Life’s what happens…

I’m not sure how many personal benefits there are to my fire service job, though giving one perspective on life would definitely be one of the knock-on positives.

It’s been a really rough week for us and the next brigade in the neighboring town. We have had several particularly bad call outs, and, as the cosmic law of some unknown entity by the name of Murphy states, these have all landed at the same time after a fairly long lull.

Anyway, such is the way with these things. As regards perspective, having your Garmin watch go on the blink is really not up there with some of the stuff we’ve had to deal with over the last six or seven days.

Training has been tricky. With crew numbers down due to annual leave and sickness, much of the training has been done in the park or in the station.

Monday 25th: brick session. Bike around Blessington via Naas. I don’t really have any stats on it, other than the journey distance which was 96k. Must be getting some fitness since I last did this route as I felt better this time around, and the weather was a bit hit and miss. I stopped off at the bike shop in Naas to pick up a few last bits for the race this month, including a chain-breaker. Not something I’ve used before, and I hope I don’t need to use it in Kerry either. Straight off the bike I did a 4.6k run in the park.

View of Blessington Lake between Lacken and Ballyknockan. I had forgotten the festival was on here, and there were a lot of sore heads trudging back to cars as I passed through. Not to mention the great bang off the portaloos being emptied. Think I’d prefer the smell of napalm in the morning…

Tuesday was a rest day, but then the crazy spell in the station had kicked off, so I doubt there would have been much time for training anyway, nor any appetite for it either.

Wednesday 27th: the diary records a ‘horrible run in the park’. I was really not in the mood for it, but I tramped around for nearly 12k at 6:19 pace which is fast for a glacier. But relatively slow for a biped. Hot, sweaty, grim.

Thursday 28th: an hour on the gym bike, with some weights. In other words, sit on the bike, pedal, and lift 2.5kg weights with each arm in a variety of random ways. Does it make any sense? Does it help? No idea. I just look at Chris Froome and think that the trade-off for amazing speed in the legs is pretty harsh if you end up with matchsticks for arms… Overall, it was a good sweaty session, with 33k done in the hour, which is up on the normal for me on a gym bike where I typically do a 2:1 ratio; i.e. 60 minutes for 30k, etc.

Friday 29th: finally escaped to the pool for a quick session, and managed about a mile in the 45 minutes. Lost count of laps; I was just so happy to be immersed again.

Saturday 30th: another brick session. Shortish bike which included some hill work, and then a little bit of speed as well. The hills are along the Strawberry Beds along the Liffey, and the road surface is poor to say the least, so I just did the three main ones, including Rugged and Somerton Lane, and then headed out past Dunboyne to Kilcloon and back via Maynooth into Leixlip. Off the bike after about 47k and into a run in the park for about 8.5k at a reasonable pace.

Sunday 31st: run with Mark at 9am. This did seem like a nice idea alright, but when I woke at about 8.30 I realised certain parts of my body seemed very indifferent to the whole plan. These included my legs, much of the body, and some of the head. I dragged it all out into the kitchen and we sat down and had a little word with ourselves. By the time Mark had arrived, the legs had agreed, after some coaxing, to do what legs are supposed to do, and we did another 8.5k or so, but this time at a slower pace. The first few kilometres were not pretty but the run down by the river is always good for the soul, and we chatted away, and nodded our greetings to all the dog walkers, cyclists and runners out enjoying the park, and by the time we made it back to the house, I was feeling more or less human again. Saoirse joined us for hot chocolate afterwards. And I reckon that’s training done for the week.

So to finish off, the singer from the old band is coming home from Boston for a family wedding. For some reason, this required the setting up of a WhatsApp group, which then resulted in a slew of old photos appearing from some long lost albums. Here’s one now.

The old band playing in the Ryeval Tavern in Leixlip. Don’t have a year on this, but I have lots of hair (that’s me playing guitar on the left) so early nineties, I’d say. Tadhg, the singer, is the other guitar player, with Dave on bass, and Jonny on keys. As I recall, our normal drummer was off on holidays, so Tadhg’s brother John stepped in to do the needful.

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