Photorun: Shannon Harbour

Boats Shannon Harbour

I keep spare running kit in my car. Just in case I find myself with half an hour and the will to run. Well, I had one such moment this week when my new car purchase necessitated a trip to the Midlands of Ireland. No, I can`t think of a whole pile of other reasons to head Midland. Unlike the people in the above boats.

They`re moored in a little gem of a place called Shannon Harbour. I hit Shannon Harbour after I`d done the car deal. Trading in my old piece of junk for a gleaming five year old model, the garage owner asked if he could have an hour to service the new car before having it leave the garage. He offered the comforts of his waiting room for me to while away said hour. But I just wanted to go exploring.

Bridge, Shannon Harbour

My penultimate journey in Old Banger brought me to the tiny little village of Shannon Harbour. Sleepy isn`t the word. This place was dead. Dead but really pretty. It`s built along where the Grand Canal meets with the mighty River Shannon to accommodate the traffic on this erstwhile bustling highway. It`s easy to imagine the clutter of barges on the canal when one sees the proud ruins of the 19th Hotel Ruins Shannon Harbour

century hotel. In its heyday, the village had a population of 1,000 people. Apparently, that`s down to thirty now. Though they were all Canal Bar Shannon HarbourSlogan, Knit, Shannon, Car 038

sound asleep when I was there. I`m assuming the place comes to life with boat trippers and barge dwellers in the summer months.

Not even the sight of me in my big red fleece and lycra leggings was enough to drag them out onto the streets. Yep, there I was, little Red Hen, puffing along with my camera. Oh yes, and my garmin. New feature popped up on my Garmin. It said GPS off. Damned if I knew what that meant. It certainly kept track of the mileage as I chugged along.

It was only later, at home,when I plugged into Garmin Connect that I realised the implications of a GPS free run. Yup, two miles clocked on the watch, but there was nothing registering on the website.  Damn!

Didn`t bother me about the speed. I was on a photo run after all, and likely, slow as all hell. But I`d begun to enjoy the Garmin maps. They throw in every little detail, see. Like names of streets and lanes that I`d never known, not even in my local area. I`d really liked to have seen what quaint little place names it would have revealed in Shannon Harbour.

Ah well, maybe a return trip is needed?

St. Patrick`s Day


This was the view through my windscreen yesterday as I wound my way through Irish country roads. Yep, the guy in green is Saint Patrick. And its because of him that every small town in Ireland was clogged with traffic. Families churned out in their droves to follow their local parades headed up by the man himself.  And so my trip, which should have taken two hours, took almost twice that long. Tied for time as ever, I missed my running slot. And  I`m blaming St Patrick.

The quinntessentially Irish scene unfolded as I found myself at the top of a line of traffic awaiting clearance from an harrassed Ban Garda. Note the crowds huddled in warm jackets, the puddles on the road and of course, the ubiquitous Irish pub. All the elements we Irish love to give out about. And yet they`re the things most of us miss if we`re living abroad.(Okay, maybe not the puddles, though.)

Is there anything more miserable that St. Patrick`s Day parade in Ireland? The floats are generally of the highly amateur variety. The majorettes look frozen and forlorn in their too short skirts. The marching bands seem limited to the same old hokey Irish tunes and then there`s the tractors. What`s so exciting about watching a tractor passing?

These were the things I contemplated as I sat in my car watching my time for running ebb away before me.

All`s not lost, though.I`d clocked in a hill run on Saturday. Five point something miles, according to my garmin.

And I totted up my Garmin totals from the begining of the year. Not including my abysmal mileage of March, I have run 108 miles since the begining of the year. Yep, not the best. I can see clearly on the Garmin Connect calendar long stretched where I`ve gone a week at a time without any run at all. Sickness and the Spanish trip set me back and it sure is hard to haul my sorry ass back out onto the road again with those breaks.

In fact, today is a National Holiday in honour of St Patrick. And out on the road is exactly where I plan to be. But not yet. I am watching a steady drizzle of rain from the comfort of my own bed right now. There is no way in hell I am running in that.

March 18 2013 met

The ever helpful weather people show a more optimistic picture with their rainfall radar painting a reassuringly green picture of Ireland with hardly any rain at all at all.I should be good to go in an hour or so.

Just gonna have another little snooze first…

Maybe all`s forgiven, Paddy, `tis grand to have the day off.

Snow Show

Couldn`t wait to get my runners on this morning. Not because I`m super dedicated. Ha! No! It was a flurry of snow that got me really motivated. Damned if I was going to be tackling all that white stuff if it stuck to the ground.

Anyway, peer closely at the pic,reader, and see if you can spot any snow in dem der clouds…..


Yep, this is where I got to. One of my favourite jaunts, down by the river and heading towards town.

In the end up, the dreaded white blanket never materialized. And I got a fastish six mile run in. Faster than usual because I was f-f-f-freezing if I slowed down at all. Thermal base layer and fleece were working over time to keep me toasty too.

From what I could gather on the garmin my times were around the 10 min mile mark. And then, for the last mile, I sped up a bit to push me under the 9 min mile mark.

Felt really good throughout too. Best I`ve felt, fitness wise, since my pre marathon days. So maybe injury and subsequent loss of fitness are behind me now.

The only bit of bad news is that my Garmin ant stick(a kind of memory stick thingy that takes data off the Garmin and slots it into the garmin connect website) wouldn`t work when I got home. I sure hope its just a temporary glitch. I mind that baby better than my own kids. It goes straight from lap top to being stowed away in a little pouch after I“ve uploaded the data. Can`t understand why it would play up.

And I need it for next week. I will be trying new routes from Tuesday. All the way from Girona in Spain! Ooohh, the lengths I`ll go to to make my jog-and my blog-interesting!

I also happen to have  heap of work related stuff to do out there but yes, running is definitely on the cards. In fact I`m going to wear most of my running gear on the flight, just to sidestep having to lug my Brooks running shoes in my Ryanair flight bag.

Anyway, round up of this week`s runs is pretty good. I`ve hit the grand total of twenty two miles. Also ran intervals and dug myself out of the post 10 min mile zone. The key thing seems to have been last Sunday`s long slow run. Those nine miles, not only pushed the weekly total, but also gave me the confidence to believe I can climb back into the marathon training zone again. Plus, I really, really enjoyed being out there.

Would love another chance at that tomorrow. Depends on the darned weather though. A snow show will mean a no show. So, here`s hoping….