Fingal’s Shore


Sunday was glorious day here in the Emerald Isle. I ran, of course, like a fool, in the midday heat. Oh, not that it was excessively warm, mind. But I could have done with ditching the base layer and winter leggings. Instead, I sweltered and cursed and whined around the five mile trail. And gratefully glugged my bottle of lukewarm water on my return to the car.

Delighting in our rare Spring heat later that day I ventured along by Fingal`s shores. The world and his mother were there, of course: Dublin Bay on a sunny Sunday is always a crowd pleaser.

Teen Girl came along too, once lunch in Avoca was guaranteed.

Malahide is part of an area known as Fingal. A placename can whisper a lot about an area’s history and this is certainly true of the word Fingal.  Translated from the Irish, it means “Land of the Fair Haired Stranger” and is a reminder of the time in the 8th century when Vikings invaded the land.

Our first stop then, was at Malahide Castle grounds for the prerequisite eats in their popular Avoca café. A short drive afterwards took us to the beach and the start of our ramble.

Walking along the shore, it amused me to imagine those fair haired foreigners wading to shore with shields and swords in their initial conquest of Ireland in the 8th century. The seas are relatively calm along this part of the Irish coast, and, having neither cliff nor mountain nor woodland to negotiate, the land and its people must have been easily accessed by these expert invaders.

But all was calm last Sunday. Drawn now by the sight of Howth head, we drove on through Portmarnock, Baldoyle and Sutton on to Howth itself, the better to get a view of the harbour and Ireland’s Eye.

Howth harbour is the place to be of a warm Sunday. The Viking longships are long gone and in their place, moored yachts bob in the harbour.  The only marauders were tourists who had invaded the town, the better to climb Howth Head or, like us, get a view of Ireland’s Eye from the pier. All about we could hear a variety of languages and, indeed, several varients on Dublinese.

Reaching the lighthouse, it is impossible not to admire this granite structure. Built in 1817, it looks set in all its granite splendour to stand guard over the south harbour for at least another two hundred years.

Further out, on Ireland’s Eye, I caught sight of a Martello Tower. Part of Dublin’s defence system of Martello towers, built early the 19th century, the one in Ireland’s Eye is in ruins now much like it’s sister tower further south on Dalkey Island.

Also from the shore, one can see the ruins of an eighth century church, the church of St. Nessan. I wonder if it had fallen prey to the Vikings. Eye is the Norse word for Island, so they had at least left their mark on the island’s name and a reminder of their conquests here.

The sun was considering its descent by now, into the westerly skies. Would it go down in a blaze of pink sodden glory? Or tease the camera wielding folk with a sudden departure behind a blackening cloud? I would have lingered another hour or so, just to find out.

But Teen Girl had used up all her patience by then. I would have bribed her with a triple scoop ice cream from Maud`s but that would be entirely selfish and not in her very best interests. The fact that the ice cream and patience might be gone long before sunset had nothing to do with my decision.

Anyway, I told myself, the harbour will always be there and there’ll be other Sundays, perfect Sundays with ice-cream and crowds, and sun glinting on stone and water and thoughts of days long gone.



Running in the Rain

Rain, rain go away...

Rain, rain go away…

Sunday is meant to be Long Slow Run day. These days, the long part has shrivelled back to a not-so-long seven or eight miles. But the pace is definitely meditative.

Last Sunday, however, was an exception.

Between one thing and another- actually, one teen and another -I ended up going from pillar to post all day. It wasn`t until late evening that I finally got around to donning my gear and heading for my run. And discovered that the grand, clear, crisp day had morphed into a monsoon monster.

I`m a chicken when it comes to water.(Well, obviously…) But I know that if I miss my Sunday run, it knocks off my weekly mileage. And I also knew I`d little enough time all this week to squeeze in a run. I simply had to go.

Anyway, who can afford to live in this darned little wet island of ours and be picky about the weather?

Phew! All that that reasoning at least got me out the door.

I knew a meditative, medium length run was out of the question though, in negotiating my way out the door, I agreed to stick to my regular three mile route.

The rain was of the interminable sort.  I don`t wear raingear as it`s way too warm for me. So, being soaked to the skin was a given.

That`s not the worst part of rain runs though, it`s the whole gloom of the thing that gets me, the relentlessness of it all. Seeing pools of light, through needles of rain is one of my least favourite sights.

I just wanted the whole darn business done as swiftly as possible. So I ran like a hen out of hell.

Three thoughts on running in the rain….

  • Remember those Michael Mosley inspired intervals I`ve been working on since last August? I have finally realised I need to incorporate that kind of speed into my regular runs too. Get used to making short fast bursts. I certainly did that on Sunday. I need to do more of it.
  • Running in the rain actually suits me because it`s just the whip I need to make me really run.
  • All of us runners are friendlier in the rain. I only met two. But we greeted each other with bigger waves, warmer smiles. It was as if we were saying

“Aren`t we the mad eedjits to be out in this?”

Basking with my blogging buddies after the post run shower, I came across this wonderful article about how to improve your parkrun personal best. Oh, there`s lots of goodies in there and it applies to anyone trying to improve any of their short distance races, not just parkrun.

But one point stuck out at me.

When it hurts a lot keep running AT THAT PACE. When it hurts more, again KEEP RUNNING at that pace

I don`t do pain, and I don`t do rain. But to see any improvements, I have to do both.

Okay,rain gods….Bring It On!


Pic Credit:

Getting Back on Track

Dammit, but its hard combining the day job, with the domestic/kids job, even without the running job. And I have to say, that while the day job and the dom/kid thing is ticking along, running has taken a big hit.

I`m only posting today because I`m an optimist. I truly believe that this time next year I`ll be wondering just how much running I`ve got up to in March 2013 and I`ll be running so much in March 2014 that I`ll laugh at what I`m doing now.

But I`m not laughing yet.

This week I ran twice. And just a tad above two miles on each occasion. Work has been mental. An upcoming inspection from an outside agency is sending us all into overdrive. It`s not a bad thing from the point of view of work productivity, work buzz and general work satisfaction. But it`s shattering.

The home/kid thing is as demanding as ever too. I`ve done really well with the housework end of things. And the kids are having an extra busy year as its Big Exam year for two of them.That means I`m on a path smoothing mission. Trying to keep the home fires burning and everything relatively sane and pleasant for them. And also taking them to extra tuition or whatever else they need to give those exams their best shot.

So running isn`t getting too much of a look in.

As for swimming…. What`s that?

But, TA-DA! Two weeks hols are looming. Cue major kicking of fat arse out the door and down to a friendly neighbourhood park land to build up the miles.

AND can I say a word for my pal, Saint Patrick? If it wasn`t for that guy turning up almost on my doorstep some eight hundred years ago, I wouldn`t be having a long weekend off. Yep, Paddy`s still making an impact in these parts.

So,I`m out the door tomorrow morning. No when/where/how long plans. I`m just aiming to Enjoy! just to get my running spirit motivated.Having a night out with Big Sister tomorrow, so I doubt Sunday will be LSR day as well. But Monday, what with us being off to celebrate the patron saint, has LSR potential too. I`ll see on the day.

OK, crawl to bed time. For all my lack of running I`m still eating and sleeping as much as ever! In fact if I keep the eating up. I`ll be rolling not running!