What I loved in November

A non-running blogpost today.

I’m slowly making friends here (yay) but I’ve not had the chance to sit down with a coffee and a gal pal that knows me well, so you – my few, precious readers – get to read all the random things I’d be enthusiastically telling you about if we were together in real life. You’re so lucky….

Watching

  • Steven Fry’s America – a wonderful, 10 year old documentary about a British National Treasure driving around the US in a London Taxi. The Husband and I loved every second of this – it made us incredibly homesick. (We genuinely feel that the US is as much our home as the UK these days, so we’re basically going to be homesick forever). The bit when he drove down past the Cliff House to Ocean Beach actually made me cry.
  • Glow – A year after the rest of the world, we watched this show about women’s wrestling. It was fun! Costumes were excellent.
  • Colin McCourt – I don’t know if US readers know about this but Colin McCourt is a former UK international 1500 metre runner who gave up professional sport and became a sloth for seven years. Earlier this year, he took up a bet with 17 friends – they put in 100 quid each and bet him he couldn’t do a 5k in under 16 minutes. If he could, he got the money. If he failed, he’d have all their names tattooed on his body. At the end of November, he succeeded but he’s been charting his progress on Instagram the whole year and the British running community has really got behind him. He is genuinely one of the loveliest British runners on social media – he’s incredibly humble. If you leave a comment, he replies…to each comment! I’m such a fan-girl and so inspired. You can follow him on his next challenge ( a sub 2.30 marathon) here.

Doing

  • House stuff – If you buy a house, you spend weeks doing DIY. Our house was perfectly liveable-in when we moved in (if filthy) but somehow we spent all of November doing jobs.
  • Celebrating birthdays – My little dude turned 8. EIGHT!!! He’s no longer a little boy, I can deny it no longer. He’s a medium boy. I’d been so worried that this birthday would be a washout, we moved into our house just six weeks before his birthday. But somehow six lovely boys came to our house to play football and Xbox and to eat crap and to make my son feel loved on his big day. My heart burst with gratitude, it really did.
  • Celebrating Thanksgiving – I know we’re not Americans and now we don’t even live there, but Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday that we wanted to go on celebrating it. So I cooked up some chicken for the boys, plus sweet potatoes with marshmallows, green beans and maple-sprouts, and we stood round the table and said what we were grateful for. We have so much to be grateful for.

Listening

I am not into music at all but I do love a good podcast.

  • British History Podcast – When Grace visited, we talked about British history and I confessed I’d forgotten so much. Grace suggested I found a podcast and I stumbled on the British History podcast. It is wonderful and I LOVE it. There are two particularly stellar episodes around Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni, and her revolt against the Romans. They beat her, they gang-raped her daughters and she gathered an army and smashed the Romans to smithereens.  The storytelling is so vivid and so powerful that I had chills for the entire two episodes. I listened when I was out running and I took a minute a mile off my regular pace just out of sheer excitement. I cannot recommend these episodes enough. Start here. 
boudicca
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  • I also listened to two interviews with the remarkable Allie Kieffer who ran amazing NYC Marathon and who speaks good solid sense for runners of all abilities. I’d recommend Ali’s interview of the two.
  • Marathon Talk interviewed Tina Muir who you may know of. I’ve not been a massive Tina fan (for no particular reason, she’s just not my jam) but her interview about amenorrhea and the Female Athlete Triad is important and well worth a listen.

Reading

I’m really struggling with reading at the moment. Cannot get into books right now, which is horrible. I think I may need to get the next Harry Potter and read something easy and fun to get me back into the swing.

  • A Capote Reader – I always love Truman Capote and I dabbled in his short stories this month to try to get myself reading. ‘Miriam’ freaked me out. It’s so creepy. You can read it its short entirety here.
  • iRunFar’s Lake District article – iRunFar wrote a great article about running in the British Lake District. I’ve hiked there a few times but never run there and I cannot wait. This article will be really helpful for planning a trip there so I’ve bookmarked it for the summer. The Lakes in Winter are brutal.
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  • Bex Band is a British explorer that I discovered this month. She wrote a blistering essay on being an ‘explorer’ and acknowledging privilege. It’s cracking and you should read it.

Instagram

Insta is still my favourite medium (Twitter is just so painful these days) and my current favourite accounts to follow are:

  • Smultringunn – A lovely runner/hiker/mama from Norway living in Seattle. She has the cutest two daughters, her food pics make me resolve to eat better and her scenery picks make me ache for the PNW.
  • Wild Ginger Films – Claire is the former editor of the UK Trail Running magazine but she’s now set up her own company interviewing top runners, testing gear and reviewing races. She has a great YouTube account with some excellent videos on how to train for mountain races if you live in the flatlands (which I intend to do when I get off the sofa). I love what she’s doing and she has great hair.

Buying

  • We are tight on our budget at the moment but I have to talk about Paula’s Choice skincare. My skin has been horrible for years – it has decent months and rubbish months but generally it’s been horrible. Two months ago I tried the Paula’s Choice ‘Clear’ starter kit and I literally felt it working instantly. A month later, my skin was the best it’s been for years. It’s still not perfect but if it never gets any better, I shall be content. So if you’re struggling with deep, horrible acne, please try this. (Not sponsored, not an ad, no affiliate links…just a recommendation from a grateful girl).
  • I bought myself a head torch this month because it is DARK here. There are some fancy expensive ones but I bought the same one that everyone at my running club has. 10 quid, 300 lumens, job done. Totally recommend. I was very happy with it until I saw Kilian’s gorgeous film for Petzl and their 700 lumen headtorch, but who has the money to buy that? (Watch the film though!)

So there we are. I’m all talked out. That was November.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I started following Colin McCourt because of you. I saw a tweet or something and it sounded intriguing. Can’t wait to see if he does a 2:30 marathon.

    1. Cathryn says:

      I’m so glad! He’s just such a nice guy – you should listen to the MT podcast, he comes across so well. A 2.30 marathon is a very different challenge to the sub-16 5k though.

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