Malahide Park Run

Last week was a stress-fest. Mostly good stress, it has to be said. The kind of stress that had me high on adrenaline and working, well, like a crazy red hen. That can very swiftly become the headless chicken run though, so I was glad of my running breaks for keeping my sanity.

So,I ran Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

The focus for these runs is speed. Or, to be more accurate, shuffling a little faster. And well, not cutting the run short.

Meanwhile, in the past week, I`ve also tried and tried various things to fix my garmin, Apart from sending the damned thing away. No luck yet though. So my Runkeeper app is keeping tabs on things for now.

Runkeeper is a fiendishly temperamental beast.  She has a love/hate relationship with all the satellites around Ireland. She`ll often tell me I`m doing four minute miles. Which, actually, I don`t mind. Anything that brings out the Paula Radcliffe feeling in me is very welcome.

But, more often that not, when I`m panting after a five mile trot, she`ll tell me I didn`t run at all.

Maybe it`s not her fault of course. Maybe it`s the satellites themselves that have it in for us down here in the Emerald mire?  Why blame the woman after all? I`m pretty sure the satellites are male (Clue: swanning around having a great time). So maybe it`s their fault.

Anyway,I haven`t quite figured that out yet. But, you can be sure I`ll post it here when I do.

As it turned out, the satellites and Runkeeper aligned themselves perfectly for yesterday`s parkrun. Yes, I wore my headphones.(Sorry Roy and Runandjump) But not for the race`s duration. Just after a few minutes to check in with Runkeeper.

Yes, I could have let her shout out the time and distance for all in the vicinity but I chose instead to keep that info for myself. Not because I didn`t want to support my fellow runners, you understand. But I didn`t want them falling over themselves laughing when they`d hear Runkeeper`s voice emanating from the general direction of my arse, which is where my little hip bag thingy was located.

Anyway, I was pretty pleased when RK told me I was running 9 minute miles. Particularly because I felt pretty good. Wasn`t busting myself to do it. Could`ve run a tad faster maybe. Three quarters of the way through, and I was still doing 9 min miles. Kinda surprised I`d kept the pace.

At the end of the run, RK had put me at .01 seconds per mile faster than my previous park run. Whey! hey! Tiny improvement! Haha! Amn`t I easily pleased?

The best bit though was that I wasn`t as wrecked as the previous run. Maybe I`m getting a bit fitter then? Maybe my hormones were running in the right direction? Maybe my breakfast agreed with me?

Or maybe the satellites themselves were egging me on.

Who knows?

Anyway, I enjoyed it. And afterwards, instead of doing the daft Red Hen thing of running around, I walked around the park itself. Walking after a run prevents the peculiar backache that has emerged in the last year or so. And its always good to have an excuse to whip out the camera.

Today`s gallery then is Malahide Castle park in some of her pre Autumn glory. I figure, in the few weeks, the trees there will be aglow with Autumn colour.

Yes, for more pics and another go at parkrun, I`ll be back.


Seasonal Adjustments

Autumn Leaves

Busy week in the Chook House. Though not on the running front.

Oh, I tried.Sunday 6 miles Monday: intervals on the beach. Wednesday: 3 fast miles. Thursday: 4 miles. Not so bad then. But not as much as I needed.

But, as the Man says (And yes, I`m paraphrasing here.) There`ll be weeks like this.

New work projects are kicking in. Then, there`s the readjustment of the Teens to school and college(yep, one has flown). Another readjustment needed to all our extra curricular activities.

Much though I love cramming those long winter nights up with more fun, it takes a little time to get used to a different timetable.

Even the runs themselves required little adjustments this week. From a fantastically warm summer(this is Ireland remember: the mercury hits 20 degrees celsius we call it a heatwave) we`ve dipped to single figures this week and are happy to see the red bar hover around twelve degrees. Time to pull the thermals and the long sleeves out.

