Ups and downs… ups and downs…. probably that can describe most triathletes’ training! But this month has certainly been one of ups and downs, from great weekends away, quiet work-weeks and good workouts, to a tummy bug that refuses to leave, an injured leg and complete apathy towards swimming! I also hugely kept up my reading streak with LOTS of book reviews to come, so if reading’s your thing, skip below to read about the books 🙂
So in August I…….
Swam: 10km – Still pretty high swimming numbers although less than last month, mainly due to my week of illness. I had one week where I swam three times… But two where I swam only once!
Cycled: 330km – Last month I said “I think this might be the most I’ve cycled in a “normal” month – i.e. one without a cycling holiday.” . This month I have cycled over 30km more than that! So it is definitely the most I have cycled in one month without a cycling holiday. Cycling holidays lead to distances of between 400km – 800km per month depending on how much other cycling I am doing as well! This is great seeing as the main training aim for this half ironman is to maximise time on the bike.
Ran: 12.1km. Can we not talk about running? I’m very fed up with the whole thing and my leg is still sore. The physio I contacted in Madrid never got back to me, but I’ve booked a sports massage back in London next week and then will think about seeing a physio there.
Read: 8 books again in August as I began reading my way through the Booker prize longlist. I have lots and lots of review posts upcoming every Friday for the foreseeable future!
Those books were:
Where the Rainbow Ends by Jameson Currier – click the link for the full review; this is one of my all-time favourite books and or I re-read again and again, at least once a year.
The Green Road by Anne Enright – click the link for the full review; this is an Irish family novel with a slight difference in structure and beautiful, beautiful sentences.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – the most harrowing, affecting book I have read in a long time. It’s story and characters will stick with me – it is truly unforgettable and a review will come this Friday.
The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami – a fantastically imagined account of the doomed Narvárez to Spanish Florida in the 16th century, told through the eyes of an African slave who accompanied the expedition. Review to come!
The Chimes by Anna Smaill – a dystopian novel set mainly in a London of the future where memory and writing no longer exist. Very enjoyable – review to come.
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James – a complicated, complex novel set in Jamaica in the latter half of the 21st century. I struggled to get to grips with it at the beginning but was fully immersed by the end – and I could still appreciate the sheer mastery of the writing even when struggling myself. Review to come.
Did you ever have a family by Bill Clegg – a beautiful, beautiful book. I couldn’t put this one down and absolutely loved it. A fire destroys almost an entire family and their home one night – only one person from the family is left alive. Clegg’s book follows the aftermath and is hauntingly beautiful, sad and hopeful. Review to come.
The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma – set in Nigeria, the book follows four young brothers as they grow up, until tragedy strikes. It’s gripping and the storytelling is brilliant – the reader really feels they know the characters. Review to come.
So many book reviews! That will keep me busy for the next few months although I may put some of them into the same blog post. Keep an eye out for the Little Life review later this week.
On the blog there were:
- book reviews – those above and one of Jay Rayner’s fantastic A Greedy Man in a Hungry World
- some love for the wonderful Ann Trason
- a weekly series of posts reminiscing about a year I spent abroad sailing across the Atlantic – firstly, lots of pictures of the wind, a post about some of the technical problems we faced, how we prepared to cross the Atlantic, and two posts about actually sailing across the Atlantic Ocean (part 1 here and part 2 here).
- a few travelling posts – about the wonderful city of Santiago de Compostela and my time cycling part of the Camino de Fisterra, and about a weekend spent in Tuscany at a wedding.
- A Day in the Life (living in Spain) and Five Things I Did this Summer
- and finally, general training posts, from a long pre-work cycle to a short injured run, and my weekly updates on my training for my first half ironman!
My best moment in August was…. This may be strange to say but in fact it was probably being out on the Camino de Fisterra on my rented mountain bike by myself for the day. Santiago has such a pilgrimage atmosphere that it felt right that I was there by myself, I enjoyed the cycle so much I didn’t want to end (despite the slight saddle sores!) and just had a fantastic day. Other wonderful moments include drinks with James in a beautiful patio in Madrid, lit by fairy lights, chatting for hours with my friend Imogen by the lake in the Casa de Campo when she came to visit, and the Italian feast we enjoyed at the wedding in Tuscany last weekend.
Right now I am….
Reading: the Illuminations by Andrew O’Hagan – the next one on my Man Booker longlist list! The shortlist is announced on Tuesday 15th September so I now have two weeks to read five books if I want to get them all done by then….. Hmmmm. On the other hand, the winner isn’t announced until 13th October and I’ll definitely have them all read by then!
Nervous about: whether or not I will actually be able to finish this Half Ironman I’ve signed up for at the end of September. My sore leg has really derailed my running training and I’m now suffering from a tummy bug I can’t shake off. If I keep up my bike fitness, and my leg isn’t actually in pain on the day, I think I’ll have the mental grit to get through the run, perhaps with a run/walk strategy. But I won’t be able to keep up my bike fitness if I don’t shake off this sickness so I am putting myself through some enforced further rest at the moment. Groooaaaaaaaaan.
Listening to: Yet more podcasts – I have been loving the Marathon Talk podcasts recently and their discussions of the doping scandal that has engulfed Athletics in recent months. It is really fascinating.
Enjoying: not much to be honest. I am fed up because it is my last week in Madrid and so I wanted to make the most of it! And instead I am sick and grumpy. Meh.
Excited about: going home. While I’m sad about leaving Madrid and think I’ll probably be in a horrendous mood as I adjust to London weather and the cost of everything, I have to admit it will be nice to live with James again. I can’t wait to eat all his cooking and to have lots and lots and lots of cuddles with my Oscar-cat who I haven’t seen in three months!!!