Posts Tagged ‘Running’

There are obvious difficulties in running. One is looking like a proper twit in the running gear. In my new running top, I look like a day-glo condom. I suppose if I were a man, I’d find it gratifying to know that at least I looked like the extra-large kind. Then there’s finding the time in your day for it. And the weather. When you fall as often as I do, you need to be particular about running on clear, dry surfaces.

But a key difficulty is motivation. It can be hard to get excited about. Puffing your way around interminable bypasses (inching ever closer to the coronary kind). Turning increasingly disturbing shades of purple as you haul yourself up a hill. Being lapped by octogenarian dog walkers. Why would you want to do that?

Here are some things I think would transform my relationship with running.

1. A cable car to get me up that deceptively steep hill near my house. Seriously, it’s just a small bit of infrastructure. Surely some frivolous hospital building project could be mothballed for a bit?
2. Roadside hammocks.
3. Roadside cappucinos.
4. Roadside defibrillators.
5. Roadside Robert Downey Jr shouting “you totally rock those curves, girlfriend.”
6. Robert Downey Jr shouting “wow, that bright yellow is totally doing it for me, you really can work that polyester.”
7. Knowing that Robert Downey Jr is at the finish line handing out bars of chocolate.
8. Knowing that anybody is at the finish line handing out bars of chocolate.
9. A seasoned triathlete puffing and panting as I overtake him and then begging me to slow down.

As much as I’d like to think otherwise, it’s fair to say that No. 9 is the most unlikely scenario in my case. The triathletes have nothing to fear. No ironman is ever going to quake at the sight of me running, or doing much else (except maybe advancing on the chocolate at the finish line). Sigh, I’ll have to settle for Robert.


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What do you mean, discovering Dublin?  You’ve lived in Dublin for half your adult life.  Your children were born there.  Your mortgage provider lets you live in a house there in exchange for a monthly fee.  Your Present Husband lives there, coincidentally in the same house.  You work there.  (Or should that be that you “work” there?)  You can rant like a native about the traffic or the clampers.  But, yes, I do mean that I discovered Dublin last night in the form of the Samsung Night Run.  It was my first ever 10k race, after a fairly inauspicious start to running and a long hiatus in which no running of any kind occurred unless in pursuit of a fleeing child.  But it was also an opportunity to look at my adopted home city in a whole new light.  Which is to say, darkness. 

The Samsung Night Run takes place on 10k of closed off streets in Dublin city centre at night.  It was a lovely event with a buoyant and positive atmosphere.  The fact that I spent most of it heaving and panting will not deter me from taking part next year.  Nor will the realisation that I kept perfect pace with a runner who had a limp.  Nor will the sight of crash barriers being put away as I was running past, because the end of the race was minutes behind me.  Like I said, I am undeterred. I am hooked on Dublin at night. 

Dublin has a kind of unkempt charm I’ve always loved and the route showed it off at its best.  There are so many famous and celebrated buildings, like the GPO and the Custom House, which looked sensational.  And of course new additions like the Convention Centre and the Samuel Beckett Bridge, which was a particular highlight. The Grand Canal Theatre looked extraordinary, which I am sure will delight NAMA no end


But there are other charms as well, less renowned but no less deserving of a bit of nocturnal awe.  People make much, quite rightly, of the Custom House, but what about the gems right before it on Eden Quay?  The Seamans Institute is an architectural jewel, built in the 19th century but made new after it was destroyed in 1916. 


Also, the name always gives me a juvenile giggle.  Because, in a previous life, I worked for Siemens. 

Another underappreciated treasure is the Pearse Street Library, a Carnegie Library built in 1909.   


And St. Andrews Resource Centre, built originally as two primary schools in 1895 and still serving the local community today.




However, as enjoyable as this was, it wasn’t just a tour of Dublin by night.  It was also a race, one in which I threatened exactly no-one.  I had a lot of life lessons running my first 10k.  I learned yet again that I am one of life’s tortoises, not one of the hares.  So what if lots of people ran past me like impalas?  I’m not sore today and maybe they are.   Well, it would gratify me enormously if they were. I learned once again that you can’t judge a book by its cover.  Those strutting young things at the starting line who look like Usain Bolt’s Irish cousins are frequently left well behind in the field once you get going.  Meanwhile, the ones who look like they might need zimmerframes turn out to be seasoned pros.  And I also learned that it doesn’t matter how slow you are running and how decrepit you look, someone giving you a cheer is always appreciated. 


So thanks to the organisers, the marshals and the members of An Garda Siochana for a lovely night out.  Thanks to the local residents and passersby who came out to cheer.  A particular shout out to the people in the apartment on Sheriff Street for blasting out “Eye of the Tiger,” which did make me feel momentarily full of energy.  But, mostly of all, thanks to Dublin for making me appreciate its unkempt, charming darkness. 

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