Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Twelve Days to the Finish Line - One More for Ernie

Recruit one more for Ernie.  

For those of you outside the Lexington running community, you probably have never heard of Ernie Peel.  He is one of those rare men who just love people, and he’s constantly encouraging men and women who want to run, especially newbie runners (like me) who shy away from group runs out of fear of holding folks back. But with Ernie, no one is ever left behind!  

The reason I’m talking about Ernie is because of what happened this morning at the breast imaging center.


Hang with me here a minute.

The heroine in my work-in-progress is a runner with breast cancer. During my mammogram, I talked to the technician about running and how it changes a woman’s body. She was a runner and loved it and in fact ran a half-marathon in 2:25. I was impressed. Over the last several years her children have taken up her running time, but now she’s ready to start again. So I told her all about Ernie and the Striders and how welcomed she would be when she was ready. She was thrilled! I expect Elizabeth will contact the Striders in the future.
Don't shoot Ernie's cow!

Another recruit for Ernie!   

The conversation with Elizabeth reminded me of so many others I’ve had over the years about writing. Most of them took place because I had either called or written to an expert. But without a doubt the funniest conversation took place right before Christmas 2009.

I was reworking a cattle stampede scene and needed a gun for my heroine who had time-traveled back to 1852.  Unlike most time-travelers, Kit takes her paramedic bag and survival gear with her.  So what kind of gun would she need during a stampede?  To find the answer I headed off to a local gun shop.

I stepped through the front door into a store crowded with Christmas shoppers.  I had no idea where to start. A young man working the cash register asked if he could help me. I told him I needed a gun that could kill as many cows as possible in the shortest amount of time.


A dozen or more slacked-jaw men stared back at me.

I quickly explained that I was a writer researching guns for a scene in my book. Now, this was something these men could get into. Suggestions started flying right and left. I furiously took notes. Then after posing several more questions, I took my answers and left the shop shaking my head. An assault riffle. Really? I can't give Kit an assault riffle. Guess what she ends up with?  Nah. I won't spoil the story for you. 

My sister has a favorite story she tells on me. We were in the ER with our mom. Knowing she was okay, I started peppering the ER doc about how a paramedic would treat a serious leg injury. It took a moment for him to understand that my paramedic was “practicing medicine without a license” in 1852 not the present time. "Ah, now that's interesting. This is what she can do . . ." 

I have to admit the conversations I’ve had as a writer have been far more interesting than discussing with other runners time, pace, and what kinds of energy food are best for long runs. But heck, even those topics have found their way into my stories.

Happy writing and running, Kathy


Jenn said...

If you want to give your runner some GI or bladder control issues on one of her runs, we could have a pretty fun conversation...;)

Unknown said...

After following the discussion on the Striders' loop this afternoon, I have a pretty good idea what those conversations would be like, and somehow I think it would be TMI for romance readers. But we'll have the conversation! I'm always doing research! :)