Monthly recap – April

I finished my last monthly recap by saying

I am writing this post on a restaurant terrace with a glass of red wine in hand as the sun sets – this is one very happy, very relaxed Alice! I think April will be a good month.

And I was right! April has been fantastic. I am more than happy to blog about the bad, about being stressed at work, injured and frustrated, awful runs and throwing strops on bike rides. And while there is some stress now, I can fully recommend (1) having half the month as holiday and (2) living in Spain for a wonderful, stress-free April!

May sees a couple of trips back to the UK, a wedding, job applications and my mum visiting Madrid.

So in April I….

Ran: 42.5km (almost 26.5 miles). Dropping back down on the running as I start focussing on biking and swimming again – but as I move into the build phase of my tri training that will pick up as well. My furthest distance was 9.8km last week and my average run pace was very slow at 6 min 49 per km – that’s due to trying to keep my heartrate in zone 1 and also running intervals! (the slow recoveries drag down my average pace).

Cycled: 423.3km. (I cycled less than 80km last month….) Plus two sessions on the spin bike, each of over an hour (and one including a 16km time trial). I really should keep track of the distances cycled on the spin bike. I can really recommend going on a cycling holiday in order to get more miles under the belt! That’s the most I’ve managed since August when I cycled over 800km (over 500 miles). Looking back now, I am so impressed with my training last August. I really hope I can do the same again as I build into triathlon season this summer.

Swam: 9.1km – a total of 6 times with my longest swim being 2.2km. I missed out on one swim the first week in April, and two the second week when I was on holiday so have three more swims to add to my aim of swimming, on average, twice a week every week in 2015. I am now ten swims down in total …. ten weeks of swimming three times a week to make up for it. That’s actually quite a lot :/ I am not sure if this challenge is possible!

I read 5 books – two weeks on holiday will do that to you!


Al Andalus – Jason Webster. Written by an Oxford graduate with a degree in Arabic studies, now married to a flamenco dancer and living in Spain, this book is an exploration of Spain’s Moorish past and how it views it today, juxtaposing the many elements of Islamic culture within Spanish culture with the treatment of Moroccan immigrants and Muslims in Spain today. It was sightly silly at times but very enjoyable and interesting.
Spain – Jan Morris. I’m going to review this book at some point because I loved it so much. Let’s just say that I had to get a highlighter to highlight my favourite passages as I was enjoying it so much.
The Children Act – Ian McEwan. After the nightmares of how lawyers were presented in Broadchurch, it was really nice to read a relatively more realistic depiction. It was good, but not fantastic.
Four Cheeks to the Wind – Mary Bryant. Another cycling around the world book! A short recap will be coming in a separate blog post…
A Spool of Blue Thread – Anne Tyler. This book is really, really lovely. I actually can’t put it down although I don’t really know why. It is not that the storyline is super-exciting but it is filled with interesting, well-developed characters who’s voices get into your head and the writing is beautiful, amusing, poignant and sad.


On the blog there was…

– several holiday posts describing FrigilianaEl Chorro, the Sierra Subbética and Semana Santa, all in Andalucia
– several cycling posts complete with route descriptions for anyone who fancies a cycling holiday to Andalucia – a long ride through Rute, Iznajar and Priego de Cordoba, a cycle around lakes in the El Chorro region, a ridiculously hilly cycle and an explore of the coast around Frigiliana, Nerja and Torrox.
– a link to a great video about runners in London
– a review of the Flipbelt
– A book review of Andrew Sykes’ books on cycling through Europe
– a run through Daimiel National Park (it was beautiful)


My best moment in April would have been my two week holiday. Can two weeks be considered a best moment? But whether it was the beautiful run and quiet evening by myself in Manzanares on the first day of the holiday, seeing James again after two weeks, cycling around gorgeous scenery, eating fantastic food or soaking in the views and history from Antequera – it was all fantastic.


Although I have to say the rest of April has been pretty awesome as well – from a run that left me soaking wet but high on endorphins, a weekend in Toledo, exploring different parts of Madrid and always eating incredible Spanish food, I have been very happy this month.


Right now I am…

Reading: I have just started reading a new book called The Silence of the Sea by Yrsa Sigurdardottir – it is Icelandic crime fiction that begins with a luxury yacht crashing into the pier in Iceland with absolutely nobody on board … the entire crew has gone missing without trace. It is very spooky and very readable so far!

Excited about: James’ parents’ wedding next weekend! They have been together for over 25 years with two now grown-up children but have decided to get married. I am a witness at the wedding and am super excited for a lovely weekend in Newcastle with family.

Nervous about: As a lawyer in the UK, my first two years at work are called a “training contract” where we move around different areas of law. That comes to an end at the end of this summer and so I have had to pick the area of law I want to qualify into. I’ve picked a very competitive area – Litigation – and so will need to interview either at the end of this month or the beginning of the next. Plus I have decided that I only want to be a Litigation lawyer, and so I haven’t applied for any “second choice” at my current law firm. This means I could be out of a job come August….. It’s the decision making that’s the most nerve-wracking and has occasionally made it hard to get to sleep at night and a sick feeling in my stomach ….

Anyway, negative thoughts and worries aside, my current mood is pretty happy – whatever happens job-wise I am sure it will all work out for the best.



    • I think “underwhelmed” and “blah” are completely the right words to use. I started off really enjoying it but then it just didn’t really go anywhere, and the ending was disappointing. As if he was nearing his word limit! Would really recommend A Spool of Blue Thread. Found it hard to put into words why I enjoyed it so much, but I really couldn’t put it down!

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