Monday, 24 June 2013

The One With a Review: The Age of Five

I have just finished reading a series of fantasy books that have honestly been one of the best trilogies of that genre I have come across in a while. They are in no way new books having been written years ago but they are well written, engaging and clever.
The author, Trudi Canavan, has written 3 different fantasy trilogy’s and for me this was the second set I had read. I chose to read them having enjoyed the Black Magician Trilogy so much.
The series is called The Age of the Five. The first is called Priestess of the White, the second is Last of the Wilds and the third is Voice of the Gods. I finished the third and final in the series last week and I really hope that Trudi is not finished with the world she has created.
This fantasy world is one full of magic and power with themes of love, betrayal, sacrifice and spirituality throughout. It is a masterfully created world that is well thought out and easy to imagine due to Trudi’s tangible way of writing. The main character of Auraya is a wonderful female powerhouse whose journey throughout the story is full of a variety of twists and turns that develop a real love for the character. The story follows Auraya as she is plucked from obscurity, made a voice of authority of behalf of the gods and how she deals with this role whilst still remaining loyal to her true self.
I personally found the magic element quite unique within the story and I have not come across anything similar within the fantasy genre. Having finished the trilogy I am really pleased with outcome. I had slightly guessed some of the final twists but not soon enough that the mystery was lost. I really do hope there is more to come in this series as it gripped me throughout. The books are all over 500 pages but are such page turners they take no time at all to get through. I would heartily recommend these to any fantasy fan! I am adding the Traitor Spy trilogy by Trudi Canavan to my lists of to-reads as I have thoroughly enjoyed all I have read by her so far.

Highly recommended read


Sunday, 16 June 2013

The One for Recovery

Having run the 5 miles yesterday I just needed a recovery run today so I did a very slow and restful 1 mile run. Sadly my knee was niggling me which it used to when I ran so I might have to find my old strap again to hopefully stop it hurting.

As next week is less busy I am hoping to get some good distances covered. I am not sure but am pretty confident this might be the week I push for a 10km run.

Juneathon Progress: 1 mile for rest :)

Juneathon Stats: Day 16 - 33.5 miles

Saturday, 15 June 2013

The One About my Job

Waiting for something you want can be one of the hardest things. I feel over the last year me and my husband have been experiencing that feeling more than usual. My husband applied for a schools direct position, we waited to see if he would get one. Once he got offered a place it was a case of waiting for him to have the interview and take his QTS tests. Each of these involved a period of the unknown, whether he would be successful or not. We always hoped he would do amazingly well, which he did. Yet, those periods of time we had to wait were quite a nervous time for us especially as otherwise we didn't know what he would be doing from September job wise.  Now a lot of this waiting and nervousness has been focused on my husband’s career. This week however, that waiting has been mine. I have spent the passed few days eagerly waiting for my phone to ring with the news of whether I have been offered the job I interviewed for on Wednesday.
On the whole I actually really enjoyed by interview experience. I felt I did the best I could and showed my enthusiasm for the role. It was as really good interview for me to have. Firstly having only been in the library profession for a short time to get the chance to interview for a librarian role was really fortunate. . In truth I was reluctant to get my hopes up. The longer I waited for the call the more nervous I felt myself getting!
So when my phone finally began to ring yesterday afternoon my heart jumped into my throat and I waited with baited breath to hear my fate…..
I got the job!!!!
I am more than thrilled. I am quite honestly still in shock. I am excited to start this job and officially be a librarian! I am really looking forward to the work I will be doing and feel utterly blessed to be getting the chance to do it so soon into my career. 
Juneathon Progress: I went for a lovely run of 5 miles which is my furthest distance to date since I began Juneathon. I was very fortunate to run in brilliant sunshine considering it has just started to chuck it down!
Juneathon Stats: Day 13 - 27.5 miles ( 1 mile sub 9 minutes was chuffed)
                           Day 14 - 27.5 miles ( I went on a stepper for the equivalent of 3-4 miles but I am not counting this on the running total)
                           Day 15-  32.5 miles
Currently Reading: The Voice of the Gods by Trudi Canavan

