Here’s lookin’ at you, kid

‘Hey, take a look at this picture,
Can you believe that was you?
And who’s that standin’ there in the corner?
Not me!’

Damn Good
Dave Lee Roth

During Stonedown – the band I was in many years ago. That’s my old dog, Oisín. Long since gone, like my hair…
Not sure of the year; maybe 1989 or 1990

I knew I had quoted from this song before, and sure enough, a quick search on the blog reveals a long post about my days in Hollywood back in 2017. What’s that? Hollywood? Intrigued? Well, the search bar is over there to your right, ya lazy bums. I can’t be doing everything for ya…

It’s been a full-on few weeks. We lost a great friend to the greyhound community this month, and of course, she was so much more than that to so many people, but that was the side of her we knew. It was tough to see the two wicker coffins, side by side.

It looks like Covid is due for another comeback; Dad’s hospital ward is closed for visitors due to an outbreak, and Tamsyn is currently in her own lockdown next door, having tested positive. The current thinking on Covid is interesting (see https://www.healthline.com/health/covid-respiratory-or-vascular#a-respiratory-disease for example). This particular article seeks to unravel the thorny ‘is it a respiratory disease, or a vascular disease’ question. It’s a sort of academic moot point, up there with ‘guns don’t kill people’. If the disease, in some cases, causes your body to damage its own vascular system (in particular, the endothelium: see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8802031/ for example, but there are buckets more sites online), which could possibly lead to strokes and cardiac arrest… well, you get the picture. The picture is not good.

Anyway. Declan Kenny. AKA unironedman. NOT a doctor. YMMV. Terms and conditions apply.

In other news, I retired from the fire service this week. After 16 years, it’s time to move on. I had a lovely night over in the station on Monday with the crew, and indeed, the neighbouring Maynooth crew showed up as well, along with a representative from another station who used to work here, and a few former firefighters. And it was good to see the Chief show up as well.

My beautiful family were there, of course, as they have been over my career. The lads in the station were very generous, and along with a nice statuette and caricature, I have the means to purchase a new pair of runners in my favourite running shop, Run Logic. And Saoirse was presented with a monster bouquet of flowers, which was a lovely touch.

In my last post, I mentioned a large fire we attended. Below are a couple of pictures. As you have probably noticed over the years, I have been reluctant to post any images from work – even the most mundane ones. Certainly nothing operational. Well, I guess I am retired now, so they can’t sack me. So here a couple from that fire:

The fire is long since extinguished, of course, but no doubt the clean-up will take a long time, and that includes the actual ‘fall-out’ from the fire itself, which won’t have done much to cheer the spirits of the locals, but also the legal ramifications. But that’s for another day, and not our concern.

My last call was on Monday morning – the day of my retirement. It was a local cardiac arrest, and the poor gent didn’t make it, despite everyone’s best efforts. It is very much part of what we do and something we will be doing more of in the near future, as an emergency service. There was always going to be a ‘last call’, just like in life, where there is a last ‘everything’. The main difference is that with life, you never know (or rarely do) when that happens. But happen is does.

Mother of god, but this is cheery stuff!

Okay, so here are a few positive things: last Saturday, I helped out one of the crew with a fundraiser. Keith coaches his local football team and is trying to get them over to Liverpool for a tournament, so he organised a charity ‘cycle’ in his local shopping centre. In other words, exercise bikes. The idea was to ‘cycle’ the distance to Liverpool during the day. And indeed, they passed their target with ease and nearly made it home to Dublin again. I was only able to throw 20k into the pot (and to be clear, that’s twenty kilometres, not twenty-thousand euro!). But every little helps.

My beautiful legs!

And I will be taking part in the Dublin City Marathon at the end of the month, as part of a fundraiser for one of our own, and his baby daughter. You can read the details here. Three of us will set off in fire kit with a BA set on our backs and trot around the route. It’s an awareness campaign, really, and certainly for myself and Ciaran, it will be a survival course. The other younger lad seems fighting fit and raring to go, so we’ll let him off to do his thing.

