The Race

Years ago I would run. More than twenty miles a week on average. But that was years ago. My daughters, who are now about the age I was back then, decided we should create a team and run some fun 5K's for good causes. Great idea, except did I mention I used to run and it was a long time ago?

We ran our first race in March. As an older runner, I made the decision I didn't care about time at all, only finishing the race running. It wasn't the kind of race I had envisioned. For one, the race was at night. The only lights came from glow-in-the-dark bracelets and necklaces. The route went from pavement to gravel to rutted dirt track and then back again. We ran around a body of water. The path tilted. All the while, colored water was sprayed at us at intervals.

Early on I saw an older woman fall. I slowed my pace. I saw there were obstacles that had fallen onto the path. I became afraid and slowed even more. A rock jammed into the heel of my shoe and I had to stop to remove it. 

I had lost sight of my goal - running the race. I lost my ability to keep pace - my daughters were well in front of me. I felt alone. I felt like a failure. I gave up. I walked.

Why would anyone endure such a thing and call it fun?

Probably for the same reason writers write.

Writers face challenges too. They write alone. They face obstacles - family members who don't understand they are working and not just entertaining themselves with a hobby. They fend off callers and the internet. They set goals and then, all too often, give up when they can't attain them immediately. Writing is hard, but it is also incredibly rewarding as long as you don't give up the "race." 

That evening in March it took me a while. I had to do a lot of self talk. Finally I got my head back into the game, as they say. Okay, I wouldn't run the entire race, but I could still run part of it. I found a pace that was comfortable, where I didn't worry about tripping and falling. I kept my head down and ran. It wasn't easy, but each step took me one closer to the finish line.

Writing isn't easy. Keep your head down. Work to remove your obstacles. Don't beat yourself up when you don't achieve the goals you set for yourself right away, instead celebrate your successes. After all, a novel or story is written one word at a time. Find your own pace and finish your race.


D. Jean Quarles is a writer of Women's Fiction and a co-author of a Young Adult Science Fiction Series. Her latest book, Flight from the Water Planet, Book 1 of The Exodus Series was written with coauthor, Austine Etcheverry.

D. Jean loves to tell stories of personal growth – where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is also the author of the novels: Rocky's Mountains, Fire in the Hole and, Perception. The Mermaid, an award winning short story was published in the anthology, Tales from a Sweltering City.  

She is a wife, mother, grandmother and business coach. In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha! Anyway, you can find more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing and her books at her website at

You can also follower her at or on Facebook


Anne Duguid Knol said...
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Anne Duguid Knol said...

A wonderful analogy and an inspirational piece of advice to take to heart. Glad you finished that run safely.

Karen Cioffi said...

I agree, wonderful analogy. It's true that as we get older we can't do some of the things we used to, but it's always good to modify those things to keep them in our lives!

T. Forehand said...

Great article, and it is always good to add new things to our lives as we age that satisfy. I am finding I am passionate about new things, ideas, and writing tops that list of things to do no matter what age I am.

Magdalena Ball said...

I do find that the same effort that drives my workouts drives my writing. Making it a daily practice and aiming for the finish line all helps.

Kathleen Moulton said...

This was very encouraging and advice I need regularly. Thank-you for a great analogy.


Linda Wilson said...

I agree on your terrific analogy. It reminded me how easy everything was when I was "young" and the effort I've learned to make now that I'm "older." Your encouragement is always helpful, this time in my quest to never give up on writing and exercising, among quite a few other pursuits.

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