Thursday, 13 June 2013

The One with all the Forgotten Posts

The One with Sprinklers and Nettles

One of my favourite places to run where I live is the race course. When its not in use its a lovely quiet place to go. I have been running on and off at the races for nearly 2 years. I have obviously been very fortunate during these previous runs. Today my luck ran out after running half way round the race course the timed sprinkler system came on around the whole course. Needless to say I got soaked. On one hand it was really annoying on the other it reminded me of being a kid with my siblings getting our dad to have water fights with us in the garden. Loved it to be honest. However my joy was turned to sorrow when I stumbled out the races and scratched my arm on some nettles definitely brought back less pleasant childhood memories.

Juneathon Progress: 3 miles with 1 mile sub 10 minutes woop

The One I Missed

I had an interview yesterday and as a result on Tuesday I decided not to run. My reasoning for this was that I wasn't going to wash my hair again as I'd had by hair washed and cut. This in hindsight was a stupid reason as when I got up I ended up washing my hair anyway. But no harm done just sadly brings my total to 2 Juneathon Days missed!

The One with the Rain

Eugh! Running in torrential rain is hideous. I started my run in great spirits, the weather had the lovely feel I personally enjoy when running- not too hot or too cold! However, 1 mile into my run the heavens opened and I got drenched. The rain was so heavy I could barely see where I was going. I only ran 2.5 miles as I just couldn't face anymore time in the rain. After a long day with an interview in however, I was pleased to get a run in!

Juneathon Progress: A drenched 2.5 miles

Juneathon Stats: Day 12 - 26.5 miles

Currently Reading: The Voice of the Gods by Trudi Canavan

Sunday, 9 June 2013

The One About Two

Day 8

After being quite disappointed I couldn't run on Friday I was keen to get Saturday's run done and dusted. I had hoped to run 4 miles on Friday. As I didn't get chance I thought I should push to that distance.

I was pretty pleased to be able to make the distance. I followed an old route that I used to run with running club so that I did not have to worry about where I was going at all just kept running. The weather was warm but the breeze helped keep me cool (and my new hat). 

Juneathon Progress: 4 miles was gorgeous weather bit too hot in places.

Juneathon Stats: 8 Days- 20 miles 

Day 9

Yesterdays distance increase led to a distance decrease today. My legs were feeling really heavy and tired and coupled with the heat I just didn't feel up to a big run. So I went for a mile and I really pushed myself. It was not my fastest mile but am pleased to have gone and done a run when I was so reluctant. I am also doing a bit of a walk later so that should make up for just doing a little mile run.

Juneathon Progress: 1 reluctant mile but at least I did something!

Juneathon Stats: 9 Days- 21 miles

Saturday, 8 June 2013

The One About Something Else: Carnegie

So my last few blogs have literally been consumed with my Juneathon progress and I as my blog is not just a running blog I wanted to make sure there were a few posts about the other things I am interested in.

Today's blog focuses on the CILIP Carnegie Medal Award.
The Carnegie Award is awarded by school librarians to an outstanding book for children. In the school I am in now we shadowed the award with a group of eager students. To encourage the students to read and to get some different books read myself I decided to work with the students making it through the 8 reads on the shortlist.

The 8 books on the list

 I started with Midwinterblood which I have already reviewed on this blog. This was one of my favourites and now I have finished the shortlist I personally think it is a strong contender to win. Its a very cleverly written story. Written in backwards chronologically order it tells a story of love and sacrifice with strong themes of reincarnation and immortality. It was wonderful gripping read and I found myself racing to the end! The ending is thoroughly satisfying.

