Friday, April 15, 2016

Anatomy Of A Half-Marathon

I popped out on Friday 4th to do a spot of running, I had in mind I'd do roughly a six mile loop into Guiseley, and then perhaps press on for a second six mile loop down into Otley if I was feeling good. The weather was cool but sunny with a very light breeze, pretty much perfect weather for running.

Miles 1-3) I'm feeling really good this morning, running at a couple of seconds under 9 minutes a mile which is a good pace for me and easily a minute faster than when I picked up running again in January. Probably because I'm wearing a hip belt for my water bottle (I hate carrying stuff in my hands shwn running), I need a pee, now I need a pee all I can think about is needing a pee.

Mile 3.5) Pop into the leisure centre for bio-break. As always the amount of pee expelled, about an eggcup full, is out of all proportion to the amount of relief gained.

Mile 6) I'm feeling really good, still under 9 mins which is probably too fast but it's hard to slow down when you're running so well. I'm back at Menston so yes, I'm going to push on for the half marathon. Ahead of me I've got at least two miles downhill into Otley and then some flat miles along to Burley. I'm running with my earphones in and a steady diet of Ramones - Wildhearts - Massive Wagons - Megadeth to keep me going, I don't mind shorter solo runs without music, but on longer treks I get fed up of the sound of my trainers slapping the pavement.

Mile 8) Still running well, but I'm so hot, there's little beads of sweat bouncing off me with every pace. Worst bit of the run so far was when I stopped at the Ilkley Road / Otley Bypass roundabout waiting for traffic, my legs felt a little heavy after I'd waited for a couple of minutes and when I tried to pick up the pace again it's feeling a little more laboured.

Mile 10) Ok, I'm feeling a little tired now. It is quite a warm morning and the water in my bottle has warmed up nicely and is doing little to refresh me. Thankful for a handy bush on the bypass to Burley for another bio-break, not so thankful for the short stretch without pavement, busses and trucks are big scary things up close.  There's a little uphill section on old Otley Road and I've really slowed down. All the way round I've been telling myself how good I'm feeling, but now I'm not, I seem to have switched from positive self motivation to grim determination in about half a mile.

Mile 11) Along the flattish bit out from Burley back towards Menston. The flat miles at the start of the run felt great, I felt light and bouncy, each step was easy and thoughtless. Now I feel leaden, heavy and strained, every footstep slaps down hard and jars my frame. And the uphill bit is still to come.

Mile 12) Uphill. Up Bradford Road. This is awful. What on earth posessed me to do this ? I'm tired, soaked with sweat from head to toe, my legs are aching, thighs are starting to burn, there's a niggle in my left calf which wasn't bothering me on the flat but which is spiking now with each step. Thud

Mile 13) I made it up the hill, lumbered around Menston Park and now I'm moving along Main Street in an ungainly, elephantine manner. I'm hating having to cross roads as the six inch drop off each pavement edge is hideous and my legs are so stiff now I'm scared I might stumble ovet the pavement on the other side.

Mile 13.1) I'm home, and I should be elated, but my brain has fried from the heat and exercise and somehow I've convinced myself that the half marathon distance is about 13.5 miles. For a moment I consider giving up, but then with a quite remarkable outburst of swearing I set off again, moving with wooden legs towards Bleach Mills, turn around, swear some more, get home again, 13.7 miles, and that's me knackered.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Two To Go

I sent TMA05 in for marking late last night, and for the first time in 5 years of university work I deliberately padded the essay to get it completed. Not that my padding was off topic, I added in a quote from Professor Nick Groom about the Goth band Fields Of The Nephilim and then responded to the quote. So it was on topic for the essay question but not in a manner that is going to get me any points.

If I wasn't still on the cusp of being able to achieve a 1st I don't think I'd be panicking so much. The awful score I received for my EMA on the previous religions module left my overall score just short of a 1st, but with the outside possibility of still getting there. Perhapos a lower score earlier in the course would have just left me in solid 2.1 territory and that would have been an end to the sleepless nights and endless stress.

I don't think TMA05 is going to get me over the 85% grade, and as it carries 25% of the total score for the module that's probably the end of that. Perhaps I can just relax a little now and coast over the line. Perhaps sometime soon I can return to reading books for fun, or not spending every single day off perched in front of the computor writing bloody essays.