How would you love a four-day writing retreat for one? Can’t see how to fit it in? Let me tell you how I just did it.
I was in Lake Placid NY this past weekend for the Ironman race. No. I’m not an Ironman. Nor do I ever think I will be. I’m what’s referred to as an Ironman Sherpa. My job is to help cart the equipment for, drive around, and generally support one of the Ironmen athletes (who just happens to be my husband).
If you don’t live with an Ironman, or a triathlete in general, you might not understand their routine. It consists of them going out and doing ridiculous amounts of swimming, biking and running for about a year, in preparation for one full day of – you guessed it – swimming, biking and running. Plus, they generally go to bed early. Every night.
Now, if you happen to be a writer – one who enjoys writing in relative peace (like me) – then you might already see how this could be beneficial to your craft. If, on average, someone training for a race like this puts in two hours per day of training, seven days a week, that turns into roughly 730 hours of writing time (not to mention the time you get after they go to sleep at 8:00pm).
730 hours of writing is just under 15 hours per week – basically the equivalent of a part-time job! Think of what you could achieve, if you had that time set aside exclusively for writing!!
Unfortunately, I did not make use of those hundreds of free hours my spouse granted me. No, it’s not because of procrastination (though there’s a fair amount of that in my schedule L ); alas: we have kids.
Ugh. The bane of a creative mind. Small humans whose sole purpose in life is to figure out when you most need a few moments to yourself during the day, and seek to fill those moments with needy little whines, self-generated disasters, pointless arguments with siblings and the ever popular throwing of a fit. We’ve got two of them. Small humans, that is. Two boys. One who loves to bug, and one who loves to shriek incessantly when bugged.
So for me, those hundreds and hundreds of hours when hubby was out training, I was on Daddy-duty. Don’t get me wrong: I love my boys. I love writing too, though.
The payoff comes on race weekend. Finally – a full year of training has gone by, and we’re ready for the big day (whew!!). Triathlon is an equipment-intensive sport. More than one person (ie: the athlete) can comfortably handle. That’s why it’s nice to have someone along for the race – the Sherpa.
We arrived at Lake Placid – amidst the beautiful Adirondacks – on Thursday afternoon, and left Monday morning. The race was on Sunday (like – all day Sunday – it takes about 12 hours to complete it. No joke). Aside from a few administrative tasks (attending briefings, dropping off bikes, driving the course), that leaves most hours of the day free…
By the way, my husband is my biggest supporter when it comes to my writing, and it was he who saw the opportunity for me; he who suggested I accompany him. So while I’m taking credit for this blog, it’s he who gets credit for the idea.
When exactly did I get my writing in?
-on the drive here and back (it took us 3½ hours each way);
-while my husband attended his pre-race briefings;
-while he did his last few workouts;
-while he dropped all of his kit off at the race site;
-while he slept (restlessly, stressing about the race!);
-on race day, of course! 12 hours of uninterrupted ‘me’ time. It was awesome.
So now, I’m on the lookout for a new race for him. I’m thinking a marathon in the fall – that should be worth a three-day mini writing retreat!