Wonder was one I had been very keen to read. Sadly it was not as gritty as I had anticipated. Many of those in my reading group will be shocked to hear my less then enthusiastic review as they were all very big fans. For me I found the story very predictable and I to be honest a little bit cheesy in places. It most definitely deserves its nomination as it has strong emotive themes throughout (which made me cry). However, I had expected more depth and I found it a bit fluffy.

For me In Darkness was the hardest book to read in the shortlist. I found it akin to wading through treacle getting through the first half of this book. It held me up considerably and I was utterly confused. Again many kids have been surprised at this as they have really enjoyed the read although have found it quite heavy. I am glad I made it through the story as the second half really picked up pace and was much more interesting as the story developed. A very intense storyline that for me was perhaps a little to intense.

After surviving In Darkness, Weight of Water was a real treat. This book is written entirely in verse. Each page is a poem and its astonishing how much depth to the story and characters is achieved in so few words. In no time at all I had finished this book as it is an incredibly quick read.
 Another quick read was found in A Greyhound of a girl. However, I was not as gripped by this as the other books. I felt it was a nice story but I didn't really find anything unique within the storyline. I think this was due to it be a type of book I would never normally read and it just wasn't for me.
 I had heard about Maggot Moon before Carnegie began and I was intrigued by its premise. I did enjoy it but found it quite a convoluted tale and after discussing with the rest of the reading team I discovered, along with a few others, that I hadn't actually understood what happened at the end. I had to go back and read the last few pages again to get it to click. All a very clever story and one I think might win it was just a bit confusing for my tastes.

A boy and a bear in a boat is the youngest read from the shortlist and as a result is very difficult to compare to the rest of the books. Its a funny story with amazing illustrations but I am not sure it is fair on it to put it up against the rest of the shortlist. I personally think it would have a fairer a chance of winning if there award was separated into age categories.

My final read was Code Name Verity. I was very dubious about this read as although I enjoy History I do no always enjoy historical fiction. However, this was truly phenomenal. This story had to very strong, well developed and fierce female leads which lead the story from their two different perspectives. I was hooked from the beginning unsure of where the story was heading or if what I was reading was truly happening. The story is both a tear jerker and heart warmer. It was so beautifully written and was a pleasure to read. This is my other favourite for the winner.

Not sure which will win and I doubt it will be one of my top two. I think I prefer Midwinterblood to Code Name Verity but I am umming and ahhing alot. Very much looking forward to finding out who wins!

Currently Reading: The Last of the Wilds by Trudi Canavan

Juneathon Progress: I helped a friend move house yesterday and unfortunately it took literally all evening and I did not get home until 10! As much as I wanted to run I decided as I was shattered from 'running' up several flights of steep stairs several times and heaving and lifting all sorts of furniture and boxes that I would let me helping my friend move count for my Juneathon movement. However, I hope this is the last day in June I have to miss a run as I really was quite upset not to get to go out.

Juneathon Stats: 16 miles :)

Friday, 7 June 2013

The One With the Running Club

Back before I stopped running I trained very hard and consistently to build up mileage to run a half marathon in October. Around about this time last year I realised I was building up distance not speed and I really wanted to improve my time.

I took the plunge and started going along to a running club in Uttoxeter. I loved it. I ran with them twice a week and was thrilled to watch my speed improve and meet new people with the same enthusiasm.
However, after the half was over and after several repeated bouts of tonsillitis I stopped running. Literally from mid January I hadn't made it beyond 4 miles and I only started again on the 26th May so I had a very long break indeed.

This long break made me a bit worried about returning to the club. As the club generally run 5-6 miles I was a little nervous about returning when as of yet I haven't even tried to push to that distance. But today I sent a quick email to the coordinator of tonight's run and found out they were going to do a steady 3-4 miles as there is a half this weekend. So I took the plunge.

I walked to the meeting point for half a mile and then we set of as a small group to run. I managed it. Man alive it was tough but it was good and I felt refreshed by doing such a good run and by being with others. They really pushed me and made me realise I can still get good times. I think I will start going again. I probably will go just once a week but maybe as my distance improves I will join in again more! I also walked the half a back which was a good cool down time.

