Taper? Tapir, more like…

Hogweed on the Guinness Estate near the Liffey

Now it turns out the joke’s on me, ‘coz a tapir’s top speed is 30 miles per hour, and for that, I’d have to be dropped out of a plane. I might hit it on the bike for a few seconds, going downhill. But whatever. At this stage, the poor joke is already dead (see: The Simpsons relevant he’s already dead meme, if you wish to accompany this with a suitable visual).

Sorry? What? There was a joke? By god, yes, but I freely admit it was below my usual poor standards. I can’t explain it now, because when you’re explaining, you’re losing…

(ed. can we have a re-rack?)


“Ladies and gentlemen, play is suspended”.

It is, after all, Wimbledon for the next two weeks, so it’s fair game to use this classic quote. As regards the taper…well, the first rule of taper club is not to talk about the taper, so perhaps I shouldn’t really get into it in too much detail, but with Declan’s Way ultra coming up at warp speed, I should really have peaked with my training, and be looking at a bumper June in terms of mileage, and then with about two weeks to go, I would begin to back off on the miles, and allow the body to recover. This is me not talking about the taper…

June was in fact the lowest of the last three months as regards distance covered. April topped out over 200k, which should have increased in May, but instead we only managed 165k odd, and then the downward trend continued with about 125k in June, with perhaps only a couple of opportunities left in the month. And I am not going to knock out a marathon this week, dear reader, just so I can grasp a few straws.

In fact, now that I study the stats a little closer, I can see that this month is the lowest of the year. Even less than lowly February, when typically most sensible runners are hiding under their duvets and keeping their Christmas runners clean and dry. And I was not following a programme then, either. Not ideal when you are supposed to be ramping up for a long distance haul. In simple terms, I have not been sticking to the plan. At times, that has been impossible; at other times, I allowed it to be impossible. There have been family and work-related reasons for missed targets, and at other times, the heart simply wasn’t in it. Or the legs. Or perhaps both.

‘What came first… the chicken or the legs?’ No. Sorry. You’re already over your quota of appalling gags. Move along, now, please. Nothing to see here…

But fear not (if indeed you were). We all have a slump every now and again, and if you are going to have one, surely better to get it out of the way in time for the big day. I think at this stage, I need to trust that we have enough done. I will try and get one more long run in at the weekend, if crew levels allow. And then we will actually begin the tapir. Sorry. I mean taper.

On the logistics front, I am starting the slow process of gathering ‘stuff’. This includes items of clothing that will be worn on the day, some mapping material, and some background tech solutions, such as extra batteries for the GoPro, short cables to charge the iPhone on the run, and little wrinkles, such as how to conserve as much power in the Garmin as possible.

[When making a list, there are a few simple rules, but perhaps the most critical aspect of list-making is to understand that no matter how comprehensive your list, if it’s not ON the list, then it’s highly unlikely you will remember to bring it. I offer this up as my lame appeasement to the List Gods]

My biggest fear is going the wrong way. I say ‘fear’; it’s not really fear, is it? Okay, let’s call it concern, then. There are 115kms to consider, and I am trusting that each junction will be clearly waymarked. And this is Ireland, where signage goes to die, and what’s left is often turned 180 degrees by the local púca, hell-bent on ensuring you and your soul are lost forever… well, inconvenienced, anyway. (Local púcas tend to drink cider and smoke fags, but hey; even Irish sprites have to move with the times, I suppose).

For the record, on the dead straight Royal Canal Way, I managed to take a wrong turn. And there were only two options. And it was clearly sign-posted. So you can see why I am getting a little nervous about the longer distance, all of which will be done on foot.

Arrah. Sure ’twill be grand.

Pyramidal Orchids in the park
Shafts of light in the Liffey in the park this week
Sand Leeks near the Liffey in the park; an unusual plant

We are still waiting for some good news on a home care package to allow us to get Dad home. So for now, it’s trips across to the hospital. He’s in good form, despite the delays, but without doubt, the lack of stimulation in the ward is doing nothing for his mental health.

Stumbled on this the other day. Still quite the thing

In other news… well, there’s plenty going in the world, but I can’t really apply myself to it – not in this blog, anyway. Capitalism continues to devour its children, and we continue to slowly roast the planet on a sunbed like we’re topping up the tan for a wedding and want to look good in the outfit. Hard won rights are getting flushed down the toilet and the ‘civilised’ world lurches ever more to the right, whilst the rest of the planet looks on and, well, see points one and two above.

It’s partly why I run, really. To escape all that shit. It’s kind enough to be there when I get back, anyway, so I won’t miss out. When you are out running for long distances, life becomes quite simple. And simple is good for calming the chattering mind.

I recommend it.

And to sign off, some wonderfully thoughtful gifts from my beautiful children for Father’s Day, and some dogs…

12 thoughts on “Taper? Tapir, more like…

  1. Love the mug 😆 Wigs for dogs could actually be a new trend….made me giggle anyway 🙂

    Route planning: have you considered marking the route in advance? We’ve successfully used temporary spray paint for cycling events before.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The mug is genius, even if it’s not strictly accurate 😎

      As regards route marking, I am hoping the GPX loaded into Google maps will do the trick on the phone which is why I need to ensure the battery doesn’t die. Marking the route is not an option; not for 115k anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a garmin etrex that I would be happy to lend you if it was useful. Runs on AA batteries and lasts for ever. Would be additional weight though? Let me know sure…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I use mapping from a UK enthusiast called Talky Toaster. Find them very good and usually very accurate. I pre-load gpx files and navigate on the move. It doesn’t give turn by turn instructions though like Google maps so not sure how that would work for you? I use it mainly for hillwalking when there’s no marked trail to follow…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve outdone yourself on the pics this time. When are you going to write the blog about how you sent a photo to some global nature-photo contest and won? Also, what’s in the tall, flowery “adult-beverage” gift bag? (Not tapiring/tapering off the liquid refreshment then, I take it?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very kind comments as always. I know a few serious nature photographers and I wouldn’t stand a chance. I’d take ‘em in a 5k though 😉

      The bag just held all the goodies, as far as I remember. But I have discovered Guinness 0.0 which is rather nice. Alcohol-free, so ideal when stuck on call. Still calories of course, but it’s that or biscuits 😌

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s