Category Archives: Running

Running with My Dad


Too many trainers!

“Right, come on, let’s go.”

I’ve just hobbled up the stairs after a long day at work on the hottest day of the year so far. Dad is sitting in the office looking cool and prepared. We’re about to go running. Continue reading

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On Neil Gaiman, Cars, Disney and Conferencing – and a Touch of NaNoWriMo

[Disclaimer: If this doesn’t make sense, please excuse it on NaNo-brain]

… So, you missed me!?

I know, I’ve been terribly remiss in blogging (both of them). It’s been one of those EVERYTHING-HAPPEN-AT-ONCE weeks that leaves you exhausted and bewildered on a Sunday night asking your mug of tea “what just happened?”

Well, I shall you exactly what just happened… Continue reading

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Two Days to Go

If you had met August 2011 Me and then March 2012 Me, you’d have thought 2012 Me had eaten 2011 Me.

Seriously. Continue reading

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Why Is Running So Boring?

I ask myself this every time I’m doomed to run on my own. Usually I get Poppaloo trotting next to me, yakking away and keeping me going. But, occasionally, I have to run ALL BY MYSELF. And I tell you what – it’s deadly boring.

I run around back roads, with no pavements, no streetlights and very few houses around – and the ones that are around are set back from the road. This means that it’s too dangerous for me to listen to music as I run – I can’t hear cars on the blind bends (of which there are many) and if anyone comes up behind me, they have to be shoulder-to-shoulder before I notice them.

For the most part, I enjoy my runs around the roads. If you go out at the right time of day, you can smell the wild garlic and warm earth, and spy deer grazing, or woodpeckers (of both green and spotted variety) in the trees. Extra lucky days we see Mr Fox*, the kites wheeling up above, and the hawk sat on the fencepost (and eyeing me very suspiciously).

For the other part, it can be very boring. I remember when running used to be so exciting! I used to want to run EVERYWHERE. I used to try to run all the time. Do you remember when you were a kid and the thrill of just running?

When did running become such a chore? When did it become a serious form of exercise, trogging around a road without any joy? I remember the heady days of pelting around a field, screaming at the top of my lungs and having an awesome time.

Not so much anymore.

I try to occupy my time by making up stories in my head. Unfortunately, they’re rather filmic in idea, so by the time I get home – if I remember them at all – I generally can’t get them on paper. Today’s pondering revolved round a certain character’s death in A Game of Thrones and if he HADN’T died, what would be different. (I’m not going to say who, as I’m sure some people don’t know he’s dead yet, and it wouldn’t be fair. Suffice to say I CRIED MY EYES OUT). But even then that doesn’t help. I get distracted by having to concentrate on breathing (essential, but a very boring occupation), or some idiot trotting past me calling “keep up!” when he’s just starting his run, and me on the last leg.

I also have the joyous task of dealing with idiotic drivers who clearly don’t know the road. This means quite often climbing in to the verge because they refuse to go past you on a country road wide enough to fit two cars side-by-side. This also means girding myself up to go from a flat stop to a run again. Also a very boring thing to think about.

How do you make running more interesting? (Without running like Phoebe from Friends).


*Mr Fox is a big brute of a fox who saunters through our garden in bright sunshine, and will even stare you down as you approach him in your car. In honesty, he terrifies me. He’s massive! Imagine my worry when I come across him on a run, and he just sits and watches you go past his nose.

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Concerning a Long Absence, a Book Review, and Some Running

Has it really been a month? I know people say “has it really been…” a lot, but honestly, has it REALLY been a month? It feels like days ago that I was rambling about what music I listen to and nosing around the Freshly Pressed stars. But no. It’s been a month. Or thereabouts. So I have abandoned you all to a dreary life without my shining beacon of blog posts to fill your grey days.

Or that’s what I like to think, anyway.

More likely is that you haven’t noticed my extended absence, and when this post appears in your feed, you’ll have an “oh yeeeeeaaaah” moment and then wonder what kind of flake writes a blog anyway if it’s been that long between posts. So all I can do, is apologise and hope that you will continue to read this post.


Concerning a Long Absence

Work has been overwhelming. Publishing is HARD. I love everything about it though. I love the madness, the creativity and the sweet, lovely authors who make me smile with their chirpy emails. But I’m working some ridiculous hours. I eat my lunches in front of the computer, and I’m usually the first in the office (though not often the last out, even when working late). I don’t complain because actually I really do love my job. It’s tacky and clichéd I know, but I feel rewarded from it. And that’s enough for me. But it does mean that I’m absolutely exhausted. And not just in the evenings. I mean, ALL. THE. TIME. But the crux of it is: I can’t get a lie-in. So I spend my whole time rushing around like a loon on little sleep. Which means, I haven’t even been on the computer in about – oh, three weeks. I just go to bed instead. Bed is probably my favourite place in the world right now. Before I was so busy, it was probably WordPress. See why I’ve been away so long? When it’s a choice between staring at another computer screen and going to bed, I’m afraid I’ve made the latter choice more often than not.

Concerning a Book Review

Since we last talked, I have finished the fabulous A Feast for Crows by George R.R Martin. Cue lots of gross cooing over its amazingness. I don’t really want to dwell on it except to say that it’s awesome. This is definitely one of the slower books in the series, and as George R.R Martin will tell you himself, this is only part of the story. It focuses on a few people of the cast – so fans of Jon Snow and Tyrion, you’re going to be disappointed with this particular book in the series. However, for fans of Cersei, she starts to really come in to her own (and by the way, “her own” is completely bonkers). In fact, I was so desperate to find out what was going on elsewhere in the GoT world that I had to start the next in the series – A Dance with Dragons: Dreams and Dust – to keep the story going. Be prepared to do the same, because you will be frustrated when you know you’re not getting the whole story!

