November – ultra marathon training has begun!

Right on time at the end of November, winter has begun, and the last two mornings I’ve woken up to beautifully sunny, frosty days that make it hard to keep the smile off my face, despite the long, dark nights. Its crept up on me this year – I can’t quite believe it’s December tomorrow. Where has this year gone?

Beautifully wintery London
I was off to Mallorca this month, with 2 flights and several relaxed weekends at home – exactly what I needed! 

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

1. Rediscovering the swimming pool – I have rekindled my love for swimming this month!

2. A beautiful autumn cycle through Richmond Park was exactly what I needed after a busy week at work

3. An attempt at a family selfie….

4. Looking like a nerd with my bright green socks pulled up over my leggings, but loving hiking in Mallorca 

I have still been very busy at work – although slightly quieter than last month, and have generally managed to do a reasonable amount of training….

Swimming: 4020m – about five times the distance of last month! I have actually remembered why I like swimming, especially now it gets dark so early it’s a great thing to go and do in the late afternoon once it’s dark. I think also as I am not training for a triathlon, there’s no pressure, no training plan, I can do exactly what I want in the pool and so I’m really enjoying it.

Cycling: 223.5km – more than last month, but still not a huge amount which is fine given I was on holiday for one week and am generally cycling less as I’m running to work more.

Running: 97.8km – just under half of last month which is not surprising given I was recovering from the marathon and didn’t run at all for the first ten days! I guess now I’m ultra marathon training, that number will be going up again pretty soon….

Yoga: One class. 😦 I loved it, said I would definately go every Sunday, then had to work the next Sunday and was away the Sunday after that! Not so good.

Cross-training: back in the routine – 6 sessions. And two long hikes in Mallorca one of which was practically a marathon in itself (it lasted almost double the time!)… More on that in another post!

Favourite run: the run I had on the last day of November – the first picture of this post – with a beautiful blue sky and frost, the winter scenery was just gorgeous even though I was running through central London and struggled to get out of bed in the cold I was just so happy to be out there in the fresh air and hitting all my paces – I just loved it.


The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout: a brilliant story about family, loss and poverty, the novel follows two brothers who have left their hometown and poverty stricken household and made it to New York. Years later, after their nephew back home commits a crime, the brothers return home. Its such a good story that completely drew me in, I would definately recommend it.

You are an Ironman by Jacques Steinberg: I reviewed this here (in short, great if you like reading blogs about training and race reports, not great if you’re looking for training advice).

Thirst by Kerry Hudson: a brilliant, brilliant story about the worst of illegal immigration – people trafficking – and working class life in London and love against all odds. This had me feeling sick about what could happen and what had happened – caring really deeply for the characters. I loved it.

The Lauras by Sara Taylor: a story about a mother and daughter travelling through the US, tracing the mother’s past. The main character, Alex, isn’t given a gender, and for some this then forms the key purpose of the book – but for me it was such a small subsection, a few (important) references more in relation to how outsiders are treated than anything else. 

My best moment in November was sitting down to an incredible dinner with my family in Mallorca after our ridiculous hiking experience (details coming up next week), able to laugh about it as we had made it back to civilisation safe and sound with only a few cuts and bruises!

Right now I am:

: Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor. Set in Kenya, the way this story is told meant it took me a while to get into – or that may be because I started trying to read it late one night when I was exhausted. I am now hooked – I love the characters, I have no idea where the story is going but I can’t wait to find out.

Listening to:
so. many. podcasts. That’s what happens when you do lots of running! I am particularly enjoying the amazing Talk Ultra podcast with its three hour long episodes that cover all the news in the ultra running world and interviews with people doing incredible things. Fastest known time running across America? Running the Appalacian trail? Winning 100 mile races? I’m so inspired and learning so much!

Enjoying: all this beautiful sunshine we’ve been having. I LOVE those cold sunny wintery days. I hope we get more of them this year rather than the usual grey skies, howling wind and torrential rain.

Looking forward to: James coming home! In less than 2 weeks! And Christmas! And all the Christmas events and the meals out and the after work drinks and everything getting slightly more relaxed at work as we wind down for Christmas. And Christmas decorating and writing Christmas cards and wrapping the presents I’ve bought and fingers crossed seeing my sister. Oh I can’t wait.


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