Along with the crazy marathon plans, we also did a local bucket shake and raised about 1,500 euro! Thanks, Leixlip

There has been a smattering of running too, lest you are beginning to wonder if there’s any actual running content in this blog. Astute (read ‘picky’) readers may also point out that the main theme of the unironedman site was to talk about triathlons and, more specifically, ironman. Apologies (not really!).

I have been following the programme reasonably closely. This means that I have missed a few markers in terms of pace and/or distance. Sometimes this is simply due to the pressures of life and more important stuff happening. Other times, I may have been short on the required pace during a fast run. Whilst I am following as best I can the 3.30 programme, my real target has been 3.45, and failing that, at least setting a new PB. I have to keep on eye on an old hamstring injury from last year, which I never really allowed to heal up. I did it training for the Down to Town Marathon this time last year, and it fairly buggered up the legs. But I still did another marathon at the end of the year, and completed the Donadea 50k in February of this year. So, whilst I may not have the best hamstrings, I am very strong in the stupid department.

Last weekend’s decent long run was a 16 miler, which I chose to do along the canal eastwards into town, and then detour back through the Phoenix Park.

Barges along the Royal Canal near Castleknock
A clean-up along this stretch rather proves the point about shopping trolleys in the canal…
Sunrise in the Phoenix Park
Yer man
I know you can’t really see them, but there is a herd of deer running left to right in the background…
Who doesn’t love an old sepia door!

The eagle-eyed amongst you have already spotted the headlamp in the selfie pic and surmised that I set off in the dark. Bonus points for that. The rest of you – sit at the back of the class and contemplate your life choices.

The programme demanded I complete the run in 2.24, or 9 minute mile pace, and I was a little off at 2.29:20, but I was happy enough with that, not least as the first half of the run was along a very slippy and muddy towpath, which, in hindsight, wasn’t the best choice. It was only when I got into the park and back on the tarmac that I was able to pick it up a bit, so I essentially managed a negative split. (A negative split is not when you rip your trousers in public).

I will probably do a little less than the 13 miles suggested for this weekend’s long run, on the basis that I need to tone it down a bit for the following weekend’s marathon extravaganza. And with that in mind, I need to strip out the lining on an old set of fire gear, and work out how to replace the cylinder of the BA set with something lightweight. Or, to put it another way, yes: we are going to cheat! I know some firefighters have completed marathons in full kit and BA, but I am not aware if any have done it fully under air, which is to say, actually breathing from the cylinders. I did that once in full kit, including fire boots, and the race was only about 2.7k. I managed one full cylinder before the face mask stuck to me like a baby Alien from the horror film, just as I crossed the line. A full marathon under air would be quite some achievement. I can’t find any links online that would suggest it’s been done.

I have over 166k already for October, and with another week’s training plus a marathon still to log, that should push me well over the 200 mark. So we’re going in the right direction. If I survive Dublin (or, more to the point, if my hamstrings survive!), then I will sign up for the marathon on the local racetrack on New Year’s Eve, which is what all this training is for.

And one of my nephews made it over for dinner, which is always lovely!

And finally, as a coda to my last post, I did make it out into the park with Tamsyn, and we have collected dozens and dozens of acorns, mostly, and some chestnuts, beech and hazelnuts, and all have been planted in pots and left outside in the elements. There’s a whole woodland out there on the patio. All it needs is some time and space.


P.S. I don’t have the wonderful commitment of https://theomil.wordpress.com/ (He collates his rather fabulous Interesting stuff this week segment which appears at the end of each post). The best I can offer is this rather modest example of nominative determinism that I spotted on a recent hospital visit to my Dad.


8 thoughts on “Here’s lookin’ at you, kid

  1. Your old band tots spanned the decades fashion-wise: ’50s (leather jackets, flat-top), ’60s (long-haired hippie & canine companion), ’70s (aviator glasses), ’80s (back-brushed hair, boots). Congrats again on retiring from the fire service, and yay on nut-hunting, family dining, and — oh yes — getting a bit of running in, too.

    Liked by 1 person

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