On summer, running, and life lessons...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Hello everyone--

I hope all of you are enjoying this beautiful summer. It took a long time for the sun to get to my little corner of the pacific northwest, but now that's it here, all is forgiven. I guess that attitude is pretty much required if one wants to live here. Lots of physical beauty, great outdoor activities, but you've got to be able to live without sunlight for a good patch of the year.

Once summer comes, though, it's paradise here. I've been running again--outside; not on a treadmill, staring at my laundry room wall--and it's great to get back to it. In fact, running has actually taught me something important about life, and I'd like to pass it on. If some of you have similar life lessons, please share with the group. Anyway, here it is. For all of my adult life, I have been following whatever the latest fitness craze was. I put on the leg warmers and popped in the Jane Fonda tape and did all those moves...then I did aerobics, and jazzercize, and step aerobics, kickboxing, and even tae bo. All of it was great in it's own way. It kept me moving, and as a pretty reclusive writer, it got me out the house on a daily basis. Mostly it allowed me to actually eat food. :) But none of it ever inspired me or taught me anything about myself.

Then last year, my step aerobics classes at the gym started filling up. Summer was coming and everyone started thinking about wearing shorts and t shirts again, so they signed up for classes, and suddenly, if I wanted to stake out a step, I had to be at the class a half an hour early. Now, I manage my time pretty carefully, and an hour for exercise I could manage, with another fifteen minutes of driving there and back; another thirty minutes of standing around, waiting, was too much. Even worse were the days when I'd get there and be turned away.

In desperation, I decided to try running. Well, jogging. Okay, basically it's slower than walking. :) I thought why not? all I need is new shoes. So I bought the shoes and headed out. After all, I was living in Hawaii at the time, and the road in front of my house is flat for about two miles. I thought: I'll just run to the end and back. So I put on my shoes and started out.

I got to the neighbor's house before I was breathing so hard I had to stop. I kid you not. And I thought I was in shape, at least sort of. But I kept going. That day I ran to the neighbor's house, then walked most of the rest of the way. The next day, I ran to the state park, which is about two hundred yards past the neighbors. The day after that I ran to the bend in the road.

You get the point. It took me two months to run to the end of the road and back without stopping, and when I finally made it, I pranced around with my arms in the air, hearing the Rocky theme song playing in my head. By July of that year, I ran in my first 5k race. Now, that's not far (I was beaten by a woman who was probably 70 years old--you go, girl!), but I was really scared to attempt it. I was certain I wouldn't be able to finish or they'd still be waiting for me when it got dark. I did it anyway. And yes, I was one of the last to finish. But I felt great just for trying it.

And that was the start of running teaching me things about myself: like--starting and commiting to a thing is what matters, and even more important, every day when I run, it's so dang hard in the beginning that I want to quit. My mind starts playing tricks on me, telling me I don't need to run the whole way today, or I can stop or slow down if I want. The only thing that keeps me going is the fact that I've done it before. And there's my big life lesson. We all hear about how important it is to believe in ourselves, and that's certainly true, but sometimes believing isn't enough, you have to just gut it out and keep going. Once you've done a thing once, there's no excuse for not doing it again. Experience becomes its own motivator.

Anyway, now I'll step down off my soapbox, except to say that I ran the Fourth of July 5k race this year and beat last year's time by two and half minutes. That doesn't seem like much time--I spent longer than that staring at the deli counter trying to figure out what I want for lunch--but I felt as if I'd triumphed just the same. Yes, I still came in well at the back of the pack, and this year I was beaten by a woman pushing twins in a stroller and several people running with their dogs, but still I felt great. And let's face it: anything in this life that makes us feel proud of ourselves is important.

Now, on to other things. Thanks again to all of you who entered the True Colors contest. I'm starting to hear back from the lucky winners and their comments on the novel have humbled me. I really appreciate every single reader, and I look forward to February, when you all can read it. I also just heard from my editor, who tells me that we'll have final cover art and advance reading copies at the end of the summer, so keep checking back for updates. You'll love the cover! I can't wait to show it to you all. I'm thinking of running another essay contest. The response was so great on the last one. I think it'll be about sisters this time. What do you all think of that?

Finally, I want to plug my good friends who have books out this month. Remember the photos of Jill Marie Landis, Christina Dodd, and me in Hawaii? Well, both of them have books out this month. Check them out! I read Landis' The Homecoming last year, and I have to say, I loved it's message; it's a book with tremendous heart. If I knew how to post a link, I would, but alas, I am not that smart. :) Also, Megan Chance's The Spiritualist is out in trade this month. It's a killer read.

That's all I have for now. Will keep in touch, and you do the same.

aloha,

Kristin

21 Comments:

Blogger middle aged blogger said...

Since reading "The Things We Do For Love" in June which was our library's book club choice, I have been consuming your books. I first read the 6 in stock in the library and then ordered all the rest.

