Happy Solstice! Happy Christmas!

Waiting

Waiting for Dawn. Solstice at Newgrange 2014

Solstice, a new year and new beginnings, right?

Well, I am ready for that on several levels.  But first, let’s get the excuses out of the way…

I fell off the blogging wagon in November. A weekend work conference, the day job, and family shenanigans were the main reasons. Though, of course, laziness figures somewhere in there too!

I kept up the running though. Nothing serious. Nothing too difficult. Just concentrating on enjoying the break from all of the above and in keeping a modicum of fitness.

But, in the past fortnight, even that has taken a dive too.

Luckily, I have rounded a bend. Actually, climbed over the peak. And now am basking in clear views of wonderful skies and more adventures ahead.

I can only hope it involves more running, more blogging, more culture, more history and, of course, lots of fun.

Lining up with the shamans, the hippies, the little kids, the locals, the tourists and the new Irish, I waited at Newgrange for the rising sun. Cloud cover obscured that view but it was enough to see darkness turn to light. Enough to see a fringe of palest pink on the easterly horizon. Enough to hear the beat of the bodhrán, the delighted ululations and greetings everywhere of “Happy Christmas!” “Happy Solstice!”

Here’s to starting over and to everyone starting over everywhere.

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The Fall

My fall on Sunday was a slap in the face. Almost literally. Three miles in on a long slow run and I crashed to the ground. Splat!
Now, if this sounds familiar, yes, I did the same thing and, in almost the same place two weeks prior. Not such a coincidence, though, when we’re talking about the same disintegrating pathway from Skerries to Balbriggan.
The funny part was, that in that millisecond before I embraced the pavement, I noted a cool sports car coming down the road.  So, as I made my grand descent, it wasn’t my life I saw flashing before me. No, it was a low slung, sleek, silver, motor and one very alarmed male driver.
Yep, he  saw everything: total smackdown. I felt like a right eedjit altogether, and, even though it was so tempting just to lay there and reflect on my injures, I knew couldn’t bear to be fussed over.
So I jumped up like a hare. A wobbly, old hare, it has to be said.
“Are you okay?”  Yep, Mr Cool Sportscar had pulled over, was out of his car and walking towards me.
But I was in full-blown denial mode.
“Oh, I’m fine” I said, smiling and suppressing the need to keel over in mortal agony.
He hesitated but I smiled again, waved my least sore, least bloodied palm and watched as he he drove off. Then,grateful for an adjacent low wall, I hobbled over to assess the damage.
Luckily, my capri leggings were doing a great job in staunching both knee wounds, and I addressed the bloody palms with some nearby leaves.  But my left elbow was in a bad way. The pain from reach down along through my fingers.  And I couldn’t be sure if the lump at the end of  it was a permanent feature, a recently bestowed gift from  Mother Nature from her over supplied ageing department, or a protesting bone trying to peek out.  My head was throbbing. I was glad of the wall.
I glanced down the road again and there was Mr Cool. Oh God. He thinks I am a little old lady and I am going to die here on the side of the road. Can’t he see I am twenty two?
I waved and smiled. See, I am fine? He waved and drove off again. Such a nice man.
But now he was gone and I was all alone.
A three mile run is one thing. A three mile hobble back into town was another.
I was freezing. My head hurt and my elbow was probably broken and blood was trickling down my fingers. Maybe I would die, after all.
It was all a question of how. Maybe a fragment of bone would seep out, lodge in my brain and kill me. Or maybe that blow to the head would lead to a haemorrage. Or shock could set in and that could be fatal too, couldn’t it?
Then I thought about how much I did not want to go to A&E. A&E, Accident and Emergency to us here in Ireland, Emergency Room to you. But, honestly, that’s where the comparison ends.
A&E, Any Hospital, Ireland is a hole of a place, full of drunks, junkies, puking people, bawling babies and the broken ones. The bawling babies get seen to first. Thank goodness. After that, the triage system would probably mean oh, a mere four hours to be seen and then another few of hours to be shuttled S L O W L Y through the system.
Eventually, they’d slap a cast on, and, as a precaution, and given the potential head injury, I’d be kept in for observation overnight. Between that upheaval and brandishing a plaster cast, my life as I knew it, would be turned upside down for at least a couple of months. Oh God.
I decided my elbow COULD NOT be broken. Sure it’d be grand in a couple of days. Nevertheless, I could only walk with elbow attenuated, as if it were in an invisible sling.
My head was another matter. Luckily, the band on my beanie had cushioned some of the fall. But still it hurt. It scared me more than the elbow injury as I was afraid of fainting or worse on that lonely road. Haemorrage, stroke, concussion. Who knows?
I cursed my stupidity at letting Mr Cool get away.
All of it made me feel fragile. To go from utterly enjoying the scene, my run, the gift of being able to trot along for ten miles, to suddenly feeling frail, alone and vulnerable was shocking.
My lack of preparation for such an event was shocking too. No phone. No extra clothing. No drink. Nothing on board, except a stubborn nature which refused help when offered.
I got some strange looks as I limped back towards Skerries. While clothing screamed runner, my gait said frail little old lady. Mud encrusted my top and my capris were torn at one knee.
As for letting Mr Cool. Knowing my luck the guy was probably an orthopaedic surgeon. Or a physical therapist. Or a masseuse. More likely, knowing my propensity to let a good man get away, he was probably all three.
The return three miles took a lot longer than the run out, of course. A reminder, whether I needed it or not, as to why I prefer running to going for a walk. Eventually, though, I caught sight of my car. Never was I so glad to see it as it glinted a fine welcome in the afternoon light.
Home brought a welcome shower, a change of clothes and a chance to assess the damage. Which really was another exercise in convincing myself that I did not want to take the trip to A&E.
A few days down the track, and luckily for me, I am on the mend.
Sure, that head blow probably killed off some much needed grey matter but otherwise it’s fine. The bruise even had the decency to centre itself behind my hair line.
The surprise blow was to my feet. Whatever jolt I took, or maybe it was on the hobble home, the chronic tendonitis issue has resurfaced again. After a one mile test run on Thursday, I headed for home. I need this to recover and running on it won’t help.
It’s a minor sacrifice for a lot of lessons.
One lesson is to be Stop Whinging and Be Glad. I am damned glad that I can run need to appreciate every second of that. Because one day it will be gone forever. Pffffft! Snuffed out like a candle.
Oh, and there’s a lesson for the people in Fingal County Council too: Fix That Footpath. It’s a bloody dangerous mess.  I won’t go running there again because, despite what they say, I do believe, it would not be a case of third time lucky.
But, of course, the most important lesson is this: no matter what the circumstances, no matter how you feel, no matter what the reason, Never Let A Good Man Get Away.

