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?