Month: April 2013

Before and After Running School – See it!

What a week! The sun is shining, the river is beaming and I am glistening. And with good reason – I have hit some milestones in decorating, writing and running.

Not to worry I won’t go on about the decorating except to say it is all coming together–tables, chairs, window treatments and so on.

As for the writing, the next novel is closer than you think. At the end of May, The Blindsided Prophet is scheduled for e-book release. Last week, my editor returned the first edits and this week I am working on them fervently. Equally as exciting if not more, my designer is well on the way to delivering the book’s cover. I am so very pleased and will get the promotions on the road as soon as the tools are in hand.

In the meantime, I finished the first six weeks of running school. It stands to reason that I might go back for a further, more advanced six weeks to ensure that I maintain my brand new skills.

Yes, I have some brand new skills, more like techniques. The proof is in the pudding, rather in the running in this case.

First, let me say that I can actually see the difference and feel it. Also, I am amazed that I am sharing it here–unheard of.  Never say never! All I can say is that I am properly impressed. I hope you will be too.

No wonder I am glistening.


Why Do People Run?

Good question but before I attempt to answer, I’d like to pay respect to the people of Boston in the aftermath of the marathon bombings and also to Baroness Thatcher, whose funeral was held today in London.

Now, back to the pressing question: why do people run? I have asked myself this very question time and time again.

This morning as I made my way through Battersea Park, the southwest gate just short of two miles from where I live, I heard the chatter.

Why are you doing this? Why? You are in the throes of pain, honestly. What is the point?

I shrugged the thoughts off and looked around and took in the scenery–the Thames ebbing and flowing to my left, other runners gliding by me to the right, the trees relaxing in the wind. And then I heard the voice of the RunKeeper coach, reminding me of how long I had been running, the distance I had covered and how fast I had done so.

Bingo! I remembered why–the 10K in July. But as quickly as the answer came, it went. There has to be a deeper reason. Still, I picked up the pace and made my way through the park. Just as I turned on Chelsea Bridge to exit, I saw my former neighbour and his two very lively dogs. Noticing the look of surprise and wide smile on his face, I gained steam.

Jogging in place for a few seconds, I told him that I had run from my new home.

“Good for you,” he said, and got a lurch from the dogs.

“See you again,” I shouted, moving on.

And no sooner than I had left him, I heard the question again. Why do you run?

This time I thought about Huraki Murakami’s What I Talk When I Talk About Running. Murakami has run countless marathons and intrinsically links it to writing. In short, he runs to accomplish a goal.

Then I remembered others who run. One friend started out during a difficult time in her life and has run several marathons since. Last week, she ran the Paris Marathon and this weekend will do a half marathon in Nice.

An acquaintance is running the London Marathon Sunday, even though her feet are begging her not to. Never mind, she did it last year and they held her up.

A friend who’d rather not run, now runs most days to clear her head, and another runs because it makes her feel good.

On that thought, I hit the 3.66 mile marker, my best distance set on Monday, and I wanted to feel good but I felt bad, really bad. I wanted to stall but before I did, my music revved me up.

It’s alright to crawl before you walk; it’s alright to walk before you run but if you want to get what you’ve never got, you got to do something that you have never done. Go Get, Go Get, Go Get Your Blessing, It is your time…. Mary Mary’s Go Get It.

As I sang along with the sisters, I recalled the end of my early running career. A sprinter, I could outrun almost anyone, boys significantly older and so on. But as a teenager I entered a race at school but never ran it. On your mark, get ready, get set, go! I did not go.

Since then I have been stalling. Though I have played at running over the years, I’ve never gotten beyond three miles.

As I turned to cross the Albert Bridge, I glanced over my shoulder at my former wider neighbourhood and smiled. Before I knew it, I was back on the South Bank, heading home. Admittedly, I stopped two times and paused the RunKeeper app. But when it was all said and done I had run 5.4 miles. My pacing, well it was awful but still I felt proud.

Why do I run? It has to be to keep on moving ahead. Why do you run? Feel free to share your answer to the pressing question here.

Holiday versus Home: A Recipe for Ruin

Comparing your holiday destination to your home city is a recipe for ruin. I should know. Been there, done that and still haven’t fully learned from my mistake.

Though I was happy to leave the frigid temperatures of London last Saturday and welcome the warm ones of St George’s Bay, Malta, we had scarcely landed before my mind got busy sizing up the place.

Shopping would not be a match. Food wouldn’t be up to scratch. And certainly hotels would not be a patch. Upon arriving at the Corinthia Hotel & Spa, it was just as I suspected–acceptable but not remarkable. It wasn’t until I got to our room and stood on the balcony overlooking the Mediterranean that it became clear that I was on a hiding to nothing.

Been there, done that! So from then on I ditched the comparisons. What I got in return was a true Malta experience, beginning with a bus tour to the North of the 27 kilometer (16.8 mile) island, though our concierge tried to convince us to go south.

“Why do you want to go north?” He asked.

“We want to see Medina (the old capital),” Mr. H responded.

“See this another day,” he said. “Why not go on the South tour today. There is a market, not for you, but for your wife.”

“We’ll stick with the North,” Mr. H said firmly.

Righty-ho and so we did and found Medina as perfect in her old age as had been said about her. Perched upon a hill which overlooks the Mediterranean, this old city is an excellent backdrop for contemporary events such as weddings. Luckily, we got there in time for a the tail end of one.

Like Medina, the rest of Malta embodies one of the world’s richest stories. Though not the most sophisticated of destinations, the island boasts 7,000 years of history, having been inhabited by Sicilians around 5000 BC.

Today the shimmering sea is a playground for water enthusiasts and is a bridge to world trade but over the years, it has been a tumultuous passageway for many conquerors, including the Phoenicians, Byzantines, Normans, Ottomans, Romans, the French and the British.

The British occupation, as featured in tours and the film,The Malta Experience, continues to be looked upon kindly, though Malta has been independent since 1964.  But the Brits’ ousting of the French who expelled the Order of St. John (see below)  leaves them in good stead with the Maltese, as evident in the English language and also in the many commemorations of statues and the like around the country.

Perhaps, however, the most influential leadership in Malta started in 1530 with the Order of St John; their Grand Masters leading for some 268 years until Napoleon expelled them. In any case, their contributions include the new capital, Valletta, the order’s namesake cathedral, many fortifications, aqueducts, a hospital, a university and so on.

During their reign, naturally Christianity was the number one religion, but it had been in Malta since 60AD when the Apostle Paul, en route to Rome, was shipwrecked there. As described in the Book of Acts, the apostle was revered after a viper latched to his hand but caused no harm. Moving forward, the apostle became the patron saint of Malta.

This is my favorite Malta story not only because I grew up Christian but also this story places Malta for my father, who at the precise mention of its former name Melite,  told the apostle’s story as if he had been there.Priceless!

Back in England, I can say I’ve been there and done that. And though London’s temperature of 3° C (37° F) and Valletta’s of 22° C (71° F) are unevenly matched to say the least, I won’t compare. To do so is a recipe for ruin.

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