I often get nervous before standing up and speaking about running, usually out of a slight feeling of inferiority that I don't think what I have done is particularly in the company that I am often presenting it to. However this one was different. I was reading the first few pages from my book (THAT IS DEFINITELY COMING OUT SOON) and I was worried that I might DNF 3.5 pages of words.
These 3.5 pages describe in pretty brutal detail what could well be the worst 20 minutes of my life. It happened in New Mexico and although at the time I tried to make a point of blogging everything I felt that I could not publish this as quite frankly it was too humiliating.
So I would not agree to put myself in this situation lightly, however when Simon asked me to read the first pages. He has read the book already and keeps telling me that he really likes that opening part.
A few months ago Simon told me about an incredibly ambitious plan of his. He is already doing great work with his company Freestak whereas this was going to be something else. A magazine that was going to be about the stories behind running. It sounded like a brilliant project and I was full of stories and happy to help. I contributed an article about some of the mind games I play when I am going through tough times. They see me through most things, they didn't quite work in New Mexico but now I at least have that as a story to tell at magazine launches.
It was in a really nice venue at the Truxman Brewery where a kind of "who's who" of British ultra running came and mingled. The magazine was not just about ultra running but obviously I was drawn to them. The magazine is a great read, not what you'd get from a regular running magazine. This was is just packed with great stories and beautiful artwork. This is not a magazine you are going to skim through in 20 minutes and then put in the recycling but one that you will keep and refer back to for inspirtation. I am thrilled that such a magazine now exists and even more so that I was asked to take part.
I managed to get through my part without choking too much. I also heard the delightful Mimi Anderson talk about her experience in the Arctic and was introduced to Simon Wheatcroft who has an inspiring story to tell about how blindness inspired him to run long distance.
But I got to chat to a load of others too. I finally got to meet Stuart Mills who's blog I have been following for a number of years now and I recommned reading and has written a great piece about his first marathon experience. I saw Tobias Mews who I met a few years back who now writes adventure articles in the telegraph. Robbie Britton was there, fresh from a victory at the Pilgrims Challenge 66 mile two day ultra. IN fact he looked way too skinny so I gave him my meal voucher. He too has put in a great bit of writing about his motivation for running. It was great to catch up with Dan Ashfar of Xempo and Sandra and the guys from the Ealing Half Marathon. Sorry I didn't make the Ealing Mile today, I had a work thing honest.
I hope you all get a chance to read this. Reading about other peoples stories and motivations I find is really inpsiring, helps me do things better and give me ideas about what to do next.
And I hope my article was of some use. If the Zebra thing becomes well known I would feel a bit bad as this was inspired from a girl I spoke to supporting the Thames Ring race last year. Putting the Zebra on a bike was all my idea though.