Juneathon Progress: 3.5 miles with a 2 mile PB and my faster 5k time since last year!

Juneathon Stats:
6 days - 16 Miles Run

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

The One At Six in the Morning

I set myself the goal of doing today's Juneathon in the morning. We have friends coming round for dinner tonight and I felt if I went for a run after work I might be cutting it a bit fine. So I dragged myself out of bed at 6 and hurriedly put on my running kit before I changed my mind. With all the niggles in my calves I decided it would be better to do splits so I ran for 5 minutes and walked for 1. This I think was helpful as well because it was pretty early and my energy levels were pretty low.

Thankfully my calves did not give me to much cause for concern (I stretched them a lot last night and went for an hours walk with the hubby which eased them out). I am chuffed to have completed my Juneathon so early and hope I can do a few more morning runs over the course of the month.

Juneathon Progress: 2 sleepy miles

Juneathon Stats:
5 days - 12.5 Miles Run

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

The One With Painful Calves

So its day 4 of Juneathon and I can honestly say my body is feeling the change. Having taken a stupidly long hiatus from running returning with such gusto has led to inevitable pain in my legs. More particularly my calves.

I am not the best with stretching. I know its important and I should do it after a run but I am really bad at remembering. However, after yesterdays quite painful run I stretched my calves throughout the day today in the hopes I would be able to make it on another run.

It still hurt but I managed to run again and I definitely stretched afterwards. I am debating going for a swim later as a way to ease out the remaining soreness!

Juneathon Progress: 2 sluggish miles but am feeling like I am improving

Juneathon Stats:
4 days - 10.5 Miles Run

Monday, 3 June 2013

The One Where I Had to Set Three Alarms

Getting up today was effort. After a whole week of luxurious lie ins until 8:30 I dragged myself from bed today at 6:30. I had to set 3 alarms to ensure I actually got out of bed today as I was really concerned I would accidentally sleep in.

As I am now back at work my run today was the first of many after school ones.  Over half term I have enjoyed the luxury of running whenever it fitted into my day. I ran during the morning for the majority of half term but actually enjoyed running this afternoon as the sun was not as harsh!

 I spent the half term week prior to Juneathon building my running back up and this week I plan to work on my 5k speed to get it back to my personal best of 27 minutes. Once I get it nearer that time I will start to add in more miles.

Juneathon Progress: A steady but tough 3 miles with horribly tight calves.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

The One Where I Should Have Worn Suncream

So I have made it to the second day of Juneathon and today had a great run.

Sadly I really underestimated the heat of the sun and think there is a strong chance I have managed to burn myself oops.

Really pleased to have got my mileage up and am starting to feel confident that when Juneathon is over I will be back running some really longer distances.

Juneathon Progress: 3.15 miles running with a cheeky 0.10 walk at the end! Had to power through the heat!

Saturday, 1 June 2013

May Madness

May was such a full month that I unfortunately did not find time to write my blog. I found myself at many points this month feeling like I couldn't possibly achieve everything I hoped to.

Firstly the month starting with my lovely hubby taking and passing his QTS tests which I am super proud of him for. He worked really hard to pass them. At the same time as all this I was busy revising for my theory test and attempting to write two essays for my degree. To top things off I battled through my 7th bout of tonsillitis. Needless to say I found myself a bit busy!

Thankfully there was light at the end of the tunnel and I handed in both my essays early. I also passed my driving theory test which has allowed me to officially BOOK my driving test! I am so excited that I have made it this far with my main goal of the year!

I started Junethon today as you may know I attempted to complete Janathon in January and achieved 2 weeks until I got poorly and couldn't complete it. Juneathon follows the same principle of running and blogging daily . Hopefully I can complete it this time!

Juneathon Progress: Today I ran a steady and sunny 2 miles :) 

Currently Reading: The Last of the Wilds by Trudi Canavan