Had a wonderful visit to Arizona during January, failing to meet up with my fannish friends, but staying with my bro and his other half, the wonderful Leslie. Sometime during the visit, Yvonne ran her second marathon. I ran half and staggered half, which means I got to the finish on the same day I started...

The event was the PF Chang Arizona Rock'n'Roll Marathon, with live bands playing en route, and energetic cheerleaders to pass on their vigour by the magic of resonance. It was superbly well-organized. With a 7:40am start to avoid the worst of the heat (at least for the fast runners!), volunteers on race day were working from 3am to get everything set up. Terrific job.

Even knowing the theory of cold desert nights due to lack of cloud cover, it's still a surprise to have to wear extra disposable layers at the bitter, freezing start to a race in the Arizona. See? Palm trees in the background, and me well-wrapped up in extra gear.

It reminded me of the Boxing Day race in December, in the Welsh seaside town of Porthcawl, which Yvonne and I ran. That race was interesting, in that the organizers guaranteed -- before the event -- that a world record would be set by one of the runners taking part. How could they possibly guarantee such a thing?

No pressure, but Colm worked out the answer to that conundrum in under ten seconds. Nice one, bro.

He also took us out to explore the desert, which we've done before. It was nice to visit the saguaro cacti again. I love 'em.
That's Yvonne and Colm saying hi to a saguaro. The cacti don't even begin to grow branches until they're 75 years old, so you can estimate the age of these specimens

January was a month of wonderful events, and I'll tell you more later about the terrific writing workshops I led at St Margaret Clitheroe Primary School -- they invited me back, and it was an honour.

In the US, the paperback edition of RESOLUTION is now out, and you can order it online from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, of course.

Lots more happening in February and March book-wise, on both sides of the Atlantic.

And the race with the guaranteed world record?

The organizers swore it was the first official 38-furlong race, so whoever won it was going to hold the world record for that distance. (It's about 4.75 miles.)

For British readers aged 50 and over, who can remember how many perches, rods or furlongs make a mile? For everyone else . . . I swear I'm not making it up. Honest. Really.

Oh, and since January is now over, it's time to make the resolutions that you will be able to keep, within realistic limits. If you swore to train hard in the newly-joined gym and you've not been going, throttle back and consider exercising at home, with shorter, less intense sessions than you'd planned. Like that. Worth it, don't you think?

Take care. Ad astra, my friends.


Blogger mythusmage said...

I remember furlongs. Also chains, rods, grains, and drams. Let me see...

Grain: I do remember that a grain weighs less than an ounce. Otherwise you've got me.

Dram: Four fluid ounces. Four drams per pint, eight per quart, and so thirty-two per gallon (said he revealing his Yankee status :) ).

Rod: 16.5'

Chain: 66', 4 rods

Furlong: 660', 10 chains, 40 rods

Mile: 8 furlongs, 80 chains, 320 rods.

Note that the furlong is the distance a trained archer can shoot with standard archery equipment. However, even an archer in good physical condition cannot do this furlong.

February 24, 2008 at 7:26 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home