Now I’d love to put the synopsis up, but it does have spoilers, so I won’t. Suffice to say – it’s good, and you should read it, no matter what the blurb says on the back cover.

Rating: 8/10

Concerning Some Running

As I have already mentioned, I am training for a half-marathon, to raise money for the Stroke Association. So far I’m running 3 times a week around the back roads. I love going out in the early mornings and running with the deer and hawks and woodpeckers. Plus, in the current heatwave (I seem to be only person in Britain NOT complaining about it) it’s a lot cooler at 5.30am than it is at 5.30pm. I’ve managed to get my running up to 6.5km, and I’m on for about a 2 hour time in total for the half marathon, so I think I’m doing okay.

However, the most important part is that I need to be fit enough to run a half marathon in October, so that I can do it and raise the money. Our family has been affected by a stroke, and it can be frightening and devastating. We were the lucky ones – my grandmother recovered and I still have her around. Others aren’t so lucky. For those that survive a stroke, life is altered dramatically. From speech to movement, many people have to relearn basic motor skills and words they used to use every day. Imagine knowing that you know how to do it, and yet not being able to anymore. It’s frightening, frustrating and a long process towards recovery. That’s where the Stroke Association come in. They offer support, rehabilitation and somewhere to go when the rest of the world gets too much. I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done to help my Granny, and I hope that the money I raise will go a little way towards doing the same for countless other families affected by strokes.

My running is something I enjoy doing, but it feels more satisfying knowing that I’m doing it for a worthy cause.

And there’s my post my lovely ones! I’m sorry I’ve been away for so long and I hope you enjoyed! Remember to drop by, and I will try to update more often!

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Writing is Like…

… Getting naked in public

… Playing Monopoly

… Driving at night in the fog … Mountain climbing, riding a bike, lifting weights, being a spy, prostitution, carving in stone, sex …

Well. Clearly writing is like a lot of things.

For me, writing is like training for my half-marathon.

I mistakenly agreed that a half-marathon (21 km or 13.5 miles) in October would be a really good idea. I also mistakenly told a lot of people I was going to be doing this half-marathon – and even rounded up some co-masochists to run it with me. Anyway, this means that I now have to do some training. Like, real training. As in, wearing trainers and running on roads and stuff. And if you know me at all by now, you will know I am the LAZIEST person in the world.

Poppaloo has (unsurprisingly) volunteered himself to be my personal trainer. This includes reminding me repeatedly that I must do some training, reminding me even more repeatedly that I agreed that I would do training THAT DAY, and then be willing to physically throw me out the door/confiscate the duvet in the morning/drag me around the run route – should it come to it.

So why is my writing like training for a half-marathon?

First off, you get the romantic, “bright” idea that you want to run/write. It will be good for you, it will flex those muscles (literally/figuratively), you tell yourself. You’ll gain respect for doing something sporty/intelligent. It will give you something to do because living at home has made you a hermit and you might as well do something useful instead of eating too much chocolate and staying in your pyjamas for longer than is socially acceptable.

Then, you put this idea into practice – you go on your first training run (walk fast to the village to get chocolate)/you write your first sentence. This is the point at which you realise this isn’t such a good idea after all. However, you now have the issue of having told people you will now be running/writing (see the “respect” comment in above paragraph) and they now have expectations. They expect you to run a half-marathon/write a bestselling novel by the end of this. So you can’t back out now. You really can’t – you’d be letting all those people down.

So then you carry on writing sentences/running (still walking fast). And it gets a bit better. This isn’t so bad, you tell yourself, now you’re getting in to the swing of things. Hey! Look! I’ve just written a whole chapter/run the whole 5km route without walking once! This is easy-peasy-lemon-squeazy. This is simples. Bah, whoever said that running/writing was hard OBVIOUSLY didn’t know what they were talking about.

But then, you hit The Wall. This is common Run-speak (I’m fluent now doncha know) – this is the part of the run where you can’t go another step. Where the physical movement of putting one foot in front of the other, of even just breathing, is beyond possibility. There is something similar in writing. Writer’s Block. That full stop that stares at you for months on end because no matter what you do, you just can’t go past that point. This is the writer’s version of The Wall. You’ve hit it. It’s standing, unmoving, right in front of you and there’s nothing you can do about it. Now is the time to revert back to point two: who’s stupid idea was it to write/run!? Who’s even stupider idea was it to TELL everyone you were doing this so now you can’t get out of it?

Yup. It was you …


Then, last but not least, there’s the epiphany. Now, I’d love to tell you all about this stage because it sounds like a wonderful stage to be at. You’ve gone beyond The Wall/the Writer’s Block and you’re off and away in sparkly, super-fit running land/shiny, happy writing universe.

However. I’m still kicking myself staring at The Wall. On both fronts. Running in the rain/wind/dark/cold/outside at all just doesn’t appeal, and frankly writing is doing my nut – because I sit there and stare gormlessly at the screen for a couple of hours whilst drinking my body weight in tea, then get told I have to go for a fast walk/run so figure I’ll do it tomorrow instead … at which point I repeat the above.

Writing might be like a lot of things, but whatever it’s like, it’s bloody hard going.

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