Runs of course.
My chest infections were back to visit me in March and i hadn’t completed any runs in nearly five weeks but Saturday was a beautiful morning and parkruns have started at my nearest urban park – the beautiful Bushy Park. I decided to trot down there, as a warm up, trot around the 5k course to get back into running, and trot home again. Easy?
Well i couldn’t find the start – and ran all around the park to find it. I spotted a volunteer and sought directions to be told i might be too late – trot turned to sprint.
Arrived at the start, sweating and out of breath – two minutes to figure out which way everyone was going to run and we were off. Along the Dodder, around the lake, through the woods and repeat, then back along the Dodder – hoping the Finish line was in the same location as the Start line had been as i was rapidly running out of steam – it was, i finished, 27:42, ok for a comeback. Met some friends when i managed to wipe the sweat from my eyes so that i could see again.
Stewards are mainly volunteers from Terenure Men’s Shed – respect – when you volunteer at a parkrun you are spreading not only joy but health and fitness in equal parts and when you get out of bed on a Saturday morning to spread such beneficence – then you are truly a hero.
But then i had to trot home again – rehydrated, walked a bit, jogged a bit, took pleasure in the sunny morning and next thing i was home and showered
Now i had signed up for a 10k the next day – the Great Ireland Run in the Phoenix Park – another of the beautiful urban parks were are blessed with in Dublin. This could be a good time for a shout out to the Dublin local authorities who do such great work maintaining and enhancing our parks.
No promises though – wait and see how i feel in the morning. Bit stiff but nothing to stop me running. Fortunately the 10k didnt start til after 11.00 or i would have missed it be accident – small matter of a sleep in. Porridged, watered, geared up and off – drove to Heuston Station and parked up. My box of change for the kids busfares, random hot chocolates and occasional subways came in handy as the parking machine was cash or card and neither i nor two rather panicky hopeful runners had brought our cards – we were going running not shopping.
Change dispersed, panics over, i hopped on my bike and cycled the rest of the way to the Start line. Excuse – i would have cycled all the way and home again but wasn’t sure how i’d feel assuming i managed to complete the 10k. Could this qualify as my first triathlon – driving, cycing and running!
Such a buzz in the Park.
So many runners.
Took my place in the Green coral – bit worried about what time group i’d signed up to as i’d expected to be very very fit by now.
And we were off.
That’s me – the handsome optimist in the sunglasses. As all my fans, well both of us, know, i achieved a sub-hour 10k last year and am hoping to keep driving that number down to a sub-50minute 10k – but perhaps not today.
Have i told you about my TomTom watch – its fabulous – even talks to me but unfortunately my degree of deafness doesn’t allow me to understand what it is saying. The first time i wore it was a very cold day in the Dublin mountains and i was running circuits – an actual training run i kid you not. Anyway, everytime i passed two particular spots on the run i thought i heard faint voices in the woods and i thought it was a rather cold day not to be moving – maybe they were having a winter picnic.
Later i found out it was my watch – i know its talking to me but its not a conversation.
But it also tells me my pace – such a simple thing – on the screen so i can read it. You see my approach to running has been to run as fast as i can – by fast i mean taking into account the distance but pure guesswork. So it if I was running too fast, i ended up slowing down near the end or, if i had something left in the tank, i sprinted the last hundred metres – fun but not scientific.
Now i had technology to assist me – i had crossed over a timeline. It doesn’t take a huge amount of brain power to figure out that if you are running 10k and you want to finish in less than an hour all, did i say all, you have to do is keep an eye on your watch and if the pace per km stays below 6.00 then you are home and dry.
And so it came to pass – a steady 5:37 for the first seven kilometres – the flat ones, a little faster for the long gentle downhill. A quick calculation, though i never depend on my mental arithmatic – too many years of sums gone wrong – told me if i kept up that speed i’d have two minutes to spare.
The last two kilometres or so had a lot of hills – the uphill variety, not my favourite – so i switched off my brain and just ran. A sly peek or two at my friend TomTom showed i was maintaining my time, well almost 5:47.
And i finished in the glorious time of 57:58 a victory for my fitness baseline, determination, mental arithmatic and, of course, my good friend TomTom.
Back to Back runs.
And i ran in the Sligo colours – for old times sake.
Dear friends if you knew how remote the liklihood of me running twice in two days was for twenty odd years of my life, you would surely rejoice too.
Collected my cool grey shirt, my lovely bit of bling, completed my dualathon in reverse and home for a shower and a long stretch – on the couch.
Happy Days – i’m running again.
Did i tell you about my ambition to run a sub-4 hour marathon in Dublin this autumn? No? – i didn’t think so – i haven’t even formulated that ambition yet.
Happy running my friends.