Somehow it’s the middle of January already.
I’m sat on the sofa, disentangling one greyhound from a phone charging cable while maintaining a respectful distance from the other, who will startle and bolt for her bed if I move too quickly.
The new year has brought good things, bad things and sad things already. A poorly friend, hard going at the day job, and then of course the news of David Bowie’s passing came through yesterday morning.
I finished Marcothon on Hogmanay. It was my biggest ever mileage in a calendar month. Then I took a couple of days off running. I should have run the Hardmoors 30 on New Year’s Day, but I decided against it in the end. I felt a little sad about it, but I missed it for the right reasons and it will be there another year.
There are new things in the calendar this year. 3 days in the Lake District at the end of April. 70-odd miles inside 24 hours along the Great Glen Way between Fort William and Inverness in July. Hopefully third time lucky at the 75 miles between South Woodham Ferrers and Salcott cum Virley (with an overnight stop).
I’m so excited about everything that’s coming my way. A little extra food consumed over New Year wasn’t quite run off thanks to those few days off, but I know the extra warmth around the middle will soon disappear once the miles climb up again. I love the security of building my training up – the feeling that progress is being gradually made, and that the preparation I put in now will be felt in every mile I run later this year.
There is a mountain on the German/Austrian border with my name on, and I hope to climb it this year. There’s talk of a trip back to Mont Ventoux, a big (motor)bike ride around the north coast of Scotland, and of hills and mountains to be walked up, run up, cycled up. A couple of long distance trails to be explored. There’s a tent and assorted camping kit to be researched and chosen, and navigation to be practised in whatever weather Scotland cares to throw at me.
Right now, most of all, I can’t wait for the days to draw out a bit so I can get up in the hills behind my house after work.
And for now, I’ll be listening to a lot of music. David Bowie was a huge part of my teenage years after I borrowed the Singles Collection on tape from Stratford-upon-Avon library when I was about 14. It was a great introduction to his music over the years. My dad was a big fan too, and listening to the music that he loved helped me learn a bit more and gave us something else to share.
Dad’s favourite song is Let’s Dance. I have two, and I couldn’t choose between them. I adore Sound and Vision, and I also love Everyone Says Hi from the Heathen album.
I’d had the album for a good few years, but for some reason, I had it in the car the weekend I made the final trip north from Essex to start my new life up in Glasgow. I listened to that song on repeat for much of the journey.
It includes the wonderful lyrics, which are among some of my favourites ever:
Don’t stay in a bad place,
where they don’t care how you are
That’s not to say no one cared because that’s just not true, but I needed to move and start again, and the song felt like a letter from the past wishing me well in the future and reminding me I could come back if it didn’t work out.
Mr Bowie, thank you for everything you did and everything you left behind. I was angry enough about cancer, now even more so.
Someone posted something somewhere yesterday, I can’t remember it exactly, but they were saying how the earth was however many billion years old, and how lucky we’d been to be on the same planet at the same time as David Bowie.