Weekly Update: Go on a Run Anyway

It was cold and dark outside this morning, with a chance of rain. My legs and body were sore from a combination of an intense gym session and standing/walking around at a conference yesterday. I didn’t feel like running. I went on a run anyway.

This was my reward:

Rainbow over the Mediterranean

I’ve never regretted a run yet, and today was no different.

Health

I started getting my post chemo treatment tests done, and while my lungs still aren’t 100% (but hopefully will someday get there), my heart and SVC got a clean bill of health. As both the tumour and the chemo slammed it, I’m very relieved that my ticker survived. Can I chalk it up to years of running? Maybe. It surely didn’t hurt.

Reading

I just finished reading “The Golden Enclaves” by Naomi Novik, the final book in the Scholomance trilogy.

It’s rare that I see an author really working out a new concept, a new kind of world building out of a tired trope, and doing it so well. It’s even rarer that the author in question is able to pull it off while still creating a readable and enjoyable story, and one so cohesive that it is clear at every point that this was constructed as a trilogy on purpose, from the start, with every piece of the narrative falling exactly into place in the end with elegance, and without calling attention to itself. This is a mechanically excellent piece of writing that doesn’t call attention to its mechanics.

Instead it calls attention to its characters, their relationships with each other, and in particular their relationship to the deep, inherent, and seemingly justified inequalities in their world. Inequalities and injustices that aren’t very hard to map onto many of those that exist in our world today.

Is the Scholomance trilogy perfect? Of course not. The characters don’t attain true depth because the cast is too large, the world needs building and that needs room, plus, these are teenagers after all. Many of them are still working out their personality. But despite its imperfections this is a very enjoyable trilogy that is worth reading, and won’t leave you feeling like you just consumed several hours of empty air. There’s substance here.

Other stuff

I’ve been creeping back to writing, albeit only adventure writing for D&D. I’m creating a new campaign, in a new world, something that I haven’t done for years.

I’m also looking into planning for next year. I have been really struggling with this mostly because of my cancer related PTSD. More on that maybe in later posts.

If you have Disney+, I recommend watching “The Magic of Animal Kingdom”. It made me smile.

Inktober Day 15: Egyptian Geese

These fellows are fierce warriors, so all the runners know to give them a wide berth. Saw this pair during my weekend long run.
I haven’t played around with brush pens in a while, and I’ve been meaning to give a few of them a spin, so this was sketched with a Tombow Fudenosuke soft brush pen on an A4 Midori MD Cotton notebook. I thought about adding a spot of colour to this sketch, but opted for now to leave it black and white.
P.S. using brush pens right now is intensly difficult, as I can barely feel my fingers. My neuropathy gets worse the colder it is, and right now I’m only vaguely aware that my fingers exist. At least that makes sure that I sketch more from my arm and shoulder than my fingers – so proper technique 🙂

Eleven Years of Running Medals

What eleven years of running medals looks like. I have a few medals that aren’t displayed here, but the rest – both physical and virtual – are all here.

Weekly Update: Pre-Dawn Running, Ducks, Books and Fountain Pens

It’s been a busy time, what with my new job taking a lot of time and effort, my running and training taking up a good bit more, and the rest of my spare time going mostly to reading lately, I found myself creating less. That’s not great. My journalling has suffered, my drawing has suffered, my blogging has suffered. The truth is that creating is like running: I feel good during my runs and great after them, but it doesn’t make lacing up and getting out the door any less of a struggle some days. It takes more effort to sketch and blog (I’ve been utterly unable to write since my cancer diagnosis, so at the moment writing is off the table), than to curl up with a book, so I’ve been consuming more content than I’ve been creating.

That’s something that I hope will change over the next few days and weeks. I have a lot of catching up and different kinds of posts that I’ll publish here (pen reviews, sketch posts, art supply reviews, planners and Moleskines, etc). And as September is lymphoma awareness month, and childhood cancer awareness month, expect some posts related to that in the near future.

