Haiku and Half Marathons

Haiku for Our Times
A Plumber

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


muddyboots said…
weather here has been either very stormy or sunny? impressed with the running bit.
Cait O'Connor said…
I hope it is sunny with you over there in the west. I love your haikus (is there a plural of haiku?) and I am full of admiration for your running skills and your endurance. Good luck for Cardiff! I'm sure your Dad is watching you and feeling proud.
Pipany said…
I'm sort of with you on the Haiku Chris although I shouldn't really say that as an English teacher! I always find eating porridge gives me a ravenous appetitie for some reason! xx
Pat Posner said…
Good luck for the run, Chris.
I know just how 'missing your Dad' feels but, as Cait says, I'm sure he'll be watching you.

bodran... said…
Blumin ek girl !! are you mad .
I hate running i was good at cross country but that somehow isnt the same...Look after that toe and good luck .We will see you soon xx
Tattie Weasle said…
Ohmygod - sweaty jellybabies....I'm just starting this running lark and am in total awe! Watched the Great North Run and it began to dawn on me just what I'd let myself in for - the runners trots???!!!!
Good luck - so impressed.
Preseli Mags said…
I'm totally impressed with the running too. I found the Swansea 10k was quite far enough for now (and I had really heavy legs throughout - I'll have to try out the Jelly Baby thing too). Oddly enough I find porridge ineffective as running fuel (and I don't go nearly as far as you do). I find I need yoghurt too and loads of honey! Good luck with the remainder of the training and with the race too. xx Mags.
Flowerpot said…
I do admire you running, Chris, I really do. Sounds hellish but good for you - terrific. I quite agree about haikus as well!! I know another marathon runner who swears by Jelly Babies too. Funny that.
Debs said…
We had a marathon over here on Sunday with gale-force winds and driving rain. I felt so sorry for them.

Love the painting (again).

Hugs re your dad.x
Elizabethd said…
Good luck with the run, you are very courageous.
I remember trying to teach a small group of children how to write a Haiku, amazingly we had some really interesting results.
mountainear said…
You'll do it - the marathon - and you'll do it well. Wish I could be there to cheer you on. Go girl!
elizabethm said…
Adore Tom's comment that "It's only pain!" Go Tom. So impressed with your running and looking forward to seeing you next week!
Frances said…
Good evening Chris,

All that you have posted makes me want to echo Tom's "Keep going!"

Also want to say that I do like Tom's black and red.

BT said…
Great to be back and to read about your running exploits. I miss my Mum and Dad although they died in 1980 and 1987 respectively. Last night I dreamed about my Mum as if she was still here. Very strange and slightly unsettling.

I envy your running ability. I'm just too lazy.
Zinnia Cyclamen said…
Amusing blog posts
Bring me back again for more.
Sod cherry blossom.
Milla said…
find haikus a waste of time, but do keep us up to date with your course! you could save us all a bomb. V touching and sad about your dad. very sad. Lovely Tom pic.
Fiona said…
Great Haiku. I too wasn't keen but I'm slowing coming round to liking them.

Had our first face to face tutorial. Fasinating. The other people I mean. One woman spent the whole time crying with the emotion of it all. Blimey.
Fennie said…
Oh Chris I do feel for you. If we weren't off to the Mill I would come along and cheer. It must be hell. I can't think of anything worse really, but no doubt you get a lovely feeling when its over - 'The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner,' is what it conjures up for for loneliness read pain. Still I do hope you do well and your neck and toes improve (maybe your body, though, is trying to tell you something). Anyway, pob hwyl.
Debs said…
There's an award for you over at mine.
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