We’ve had fantastic weather here in Ireland for the past week. Maybe it was just as good the previous week but I was in Gran Canaria and missed it. But, having experienced all the disappointment of a resort holiday, I was even more thrilled, on Thursday, to be in Costa Portrane, North County Dublin..
It seemed sensible to head off there for a cooling cliff walk and sea swim and save the running for later, when the heat had died down.
Temperatures here are in the high twenties all week(around the high eighties Fahrenheit) and, even though lots of folk around the world regard that as pretty cool, in temperature speak anyway,the nation’s pale white flab is sizzling here. And we can’t wait to get it out there on show.
There were plenty of sizzlers on the beach on Thursday. Families gathered on the grass and further out right around the two mile sandy beach that is Portrane’s fantastic Brook beach. Knots of teenage girls arranged themselves on towels about the place, while an elderly lady waded through pools with her fishing net and children cavorted and screamed among the waves.
Further up the road, at Tower Beach, were clusters of teenagers, an occasional family grouping, and an elderly couple who sat in silence on the rocks overlooking the bay.
And the bay itself,was a wonderful sight. That stark contrast of green and blue rendered everything else more beautiful. John Hinde, that master postcard image maker from the 1970s would have had a field day here. His was the postcard which featured a red haired boy and girl taking home the turf with a donkey and cart, all to the backdrop of Connemara mountains.
Perhaps a Portrane Hinde would have needed a vintage car and a red haired lass to complete the scene, alongside the Martello tower, or just with the backdrop of Lambay Island.
The cliff walk is a gentle short amble from Tower Beach to Balcarrick Beach. On my ramble I met a few couples, a family grouping or two. And a man dressed in denim shorts, nylon tights and a top with conspicuous bra straps on show. Each to their own, eh?
But there were no runners. For all the enthusiasm we Irish have for turning forty shades of pink, running adds another dimension to the heat aspect and one to be avoided in our highest temperatures, unless one is training for the Marathon de Sables.
Still, despite the heat, I did alright this week. I am pushing the speed thing lately. Realising that my jogs are just that-jogs-I have resorted to actual running and am pushing Garmin to show me times in the 5-6 kmpm range:dammit, I have to move.
That worked out well on Tuesday. I did some serious 1 km intervals. pushing to my best times, along with 1km jogging breaks. Thursday saw similar, but with mile long intervals as I was running on a familiar mile long route.
Growing up with Imperial measures and adjusting in the late 70s to all that metric stuff, I guess I am in neither one place or the other.
But I know the feeling of what is working: I have to feel uncomfortable when I train. That is pretty much key to my making any progress.
Yesterday was a beach side two mile run with Teen Girl. And today I settled back into mostly jogging again with a seven mile run.
And so we are back to the start of a whole new week.
The plan this week?
More interval training Tuesday, run five miles Wednesday, intervals Thursday. And, with a lot of luck, hopefully chasing down a PB at the park run on Saturday.
Other than that? Well, lots more of this fantastic country and with this wonderful weather to boot, I am heading on a mystery ramble mid-week. No, I haven’t the faintest clue where I’ll end up.
But it’s great to get out there and I think that’s probably very true for wherever you’re living. Nature throws up lots of surprises for our entertainment, just as the man made environment can too. And summer improves it all.
Gotta get out there and enjoy.