I must say that I appreciate the changes in your writing over time, and that the later novels are about 1000% better than the earlier ones. I am a retired teacher/founder of a Montessori school and so I thought it was important that you hear that you are growing and developing as a writer!!!

Our older daughter also runs. She completed a half marathon and then had to take 8 months off to recover and has been told never to go that far again so now she limits herself to 5k runs at the max.

Thanks for what you do!

Marie

July 11, 2008 at 1:57 PM  
Blogger april said...

Ugh, I'm kind of lazy. Way too lazy to run or jog. I will walk. I try to walk with the baby as much as I can. She loves it outside.

I can't wait to see cover art for True Colors. There are so many possibilities. It's hard to beat Firefly Lane, too. That cover was so pretty. My comments on True Colors are late because I'm trying to gather my thoughts and let the book marinate a little. I'll have them organized soon. At least something in my life should be organized.

Oooh, love new reading recommendations. It's been awhile since I've read Jill Marie Landis, but I just reread Magnolia Creek recently and saw Jade on my bookshelf recently. I'm a few books behind with Christina Dodd, too. I still have Trouble in High Heels on my shelf somewhere. For some reason, I only read Christina Dodd's contemporaries whereas I prefer Jill Marie Landis's historicals. I eventually read everything, but with some authors, I gravitate towards certain books more than others. I do have a vacation coming up so it'll be good to have my reading material ready!

July 11, 2008 at 3:13 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

Oh, April, I am SO with you. I am soooooo not a runner. Treadmill. On a nice slow speed. LOL LOL

And enjoy your vacation. You too, Leen. I'm very envious. :)

Kim

July 12, 2008 at 12:46 AM  
Anonymous Sheila said...

I'm not much of a runner, more of a swimmer. My sister has done cross country and she says running hurts bad for the first few miles, then it feels great. I've never been one to get past those first few painful miles. No thank you!!

I guess my "running" would be studying. Getting a little more down each time, pushing past mental road blocks. I think getting into vet school was my marathon :) Too bad it doesn't burn calories, eh?

I'm looking forward to hearing more about your book!! Congrats on your 5k, that is quite the feat!! Enjoy the nice weather we're having. If you were here I'd give you some of my home made ice cream :)

-Sheila, your washington vet student fan

July 13, 2008 at 4:56 PM  
Blogger Cindy W said...

Thanks for your story, MUST START WALKING AGAIN. I download audiobooks on my ipod, but since baseball season ended, we don't go to the park everyday and I haven't walked!

As for books- I just finished Linda Howard's Death Angel, it's a very good read, I enjoyed it VERY much. I will also be getting Some Like it Wicked by Teresa Medeiros, Delicious by Sherry Thomas and A Highlander Never Surrenders by Paula Quinn. If you haven't read Paula Quinn, you are in for a treat. This book is #2 in a series, Laird of the Mist is #1 and a wonderful book. I am starting the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyers as well. I read 2 books by Shana Abe, The Secret Swan and The Truelove Bride, and I found another author that will be an autobuy!

Anyways, I plan on watching Benjamin Bratt's new series, The Cleaner tonight at 10, Anyone else?

Lisa, Congrats and how was the wedding?

July 15, 2008 at 1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sharon canada
Nice to keep track of you.Loved Fire Fly,Did you get the pictures from Frank--hope so.Have a great summer,and keep on writing and runnng.Not much good at this blog busines-but will try
Sharon cos in canada

July 15, 2008 at 4:49 PM  
Blogger middle aged blogger said...

Hey Sheila,

I believe thinking really does use up lots and lots of calories so don't discount it! that's my teacher's point of view based on some reading I've done...

Marie

July 16, 2008 at 8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kristin,
I just finished Firefly Lane my first time reading your work. It was a beautiful story. It's funny how you spoke of running, I have been searching for motivation to get back into exercise and I believe you have given me that. I can't wait to read all of your books. Thanks again.
Susan-North Carolina

July 17, 2008 at 5:41 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Dear Marie--

Thanks so much for checking in! I'm glad you've discovered my books and are enjoying them. I'll agree that my earlier romances are different in many ways from what I'm writing today, and I certainly like to think I've improved. It is true, however, that I'm still interested in love and families, and all the things that keep us together and drive us apart.

Keep reading--
aloha,
kristin

July 17, 2008 at 9:16 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Dear April--

I know what you mean about trying to get organized. It's my neverending quest! Witness my blog. I'd LOVE to write more often, but I'm too disorganized. :) Where are you going on vacation?
aloha,

Kristin

July 17, 2008 at 9:17 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Sheila--

Great hearing from you!! I know what you mean about studying. :) I'm amazed you find time to read anything at all or do anything besides keeping up with your schoolwork. Good for you.

Keep in touch,

Kristin

July 17, 2008 at 9:19 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Cindy--

Jeez, you make me look like a reading piker. I have to admit that at the moment I'm reading a classic. Anna Karenina. It's really a compelling read, but sometimes it's hard to pick up and get started. It's just so darn big and heavy. At least I'm definitely getting my money's worth. And fair warning: don't plan on doing much else while you're reading the Twilight series. August 2 is the final installment, so you'd better hurry.