I also had to reinvest in a cap. Minimalist that I struggle to be, I only had the one. Realised before last Saturday`s parkrun that I`d abandoned it on a training run that week. Oh, I hate to litter. So I went back to my best guess of where it would be but nope, it wasn`t there. Guess someone hates my litter even more than me.

Now, my cap is dual function: disguise and rainwear. Couldn`t be without. So, a quick trot to the sports`shop and I`ve a nice dry head again.Well, a dry head anyway.

Garmin 405-no, not my one. This one`s working.

Garmin 405

Haven`t been quite so luck on the Garmin front though. My Garmin 405 is completely frozen on the “Drag your finger clockwise on the bezel” screen.

Oh, I`ve tried everything, apart from flinging it at the wall. Yep, did the run the battery down trick, the `hold down both buttons for ten seconds trick` I checked youtube, fixya, garmin and countless other sites.

Ah, the good old days, when all gitches were resolved with a thump

Ah, the good old days, when all glitches were resolved with a thump

Modern technology often has me longing for the good old days. Domestic technological issues back then were swiftly resolved with a kick (washing machine) or a thump (TV).

Anyway, no joy with the Garmin. I`ve two options now-fling it at the wall or fling it in the post with $79.

Yes, a bit of a Hobson`s choice, then.

Meanwhile the day job has brought on some new projects. I love the buzz of a new project. I`m on a high for the duration.

Unfortunately, it turns me into a bit of a duracell bunny on speed. Long after my body has flaked out, my little old birdbrain is  hopping all over the place. I`ve had three 4 am wake up calls this week. That`s three times of tossing over the week`s events and plotting forward action on all fronts. Only to be shattered by mid morning from lack of sleep.

At times like this, I need running more than ever. I`ve cancelled my trot up to the park run this morning, in favour of a little sleep in and a five mile run closer to home Then I`m starting the week off tomorrow a longer slower run. I know if I get more mileage in on a Sunday, the rest of my running week tends to go better.

And I`m joining Paige Sato in cutting out the crap. Duracell bunnies thrive on mindless munching and I`m guiltier than most. Chocolate, and cheese are getting the boot.Paige also recommend the ap My Fitness Pal. So I`ll give it a try too.

Wouldn`t mind having Paige`s talent at knitting and balancing a very busy life. But I can`t be brilliant at everything now, can I?

Autumn. Hmmmm. I`ve mixed feelings about it. Love all that colour. Love all the new things it pegs into my routine. Hate the long evenings. Hate the long dark wet evenings even more. But hey, gotta keep moving and just make those seasonal adjustments.


Photo Credits


TV:  Photo by gothopotam via Flickr CC

The Bring Summer to Ireland Campaign

I am spearheading the Bring Summer to Ireland Campaign. This work has seen me tirelessly pounding the roads all winter. And it`s been a long winter.

To the onlooker, this ritual looks repetitive, tedious and difficult. It is. But I am fortunate enough to have inspired the entire country to have faith in the process.

Clad in our team colours of dayglo green, and black leggings we have spent several thousand hours each week dedicated to the cause. For, it is our earnest hope, that with each step, the collective vibrations of our stomping feet reach deep into the earth internal mechanism and shift Ireland further south.

And I am pleased to announce that it is indeed working.

Yesterday the entire nation woke to summer. Blue skies! Blue skies! tweeted the entire bird population.And, indeed, even the resident teenagers in the Chook House bounded out of bed early to head for the Great Outdoors. Since they generally shuffle about under the haze of open laptops and ipads, they were temporarily blinded by the full spectrum rays of the sun. But their eyes soon adjusted, and in true Irish fashion, winter clothing was abandoned, sunscreen eschewed as they went in search of melanoma.

I needed a celebratory run myself. So I headed for the river, the better to soak up the sights and sounds of the season.

Yay! Summer!

Yay! Summer!

Yes, it indeed seemed as if we had shifted Ireland about as far south as Cornwall in Britain. Unfortunately the scientific instrumentation available to to us in the BSTIC campaign merely measures the visual. But the sights, the sounds, the feel of the whole place was high summer in Cornwall.

