Notes From a Hired Pen

A new book, and a marathon, for 2016

bookcoverblog *tap tap tap*

Is this thing on? It is? Well good.

Hello! Fancy meeting you here. I know it’s been a while, but 2015 was quite a year for me. As my previous posts suggest, I wrote a book. I meant to blog more then, but I got sucked into the vortex of, well, writing the book. At the same time, I had to stay on top of my other freelance work. It wasn’t easy, but I did it, and last night, I sent in the very very last and final changes to the manuscript. That door, finally, is closed.

Well, beyond all the publicity and marketing and signings and events and trying not to hit refresh over and over again to see my Amazon rankings while also determining whether or not I want to read bad reviews (because, while the response from those who have read the book have been overwhelmingly positive, not everyone is going to love the book. I’m a realist). So even though my brain has already pivoted toward what could be my next possible book, I know a lot of 2016 will be soaked up by Running: A Love Story — if I’m lucky. It comes out on March 22.

I’m here today because I’m about to set off on another adventure: tomorrow, I start training for my sixth marathon. On May 1, I’m going back to the beach: I’ll be running the New Jersey Marathon, which also happens to be the running event that takes up the most real estate of all the races mentioned in Running: A Love Story. While I’ve run a lot of races many times over (I’ll be doing my ninth Ocean Drive 10 Miler in March), this is the first time I’ll be repeating a marathon.

I have a lot of reasons for that, but the biggest one is that I just really like the race. The course, atmosphere and — fingers crossed — the weather that time of year all work for me. A spring marathon also means winter training. I didn’t do a marathon in 2015 in part because of the hellacious time I had training for the 2014 New York City Marathon in the summer heat. I’m not interested in doing that again, so ice and snow and cold weather training it is. I’m setting an ambitious goal for May 1, too: I’d like to break four hours. I have some fall goals as well (including a sub-six minute road mile and breaking what by then will be my decade-old 5k PR), but first thing’s first: the marathon.

As such, I’m going to write a bit about that training here. I know that when I’m running a lot, I tend to write a lot more too, and this will be a nice little spot for that. There may be gaps in posting because, like when I wrote my book blog, the work I do here can’t cannibalize my other paying running writing, including my Philadelphia Inquirer running column which, despite the ever sliding and shifting newspaper landscape, has managed to hang on to enter its fourth year.

If you’ve come here for book events, never fear. This website is about to get a refreshing, including the addition of a standalone book page dedicated to all things Running: A Love Story. You can also mark the book “to read” on Goodreads if you’re a member of that community.

If you want me to shut up about running and are instead looking for updates on my writing, you can also sign up for my newsletter, which I try to send every Monday morning. That will be chock full of book updates too, including a special announcement in January for those of you who have pre-ordered the book.

If you found me because you read this story and are looking for fitness tips, I’ll be (finally) posting my weight lifting routine next week. I have another New York Times story about food coming out soonish (the holidays are the reason for the “ish” at the end of that), so stay tuned.

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