:)
aloha,
Kristin

July 17, 2008 at 9:22 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Sharon--\


GREAT to hear from you! How's your summer going? Weather good up there? Haven't talked to Frank in a while, but we're all going on a family trip soon and I can't wait.

aloha,
Kristin

July 17, 2008 at 9:23 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Marie--

I KNOW thinking burns up calories. At least it certainly should. Unfortunately, I tend to eat when I think, so it's kind of a wash...

aloha,
Kristin

July 17, 2008 at 9:25 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Marie--

I KNOW thinking burns up calories. At least it certainly should. Unfortunately, I tend to eat when I think, so it's kind of a wash...

aloha,
Kristin

July 17, 2008 at 9:25 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Dear Susan--

Glad to hear you're enjoying the books. And here's to finding that motivation for exercise! You go, girl. One day at a time, that's how I try to do it.

Good luck,
Kristin

July 17, 2008 at 9:26 PM  
Blogger april said...

Speaking of organizing, I have organized about half of my cube. It's taken me the better part of the week. The sad part is that it's probably a 6'x6' cube.

As for vacation, my family goes to Maine for a week every year or two. My grandparents have two cottages up there and my mom's side of the family all takes a week to go together. This will be Baby's first trip to the beach. She loves the pool so we'll see how the beach goes.

~ april

July 18, 2008 at 10:31 AM  
Blogger Andrea in NZ said...

Hi Kristin (plus hello fellow bloggers - is it called a blog when you're responding to someone else's webpage?)
this is my first time at actually writing on a blog (weird word that). I was just so moved by 'firefly lane' I wanted to say thank you for writing! I love your books and ordered this one through my local library before it was even on the shelves as I am hooked to your writing style - I've read all the books listed on your website and recommended them to many people. I've just read firefly in two sittings, that's how addictive they are - and that's with my two kids (age 11 & 8) bugging me for the last hour asking why I was crying when I was reading; and if the book was making me cry then why did I choose it? I said to them (whilst wiping my face on my already wet sleeve) that the books take me to another world (I'm already imagining just what the gorgeous Marah and Tully might be talking about) and they also remind me that I'm so lucky to have kids that can bug me! I'm off to do some sit ups (running is not a word in my vocabulary!) to try and get rid of the puckering tummy just like Kate had. I will be thinking of your book when I go to the doctor for a checkup too. Your characters are so real. I think that's why your books are just so fantastic - it's also awesome to log into your website. So, thanks again and love to you and your family from 'downunder' - Andrea,Christchurch, New Zealand.

July 19, 2008 at 7:25 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Dear April--

Have a great time in Maine. A long time ago, I set a book in Maine, and the research really made me want to visit there. And of course, two of my favorite authors live there--Stephen King and Tess Gerritson. So have a great time and tell us all what it's like. Baby's first time at the beach is always such a memorable time...
aloha,
K

July 20, 2008 at 6:16 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Dear Andrea--

Welcome here from New Zealand!!! That is absolutely a place I've always wanted to visit. Even before Lord of the rings, which everyone knows is my favorite movie(s). I still get chills thinking about that scened of the warning fires being lit on the snowy mountain tops. I don't suppose those mountains are near you?

I have to say, too, I was laughing about you crying on the sofa, with your family asking why you were crying, and why you kept reading a book that made you cry. I remember doing exactly the same thing with Susan Elizabeth Phillip's novel, Hot Shot, several years ago. It made my then young son crazy. Now, of course, he is used to seeing me cry over everything--Hallmark ads, movie trailers, the right song. He just rolls his eyes. :)

I'm so glad that you found Firefly "Down Under." Let me know if and when True Colors shows up.

Keep in touch. Be sure and watch for the contest for the next book.

Aloha,
Kristin

July 20, 2008 at 6:20 PM  
Blogger Andrea in NZ said...

Thanks Kristin - your message truly made my day. I'm off to see if I can find a copy of the book you mentioned, plus the others that the other people have mentioned. I cry at tv ads etc too. Plus get me in front of a sad country music video and I'm a gonner. (in particular Travis Tritt's series about Annie) (blub blub) In fact, sometimes just the words of the songs make me cry!

Re the mountains - I live about one hours drive from the Southern Alps, which I'm pretty sure are in the movie (they shot all over NZ).I must confess I haven't watched any of the Lord of the Rings movies (it's on my to-do list!) The view from the 5th floor at my work is of these mountains in the distance, truly stunning in the sunset especially in winter when covered in snow. I live in the city - if you call it that - we had some visitors from the UK in at work recently and one of them asked if it was really the city coz it was so quiet and there are only about ten high rise buildings (the tallest of which is 18 or so stories!!) If you or other readers are interested there are some lovely pix of scenery on this website: http://www.christchurch.org.nz/
:) Andrea

July 21, 2008 at 6:15 AM  

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