October 

I have had some lovely autumnal runs this month. The trees are orange and yellow and red, the skies have been blue, I’ve been running in shorts all month. Its been the perfect autumn month.

I had just 2 flights this month and slept in 2 beds – at home, and in Dublin. I put my curtains up in my bedroom (finally!), went into the loft for the first time, and welcomed a new flatmate…while James is away we decided to rent out our spare room and one of my old school friends was interested in moving in. A busy month!

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


1. Mum and I with painful grins after both getting huge PBs at Dublin marathon 

2. My last run pre-marathon – a horrible, slow, heavy 3 miles that I had to cut short but I knew my training had been good and it was a lovely day so I was still grinning.

3. I love running in the autumn – the colours are so beautiful.

4.Another view from a run, this one on my 8 mile route to work.

 I have still been incredibly busy at work, working 210 hours in October so once again training didn’t go quite as planned. On the other hand, I was meant to be tapering for a few weeks so a little less training was really part of the plan.

Swimming: 740m. Actually almost double last month but still just one swim. I can barely call myself a triathlete these days.

Cycling: 158km – even less than last month! In fairness to me – it was marathon month. 

Running: 202km!! Almost 35km more than last month and my biggest month ever of running. That’s 125 miles (my previous biggest month was 111 miles). I know that’s not aactually  huge amount for someone who wants to run an ultra marathon but i prefer to run less and cross train… So I should probably start doing some Cross-training again!

Yoga: Four short online classes in my living room and one proper session with Brixton Yoga in Brockwell Park when the sun was still shining at the beginning of the month.

Cross-training: only 2 sessions this month. I am out of the routine here and it’s not good!

Read: I finished reading all of the Booker longlist books again before the winner was announced. I really love this reading challenge – it introduces me to some new books and new authors that I would never previously have come across or considered.

The Schooldays of Jesus by JM Coetzee: the sequel to a book I read last month (and wasn’t a huge fan of) and to be honest I felt the same about this one. I’m glad it didn’t make the Booker Prize shortlist as it was my least favourite of the books on the longlist.

My name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Stroud: I reviewed this book on the blog here – I loved it! A gripping, clever, beautifully written book about love and poverty.

Eileen by Ottessa Mosfegh: I also reviewed this in the same post as Lucy Barton. Some have seen this as a challenging book due to how unlikeble the main character is but I found her fascinating and really enjoyed the book.

The Girls by Emma Kline: this was the big summer read – a young girl runs riot one summer joining a local hippie community with tragic consequences. It was gripping but the ending left me slightly underwhelmed.

This Must be the place by Maggie O’Farrell: I’m going to review this book because I loved it so much. Its just brilliant, moving backwards and forwards in time and place, with deeply drawn out and imagined characters, never quite as you would expect. One of my favourite books of the year.

After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell: after the previous book I immediately went and bought all the other books I hadn’t read by this author. After You’d Gone is again, not at all what you would expect when you first start reading the book but it is a delicately drawn, deeply emotional book about loss, love and grief. I blinked back the tears as I read it on the plane, finishing it in one day. I’d really recommend it.

The Hand that First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell: can you tell I got a bit obsessed by Maggie O’Farrell?! I read 3 in quick succession and began to realise the key themes –  family, sudden loss of a loved one, coping with that. I also really like them because at least parts (or, in this book, all of it) are set in London and I like reading books that take place in my city! Place seems as important to the storyline as the characters. I was quite slow to tie together the two threads of this book, I imagine many readers would have realised the twist long before I did. I was just fully involved in the characters, getting angry and worried on their behalf.  It’s an easy read, and a really enjoyable one.

My best moment in October was around mile 8 of Dublin marathon. I had settled into a rhythm, I was running downhill at a good pace, the trees were all beautiful colours of orange and reds and yellows, the sky was blue, I was surrounded by people singing “old McDonald had a farm” as they ran and I just couldn’t keep the smile off my face.

Right now I am:

Reading
: You Are An Ironman by Jacques Steinberg….. .Uh oh…..

Listening to:
 lots and lots of interviews with Karl Meltzer who just got the record for the fastest known time on the Appalacian trail, covering 2190 miles in 45 days and 22 hours. The podcasts have been fascinating, not just because of his story of what it was like out on the trail, but also to listen to him talk about his recovery. Three weeks on, he had still done no more exercise than walking the dogs, was sleeping 10 hours a night, napping, and getting quickly exhausted when doing simple tasks. Its good to know that even insanely fit people completing incredible feats of endurance take time to recover!

Enjoying: having a flatmate! While I wasn’t lonely living alone, I’d forgotten just how nice it is when you come home from work really late to have someone to talk to – or how much quicker washing the dishes takes when you’re chatting as you do it!

Looking forward to: Mallorca! I’m spending a long weekend there with my mum and my sister. We ate going to eat lots of food, drink delicious wine, go hiking and generally exploring and I absolutely cannot wait. I’m off tomorrow!

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3 comments

    • Good point! It is all relative – I have been reading ultra marathon training plans which talk about running 50 miles a week as a minimum which may have skewed my perspective somewhat!

  1. That’s awesome you read the entire longlist! I loved Lucy Barton too and also enjoyed The Girls. AND – I recently read You Are An Ironman….I do Sprint Triathlons, but will never do an Ironman. It was totally inspiring, but didn’t make me want to actually do one myself.

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