And so it begins…

Teasel with some guests: a bumble bee and a hoverfly. St. Catherine’s Park, Leixlip.

Okay, so we technically missed Week One. And by technically, I mean we just didn’t do it. In my defence, your Honour, my running buddy was getting his nose fixed. And by fixed, I mean having an operation on an old injury. And it didn’t work. The hospital want to bring him back in and have another go. I suspect, in medical terms, it’s more nuanced than that. The upshot of it would have meant missing a large chunk of marathon training for Dublin (at the end of October), and as this is his first marathon (and he is nothing if not stubborn to a fault), he declined their offer. That’s proper hardcore, that is!

All of which means that he was able to get back to running last week, so we eased back in gently with a few 10k runs in the park, and this week, the training kicked in as per the programme.

Oh look! Week one is missing!

Here is the programme, for those runners out there who care for these things. And let’s be honest, we measure our lives in so many different ways, it’s hard to escape the clutches of figures. Indeed, we go out of our way to record many facets of our lives. I suppose it’s our little way of saying “I was here”. (At the start of the year, there was a story about how Strava heat maps could be revealing the location of US army bases abroad. So I suppose there are some unwitting downsides to all this ‘sharing’).

It feels a little odd for me to be starting back into this programme again, having done it quite vigorously last year. Vigour in the sense that I followed it carefully. And now here we are again. This time, with a running partner. Whether that makes things easier or not remains to be seen. It’s Mark’s first marathon, and I reckon he will do well. Certainly, if we can get the bulk of this schedule under our belts.

Also in the pipeline is the triathlon in August, so there is some cycling and swimming to be factored in too. S and I got out on the bikes over the weekend, and there will be more of that in the weeks to come. And there is the long swim in October. But in reality, it’s all about the run.

Some of the first team squad warming up in the first half. In fairness, they came over to the fans to sign autographs and get selfies taken. You can just about make out Jonjo Shelvey’s bald head to the left of the corner flag!

In other news (non-running related… there is such a thing!) S and I went to see St. Patrick’s Athletic play Newcastle United in a pre-season friendly. Pats acquitted themselves well, losing 2-0. Once Rafa brought on the big guns in the second half (Shelvey, Gayle, etc.) it certainly made for a more entertaining spectacle.

Chips curry! Ooooh!

And as we are both athletes-in-training, we allowed ourselves some vital carb-loading with a measure of electrolytes at half-time. Or curried chips, to the uninitiated. Delish! They play havoc with your insides, but that’s the trade-off.

On the way home, we spotted this crane, and it made for an arty shot. The general consensus with Dublin (and therefore, the country in general) is that you can literally measure the economic growth of the country by the number of cranes on the horizon. Needless to say, Ireland has not recovered from the last ‘Celtic Tiger’ (which was a calamitous fuck-up by so few for so many) so I am skeptical about this growth illusion.


If you like pondering such things as growth illusions in a time of finite resources, then perhaps you are familiar with this. It’s a great little primer for explaining to slow-learners why the planet is on a one-way trip to hell in a handcart if it doesn’t cop on to itself. Read, absorb, and disseminate to the wider world. You are doing humanity a favour. Then go and plant a tree. Then go for a run. Speaking of which…

I have just read another Dean Karnazes book. If you are a runner, you won’t have avoided Dean. Not that you should. He’s a likable bloke, and successful to boot. And so, he has a few critics. But that’s like the whole ‘Sting can’t lecture me about the rain-forests when he touts a tropical hardwood bass guitar’ argument. If you haven’t read any of Dean’s stuff, then start with Ultramarathon Man, and then work from there. Hard not to get some inspiration from his story. If you’re already out there, banging out the ultras and flicking used toenails into the bushes, then I suspect Dean may be like one too many sups of Gatorade at the end of a marathon when all you want to do is curl up in a ditch, vomit, and pass out. If you like gruesome detail and lots of ‘how to’ facts and figures, then there are others who can supply this. Dean is more of a big picture kind of guy. So if you were to ask him how to run a marathon (expecting to get a training schedule, fueling strategy, and some inner-circle secrets), then I suspect you would be disappointed when he would cheerfully reply ‘dude, you just gotta’ believe you can do it!’ before charging off on another 100 mile run.

So finally, after several months of wandering, whereby runs were largely 10k in the park, to much the same pace, we are now embarking on another marathon adventure. The plan worked for me last year, and got me around Dublin under four hours. And hopefully we can do the same again this year.

And so we will sign off with a quiet word from Holly. What’s that you say, Holly? Really? I’m not fluent in Cocker Spanielese, but it sounded a little like ‘f**k you and your stupid running shit’. I probably misheard…


7 thoughts on “And so it begins…

  1. I’m sure she actually said “I want to join you on all your running trips” as opposed to what you thought you heard… Good luck with your training! Stick to the plan, but always listen to your body, and you should be more than fine.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Holly is, alas, mostly blind, almost completely deaf, and not up to much as regards walks, though we do take her out now and again. She spends most of her days mooching from one couch to another. She is my inner monologue. The one that would lose their soul to eating crisps and ice cream in front of the telly. If allowed! She is a true Cocker. Her motto is ‘pffft… whatever…’


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