I started last week’s monthly review by saying “the end of the summer”. Well, it may technically be Autumn but the summer weather has continued and we’ve had some lovely weather. It’s actually been better here than it was when I went out to visit James in Chicago!

I had 2 flights, 4 long drives and slept in 3 beds – at home, in Chicago, and in James’ house in South Bend. And then several weekends just at home finishing up all my chores in the new house! Almost sorted now. Still got curtains to put up in my bedroom though!

My most popular instagram posts (I’m @adarling575) were:

1. On the bike on my first sprint triathlon relay and the most fun race I’ve ever done

2. A sunset 10 mile run along the canals

3. Chicago skyline 

4. Memories of a beautiful village in Mallorca – Deia

It was a stressful month at work, one of my busiest ever, and so most of my training fell by the wayside in prioritising running and work.

Swimming: 400m….. I swam 3654m last month. I didn’t get in the pool once – just a short swim in the sprint distance triathlon relay I did right back at the beginning of the month!

Cycling: 172.6km … hmmm. To put that in perspective, last month I cycled 416.5km. I haven’t got out one weekend due to all the long runs, and lots of early morning meetings and late nights in the office have meant I haven’t done as much cycling to work as I would usually – plus I have been running to work around twice a week!

Running: 168km – I was about to say just slightly more than last month… but it is 23km more and that is actually quite a lot when you’re running! My peak weak for marathon training is this week, but I ran over 15 miles every single weekend in September!

Yoga: Just four 10 minute online classes in my living room….

Cross-training: Looking back over my training calendar I did NO cross-training in the whole of September! Really everything has been a disaster exercise-wise other than the running. I am really hopeful that work is going to calm down slightly so I can at least get some more lunch breaks and get in the gym more often! No cross-training = injury on the horizon…… I would like to point out that we are now a few days into October and my new leaf has been turned – let’s just hope it lasts! 

Read: I am making good progress on my aim of reading all the books on the Booker longlist before the winner is announced. I’ve now got until 24th October to read just two books so I think that’s do-able! All the summaries below will be short as I will review all of them (eventually) here on the blog!

All that Man is by David Szalay: a series of short stories all tied into one central theme, the lives of men across Europe, ranging from a backpacker in his late teens to a retiree.

Serious Sweet by A.L. Kennedy: I never quite got into this book, billed as a modern day love story set in London I was expecting a lot more from it (and I normally love books set in London) and it was just really really long.

The North Water by Ian McGuire: a very dark, gripping story set on a whaling ship. Really, really good.

Hot Milk by Deborah Levy: I loved this book – my review is here. A mesmerising, hypnotic book set under the hot Andalucian sun.

Do not say we have nothing by Madeleine Thien: I also loved this one and reviewed it in the same blog post above. An epic novel spanning decades of Chinese history from the civil war, to the Cultural Revolution, the Tiannamen Square massacres, all the way to the present day.

The Childhood of Jesus by J.M. Coetzee: A story of a man and a boy who arrive by boat in a strange new land. At first I thought it was a more realist story about refugees but I soon realised the new country is entirely bewildering and not realist at all – a kind of socialist state where everyone has arrived by boat and is assigned a new name on arrival. It’s incredibly philosophical and would be, I think, quite enjoyable. But for the fact that there is a lot of dialogue between the boy, who is about 5 or 6, and the man, and I find children quite annoying. I think Coetzee managed to capture quite well the incessant questions children ask, but I found a lot of the dialogue just really very annoying!!! Sorry parents, sorry Coetzee…

My best moment in September was (cringe alert) falling asleep my first night in Chicago in a lovely hotel bed all cuddled up with James and then just spending the rest of the weekend with him.

Right now I am:

Reading: The Schooldays of Jesus by J.M.  Coetzee. As I mentioned above, I found the first book in this sequel slightly annoying so I was VERY annoyed to realise I had been reading the wrong book, and not the one that was on the Booker longlist. But I set myself a challenge and I’m going to stick to it so I had to read the second one…

Listening to: I LOVE the Tough Girl podcasts with Sarah Wiliams. Interviews every week with incredible women doing amazing things. I’ve listened to interviews with Juliana Buhring and Emily Chappell, the incredible ultra-cycling racers, Jessica Mills talking about hiking the Appalachian trail and Jo Bradshaw who has climbed Everest. It is incredibly inspiring.

Enjoying: my new sofas! It’s almost slightly annoying that the weather is still glorious as partly I just want to spend the weekends sat on my new sofas enjoying my new house 🙂 Check out my lovely armchair!

Looking forward to: two things mainly – James coming home for a whole week in 2 weeks time – I have already booked lots of restaurants for us to go to while he’s home! And also, of course, Dublin Marathon at the very end of the month. I’m really excited about the marathon.


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