I fixate on some crazy thoughts when I am out running. And, it seems, the tougher I find the run, the more fixated I get.
Let`s get a peek into my bird brain this morning:
I`m on a hillrun. I call it Endless Hill for a reason. It`s three miles of upwards drudgery.
The noonday sun is hot. Not hot hot. Just 24 degrees Celsius hot. But very hot if you`re a hen with lots of feathers and a pretty ample covering of subcutaneous fat and used to proper Irish summers with lots of rain and low temps. Cripes.
Half way up said hill and I`m hitting meltdown. I can feel myself beginning to pool into the melting tar.
I goad myself on-“Just to the next fence post” “C`mon, over to the oak tree“. But I can feel the road rising up to meet me and suddenly I recall the ceramic plate we had at home and it`s Irish blessing:
“May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”
And here’s a bit of Irish for you, if you want to impress your pals:
“Go n-éirí an bother leat” Phonetically, that would be ” Guh niry on bow-her lat” .
It`s the first line of that Irish Blessing “May the road rise up to meet you”
Well, there I was, plodding up the molten and endless hill and, by golly, did I feel it was rising up to meet me. Overwhelmed by heat, exhaustion and unfitness, I felt it would surely engulf me.
“Go n-éirí an bother leat” Indeed.
I stopped. For the first time on that hill, I seriously considered an about turn and swift descent. I gulped my bottle of water and considered my position. My feet were killing me. Right one, in particular. It`s the whole arch/flat foot/ligament thing that`s been a plague since the marathon. My back, thankfully, was fine.
But it was the heat that was making me particularly crabby.
That, and the Irish proverb.
May the road rise up to meet you.
Something was lost in translation there. Who needs a rising road? Don`t hills just make the journey tougher?
Revived after the water, I decided to plough on and consider the rising road. Having made the decision to keep on, I began to feel better. Maybe it was the water, or maybe even the Christy Turlington effect, but the rest of the trek-another mile maybe?-felt decidedly better.
Aha! I had finally stopped fighting the road and it was indeed, working in tandem with me, easing my journey, helping me along…rising up to meet me.
Literally translated, the proverb means “May the road rise up to meet you” but, of course, the rising is more the easing of your journey.
And this road also had another couple of tricks to ease the journey in the form of Stop signs.
Being a particularly obedient Red Hen when it suits me, I stopped, of course, at the Stop sign…
It helped that there were four of them in all. Another ease for my journey.
Six miles after I`d set out, my run was done. I am not sure what benefit it has on my physical well-being. I was as slow as a snail, after all.
But beating the urge to cut the run short certainly helped my mental toughness.
As for the Irish blessing…
I am grand with the road easing my journey. I`ll have the wind on my back anyday. I`m happy if the rain is confined to the fields, while I`m on the road.
And the sun can shine all it likes as long as it`s not too hot.
If you`re heading out on the road today, for a run, or for any other reason,
“May the road rise up to meet you”