Yesterday`s Long Slow Run bore all the hallmarks of disaster.
For a start, I`d put it off til the afternoon. Then, come afternoon, cold slanting sheets of rain bore down from the North West. Well, there was no way I was running in that lot.
Afternoon rain, gave way to evening brightness, however. And the sun peeked out again at seven. Oh, I dithered and foothered* about, and it wasn’t until eight thirty that I hit the road. Too late, too late! And my body knew it.
Rightaway I felt uncomfortable. I knew I`d be under pressure to get ten miles done before nightfall. My legs creaked at the thought of it. Fortunately, everything else felt okay and I even had the wind at my back. So, the first five miles weren`t so bad.
Quick turnaround then for home. Normally, on a Sunday morning, I`ll lose myself in RTE Radio 1 or Newstalk. I caught a little of the wonderful Talking History show but after 9pm, there was nothing of interest to me. Added to that, I was now facing into the wind, and darkening skies.
Luckily, I`d read Jean Tubridy`s post on my reader and had downloaded a podcast that she had recommended. It was over forty minutes long, and, if it were any good, it would see me through the rest of the run.
Well, the story was utterly fascinating. An eighteen year old Kerry girl, Breda O`Sullivan, finds a message in a bottle on the beach close to her home. It`s 1946, and the bottle had been pegged into the Atlantic by American G1, Frank Hayostek, enroute to Europe eight months earlier. The documentary sifts through the process of discovering the rest of the story through newspaper clippings, family recollections, letters, and the treasure trove of the G1`s scrapbook.
It is a wonderful commentary on Ireland at the time. The two correspond for six years, before the G1 arrives in Ireland, amid a flurry of newspaper coverage, to finally meet up with his girl. Romance fails to blossom however, and, in a very interesting twist to the tale, the documentary reveals why.
What wonderful radio this was. I was still running through the whole lot of it, but I barely knew it. I was lost in the world of Frank and Breda, in the sadness of their tale, in wonder at their circumstances at the time and how life eventually unfolded for them both. The documentary ended just as I was heading into the safety of town, its bright lights, and the comfort of my car. Ten miles done in all and with the lessons from Breda and Frank story ringing in my ears:
Our lives are determined by the choices that we make in dealing with the chances we are given.
Download it, listen to it. And run.
*footered = Irish slang for fiddling about, not doing much