The End of the Line

Well, it looks like the marathon photo session is at an end. I’ve added new pics today in my Dublin City Marathon 2014 page.

If you scroll on down through that page you will find some of those runners I snapped from the 3:20 pacers right through to the 5:00 hour pacers just before Mile 5 on Chesterfield Avenue in the Phoenix Park.

There are two more posts concerning this year’s marathon with my kerbside highly uninformed commentary here and another post regarding the marathon photographs here.

The photo gallery on this post is a selection of my favourites from the latter section of the marathon. While everything is terribly serious for the sub-three hour crew, from a kerb-side perspective, the marathon gets to be even more fun as it rolls along.

Back to the land of the running now.

Or it would be if I didn’t fall on Sunday. Darn. More anon!

Another Marathon

Another day, another marathon. But, no, not of the running kind.

 

100

Runners at the Phoenix Monument, Chesterfield Avenue, Phoenix Park, Dublin

I spent the morning wading through the mountain-there’s over a thousand-of pics I took at yesterday’s Dublin City Marathon.

Naturally, having run a marathon once before, I am made of tough stuff. But, by the time I got pic number 100 uploaded onto my new Dublin City Marathon page, I was in need of a stack of gels. Although a fine red wine would have helped either.

Anyway, if you’ve been there you might want to browse through the pics here. And if you haven’t been there, you’ll get a feel for the whole experience by browsing through the pics anyway.

Today’s additions just takes you past the 3:10 pacer mark. All of the pics have been taken before the five mile point along Chesterfield Avenue, so all you runners look nice and fresh faced.

I’ll be adding more runners in the coming days, right along through to my people in the Third Wave.

Well done to one and all! Hope you’re not in too much pain today!