Perspective

a particular attitude towards or way of regarding something; a point of view: most guidebook history is written from the editor’s perspective.

• [ mass noun ] true understanding of the relative importance of things; a sense of proportion: we must keep a sense of perspective about what he’s done | though these figures shock, they need to be put into perspective .


Well, I’ve just popped the Garmin watch into its cradle. It was dead as a dodo. I don’t think it has been used since the Lock Up The Year half marathon on the last day of 2019. Since then, I have been running naked, which is to say, without devices that record one’s efforts. As opposed to actually running naked. It may be something to consider as an interesting training session, but perhaps we’ll leave that for another day…

I have signed up for Gaelforce West which takes place in the stunning scenery of Connemara. It’s an adventure race, but then again, isn’t every race an adventure? In this case, we are looking at about 22k of running, 45k of cycling and about 1k of kayaking. No swimming (unless, that is, I fall out of the kayak). It’s broken up into a 13.5k fell run from a beach on the Atlantic coast to the shore of Killary Fjord where you pick up a two-seater kayak and paddle across to the far side with your nearest fellow racer. A 4k trail run takes you to your bike and a 32k cycle to the foot of Croagh Patrick (a modest 764m high). This hill climb is about 4.5k in total. If you make it back to your bike in one piece, you have 13k to see you back to Westport town where there is one final sprint (or crawl!) to the finish line.

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Croagh Patrick. A place of pilgrimage. photo © Outsider.ie

It is all due to happen on June 20th. But obviously, we live in interesting times. With Covid-19 on the loose in the world, sporting events are naturally taking a hit. Farcically, as I type this, thousands of Irish punters are enjoying the delights of the racing festival at Cheltenham in England. Literally cheek by jowl for the week, with plenty of roaring, shouting, swearing, sweating and drinking, I can’t think of a better way to transmit an airborne respiratory illness like the coronavirus, unless you put together a coughing competition. But hey; it seems like life must go on, and these social events are good for the public morale, or something. There’s probably millions of euro at stake too, but don’t let that sidetrack you…

So the upshot of all this is that I am officially in training for a race that will probably not happen. The expert opinion (though you need to be something of an expert to work out which opinion to listen to) suggests we’ll hit the next ugly phase of infection between June and July, when the government will admit we are out of the containment phase (or, in plain English, we run out of fingers to stick into the multitudinous holes in the dyke).

I’m not sure if this next phase has a name; it probably does. In truth, there is no stopping this virus. And whilst it may not cause me or my immediate family too many problems, health-wise, it could kill either of my parents, both of whom are in their eighties (and my Mum reads my blog, so hi Mum! Don’t panic, and wash your hands…).

The trick now is for those in charge to try and smooth out the curve of infection. In other words, try not to let it spike and overwhelm the health services but rather admit that the infection is going to spread to possibly over the half the population, and that if we try and limit the rate, we can hopefully manage the illnesses as they present at hospitals. That’s the theory anyway. The truth may turn out to be a little less prosaic.

[Brief humorous interlude: a text arrived the other day when I was out for a run. It was from one of my firefighter colleagues, to our chat group. Somebody was being tested and removed from a local doctor’s surgery in the town by the guys in the full containment suits. No doubt it looked fairly hairy for the onlookers. The questions came flying in. Where was it? Who was it? What was going on? The original texter, who lives nearby, said he wasn’t sure, but his wife was going to call over ‘for a nosey’. And there, my dear reader, is why Covid-19 is going to get such a warm welcome in the country known the world over for its warm welcomes. Or in Irish, Céad Míle Fáilte! as we like to say to new arrivals. A hundred, thousand welcomes! But in this case, it will be more like a hundred, thousand new infections…]

And so, that’s where we are, folks. It’s safe to say, if you are reading this, wherever you are, you are going to be affected (and possibly infected) in some way by this virus. What to do in the face of such potential turmoil and fear? Why, adopt another dog, of course.

I see from the date on my last post, it was mid-January when I was waffling about races to come and plans for the year. If nothing else, events that have happened since just show you how heartily the gods above must chuckle when us feeble humans start talking about what they are going to do tomorrow.

The first awful thing that happened was that Freya, one of our lovely rescue greyhounds, was killed in a freak accident on a nearby train track. I can’t go into the details because it was just too horrible to recount. And now, we have Covid-19 to deal with.

In between those two events, we came to the conclusion that Odi was really missing Freya, as you would imagine, so about six weeks after the trauma, we adopted Loki (who went by the name of Mr. Doodles). So, allow me to present Loki to the (admittedly small) world of unironedman and all that that entails. He is an absolute dote.

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Earlier on, I mentioned the phrase about living in interesting times, and like all good sayings, its true origins are lost in the mists of time, and in this case, the whole ‘Chinese Curse’ myth has been well discounted. But one phrase that Chinese folk would have learned as children from their grandparents was this old saying:

Truly, better be a dog in days of peace
Than a human in times of war!
(From this website)

And that is something I can wholeheartedly agree with.

Stay safe out there.


6 thoughts on “Perspective

  1. Sorry to hear about your dog, but the new one looks like a sweetie!

    Must be very different running naked ( this could apply to either meaning, but lets stick with the ‘free of technology’ version). Do you intend to do so even once you get into “race training”?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. It’s been a tough few weeks. As regards the watch, it’s back on. Though only half-hearted training as I suspect the race will be postponed. First world problems though, in fairness. Stay safe.

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  2. I’m sorry to read about Freya! but very glad Loki has joined the family … though it might be best if he doesn’t live up to his name?
    As for COVID-19, we’re in the same boat as far trying to flatten the exponential hump of the infection curve so as not to overwhelm our woefully inadequate health services. On this side of the pond, our straits are all the more dire as im-POTUS eradicated the National Security Council directorate for global health and security and bio-defense in 2018 (it was an Obama program, so it had to go), he and his cronies in the GOP and on FOX “News” have wasted weeks calling it a hoax and a left-wing conspiracy, and as of last Monday we had only 75,000 test kits available at just 73 state & local health depts (that’s 75,000/73 across 50 states and a population of 331,000,000).
    So, yeah. Lovely if the run happens. I’d like to get back to dancing, too — but seeing as I’m squarely in the high-risk category, for now I’ll happily settle for staying alive. Wishing you and yours well, Dec.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have odd neighbours with strange notions, so I feel your pain. We’ll be in full lockdown soon. But the park will stay open and I can still run. And you can dance in your kitchen for now 😉
      Stay safe.

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