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Blog Runner's Block by Kate Fox

Since the back buggering run of late June, since thinking running would get quicker and easier more easily and quickly, since introducing unlimited walking breaks and since a few gaps in training and failing to miraculously lose a stone, I think I’ve been gradually losing the runner’s high that I had even a month ago. 

I’ve taken a grip back of it this week. A two mile run, then a three mile run, then a seven point five mile run, slowly, consistently and committedly. I didn’t expect any of them to be easy - and they weren’t. But the endorphins fizz was back.The sense of gradually increasing accomplishment had returned.

I spoke to someone this week who hasn’t had much chance to train for long periods, and is thinking about (or fantasising about) deferring, and somebody else who wants me to do a dummy run of the course with them on September 4th. I suppose I’m somewhere in between. Just rediscovering my commitment, and remembering how it isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. I had talked about overcoming writer’s block being similar to the process by which you get your body to keep going even though it’s screaming "Wouldn’t it be easier to just sit down and have a nice cup of tea?!”. Seeing my Haruki Marukami book "What I talk about when I talk about running”, Beth, director of Great North Run Culture, reminded me of what he had said about suffering and we looked it up; "Say you’re running and you start to think Man this hurts, I can’t take it anymore. The "hurt” part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand any more is up to the runner himself. This pretty much sums up the most important aspect of marathon running.” Wise words Marukami. Good music, and good moon and a bit of stoicism by the sea got me through last night’s run, now there’s just another 39 days to go...

Runner’s Block

I don’t know what to run,

dumbed by the blank page of the pavement,

awed by the Greats staring past me like Easter Island heads.

I resort to beseeching myself in parts,

calligraphing every inadequate joint,

lamenting the childish cursive of my gait.

Only yesterday, I was air and water.

Then I read Marukami quoting;

"Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”

and picture the bulging tendons in his writing hand

as I step off an edge

and inscribe the air with the arcs

of my perfect, forgetful freefall.


Kate Fox is a poet, writer and broadcaster. She was Poet in Residence for the Great North Run in 2011, and is working on a new show for families for the 2012 Great North Run Culture programme called The Starting Line.
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