Sunday, 10 January 2010

Impulse Power (and where it might take you)


These are my Icebug running shoes. They're great for this kind of weather, offering good traction and scant excuse for not running. I've had them for a few years now as they don't come out too often, nor do they get prolonged use. You can run in usual, non-icy conditions in them but the sound of the spikes on tarmac is like a whole army is chasing you in hobnail boots.

So why am I telling you this? Well... if it weren't for these shoes, I strongly suspect Mortlock may never have been written.

I love thinking back on pivotal moments in life and what might, or might not have been. The Icebug shoes are a case in point. They were an impulse buy in 2005 at the Chester Half Marathon. I had a hankering to try running up mountains and wanted something that would act as a good compromise between trail shoes and road runners. Stupidly, I tested them out on grass so I couldn't hear the scrunch and grind of steel spikes that would stop me wearing them in anything but the most glassy conditions.

Of course once I got them home and took them out for their first run I realised they were not fit for the purpose I had in mind. The clattering and scraping that followed me around my normally serene route gave me a headache and had the local Teritorial Army division fearing a mass invasion of invisible soldiers.

And so the shoes languished in the boot box by the front door, a home to spiders for months. Until February 2006 when the snow began to fall.

I was training for the London Marathon and didn't see why a bit of snow should interrupt my training. I felt so fit, had completed the Snowdonia Marathon in my best time and relished the chance to get out in the cold.

And I had just the shoes to do it in!
Out came the Ice bugs.

If I hadn't had them in all likelihood, I would have elected to stay in by the fire.

But I did have them and so out I ran.

The first 7 miles were fine but then my foot vanished into a snowdrift, my ankle twisted on the kerb beneath with a crack. The sound was quite sickening. I had to limp back 3 miles through thick snow.

I spent the next six weeks with my foot up, sat in front of a laptop. The inevitable happened and I wrote... well it was something. It was pretty awful but it had the seeds of many stories in there and Mortlock was one of them.

So, an impulse buy, led to a disaster which led to... well, this:

Oh, did I mention, that the chaps at Bloomsbury had been 'tweaking' the cover? It's going to look awesome!