March – flown by in a flash

March has flown by! What a great month – its been fun from start to finish if hectic. Two trips away from home – one to the slopes in Italy for some skiing and the second to the Cotswolds for a hen do. And James came home for a wonderful week of eating in London!

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

1. A new half marathon PB (and it was off road and hilly!) at the Heartbreaker Half in the New Forest.

2. We’ve been together 7 and a half years – when we met we were more into sharing bottles of red wine and lying in bed until midday. Just in the last few months I have managed to drag him out on a few runs and I love it!

3. New trainers – so pretty!

4. And a lovely sunset over London on the first day of cycling home from work in the light this year!

Swimming: no swims… I might as well give up until the ultra is over I think!

Cycling: 49 miles ….. Less again than last month as I spent less time at work but still didn’t do any weekend cycling!

Running: 141 miles – my previous biggest month was 125 miles so this is my biggest ever month of running by far – 226km!! And you know – the whole month felt wonderful. I really ended up loving running this month.

Yoga: again – not one single yoga class.

Cross-training: basically I do nothing but run and strength train these days! 7 sessions plus 3 days of skiing in the glorious sunshine.

Favourite run: 20 stunning miles along the Thames Path in the Cotswolds outside Oxford. It was a beautiful, still, sunny morning and for the first 10 miles I couldn’t keep the smile off my face I was loving it so much.

Read: some absolutely fantastic novels this month.

Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance: a brilliant look at the US class system from someone who grew up poor in Kentucky and made it to university and on to be a successful lawyer. Vance looks at why he is an anomaly amongst the people he grew up with, the specific cultural identity of poor white Americans.

The Mothers by Brit Bennett: I am in the process of writing a review of this – a really cleverly written, gripping coming-of-age story.

Cats Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut: a science fiction satire about the end of the world, set in the Cold War and exploring themes of science, technology, religion and human stupidity. I enjoyed this book but found it much too short – it felt it was all building up to a climax that was over before it had really begun!

Little Deaths by Emma Flint: a crime novel from a different angle as from very early on the reader knows who is in prison for the crime – but did the police get it right? I’ll be blogging about this one at some point.

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry: set in Victorian England, a novel about religion, science, mystery and love. I really, really enjoyed this novel. I liked the whole storyline, I loved the main character, and I particularly liked the way the novel dealt with love, familial, friendly, romantic. It was great.

Stay with me by Ayòbámi Adébáyò: another fantastic novel about love and family, this time from a Nigerian perspective. Stay with me is about what it means to have children or not to have children in a Nigerian family, how outside pressures and the weight of expectation can affect love, marriage and the sense of who you really are. It is cleverly written, told alternatively from the perspective of Yejide and her husband Akin – and I was immediately drawn to both characters. I thought it was a great book.

The Power by Naomi Alderman: one of the best books I’ve read all year although I don’t really know how to explain it in a way that doesn’t make it sound crap. Its a history novel written thousands of years in the future, in a world where women are the physically stronger sex, about the moment when they became the physically stronger sex, and about how that changed everything. Of course, it is about gender. But it is also about (more about) how people react to something new and different – the type of people that capitalise on sudden change and how such change happens. The main characters are brilliant, the structure of the novel is very clever, and I just could not put it down. I am constantly recommending it and bought it for my sister’s birthday!

My best moment in March was oh god I have no idea. It was such a good month. A few moments that stand out:

– laughing hysterically on a chairlift with friends after slightly too much wine at lunch time on the slopes.

– lying in the sun on a deckchair with a stunning view of the mountains and a beer in hand.

– curled up on the sofa with a glass of wine and James next to me.

– setting out for a 20 mile run early on a Saturday morning in the sunshine.

– singing and dancing with my oldest friends at a hen party dressed in bright gold leggings at 2am.

– seeing my lovely little sister who flew home from her job in the Caribbean for a week 

Right now I am:

Reading: Leon by Kit de Waal. This is a lovely little book told from the perspective of a young boy who’s mum isn’t able to look after him and his younger brother properly – really, isn’t able to look after herself properly. From a bleak premise comes a beautifully sweet and eventually hopeful novel.

Listening to: nothing really! I have been so afraid of my phone running out of battery as it keeps doing that I have done a lot of my runs in complete silence which is very unlike me. When you’re running somewhere beautiful you don’t need music in the same way as you do in south London…

Enjoying:  the sunshine! After two weekends with beautiful weather and an afternoon spent entirely outside it feels as if summer is here or at least almost here and that makes me so happy.

Looking forward to:  Going on holiday! I have two weeks off in April for a trip to Indiana, Illinois and Michigan with some friends to visit James. We are going to eat awesome food in Chicago, visit the breweries in Grand Rapids, and then go hiking in the trails of Manistee National Forest. I can’t wait.



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