Interminable Rain


Pic from

Aw… poor little guy. And, after yesterday, I know exactly what he feels like…

Torrential rain in these parts. In this pic, the orangutan is sheltering from the monsoons of Borneo. At least monsoon rains are warm. No such luck here in Ireland. We had hours of wind and rain and c..c..c..cold like I`d never seen before.

Since I`ve started running regularly of course, I`m more attuned to the elements. Whereas before I would have closed the curtains and shut the door on the elements and curled up by the fire, now, I`m like a little kid with my nose pressed up to the window wondering if I`ll get out at all today.

And there was no way in hell I was going out in yesterday`s squalls. Should`ve stayed home and done core exercises. But instead I stayed home and ate creme eggs. No, there is no correlation between the two, except that more of one is required to offset the effects of the other. And I know which one I prefer to be doing.


And that neatly describes my relationship with running. I`m a fair weather runner.

Damn, someone stole that name already for their blog!

On the plus side, I got to fool around about with wordpress. Boy, but it`s a complex planet: so many themes, too many choices. I inadvertentently changed my theme to the one you see here now. I like it though. It reminds me that my heart is also in art and that I really should spend a little more time updating my photography, painting and knitting interests. And maybe even blog them on here.

I also found a fab photography blog. I`m sure there`s a ton more out there too but this one really appealed. Back when I started running I used to take the camera along and enjoy a photorun. I reminded me that I`ve gotta do that again.

And I have an ongoing knitting project in the works with the beginings of an aran jumper in my knitting basket. More pics and updates to follow….

And the very best of news. I start two weeks holidays today so I`m going to knit and photograph and swim and run to my heart`s content.

Oh, and blog it all here, of course.

Long Slow Run


Long Slow Run

Got my long run in yesterday. Long and s-l-o-w, as the figures from my Garmin will attest. Got slower as I went along, in fact, because my left foot was begining to give me a bit of bother. That`s the foot that was hammered in the marathon and from which I`ve made a very slow recovery.

I dug into relaxation mode and hung on in there. This is where I really need to run on my own. If I`m keeping pace with someone, I don`t tune into my body so well and end up injured.

There`s also the matter of completely suiting myself. The when, where, how long are all for me to decide. Well, assuming there aren`t any teens to be hauled off anywhere, or fed, or both.

Actually, the teens are one reason I want to kick my ass out of bed a tad earlier for these runs. Half the day is gone by the time I`m home, and it`s straight into dinner and housework. Whereas if I left at nine, I`d be home before the teens even see the light of day.

The other reason is Sunday traffic. My route takes me passed such fields as are depicted in that photo of the gated field.Yep, nice country views, complete with mad dogs and the whiff of slurry. But it`s also running alongside a motorway. And it`s crazy the amount of people who think sitting in a car is a great way to spend the afternoon.

I`m guessing those same people aren`t up all that bright and early. So I`m going to beat the traffic next time I`m heading for my long slow run.

And it won`t be tomorrow. Or any time this week.

Because I`m off to Spain! Yippee! Five days,all work related, but hopefully with a little time to find some new running routes as well.

Not much time for sleep tonight then, so I`d better say “Adios” for now, and for the next few days.

Distance: 10.13 mi
Time: 1:52:44
Avg Pace: 11:07 min/mi
Avg Speed: 5.4 mph
Elevation Gain: 216 ft
Calories: 1,211 C

Chi Running



My running form has been pretty abysmal lately. Legs like lead, pace like an old lady(okay, okay, don`t start!) and I`ve gloomy thoughts creeping in about last year being maybe as good as I`m ever going to get.

Hmmmm. Time to change things around.

Have been reading Danny Dreyer`s “Chi Running“. It appeals because it claims to minimize injury while also minimizing the effort one puts into running. And anyway, I`m biased towards anything that encourages me to really enjoy running.

As I`ve been leafing through the book, I realised I`d had Danny Dreyer`s epiphany myself. Not quite on the road to Damascus but on a long slow run last September. My feet were protesting just a tad back then-Achilles stuff rather than my subsequent marathon ligament and joint crap-and I just felt I`d have to really really relax my feet, relax my body as I ran. And, even more critically, shut the hell up and totally concentrate on what my body was trying to say. Didn`t go down too well with my running buddy at the time but it sure worked for me. After a mile or two of niggles, my feet co operated again, and, as the run went on and I hit an almost meditative frame of mind, enjoying the rhythm of the whole thing, have to say I didn`t feel I`d run twenty miles at all. Just felt really really good.

