Heavy hearts

They say bad things come in threes. I’m finding it hard to argue with that this afternoon, though normally that sort of numerological guff doesn’t work for me.

In the lead up to the 10k, both of us had a tummy bug. Hot, stuffy head, back aches and upset stomach. Mine, fortunately, blew over during the week, but for Saoirse it arrived like the Winter storm we are having this weekend. It was certainly taking the fun out of doing her first 10k. We weren’t sure we were even going to get going this morning… and when we made the decision to leave the sanctuary of our own personal flushing toilet, I discovered the petrol light was on, and we had to detour to the station. We parked a fair distance from the start line, anticipating heavy traffic, and by the time we made it to the bag drop (via the portaloos), the 5k group were under way and the 10k competitors were lining up for the off.

Cutting it fine is an under-statement.

Then there was the actual weather. This was threatening to really put the kibosh on the race, with stiff winds forecast and floods of rain. As it happened, the weather was fairly poor, but nothing like predicted; more than likely the west coast was taking yet another beating and softening up the storm front for us delicate east-coasters.

The third thing was Paris.

I was watching the tail-end of the telly before heading to bed, and I happened upon a news station. It was about 11pm but of course we were soon drawn into the unfolding horror of it all, and before long, we were ringing relations in that great city to see if they were all well. It was particularly hard to hear my wife’s beautiful niece crying on the phone, though of course, it meant she was safe. Her sister was also caught up in the trauma and it was some time before we heard that she too was safe.

A short while ago, she emailed to say she had lost a friend in the attacks, and her ex-boyfriend had lost three. I’d imagine that was at the concert, as we have met the young man and he is a big rock music fan who also plays in bands.

The niece in question was only over here with us in Ireland last week. We would dearly wish to be there with them all now, despite all the chaos, or better still, bring them all over to Ireland.

It does seem rather odd to have run a charity fun run this morning. Never mind the poxy weather, or the upset stomachs. It was just a bizarre sort of thing to be doing, knowing what was going on in a city we both love, and plan to visit again next year. We will too. It won’t put us off. And of course, there is a part of your brain that’s programmed to say rather trite things like “charity fun runs are just the sort of things terrorists want us to be afraid of doing.”

Maybe so. But it all feels rather hollow at the moment.

Events are unfolding as we speak. But of course, that’s a terrifically bland truism if there ever was one. Suffice to say, that particular story is not anywhere near over. We’re sending lots of love Paris direction, and we’ll do so in person sooner rather than later.

I ran 47:34 and Saoirse did a great 1.03:03; given it was her first, a great performance (especially under the circumstances).

Paris, à bientôt. x


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