Wednesday, 30 May 2012

What Could Be Better?

What could be better than this sunny weather? It is supposed to cool and grey towards the weekend, but I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed for more and more and more of this!

With a little helping hand from the sunshine, life is pretty much as good as it gets right now. Sweaty early morning runs to start the day, setting off just after 6 with goosebumps, returning just after 7 with a dripping brow. I can enjoy slow breakfasts with the radio on, then saunter off to work without having to worry about trains or much else at all. Evening bike rides or drinks in the garden, drawn-out evening meals eaten a little too late in the day, and finally the ability to just be, with or without a book or a pen.

It has been years since I have felt this relaxed, if indeed I have ever felt this relaxed in the past - I'm not so sure I have. It's a simple and obvious reminder of how life is here to enjoy; I have spent the last two years bound by routine and self-discipline, and it is wonderous to feel set free again.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Awesome 2012: I just ran a marathon!

Yesterday I ran my first marathon!

As I expected, it was the toughest thing I've ever done. But it was awesome. An epic race report can be found here!

Monday, 7 May 2012

Keswick Half Marathon 2012

This year I shared the wonder of Keswick Half Marathon with Daniel and my younger brother (as well as my Dad), both of whom were running their first ever half marathon. An awesome race, a wonderful route in both its familiarity and its persistent surprise inclines, and a fantastic atmosphere throughout.

We ran together, enduring long hills and enjoying sweeping landscapes as we went. People cheered us on and I retained a smile throughout, and the last few miles were glorious in their challenge, the road smirking underfoot as the hills kept coming!

We reached Keswick for the final mile and I powered on ahead, finding some leftover energy to use up before the inevitable crash that I love and loathe in equal measure. Daniel followed on not far behind, and as I approached the finish line I heard his name called out in celebration over the tannoy. Crossing the line never gets old: this time a little faster, in a little less agony, with the knowledge accumulated over three years of distance running.

We hit our favourite veggie café for a sweet tea and some chilli before the long drive home. Then, that evening we celebrated with a drink (I've been sober for over a month - wine has never tasted so sweet!), homemade pizzas and a pub quiz - well earned pleasures that come best after fresh air and spent energy.

Another adventure shared with Daniel, and another fantastic day in my running shoes. Today I'm mourning the passing of one of my favourite events, and tomorrow I'll get back to training for the next!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Out with the Old, In with the New

Whew. Do you remember those dreams and agonies that I wrote about a while back? turns out that dreams come true (I always knew they had to, if they were dreamt hard enough).

I had an epiphany one morning last year. The May sunlight was reaching through trees, past buildings. It was lighting me up in a way that I didn't recognise; in a really beautiful way. And then it hit me: everything I was looking for was tied up in one idea, one possibility. That day, I began pursuing the idea, to make real what it was I had been dreaming about unknowingly. It started as a tiny butterfly egg, and then became a larvae. Little by little the dream grew and grew, became more and more real, until the very possibility (and the intrinsic likelihood) of it not happening physically hurt.

Last month the butterfly appeared from nowhere. I wasn't expecting it, which is always the way with these things, but as is also the way, I needed it more than ever. I hadn't slept properly for weeks, I was headachey and sickly all the time, feeling down and despairing about everything. Nothing I did changed anything, and the spiral was making me dizzy, pleading with me to just give up.

An email appeared in my inbox one Friday afternoon (incidentally, the Friday before we got engaged), and I knew that was it: my fate was sealed, and I had to go forth and accept it. The words 'I am pleased to let you know that...' didn't read straight in my head. I read again and again before realising what it all meant. Dreams do come true, I have the proof.

So now life is completely different. Because in a few months I'll be going back to university, not to sit in lectures and complete hours of exercises, but to sit at my own desk, pursue my own line of research, and teach my own(ish) classes. I'll get to write, to think, to read and to discuss. To keep learning, keep exploring the cave that is my brain, to see what else it can understand, and what else completely fails it. I hope, with every cell in my body, to pursue a life of thinking and writing. To open my mind and in turn prompt others to open theirs. To argue and be rejected, to face criticisms and find like-minded folk to thrive with. I'm heading out to get a PhD, to become a doctor in my own right, and to enjoy the ancient world of academia that, despite its current issues and problems, seems to be on my side.

As a result of this, I found the strength to quit the job that was bringing me down. To leave the headaches and the nausea behind for someone else more tolerant than me, and to start enjoying the things that I can offer to others. I'm working freelance for a little while, tutoring, editing, officing with my Mum. And then I get to step back into the only world where I've ever felt right, and that's awesome.

Since I have more time to write, I've also decided to start up a new blog on running and nutrition - Running, Naturally. Head on over there to find a recipe for these delicious muesli and banana flapjacks. They don't even contain butter!