history woven into your novels, you really should read Brad Meltzer’s books. The story line in this novel following someone recreating the four presidential assassins and their links was particularly interesting, especially since the Author’s Note at the end gives you some clue as to how much of it was real. I do have a bit more to say about the book and my experience reading it, but there be minor spoilers (or at least a change in how you might read the book), so it gets its own paragraph demarcated below.

POTENTIAL SPOILERS FOR THE FIFTH ASSASSIN – I did have one problem with the book, though I don’t know if there was any satisfactory way to resolve it, so I’ll let it go after mentioning it here. The main mystery of the book was trying to figure out who the Knight was that was recreating all the assassinations. One of the main reasons I love reading these types of books is to follow along with the mystery and trying to figure it out, but as I moved into the final chapters who it was and why was not becoming clear to me. Usually I’m able to put the pieces together before or at the same time as the character in the book, and it just wasn’t falling into place for me. Even when the main character figured it out (though it wasn’t revealed to the reader), I was unclear and had to wait. When the Knight finally was revealed, it made sense, but totally switched your assumptions when reading a previous chapter completely around, assumptions you didn’t know needed to be challenged. Since the main character didn’t know about those events (at least not as described in that chapter), it would be easier for them to make that conclusion than for the reader, who had the extra information. Like I said, it made sense overall, maybe I’m just grumpy because I got “got.” Loved the book overall, but that was my only complaint. END POTENTIAL SPOILERS

One last cool Brad Meltzer story before we move into the home stretch. Brad does a bunch of cool stuff outside of writing novels, such as the occasional comic book arc (which is how I found out about him), USO tours, a children’s clothing line with famous historical heroes, and a TV show called Decoded which examines histories mysteries which ran for two seasons on the History channel and still repeats there and on H2 (with hopefully a third season on the way). As a part of the book tour for the Fifth Assassin, Brad decided to make decoder rings, because he’s my kind of nerd. He was giving them out on the tour to the people who came out, and I was looking forward to snagging one when he came out to L.A. Unfortunately that was when I came down with my mini-flu and I missed the signing for the first time since I started reading his books. Jess emailed him at the time and asked if he could send us a ring if there were any left over at the end of the tour, and he wrote back and asked for our address in case he had any remaining. Finally, after he wrapped things up, he sent out another email saying that the final fifty rings were up for grabs. I emailed back and said that I wanted one if he hadn’t already sent one due to Jess’ request (who also apparently emailed again as well). A couple days later, the ring showed up in my mailbox, as well as a personal reply to my email. That’s another great thing about Brad, he’s very personable and accessible, and he and his wife Cori really do go the extra mile to take care of his readers and make them feel a part of things, from invitations to book signings to the regular email updates.

Finally, I’m taking the GRE this Saturday for my Doctoral application and in reviewing I’ve discovered one thing: I haven’t done the “maths” in a long time. Thankfully most of it is still in the back of the brain and came back forward upon review, but I just don’t have the cause to use geometry or linear algebra on a regular basis, so it has a lot of cobwebs on it (this doesn’t mean it’s useless, stay in school). The writing and vocabulary parts look to be pretty straightforward, but I’ll be studying for the math portion up until Saturday morning. It’s been a while since I’ve had a test of any sort, and I’m just weird enough that I’m looking forward to it. I think that’s one of the key reasons I’ve always done well in school, when there is a high pressure situation like a test or a presentation, I, for whatever reason, look forward to them as a challenge rather than being afraid of the experience. Not sure where that came from, but thanks God/Parents/School for the shaping to be that way.

Well, that’s enough for now. I started this on Tuesday and finally wrapped up Thursday, even though I should have had it up Monday, but at least I am moving closer to back on schedule. I’ll try to get the next one out by Monday. Hope you all are having a good year so far!

Weight: 229 Loss: 1 lbs – Running Yearly Mileage: 136.2 miles (+17 miles) Last year-to-date: 52.7 miles – Words-to-date: 17872 (+1783)

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