Sunday, 10 January 2010
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!