Bloomsday Run

James Joyce 1926

James Joyce 1926

It being Bloomsday, I suppose I felt entitled to be dirty in bed. I`m very sure Molly Bloom would have approved.
Ah, I can hear her now…

“Yes, I said, yes I will, yes”

And so I did. I slept in my running gear.

Bloomsday is celebrated June 16th every year, especially in Dublin. That is the date on Leopold Bloom wanders around Dublin in James Joyce`s Ulysses. The whole book describes Bloom`s adventures on that one day. Or so I am told. Not that I`ve ever got to find out for myself. Running a marathon is easier than reading Ulysses. I should know, because I tried both and finished one.

I have, however, read Joyce`s “Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man”. In college and so, many moons ago. And I reread, and loved, “Dubliners” more recently. “The Dead” is one of the stories from that collection. You might have seen the film version by John Huston. “Dubliners” is a good place to start with Joyce. And maybe even a place to finish.

If you`re more curious about the man, read “Nora” Brenda Maddox`s superb biography on James Joyce`s wife, Nora Barnacle. It gives a wonderful insight into the Joyce/Barnacle partnership-they only married in later life-and of their highly unconventional lifestyle. Joyce is portrayed in the book as a cruel, vain, self absorbed man, convinced only of his genius and that other`s should support him. And the letters between them and to their families give a great insight into their characters.

But back to Molly….

I got to see Dermot Bolger`s stage adaptation of Ulysses in Dublin last autumn. I found the nuances of Dublinese thrilling. And loved how free Molly was in herself. Ok, a little too generous with her pleasures, perhaps. But a lovable, bubbly character, nonetheless.

And so I thought of her today, as I woke up this morning, feeling a tad dirty in my running gear.

What prompted this madness?

I HAD to run ten miles today. There`s a very fine line between feeling like a runner and not. For weeks, I`ve fallen into the latter category. I`ve struggled to get my feet better, post marathon. More recently, the battle has been to overcome fatigue. And then the back started to niggle. It`s been uphill all the way. And it hasn`t helped that I`ve been putting off, or cutting short, my training sessions.

I know my form. Wake up and do a million jobs. Then get caught in a spiral of working and procrastinating with the run.

So I slept in my running gear to make me run early this morning. The thinking was that if I were dressed to go when I stepped out of bed, I had a much better chance of sticking with the plan.

Unconventional I know, though I`d rather think of it as being Joycean.

I didn`t actually wear my runners and socks, but yep, lycra gear,the works. All on.

So I woke like Molly this morning. All smiles and full of running dreams and I felt the lycra next to my skin and I said yes and I will run ten miles this morning and yes I will run uphill and down and feel the sun on my skin and the wind in my hair and I said yes, I will, yes I will go.

And I ran and I ran uphill and down amid muddled scents of dock and celandine and common valerian and honeysuckle and yes I ran well like the wind past whitewashed cottages with their blooming broom and roses, past yellow flags of iris in marshland and lilies in pools of deep water.

Morning sounds of the country rang in my ears, the familiar sound of the yellowhammer, the alarm call of the blackbird, and the feverish cries of a cockerel as I ambled past. And so onwards, til seven became eight and eight became nine and I wondered if I could make it and I told myself

“Yes, I will, yes, yes, I will run ten”

And so I am lying here now, like Molly Bloom, all pleased as punch with my run. But not in my lycra, or even my bloomers but all scrubbed up and clean again, in sensible PJs but with a smile on my face and thinking,

Wasn`t that a grand Bloomsday run after all?

15 thoughts on “Bloomsday Run

  1. Pingback: The Thief of Time | redhenrun

  2. Loved The Dubliners. Stalled on Ulysses about one third in…………… but I will go back. I cannot call myself a writer until I’ve finished that book!
    Loved the ‘sleeping in your running gear’ ploy. The things we have to do to get our minds to head in the right direction. Well done.

  3. Pingback: Incognito | redhenrun

    • Do try some of Dubliners though. It really is nicely written. I love that Joyce broke new ground with his originality. Just not so keen on his character.

  4. What a great post! So happy to read that you turned it around and had a fantastic run! It’s amazing how just one run- even though you’ve done 100s- can change everything for the better and re-set your outlook on the world. Good job, RH. 🙂

    • Aw, thank you! I totally agree about one run turning everything around. Kinda like the whole tipping point idea. It can work against me too of course-one lousy run can make me feel useless as a runner. Anyway, thanks for your thoughts, Laura. Loving your blog, btw!

  5. Excellent post RH. That’s certainly taking the advice of ‘lay your kit out ready the night before’ one stage further. I read Ulysses many, many years ago but I never entered into the Bloomsday spirit whilst working in Dublin. I made up for it by spending a little too much time in Mulligans, Poolbeg Street, where Joyce used to hang out a bit.

    • Ah, thank you for your compliment. Congrats on working your way through Ulysses-you`re a man of very many talents. Have to confess I`ve never `done` Bloomsday in Dublin, nor been to Mulligan`s either. Maybe next year…

    • All I`ll say in my defence is that lycra doesn`t have to be ironed. Actually, I might even start wearing my running gear to work. That`ll save me a whole heap of bother and I`d soon have no friends to keep up with 😉

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