Fool, fool, back to the beginning is the rule.

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So, back in 2010 my brother said to me, “do you fancy doing a marathon?” Neither of us had ever really run before, and the one he emailed to me – the inaugural Kielder marathon – was a nightmare of hills and October chilliness a mere six months distant.

Of course we did it.

After that, though, I stopped running so much. There were a string of things that factored into it – work, stress, hospital visits, headaches, weird medication side effects – but mostly I just stopped. I lost a lot confidence in my ability to do things post-collapse, and running felt like too much of a struggle. I don’t just run slow. I run kind of ugly, too. I bob up and down when I should be going forward, and my left leg does this weird thing when I get tired and kicks out behind me, which Lisa thinks is hilarious. At almost five and a half hours to get round the marathon, it felt easier to just not bother.

I started again this morning. As you can expect after a three-year hiatus on distance running, It was not pretty. In all honesty, it wasn’t a hell of a lot of fun, either. My ipod is hiding somewhere in the house and my digital watch has died, so I spent the entire distance counting in my head. Counting.

I need to find that ipod.

To try and spur things on I installed a tracking app on my phone. I can’t get Zombies, Run!, because the new version won’t install on my HTC Desire, because Orange won’t upgrade the OS. I should sit and install it myself, but I’ve already had to format my phone once (oh yeah – to my friends reading this: if I had your number before, I probably don’t now – text me please!) and I feel drained at the thought of installing everything from scratch.

I went with MapMyRun instead. First impressions? Not too bad, although the pace counter is a little bit twitchy. At one point it clocked me as doing 21 km/h which I’m pretty sure is an anomaly. Also, I don’t mind ad support to make things free but it’s a bit heavy on the full-screen pop-ups. If anyone has a decent alternative, feel free to let me know.

I also re-started my Fitocracy account. Will it stick this time? I dunno. We’ll see how I do.

Zero to marathon in six months, continued.

Time does fly pretty quickly when you have a deadline approaching, and when that deadline involves committing yourself to running for well over four hours (I’m not making any bold claims with regards to finishing time), it’s pretty scary to realise how far you’ve got to progress in so little time.

June was a poor month for training.  I started off strong, getting some circuits of the lake near Lisa’s family home in Sweden under my belt, and with it some much-needed hill training.  Unfortunately I caught a horrible cold while I was there, and spent about two weeks coughing my lungs up and unable to run.  The last week of the month was pretty much me trying to find my running legs again, and that blank mental space where you can just pound out the miles.

Currently, it doesn’t seem to be my body that’s flagging.  After about half an hour of running, though, my mind starts to wander and my pace oscillates – I slow down, realise I’m slowing down, speed up, go too fast, slow down, and the cycle repeats itself.  I really need to work on finding consistency in my pace so that I’m not tiring myself out after the first hour from lack of concentration.

I also really need to sort out my diet.  That’s a big priority at the moment, and hopefully the renal dietician I’m seeing on the 12th has some useful advice.

So the first of two 10k races this month is on Sunday, the 4th July.  It’s in Leeds, and Alistair will be there along with me.  He’s had a shit month, too, with some knee pain flaring up and preventing him from training properly.  He’ll be fine, though.  He’s indefatigable.

I just wanted to use that word.

Fundraising is going well – we’re nearly at £1000 now – and if you’re able to spare a couple of quid, we’d certainly appreciate it.  If you can’t, then no worries – cheering from the sidelines is also appreciated!  You can find the fundraising page here.

On the subject of writing, the urban fantasy novel I’ve been working on continues apace.  The major redrafting/rewrites are maybe two-thirds done (I have some rewriting to do at the end) and now I have to start thinking about synopses and cover letters for submission.  My endless swathe of short story rejections let me know not to get my hopes up about it ever going any further than that, but you’ve got to be positive about these things.