One Step Back…

Spring has sprung and Ireland, once again, is awash in a veritable tidal wave of luminous yellow.


No, it’s not delicate catkins, nor the cheery branches of forsythia, nor even the endless rows of daffodils. Running fever is in full swing there`s a plethora of luminous tops bobbing about all over the country.

Yes, I’m out there too making the most of the lengthening evenings and thrilled too, that the clocks have finally moved on for that very important hour. It has an much needed impact on my energy and motivation.

The truth is, I need all the motivation I can get. For some reason, my running form has been poor. Three miles into a run and I’m screaming for it to finish. Here’s hoping it’s just a temporary glip. Boredom is my arch enemy. I have to keep my head busy so I am hoping that the new routes and the longer evenings will keep me tuned in.

Luckily, Tuesday brought a surprise:Teen Girl asked to sign up with a running club. It seems our weekly evening run and/or the demise of her school’s running club have spurred her on to taking things further.

And it’s a win for me too. Now, I’ll just have to be out the door with her two more nights a week and I can fit two of my runs in there too. And with new routes.

Then there’s the new running course from The Irish Times.

Warming up at Raheny Parkrun

Warming up at Raheny Parkrun

Runners warming up at St. Anne’s Park Run, Raheny, Dublin after completing The Irish Times coach to 5km course.

To tie in with the Spring renewal of running interest, they have established two online training programmes. Both of eight weeks’ duration, one is for beginners aiming to run 5km and the other is aimed at those who are aiming to run 10Km.

Anyone signing up for the 10 km course is advised that they should be able to run thirty minutes comfortably non-stop. Now, I know I can do that and from my Hal Higdon half-marathon and marathon training days, I know I can do even more. But I’m going to concentrate on the shorter distances for a while. Aim for quality rather than quantity in my runs and aim for a 10km again.

Unlike Teen Girl, I’m happy to go this alone and not join a club. I like being my own boss, and like the quiet space for my head that solo runs provide.

Saluting my fellow runners as they trot on by is enough camaraderie for me for now, at any rate.

And I’m happy to be part of Ireland’s spring tide. Bobbing about in our day glo colours, it’s definitely one of the country’s better moves in terms of the health and happiness of its’ citizenry.

But I know we all need all the help we can get to stay motivated.

Carrot and Stick


The carrot and stick approach is not just for donkeys, y`know. It works very well for red hens too.

Take last night, f`rinstance. Between the demands of the day job and parental duties, I wasn`t free to run until after 9 o`clock.

Now 9pm is a bit of a watershed for me. At 9pm it`s okay to sit down. It`s also okay to have a glass of wine. It`s even more okay to do both. I might stretch to doing a little meal preparation for the next day but that`s about it.

But last night, the time couldn`t matter, I just had to get out there. I`d only run two miles the previous night. Tuesday saw me cross training with my hula hoop and skipping rope(hey, I can hear you sniggering, y`know), and on Monday I just ran four miles.

So, the stick was that I needed more mileage. Absolutely had to run tonight or else I`d feel myself slipping back into the my pre-running days.

Along with feeling tired, late night runs bother me because I feel kinda vulnerable trotting around on my own along lonely streets. Not that I`ve ever had any trouble in that regard. I`ve never been hassled in the street. Never been attacked in any way. Though I`m not quite ready to run down dark alleys or ramble around more dangerous parts of town yet. Still, the later the night gets, the more vulnerable I feel.

So I needed a carrot too.

Warning: I am not recommending this method to any aspiring athlete. In fact, it probably only works well for red hens…

Ah! The Prize

Ah! The Prize

Yes, this was my carrot: a glass of wine if I completed the four mile run.

Despite my fears about being more vulnerable, as it happened, there were a few other runners about.

And, major bonus, it was dry out. Given the poxy weather we`ve been having lately-water, water everywhere-that was a real thrill. With temps hovering just above freezing, it was cold enough to make my lungs hurt. Otherwise, it felt good, especially, of course, after the first couple of miles.

Funny, though, by that time, the thoughts of wine had less appeal than a glass of water.

Four point three miles done, half a litre of water quaffed. Carrot deferred for another day.

Because I`m saving the wine for tonight.

Happy running. Do whatever you`ve got to do to get you out there.


Gosh, darn…. Juneathon. It`s a bit like sitting in front of a bowl of olives. You don`t really want another one but it`s there and hey, it might actually be even good for you.

Yep, you need to be addicted to olives to get that. Insert addictive, but reasonably healthy, food of choice. No, that does not include anything with sugar, fat or alcohol. Sheesh. People!

My running has been going downhill lately, even when I`ve been running downhill. I just can`t get the speed in there and I am struggling to get the distance. Feels like I`ve been running into a wall.

I`m barely hanging on in this, the fourth week of my Hal Higdon half marathon plan.

Been wondering what all that`s about. Laziness?Old age? Or just a severe case of avian flu, perhaps?

Time for an MOT from the doc.

He trawled through the usual list of questions. Did the blood pressure thingy,the vampire thingy, and then he got to listen to my heartbeat. Lucky guy!

Had the runners`conversation because yes, he runs and so, gets running.

“Maybe it`s motivation” he said. Hmmmm, maybe he`s right….

I decided to put the theory to the test that evening. If I did my scheduled three mile run I would reward myself with a glass of pinot noir that night.

Well,I could hardly get my little skinny legs into my running shorts quick enough. My body must be craving all the vitamins in the wine. Belted around the three mile route. Well, not exactly speedily, but in old hen fashion. Practically tore the supermarket door down then, in my rush to grab a decent pinot noir.

Ran all the way home.
Scoured the kitchen for a corkscrew.
Couldn`t get it into the cork fast enough.
And then…

Ah! The Prize

Ah! The Prize

Cue angels with violins, cue smooth oh-so-relaxed feeling.
Cue alcholism if I don`t find another motivator.

And that`s where Juneathon comes in.

For Juneathon, we`ve to jog and blog every day for the month of June. Yes, I know, I get bored even saying that.

I sorta did Janathon. And, reflecting at the end of it, the most important lesson I`d learnt from it was never, ever, on no account, sign up to daily blogging. For lots of reasons. Most of which are connected with the sanity of my poor readers.

But then, I met some really nice fellow bloggers, through those efforts. And it did whip me out onto the cold January pavements most days. In short, it gave me much needed motivation.

And I plainly need that.

Juneathon might even be more fun. My northern hemisphere almost midnight runs might actually be more cheerful affairs than the wind whipped and woefully wet January ones.

Meanwhile, I await the results of the doc`s bloodtests. Maybe he`ll tell me my throid`s shot and I need the new drug of choice among athletes:hypothyroid medication. Maybe he`ll tell me my liver`s done in and I`ll have to give up alcohol. Sigh.

Or maybe he`ll tell me it is a case of dwindling motivation after all.

In which case, I`ll tell him “Thanks doc. I`ve got it sorted.”

Ok, Juneathon. I`m in.