Slight wistfulness but cracking on!

It was absolutely the right decision to delay the release of my current big game project to the ParserComp competition in June rather than rushing it into the Spring Thing festival this week, but I do feel a slight wistful pang that I won’t be entering the Thing this year. I’ve been testing a couple of other people’s games, so I still feel like I’m contributing in a small way. I’m also looking forward to playing all the entries once they become available. In the meantime, I’m getting on with my (much smaller) game for this year’s TALP jam, which will be my focus for the next month.

Speaking of wistful pangs, it’s hard not to feel like my marathon training is on hold at the moment. My leg hurts a little less during gentle exercise than it did yesterday, and that’s great, but I need to be patient and let it heal properly. I’m doing all the right things… I think.

Decision made-ish

I went out for a planned two-mile out-and-back run this morning. Sharp pain in my hamstring from the off meant that I was being overtaken by old ladies hurrying for buses; by half a mile in, it was less sharp but still painful, so I turned around and went home. I’ve booked a physio appointment for next week. I feel like it just won’t get better if I don’t stay in recovery mode.

In the meantime, I’m thinking about getting an inexpensive exercise bike to try and keep my fitness up with lower-impact exercise until my leg is better. I’m starting to feel like I’m going to be undertrained for this marathon, but it’d be better than not being able to do it at all.

Race Review: Sheffield Half Marathon 2022

It’s nice to get the 2022 season started, but I was a bit nervous about this one. For the week and a half leading up to the race I’d been taking a break from my marathon training plan, as my knee was really starting to hurt whenever I ran. During my break I mostly stuck to short treadmill runs and gentle walking, and discovered via lots of prodding with the foam roller / massage gun that the root of my knee pain is in my stiff calves (as ever). By Tuesday last week, I was able to run without pain, but I could still feel where the trouble spots were and so I was a bit worried that the issue would flare up during the race. I just had to wait and see.

Pre-race Sheffield Half Marathon
A little anxious pre-race.

I knew from the elevation map that the first five miles of the race are all uphill, but I didn’t quite expect that there would be no flat reprieves at all during that stretch! It was pretty relentless, and I’d been worried about my leg on the uphills due to it hurting a lot during a short sharp hill in Edinburgh the previous weekend. However, it went the opposite way – the leg held up okay on the uphill section, but it did hurt quite a bit during the remaining eight downhill miles! I had to be really careful to stick to the middle of the road during miles six to eight out in the countryside, as the camber of the outside edges made things worse.

Mentally, I had a bit of a pity party at mile ten. Two years ago, in early March 2020, I was in my best shape ever and achieved my half marathon PB of 2:23:42 at the Inverness half. I was training for the London Marathon and it was going perfectly… and then, boom, COVID, and two years later I’m nowhere near that shape and it feels like I never will be again. I had a real moment of doubt at that ten-mile marker, as it was looking like I wouldn’t even get under three hours, and I wondered why the hell I do this to myself when I’m so pathetically slow and bad at running, and what on earth the point of it all is when I’m always trailing at the back like this, and I’ve always got aches and pains that make the whole thing a bit miserable, and everyone else doing this pace is either much older or much heavier than me, and why can’t I just be average instead of utterly appalling…

And then I had a gel, and gritted my teeth, and picked up the plod for the last three miles, and staggered in at 2:58:44. I must have looked absolutely dead when crossing the line as I was instantly accosted by a first aider with a sopping wet towel, who unceremoniously squeezed most of the water down the back of my neck and sternly told me to keep the towel on until I was out of the finish area. Race volunteers are amazing.

Sheffield Half Marathon medal
It’s one of those medals where the ribbon is far too big and looks out of proportion. Kind of like three-quarters of the medal has gone missing!

Post-race, I’m still treating the dodgy calf (plus the bonus hamstring twinge and the recurring hip issue that has flared up again… it’s a bit of a circus down there), and I’m a little unsure how best to get back to my marathon training plan. The marathon is just under nine weeks away, and I’ve got the competing worries of doing too much too soon (resulting in continued issues with the leg) and not getting back to it quickly enough (resulting in losing fitness and motivation). I need to find some kind of balance, and I’m not 100% sure how to go about it.

I’m really pleased I got this half done though. It was a tough one.

The short race post before the long race post

I’ll do my full review post on today’s Sheffield Half Marathon tomorrow. I’m knackered this evening and just want to get to bed! Geth and I had a relatively good morning out though, and have just been eating and dozing since we finished the race. It would have been nice to mooch around Sheffield for a bit, but I’m never any good for Doing Stuff after a long race. Back to running at home tomorrow.

parkrunday: Jesmond Dene #51

It’s my first race of the year tomorrow (hope the knee holds up!) and so I was volunteering again today, doubling in two marshal spots (moving from one to the other after the tail had gone past) that I hadn’t done before. I’ve run the course many times but never realised how beautiful that bit of the Dene is! Not something you think about when you’re trying to run round a hairpin bend down a steep slope, I suppose.

parkrun signs
Sign collection for carrying back to base.

I’m excited about running it again next week, hopefully with my new race t-shirt on!

Bugs found-ish

My game project is finally in a semi-testable state, so I’ll be getting some non-me eyes on it over the next few days. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to a running-focused weekend! Volunteering at parkrun tomorrow morning, race on Sunday. First race of the year, so I’m looking forward to it.

Finding all the wrong stuff

I’ve been bughunting most of today. Maybe that’s not the right word. I don’t want to find bugs in my games, but it’s sort of an inevitable part of the process!

After a few passes on my own I will be able to turn it over to my testers, which is always an exciting milestone. Hoping to be in that stage by this time tomorrow. We’re getting there.

It’s been a bit of a mad month making this game, but it’s been such a breath of fresh air after finishing the more unfamiliar coding work I was doing on the TechUP course. I have so much fun making these things.

Finishing a story

I wrote the ending of the story for my current game project today. There might be some more bits to add in over the next week, but for all intents and purposes the writing is done. Looking forward to changing focus and working on some simple illustrations and a bit of experimental music.

Then I can start testing it. That’s when all the real issues will start showing up!