Well, I`m plainly not in that position in the past few weeks. Yep, recovery of feet from marathon really has taken a long time. I haven`t signed up for physio or anyone else beyond getting orthotics for work wear and walking. I`m just tuning into what my feet want. Doing whatever running they can manage and, from a foot recovery point of view, that approach seems to have worked for me. But at the cost of speed and possibly endurance.

Yesterday was meant to be a long run. Ran with leaden legs a total of 3.20 miles. Hated every second of it.

So, last night, I dug into Danny Dreyer`s book in ernest. Learnt how to change my posture in order to improve my running form. Also decided, even though I`d use the Garmin to time my run, I wasn`t going to fuss about time, just really relax, almost hit into meditative mode and just enjoy the whole movement.

Another factor was the route. I didn`t plan to go to a particular place or distance. But I did start off from a completely different part of town, with the intention of just following my nose around the place.” Relax and enjoy” were the key words.

And I did. I was barely breathing. Just moving along, tuning into the forward lean and the back stride that Danny recommends. My pace was slow-real slow. But I didn`t care. I`ve plenty of time to get faster. Aim was only to enjoy myself. No mega push. I`d say my heart was barely breathing. And all of me felt good.

It`s been good to get used to the Garmin too. I like that it keeps a record of everything and now, that it and Chi Running are new to me. I might as well start at a very low base line. Which I have. Pace was just shy of eleven minutes. Distance 4.50 miles. And yep, I enjoyed every second of it.

The runner in the above pic is Irish athlete Catherina McKiernan. She does a lot of work with Chi Running. She has weekend workshops on the topic and I emailed her about attending one of them. Won`t quote her directly here now, as I haven`t sought her permission, but I did get a delightful and lengthy email back from the lady herself all about the whole Chi Running workshop and how it might help with my foot problems. I am sorely tempted to attend. I really want to run the marathon again this year, really want to do it injury free and under 4.30 minutes.I just don`t have €110-€150 on a workshop right now.

So, my recessionista solution has been to invest in the paperback from the originator of the Chi Running principles. It`s not quite the same as having Catherina analyse my form on video and in person, but `twill have to do for now.

I`m hoping I`ll tune into some of my September LSR form, time and distance, over the next couple of monthsa and all with even less effort.

Anyway, tonight`s run has been encouraging. So, we`ll see.


Liffey Swim


Liffey Swim 2012

                                                                                                                                                                    Liffey Swim 2012

Yes, I swam today. No, not in the River Liffey in Dublin. But I have to say, I often think about it when I`m gliding through the pristine waters of my local pool.

I am fascinated by the challenge of swimming through the capital`s murky river. It`s been an annual event since the 1920s, I think. Yes, I`m too lazy to google. I`ve watched that race for the past three years and it just amazes me that hundreds-I think around four hundred, actually-take on that challenge every year. There`s a separate mens and women`s race and they include teenagers we well as seasoned swimmers in their late seventies.It`s over a mile long and they`re stuck out there in the middle of the river, with nowhere to stand and just the hope that a handful of boats will come to their rescue should the need arise.

To qualify for the race, you have to undertake three recognized sea swims first. I`m way off the mark. I learned how to swim properly last year, and even at that, I can only do the breaststroke for any reasonable length of time. I can manage ten freestyle lengths before my rhythm and breathing goes AWOL. I can swim a mile-I did it regularly last year and again before Christmas but just need to do that freestyle.

Yep, a challenge. I`m not committing to a timeframe until I master the stroke.

So,back into the swim again today. Had been scared of all those January gymmers taking over the pool, but I needn`t have worried. There were only three other swimmers there when I arrived.And two of those swiftly left at the sight of me. I`d no idea I looked so bad in a swimsuit but there ya go….

Fear not. This blog is not about to morph into a swim blog though. Swimming just complements the running. Its like a massage for my running weary muscles.And it`s very handy to fall back on should injury set it. And the running definitely gives me heaps more stamina for the swimming.

So I`ll dream on about the Liffey challenge.

Forty lengths done today.That`s half a mile.


………And not a trolley or bicycle in sight.