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Some people might think that it is unnecessary or overly emotional to be heartbroken by the death of a pet, but Phoebe had been my companion for over 10 years. She had been with me through divorce, the death of both of my parents, my grandmother dying 10 days after my mother, the loss of various friends, moving house, the year of being employed by Deloitte.

She wasn’t a cuddly cat. It took a year before she purred or walked onto my lap (she had been mistreated before I got here). She rarely played, only occasionally chasing a ball around or kicking three bells out of a catnip infused soft toy. But she did enjoy lying out in the sunshine, either indoors or on the neighbour’s shed roof. She would spend most evenings taking advantage of the undercat heating afforded by a lap with a blanket on it. She was tremendously spoiled with radiator beds, enclosed houses, fake sheepskin beds and blankets to sleep on and in, even getting us to make her a nest at night by placing a blanket over the corner of the sofa.

She wasn’t the brightest cat in the world. If a ball bounced off a door, she would look behind it instead of where it rebounded to. She would wait by the patio door to be let back in, in a place where she couldn’t be seen. She even rolled off the bed once while stretching.

She was always around though, and that may be the hardest thing to get used to. She had access to all parts of the house (joining me in the bathroom when I got up in the morning, walking along the edge of the bath and rubbing up against the shower screen), so that every part of it has memories of her (and a layer of cat hair). That includes all parts of the sofa, under the dining chairs, on top of the dining table, underneath shelves in the office, on the office chair, inside the futon, on the bedroom window seat, on the spare bed, underneath the drinks cabinet, inside boxes and bags, under the bed, on the linen chest of drawers, halfway up the stairs, or just stretched out on the landing by the radiator.

I expect that I will miss her and be looking around for her for a long time to come. I am hoping that the memories of her at the vet’s, and the vet coming in to say that she didn’t think that she would make it will fade soon, to be replaced by the happier images which I have compiled and put on an electronic photo frame (which I am turning on and off depending on whether it brings me comfort or makes me feel sad).

I currently feel guilty.

Guilty that I was not there when she was taken ill.
Guilty that my phone was on silent during a gym class so that I did not get the messages until 45 minutes later.
Guilty that I let her out that morning and exposed her to whatever it was that poisoned her (if that is what it was).
Guilty that I did not take her to the vet when she had what I thought was a stuck hairball a few months ago (that she seemed fully recovered from the following morning, but maybe it was related).
Guilty that her last hour or so of life was spent in distress and was not longer (she was only about 12).
Guilty that my first instinct at the bill for the vet’s attempts to save her life was ‘ouch’.
Guilty that I did not warn my neighbours (who both have cats) until this morning that there might be something toxic in the neighbourhood.
Guilty that I am so upset by the loss of of an animal when there are so many other terrible things happening in the world (and that have happened to people I know).
Guilty that I so quickly moved her things out of sight (too painful to see, but kept for any cats I might have in the future).

Hopefully as I grieve these feelings of guilt will pass as the shock diminishes and I will just be grateful for the time I had with her. I would like to think that I gave her a comfortable life in the main and that she was content. But I will miss her.

Day 283/365 – a run of two halves

No parkrun this morning per coach’s orders (since it is Gwent League tomorrow), which was just as well as it was the dreaded ‘B’ course due to BikeFest. So instead I ran there at long-run pace, marshalled, had some cake and tea, then ran home at around about marathon pace.

It was the last run for my purple 1080v3 shoes. They will now get a scrub before being sent over to Kenya. I’m down to just the 5 pairs of running shoes now: two pairs of road shoes, two pairs of trail shoes, and a pair of cross-country spikes.

The 100 points I got for volunteering nicely consolidated my second place in the points table as Becci wasn’t running today.

Day 269/365 – Ashton Court parkrun and then some

I am planning on running the Mells Scenic 7 tomorrow as it marks Jim Plunkett-Cole’s 1,000th day of running at least 10k, so had to get my long run in today. This meant running to Ashton Court, running the parkrun (my 100th at Ashton Court), then running home (via the bank). You therefore get to spot the Ashton Court parkrun course in the middle (hopefully there is an uptick in pace). This means I had no idea what time I ran the parkrun in and had to wait for my official result to find out.

I was 57th out of 305 parkrunners with a time of 23:19, 3rd lady and 2nd in my age category. With the 100 points from volunteering last week, this puts me 3rd in the points table.

Day 240/365 – Goodbye To You & Livin’ On A Prayer

Today was the first tempo run where I wasn’t worried that I would be able to make the pace and was only worried about the distance. I used my 10k playlist in-between Zombies, Run! mission updates, just to make sure I kept that pace up, so ended up averaging a bit faster than I should have (it should have been 8:23 min/mile). Two missions completed: Goodbye To You and Livin’ On A Prayer. A 270 ‘epic suffer score’ according to Strava. This was after I adjusted my heart rate zones slightly having actually measured my resting heart rate at 53 bpm instead of assuming the 60 bpm it always used to be.

Day 123/365

A pleasing length of run at 18.18km on day 123 and it would have been a lovely long run through woods still filled with bluebells if it were not for the dog attack on one of our number as we were travelling through one of the woods. We got it cleaned up a bit when we got back and it didn’t look very deep, but was obviously a shock and probably worth a tetanus jab. First time out in road shoes on the trails. Things have dried up a lot since the Winter but there were still some squishy bits and the wet grass meant that you couldn’t hear the clicking of the joints in my feet over the squelching of my shoes. I had brought dry clothes to change into for drinks and they were much appreciated.

Day 94/365 – Ashton Court parkrun

I picked up a nasty cold while I was away, so wouldn’t normally have run at Ashton Court this week were it not for my 2015kx365 commitment, or the fact that it would be my 98th parkrun and I needed to try and keep ahead of Jane in the points table (the last points scoring run is on April 18th). I didn’t push myself, and had nothing in my legs with which to push anyway. I did have to stop to re-tie a shoelace in the last km, but I think the people who passed me then would have done so anyway. Home for blankets and a hot water bottle.

I finished 110th out of 307 parkrunners, was 14th lady and 2nd in my age category. Still 2nd in the points table.

Day 84/365

12 weeks of running at least 5k every day done. I was feeling strong after my Body Pump Express class and went off a bit fast for my 5km run home, but I was aware that I’ve got a track session tonight so tried to dial it back a little to leave something in my legs for that (though it was still a little fast).

Day 15/365 – Comfortably Numb

The forecast was for bad weather, so when I saw it wasn’t raining when I woke up I put one my new pink trail shoes and headed out for the local park with a Zombies, Run! mission. It was just as muddy as last week, but I didn’t run out of my shoes this time. I did enable zombie chases, but it was difficult to get sufficient traction in the mud to speed up sufficiently. When analysing the mission I found that the chases had failed because I had sped up too much, though it felt like it must have been too little. The app crashed out on me during the first zombie chase, so the mission is in two parts.

Comfortably Numb (part 1)
Comfortably Numb (part 2)

I have now run over 100km this year.

Ashton Court parkrun – 29th November 2014

I had a good run last week so decided to really push myself this week. I ended up with a time and position worse than last week. That’s running for you. The effort you put in isn’t always rewarded, sometimes your legs just don’t cooperate. I must have pushed a little too hard at Body Pump yesterday and taken too much out of them.

I finished 92nd out of 269 parkrunners, was 8th lady and 1st in my age category. Still hanging on in 2nd place in the points table, but I’ll be overtaken by the end of the year unless Jane starts missing some weeks.