Only a fool would have ventured out in Sunday morning’s conditions.
I was that fool.
Mind you, it was warm. At least by Irish standards. The mid morning temperature was a very pleasant 12 degrees. That’s 53.6 degrees if you’re in Fahrenheitland.
We’re still in t-shirt weather then.
But the rain, that `tis-a-soft-day-thank-God`incessant Irish drizzle demanded a beanie(orange) and a long-sleeved running top(green). So, if you saw someone on Sunday who looked like she lost her way after the St. Patrick’s Day parade, that someone would have been me.
I did not see you, though.
I know this for a fact, because, for three whole miles I saw nobody. There wasn’t one other fool out braving the soft day. Nope. They were all as snug as bugs curled up on their sofas watching reruns of X-factor or chowing down on a big brunch.
The thought of them made me feel even more miserable.
It wasn’t until I reached the riverside that I finally encountered a humanoid. In fact, a whole family of them. These were no ordinary humanoids, however. The dad sported binoculars and was urging his young sons to look downriver. Evidently, he had spotted some exotic avian species.
And, to give them their due, the two young lads seemed only too happy to go along with their Dad’s directions. So intent were they on their observations that they failed to spot my approach. They were entirely oblivious to the rain too, of course. Why, it seemed as though, for the males in the group at least, that this was, indeed, the most welcome of weathers. Maybe the drizzle attracted some rare bird to the place? Some Siberian sub-species who had the bad luck to be tossed up on these shores? Or a far-fetched feathered rarity from the outer reaches of Inner Mongolia, perhaps?
Only the mother looked miserable. She was fussing over her daughter who lay in a buggy. Swathed as the buggy was, in a big plastic raincover, there was no danger of the little girl getting wet. But the mother reached in beneath the cover and took a blanket off, before readjusting it once more. And still she didn’t seem happy.
I could read her mind:
It’s not cold enough for multi layers and too damned wet to feel comfortable. And, anyway, why am I out here in such misery? And why, oh why, Lord, did I marry an ornithologist?
So, I wasn’t alone in my misery.
By now, the steady drizzle had developed into a full bodied monsoon. Rain streamed down my face and my sodden leggings stuck like cling film to my thighs. My camera was stashed in my waist pack though I cursed my stupidity for not taking along a plastic bag to keep the water out of it.
Trotting on and whinging to myself, the sight of something truly hideous jolted me out of my misery: I had stepped over a dead rat.
Sure, the stepping over was the lucky part. I could’ve landed on the damn thing.
There he lay, all curled up claws and sharp snout…ugh!
Now I should’ve been brave and kicked the damn thing into the ditch. For a few yards after I thought of the ornithologist’s family. What if the young boys were horrified at the sight? What if that suffering mother inadvertently drove the buggy over that ugly creature and then stepped on it herself? Would it mark the end of her riverbank ramblings? Or the end of her marriage, maybe?
A few yards further on, I consoled myself with the thoughts that children thrive on gore. The boys would get great news mileage out of that rat. They would spin yarns on the strength of that sighting to keep their classmates enthralled all Monday morning.
And, no doubt, the Ornithologist, once he took his sights off the river, would also want to be the hero of the day. He would be exactly the type that would shield his womenfolk from all sights of the rodent. He would stoop down, catch him by the tail and fling him aside. Thus,sparing their nerves and regaining his wife’s admiration in one fell swoop.
Of course, the only jangled nerves were truly mine. And the source of all my woes was neither the rat, nor the rain: it was all in my mind.
Or, as some anonymous expert stated a very long time ago “‘Tis all in the head.”
Much of running is.
But I was happier blaming the rain, of course. And as drizzle turned to rain and rain turned to deluge, I realised it was all hopeless. The bargained myself into pushing on for another mile, only by promising myself a prompt about turn as soon as I hit the four mile mark.
This cut short my planned long slow run by two miles. But, to be fair, it had already morphed into a medium fast wet run at that point anyway. Or so I convinced myself.
And in that eight mile stretch, there wasn’t another runner to be seen, nor another ornithologist, or even another drowned rat. Apart from myself.
And, wouldn’t you know it? The sun shone all afternoon.
Note to self: Check the rainfall radar on met.ie. Or better still, remember you’re living in Ireland. Where it rains. A lot. Get over it.