Haiku and Half Marathons
Haiku for Our Times
Composing a verse
in seventeen syllables
sends me round the bend.
Stock markets falling
faster than the Autumn leaves.
Call Robert Peston.
Friday 3 October
Yes, this week for the sake of freeing up our writing, we are mainly writing haiku. Again it’s a bit out my comfort zone, not a form I’d usually try and to be honest (and no disrespect to those highly respected writers of haiku who make such an art of it) it all feels a bit like being told to doodle when you’re hoping to learn how to paint like Michelangelo. Still, one of the aims of starting this course is to stretch myself and try new fields and I’m certainly doing that.
Sunday 5 October
There is a gale of epic proportions going on outside my window and it’s pouring down with rain. I’m planning to do a half marathon course today but with weather like that I might as well sit in comfort and draw inspiration from the ‘Great North Run’ instead. With in minutes I’m blubbing; Bill Bryson is saying how proud he is of his daughter and suddenly it hits me that my dad won’t ever see me achieve anything ever again and I miss him so much. It’s been three years now but sometimes it feels like yesterday. I pull myself together and watch the race, feeling desperately for Jo Pavey who after a magnificent effort and a personal best, is narrowly beaten into third place but, my goodness, what a great race.
Only two weeks to go before the Cardiff Half Marathon and today’s my last full run before then, just a couple of longish runs this week and next week I’m tapering down before the race. Despite the fact that the rain’s stopped and there’s even a glimpse of sunshine I’m not really ‘up for it’ today. Tom says he’ll give me half an hour to get going and then he’ll follow me on the bike. The first couple of miles feel a bit sticky but around four miles everything flows nicely and I feel okay and I’m keeping up a good steady pace.
Around ten miles I start to feel really hungry, really empty. Normally I get up, drink two cups of tea and run but today I’ve even had porridge although that was four hours ago. The trouble is it’s all a question of balance; sports drinks tend to make me feel queasy and I definitely, definitely do not want a case of Runners’ Trots but suddenly my legs are heavy, hills become like mountains and I’m really worried that I’ll have to stop.
‘Keep going!’ Tom bellows.
‘I can’t,’ I whimper.
‘Yes you can – it’s only pain!’
And, in the end, I do it and in a reasonable time.
Tuesday 7 October
Wretched weather. Go to the gym and do a speed session but my neck’s feeling sore, one of my toes doesn’t look very happy and I’m just hoping that everything will stay in place until I’ve finished the race. A few folks on the Runners World website seem to swear by Jelly Babies to keep up their energy levels. Tips include keeping your Jelly Babies in something waterproof to stop them getting sweaty (bleurgh!) and making sure you wash them down with water. Trouble is that I haven’t had this problem before and it’s a bit too late to experiment…
Painting is 'Black Squre, Red Square' by Tom Tomos