Sunday, 23 August 2015

The Wall...and other tales of Tempest...

I'm going to get the running chat out of the way first.

This week was my highest mileage, busting out 42.8miles (69km) over four runs. The first three runs were amazing and I went into today's 20.7miler feeling optimistic. But I hit the wall at 18/19 and it was rough, man. It doesn't help that I hit it in Holyrood Park, surrounded by ALL THE IDIOTS IN THE WORLD. Then had to climb that bitchin' great incline between the lochs.

Basically "The Wall" is the point at which your body has used up all its glycogen stores in the liver and muscles and has to transition into burning other fuels it can find. It hits around the 20mile mark and causes sudden fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and ABSOLUTE DESPAIR. Your serotonin levels increase, causing your dopamine to drop which results in a severe lack of motivation and real mental feelings of "I can't do this". In short, it's a really shitty place to find yourself.

I'd been on track with my buddy Rowland for the most part, but he recognised this was a battle I had to fight alone and I encouraged him to run ahead while I spent a hard 3mins pulling myself back together (I called my Mum for equal parts comfort and an ass-kicking pep-talk). Although short periods of rest won't help you get through the chemical turmoil you're body is in, it worked and I ran the final miles home, albeit slowly.

Everything was hurting, and I'm pretty sure that consuming a strict 1,900 calories per day to drop some weight is not conducive to getting me over that mentally and physically crushing hurdle at 20miles. I'mma need to reassess and regroup.

Tonight, my IT Bands are's been a niggle for the past 3yrs, but tonight I'm miserable and the only rational place to be feels like the kitchen floor with my foam roller. I have been sat here for an hour, rolling about and complaining to myself. I have no appetite and Tom isn't home to feeeeeed meeeeee, so I've had half a pineapple for my dinner.

Running Reality: The hardest line to get to is the start line...

I'm fully aware that none of this behaviour is ideal - my point being that, mentally, a really difficult run can shred you and strip you of all common sense. I burned in excess of 3,100 calories on my run today and all I've had since is pineapple and a litre of 1% fat chocolate milk at 700cals. But I am uninspired and sore and the hours are ticking by.

Tomorrow will be better. This is what your sponsorship is for...getting me through these miles and mental hurdles...because today is harder than any race day will ever be.

Puhleeease sponsor me!!

...and if anyone wants to bring me some dinner, I am all about that too.

Other things this week - I went to see Kate Tempest.


*Cue overexcited enthusiasm*

Being in a room with Kate Tempest is like standing in front of a moving train. She flies at you, unstoppable, yet you’re completely frozen to the spot and you can’t wait to be knocked down by the weight of her words and the ferocity of her passionate delivery.

Nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in 2014, aficionados will be familiar her debut rap album Everybody Down, but rapping is just one branch of Kate Tempest’s immense talents, the roots of which run so deep and promise untold greatness yet to be unearthed.

Not only did she receive a Mercury nomination for Everybody Down, she is also the youngest ever winner of the Ted Hughes Prize for poetry for her epic poem Brand New Ancients and has since been commissioned to write for the Royal Shakespeare Company amongst other serious theatre peeps.

Here is a woman whose love of hip hop music and the lyrically sublime such as Saul Williams lead her on a path to promoting spoken word performance poetry and hauling it into the limelight, where it absolutely belongs to be. I relate to Kate Tempest when she talks about appreciating lyrics above everything when she listens to music. This is why I loved Roisin Murphy's music so much as a teenager, and of course I still love it now...I was hearing Roisin's words, and it made her music speak to me differently to anything I'd really heard before.

It's also why I stopped writing music - I felt like I didn't have any experiences to write about...nobody wants a pretty rhyming couplet for the sake of it.

Kate Tempest: The Poet Performs was a showcase of the poems from her new collection called Hold Your Own. It was set in the thin-walled ramshackle structure that is the Baillie Gifford Main Theatre at this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival, and not even the roar of two RAF Typhoon jets flying low overhead could distract from her awesome flow and beautiful narrative, telling stories of sex, love, youth, alienation and human disparity, with the odd Greek myth thrown in for good measure.

Kate the person and Kate the performer almost feel like two very different people. The former is a very quiet, softly spoken, youthful looking woman from Lewisham who explains with a shrug of her shoulders and a little pacing back and forth that the best way to tell the stories of all the voices in Hold Your Own is to let them flow as one piece. So we shouldn’t be thinking “This is a bit rude, she ain’t even said ‘ello after 45minutes”, in her own words.

Yet after a charming and eloquent introduction of “Ladies, Gentlemen and everything in between, these are the poems from Hold Your Own”, omg, the poet truly did perform and the room was silent. 

Much should be praised when we consider a young woman commandeering a room of 600 people, all different ages and walks of life, many there alone (that’s what poetry is for), engrossed and not even flinching at a pre-watershed dropping of the c-bomb. It’s all about dropping it with class you see, dahling, and I came away feeling inspired and enlightened and ready to write again.

So to those who question the intelligence of hip hop music, I'm going to encourage you to explore the varied works of Kate Tempest and broaden your musical harvests. Let the unusual in and embrace it, you never know what you might discover.

Hip hop ignited the fire within this intelligent and incredibly engaging young rapper; what’s more it took her around the world and placed her in front of 600 people and a two minute standing ovation on a rainy Wednesday night at a literature festival.

Bish. Bash. Bosh.

I love her. She inspires me in a way I haven't felt in 15 years.


Nikki. xxx

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