February

The end of February kind of snuck up on me this year, despite the jokes I’ve been making about it being a Leap Year for almost a year now (NB: in the UK women are allowed to propose to their boyfriends on the 29th February. It’s illegal any other day…. P.S. strongly tongue in cheek there!)

Less travelling this month as I made my way home from Colombia but I still spent nights in seven different places, one on a plane, three different places in Colombia (Chichamocha Canyon, Barichara and Bogota – stay posted for blogs about all those places), at my mum’s in my childhood bed and up in Scotland in my grandparents’ home. Oh – and in my own bed at home of course!

  
Lots of Instagramming still this month although less than last – my most liked photos were….

  
Anyway, here are my training stats for the month:

Swam: 3 times with a total distance of 2760m. In my defence, I was nowhere near any water for the first week of February and then had a half marathon in the second week, then was ill in the third… #excusesexcusesexcuses I promise to swim more next month!

Cycled132 km – again, not particularly high numbers but at least I was actually on a bike! (Didn’t cycle once in January). See above for the excuses and promises.

  
Ran: 128.8km (or 80 miles). Here’s where I don’t need any excuses! Almost 20 miles more than last month, some good solid runs, some much-needed confidence for the marathon, and proof (so far, anyway) that you can go travelling for six weeks and still train for a marathon ūüôā

  
Yoga: I’ve done pretty well here this month as well with 7 yoga workouts (one less than last month) – including two in the most beautiful studio I’ve ever been in. Yep, it beat last month’s wonderful studio on the shores of Lake Atitlan.

  
Aside from all of that, I also managed four strength sessions and two hikes.

Read: six fantastic books this month:

Cloud Road by John Harrison: in this incredible book, which I will review at some point, John Harrison walks through the Inca heartlands, from Quito in Ecuador to Pisco in Peru. Its an incredible travelogue, with beautiful scenery, gripping history, funny moments, and a personal love story.

Of Love and other Demons by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: I’ll be honest, I didn’t like this one much. I’ve now read three Garcia Marquez books and this was definately my least favourite. Annoying, as before I read it, I bought it for James’ mum for Christmas! Set in Cartagena while the Spanish still reigned over Colombia, the book explores the concept of love as a kind of madness, as a demonic possession, together with the rigidity of the Catholic Church in those days. Its eerie, surreal, and reading reviews of it makes me think I didn’t “get it” properly.

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: this was a slow burner for me but by the end I just loved it. In this, Marquez sees love as a sickness, comparing it to the cholera that used to stalk the Caribbean coast of Colombia. The Colombian civil war also plays a role in Marquez’s wonderful way of entwining history with the surrealism of his novel in such a way that you barely notice it. Love is dealt with as young, passionate love and the love that grows amongst two people that have been married for years, together with themes of faith and of aging. Its a great book.

Life after Life by Kate Atkinson: I’ll blog about this and its sequel below at some point. For this moment I’ll just say that I enjoyed Life after Life much more than I was expecting it to, as it takes the reader through both the first and second world wars and what it was like to grow up in England in the 20th century. 

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson: I preferred this to Life After Life due to its simpler structure and I really liked the main character. We’re into the 20th century now, and the younger brother of Life After Life’s protagonist is an old man, his wife and friends mainly dead, looking back over his life. It’s really wonderful.

Long Way Home by Eva Dolan: I don’t normally read or like crime fiction but this was a pretty good one – bleak and violent and bringing into light the horrific world of many of the migrants that live in the UK, dealing with themes of trafficking and modern-day slavery. It was good, and if you like that genre I’d recommend it – I was certainly gripped! But ultimately, for a book on the same theme, I much preferred The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota.

  
My best moment in February was….

I don’t know actually, it’s hard. My last week in Colombia was all brilliant but I am not sure there was one particular moment that stood out as best. Then there was being home with James, which is lovely, but it was that gentle loveliness of settling back into a routine and a life that makes you happy. So I think my best moment was actually a work-related moment – being sat in court as the judge read out his judgement. As these are public, he had to go through the background of the case and I was sitting on the edge of my chair, hanging on every word to see whether it would be in our favour or not. Finally it was in our favour – a judgement with over a million pounds and much more beside in terms of confidence and pride riding on it. It was the first time I’ve been in a situation like that at work and I was euphoric, we all were.

Right now I am…

Reading: nothing! But I am just about to start Under the Visible Life by Kim Echlin.

Listening to: i have been hugely enjoying Tina Muir’s Run to the Top podcast. She did a listener survey towards the end of last year and as a result I think her podcasts have gotten loads better. I really like how enthusiastic she is about all her guests and how sweetly honest and open she is about her own training, life and career. Plus all her guests are really interesting so it’s a great podcast to listen to.

Enjoying: marathon training! I think I love this part of it, the month before tapering, when the long runs are really long and even the weekday runs are long. Alternating a really, really long slow run, with a faster half marathon distance the next week . Its one reason I think I’ll try an ultra eventually – because I do love running long and slow.

Excited about: i tried to just pick one of these three but they’re all going to be awesome so I couldn’t choose! Firstly – my best friend’s hen party for which we have rented a huge house in Brighton for the weekend. Secondly – a long weekend away skiing, visiting my little sister who is working in the Alps this winter. Thirdly – easter in the south of Spain! Snow and sun in two consecutive weekends, I can’t wait. March is going to be hectic but brilliant.

 

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