A Fellow of Infinite Jest is a blog by Ken Leach. Ken reaches for pretentious David Foster Wallace references when pushed to register a URL. He also talks about himself in the third person. That should tell you everything you need to know. His posts are likely to talk about UK wellbeing policy, mixed in with some personal musings about...stuff.

What I think about when I think about writing about running

On Monday I did something really stupid. Not an impulsive kind of stupid. The kind of stupid where you set yourself a reminder on your phone to do it. The kind of stupid you really have to work at.

I applied for a place to run in the London Marathon.

That's not all.

I told people I had applied for a place to run in the London Marathon.

I have a...complicated relationship with exercise. As an overweight kid/teen I hated PE. Cross country races were stomach-lurchingly terrifying. People would bet on me coming last, and I did. I was crap at most things. Being five foot six I remember glaring at the PE teacher while he set up the high jump equipment and thinking this was biologically unfair. By the time I got to uni and lost most of the weight, the memory of PE lessons made me steer clear of sports clubs. In London I tried to take up running but it never stuck.

When I moved back to York I was in the middle of writing up my dissertation and thoroughly bored. I remember previous attempts at running and hit the internet where I almost immediately came across the problems I'd imposed on myself. When I'd run in the past I just set off in a direction and stopped when I got a stitch in my side. Turns out that's not conducive to having fun, although, to be fair I'd never thought that running could be fun. 

It turns out what I needed was a training place. I used the 'couch to 5k' method to slowly build up stamina. At the beginning of one week I'd think, 'there is no way I'll be able to do what it's asking me to do next week.' But I could. Running time was scheduled in the calendar and within eight weeks I could run the full 5k without stopping. I was thirty years of age and had only just learned that getting better at a physical activity takes regular incremental improvements.

I'm nowhere near being fit enough to run a marathon. There's roughly a 1 in 5 chance I'll actually get a place from the ballot. The thought of attempting it is terrifying but that is tempered by the thought of actually achieving it.

So, I'm actually hoping I get to give it a go, or at least cast around looking for another marathon if I don't. Either way look forward to many more self-aggrandising and tedious training posts.

Eurovision, Star Trek, and Optimism

PhD Intro: Wellbeing policy in the UK