Despite the heat and humidity my running has stayed on track. This morning I woke up at 4:30 to get my long run in before the heat made things too unbearable. The weather is starting to get a bit better now, and I managed to run a little over 9 kilometres. That’s the longest run I managed to finish since my breathing issues started, and it’s a big milestone. I have a 10k race in two months and when I enrolled I wasn’t sure that I’ll be able to complete it. Today was a good indicator that I have a just may be able to do it despite having a busted lung.

Running in the dark and boats at sunrise.

I finished reading Dr Jen Gunter’s “The Vagina Bible,” which I recommend that anyone with a vagina read (it’s very informative and empowering), and Andrew Cartmel’s latest Vinyl Detective novel, “Attack and Decay”. It was a fun and fast read, and Cartmel knows how to write compelling plots and off beat characters, but his insistence on using purple language and calling attention to his protagonist’s hetro maleness is annoying at times. We get it, he’s a dude and he finds women attractive.
Next up on the reading list is likely “The Sentence” which is a Tournament of Books book (and I decided not to continue with the tournament reading list this year), but as I’ve already bought it and it seems interesting, I’ve decided to give it a go.

Ducks, geese and the Vinyl Detective.

I’m using four fountain pens at the moment, and none of them are for sketching (although I write my sketch journal’s out with my Platinum 3776 UEF). All of these are new pens, inked for the first time. The Diplomat Aero is an excellent pen at a great price point with a very unique and elegant streamlined design. The Colorverse Golden Record, on the other hand, is a disappointing ink. This is the second time that I’m using it, and it darkens considerably when left in the pen, becoming more brownish than golden orange.
The Platinum Plaisir 03 is a pretty decent pen for anyone first venturing into fountain pens. It’s a cartridge pen, and I’m not a fan of the Platinum blue it came with, but I’m not going to invest in trying to find other ink options for it.
The TWSBI ECO is an excellent pen, particularly for the price point, and J. Herbin Emerald de Chivor is a really fun, utterly impractical ink. This ECO is the jade one, and it doesn’t glow in the dark, despite its looks.
The Platinum 3776 UEF is one of the best pens that I’ve bought in a long time, because of the nib. Yes, it’s scratchy, no I don’t mind. It doesn’t feel different than my beloved, finicky Pilot Hi-Tech-C and I get more personality from its fine lines than I get with something like a fineliner. Sailor Epinard (this is from a bottle of the discontinued ink, which is now no longer discontinued), is a good, dark and muted green that has a good amount of personality.

Pens in rotation.

Have a great week, and take care of yourselves in these hectic times.

Live Travel Sketch Log

I’m off to participate in my first ever LARP this weekend, and I’m going to try and capture as much of it as I can in sketches and post it here.

Long train ride means that I can try to sketch.

My lines and painting came out more wobbly than usual due to a combination of neuropathy and the train ride.

Rough painting on the train.
One and a half pages done.
Close up of morning run sketches.
Close up of train station sketch.

Update: the weekend was excellent but phenomenally busy, and I got only about 4-5 hours of sleep per day. Still recovering, but working on a backlog sketch journal of the trip in the meanwhile.

Here’s the second page completed:

A quick post about running

A year ago, on the 13th of July 2021, I started my first round of chemo. I was hospitalised and connected to oxygen at the time (my tumour was so large that it had collapsed both of my lungs, and my lung capacity was well below 35%).
My last run was 1.2km on the 3rd of May 2021, done at a crawling pace on a treadmill. My lungs couldn’t carry me through my runs, and I had started feeling it from April 2021, but tried to push through it as my GP insisted that I was OK.

Today is the last day of July, 2022. This is my running distance for the month:

104.1 km of running in July 2022.

Running was one of the things that I missed the most while I was hospitalised and then throughout chemo and the months immediately after treatment, when my body was too broken down to carry me through a run. Words cannot express what running means to me. They just can’t.

I ran more than a 100 kms this month, lacing up for 21 times, getting back to a baseline of 5k runs five times a week. Despite the heat. Despite the humidity. Despite my lungs and my PTSD.

I only wish there was a way to send a message back to the me that lay in that hospital bed connected to the chemo IV, to let her know where I’d be a year from then.

Night Run

I really like how the two watercolours on this page “melt” together, and in general this is one of my favourite sketchbook spreads created as part of the Sketchbook Design course.