I witnessed this…

….Two of my better looking cousins suffering from heat exhaustion at high noon. No doubt, ongoing concern in regard to the impending hatching of several chicks accounts for some of their collapsed state. I know the feeling. But birds have been adapting since the begining of time. They`ll shed a few feathers to cope with the heat, rejoice in having drier bedding for their little ones, and just get on with it.

I ran my heart out down by the riverbank and took in all the other sights and sounds of Ireland`s summer. Trees, water and heat meant flies were in abundance. Swarms of them gathered to bask in the sunbeams and all along the river bank growth seems suddenly lush as Iris leaves poked heavenward with the rushes and lilies spread in equal abundance.

boat house

Evidence too that Ireland may indeed have witnessed a similar shift in the past. This is a boat house. Long fallen into rack and ruin, I discovered it as a ran along the canal section of my route. We, in the BSTIC pride ourselves in our imaginations. We couldn`t, after all, pound the dull rain sodden streets of Ireland if we didn`t hold in our minds`eyes visions of glory.

And can`t you imagine the above boathouse in days of yore? Maidens in white dresses trailing their hands in the canal waters, as fine young men in blazers and straw boaters rowed their boats along the canal? This look would be all wrong in persistent rain of course. The maidens wouldn`t stand for it and their men would have no peace. So perhaps Ireland was actually further south before.

These are the things I ponder as I pound the pavements for the good of my country. Others may be concerned about race times and personal bests, what`s for dinner or what cake they`ll bake for their offspring.

But not me. My mind is always on higher things and dreaming of the collective good.

And thus I ended yesterday`s run. Three and half miles, and crap time but hey, I`d a lot on my mind.

It was time to gather in the little chooks, camouflage their sunburn so the neighbours wouldn`t think I was a bad mum, and throw something resembling lunch in their way.

And then tell them the good news:

Summer in Ireland is set to run until Monday!

Success for my good pals in BSTIC but it looks like we`ll have to keep on running.

When I Have Time

The day job is squeezing the life out of me. Major project going down, so the whole team are pulling out all the stops for deadline day. Cue early morning starts, late night finishes, and work all through the weekend. Why, I barely have time to squeeze the odd run in.

Luckily, I`ve prioritized running over housework and sleep, so yeah, the training gets done.

I am longing to get my life back, though and, when I am pounding the roads these days, I let my mind meander on what I will do, when I have the time. They fall into two categories: the must-dos and the would-like-to-dos. You`ll have no trouble spotting which is which.

When I have time I will…

…Go on an art gallery crawl in Some City or Anyville, just to soak up the sights and colours and observe my fellow spectators.
…try to figure out how to turn on the TV and then watch whatever I want for a whole twelve hours.( Kids, I hope you`re reading this.)

…download Spotify, because Teen Son says it`s the way to go and my CD collection embarrasses him

…find a partner for all my sports`socks.

…find the black hole in our home where all the odd socks have congregated

…finally assemble my Ikea bookshelves

…mow the lawn

…file my tax returns

…clean the oven
…review my health insurance

…call on my neighbours to let them know I am still in the land of the living

…send my nephew a belated birthday card for his February birthday, enclosing a voucher to ease his grief

…figure out how to set the Virtual Partner on my Garmin so I can finally outrun him

…read all the books that I have stockpiled at my bedside, and on my kindle ap

…book a pedicure and a manicure

…book a mammogram

…catch up on all the films I missed this season

…go to anything in any theatre

…unpack that fancy new digital camera I got and figure out how to use it

…book dinner with some of my gal pals and enjoy a long catch up chat

…break open my art materials and start painting again

…watch a war movie with my sons

…watch a chick flick with my girl

…catch up on all the posts on my WordPress reader and send each one a sincere comment

…unleash two new Ottolenghi recipes and one new dessert recipe on my children

…get back into swimming again

…go watch a marathon

As long as I can, I will always run. It is too fundamental to my well-being to let that go.

Now, what do you dream of doing when you have time?