IN WHICH WE HAVE A TOUGH FEW DAYS AT THE OFFICE, TAKE AN ENFORCED RUNNING HIATUS, AND SURVIVE THE NATIONAL FESTIVAL RELATIVELY UNSCATHED
Every two years, fire personnel have to undertake Breathing Apparatus refresher courses. For us, it’s a three day course, and it’s fairly full on. Essentially, if you can’t pass this course, you can’t do your job. It’s both physically and mentally demanding, so I had passed up on Monday pilates, nor had I had a run since Saturday. By Thursday evening, I was fairly tired but at least had navigated the course, and got my ticket for another couple of years.
Straight after BA refresher it was two hours of drill in the station. Some weeks just fall like that, and to top it off, we were back in the station first thing next morning to get the vehicles ready for the local parade. On top of that, we had a few calls too. And a new recruit started his career at drill, and I volunteered to be his mentor. So by the time I returned home on Friday afternoon after chucking about two tonnes of sweets into the crowd, I felt like I had been away on an oil rig for months…
Nothing for it but to throw on the runners and get out into the park. You know some days you just have one of those runs where everything is effortless? The path slips by underneath, untroubled by the gazelle-like athlete gliding overhead, as hardly a bead of sweat troubles your brow, and muscles fuelled with the elixir of life throb with joyful abandon for ever and ever and… no? Me neither.
It was a slog. Ten k all told, in just over 58 minutes, and every now and again I stooped to collect empty cider and beer packaging from the roving gangs of teenagers, hell-bent on making sure they wouldn’t remember much of the second half of St. Patrick’s Day. The Gardaí were out in force too, which is odd, in the park, but there ya go. On the plus side, the shitty weather will have prevented most of the really stupid ‘Darwin Award’ material: gangs of crazy teens full of cider and vodka usually decide at some point of the day to light fires and go swimming. Whilst we here at the unironedman wholeheartedly approve of swimming and a congenial fire, and we might also add in a bottle of beer to that scenario, it’s safe to say our crazy days are (mostly) behind us, so we are unlikely to decide to try and cross a swollen river in March in the middle of the day. Anyway, as it happened, the traditional March weather of the Emerald Isle was keeping a watchful eye on the nation’s future, so we weren’t called to perform any river rescues.
On Saturday, S and I went into the Big Smoke (which is what culchies might say, in a post-ironic Ireland, when they talk about Dublin. For more on this, see here. There isn’t time to explain the subtle nuances of culchies vs jackeens, and what that means, and if you’re from out of town, it will mean nothing at all!)
We also were checking out the Trinity v UCD boat race. It may not have the cachet of the Cambridge v Oxford boat race in London, but if you are into rowing, then this is a big deal in the inter-collegiate sporting calendar. We had an interest too, as the son of S’s boss was making up one of the eights. To say he is a fit bloke would be an understatement. He rocked up at a charity race last year, and came second, only narrowly losing to a serious club runner. And this bloke doesn’t really run. In fact, running is frowned upon in the rowing fraternity. I guess it’s not good for the legs.
Alas for them, they were beaten by the UCD crew by a good two lengths. Over 2.2k that represents a fairly decent margin. There were four races altogether, starting at O’Connell Bridge in the city centre, and all ending outside the iconic James’s Gate brewery where Guinness is made in large quantities: a source of great joy or misery, depending very often on whether you are drinking it or clearing up afterwards.
This part of Dublin is steeped in history. Often that’s a rather clichéd word to use, but in this instance, it’s apt. All around are buildings full of history, even if many of them are otherwise empty. And this history stretches back to the very birthplace of Dublin but that’s for another time, and another blog.
Sunday, and the weather has improved a little. I managed another 10k-ish with Mark, in the park. Pace slightly up on Friday, but still feeling a little run down. No doubt the hangover from a tough week. There is a timed 10k run on in a nearby village next Saturday; might give that rattle if the legs return to normal. Always good to have something on the horizon line.
Be good. Be safe.