Saturday, April 30, 2011

RTE 5 Mile Run For the Run a Month Club.

The lads pensively await the start of the race ...........

I have fond memories of the RTE 5 mile run from two years ago.  At that time I was a chubby boozer, settling into my thirties with a penchant for pizza and pints and little interest in running.  I got a wake up call that Easter when I tried to run up to the village with my one of my brothers-in-law and ended up wheezing and whining after less than a quarter of a mile.  So, I packed up the pints for a while, bought a new pair of running shoes, aimed for the RTE 5 mile run, and haven't looked back since.  Today, I returned to the scene of that run, and this time, it was to tick off April with the one-a-month brothers.  So far we have run:  Tuam in January, Birr in February, Dublin in March and now RTE in April.  I arrived a bit earlier than Kevin and Cormac, so I got to register us all and soak in some of the pre-race sunshine swanning.
Kevin and Cormac, comfortable at the midway point!

The race is based on the site of our national broadcaster, so some famous(ish) faces were in view...  My mother and father were up, as were Kevin's youngest two and Cormac's wife, Ruth, who ran with us last month and will run again next month but unfortunately wasn't ready today.  We gathered together in Aylesbury Road for the off and the race took us on a four lap journey around the leafy suburb of Donnybrook.

 The brothers stuck together for the first two laps, running within ourselves and holding ourselves for a mad burst!  At the three lap mark we each stepped up the pace a bit and strode home while mostly passing runners (always a good sign!).  I finished in 41.34mins, not too bad for this time of year, and Kevin and Cormac came in at 43.30ish, so they are seriously flying and closing in on aul Bren.

Next month's race is still to be decided, but a 10k would be in order for sure...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Good Friday on Diamond Hill

The day on Diamond Hill turned out windy and rainy despite early promise but we'll still enjoyed the walk immensely.
The forecast was for a warm and clear day.  The forecast was wrong!  Still, it didn't deter my mate and I as we took advantage of our day off from work to head for Diamond Hill.  This noble pertrusion that lies to the back of the Connemara National Park information centre and casts it's cold eye over it's more illustrious neighbours, the Twelve Pins. 

 We set off early enough and got to Letterfrack by about 10.20am.  Last September we conquered the mighty Glen Coghan Horseshoe loop that takes in 7 of the twelve pins, but this time 'round we opted to ease into the season by walking the Diamond.  The hill itself is pretty high (well over 1400ft), but it is very manageable due to the work that has been done by the National Park and the Office of Public Works.  Amazingly it is stepped almost all of the way up with flagstones.  Walkers were out in their droves and one Englishman, on hearing our accents, joked that he 'didn't know Irish people walked'. 
A sandwich at the summit...
It took us around two hours to go up and down and the wind was heavy to say the least at the very top.  In fact we were practically blown off our feet and I ran the last section coming towards the stones that symboled the mountains peak, so that I could shelter behind the rock wall at the very top.  There I enjoyed a sandwich or two while we surveyed the sprawling wilderness below -  with a great view of Kylemore Abbey to our right and directly ahead of us, in the far distance, we could see Mayo's highest peak - Mweelrea Mountain.
Amazingly this mountain has a stone pathway nearly all the way up!  Firstly:  how did they manage to do this? Secondly:  do not underestimate the climb simply because it has this path!
It started to rain as we made our descent, but it took nothing away from the lovely views, the great chat and the fine start to another year of walking and running... 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

5K Salthill Run

Proud and undaunted - some of the TríSpórt club members who took part in the Salthill 5k with yours truly far left.

There's nothing better than an unexpected race, on a fine day - especially when the route is a regular run that I had planned to do anyway!  Such was the case yesterday... I brought my gear to work in order to stop off in Salthill on the way home, but received a call from Big Ron to remind me about the Salthill 5k (a run organised by the Christian Camp of the Arts).  I needed reminding for sure, as I had clean forgotten this event.  About 150 runners gathered on the prom at 7.30pm to run a flat and what should have been a fast 5k.  We headed out towards South Park and rounded the football pitches to turn back towards the prom again.  I usually add the Mutton Island Causeway and a further stretch of the prom to this route to make it a 5 miler.  I ran at a tempo that was higher than usual for me at this time of year and finished in 23.30mins - not great, but no disgrace.  Rónán finished in 19mins, so he was haring along nicely.  The event also marked my first run with the rest of the TríSpórt club members (a local club for triathlon participants, and those of us who can compete in one leg of a triathlon only!).  It was a great event - and a good call to get on a Tuesday afternoon!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

An Unusual Run with Music.

I swopped the stillness of the bog for a run with Lara Marling playing in my ears.

I don't usually run with music, in fact I have already written a post here about how much I dislike running with a pair of earphones dangling from my aural receptacles.  However, for some crazy reason, I decided to do a 5 miler on the prom today, with a pair of said music transmitters in my ears.  And, d'you know what, but it wasn't all that bad.  I do still prefer to run to the natural sounds all around - the gulls, the lapping water, the whistling wind, or the chattering classes on the promenade.  These sounds, and more like them, excite me greatly.  And in another way I love the bog runs for the stillness and peace - a place abandoned by man and animal alike (save for the wasp-like clag, or the odd goat).  But, for one day only, I joined the ranks of the music runners, and didn't mind it one bit.  Ran nice and easy, upped the pace for the last mile.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

In Lovely London Running!

Ed on the Hungerford Footbridge (I think that's what it's called) on a fine day in the lovely little town of London.
Arrived in Queen Lizzie's backyard last night and headed straight for a tiny little pub on the Strand, called the Nell Gwyn.  We're here for Siobhan's 30th birthday bash and her other half, and our other good mate, Stephen was working in the Gywn.  So the plan was to get there, have a drink or two, and then back to their place for the night.  We met some famous actors (Stephen and Siobhan are two fine actors so we meet famous people whenever we catch up with them!), and we met Ed, a friend of Stephen's who is also here for the birthday bash.  Anyway, enough of the scene setting:  Ed and I went out for a run in London town this morning, taking in the major sights on a beautiful day.  I always thought England and Ireland had similar climates but my God I was wrong - the day was absolutely beautiful here!  We ran up towards Trafalgar Square and then turned back a different way towards home - crossing a footbridge where bongo players and all those lovely artsy people were hanging out, crossing markets, art galleries, busy cafes and of course the mighty Thames.  All in all, just shy of 3 miles, but utterly refreshing.  I'm well ready for this big bash now, and hopefully Lizzy herself might make an appearance.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Awful Weather, Lovely Run.

Not a pretty sight, after taking a battering by the sea!

Sometimes the worst of weather can make for the best of runs.  I stopped off at Salthill on the way home from work this evening to do my favourite Mutton Island run, on an evening when the Atlantic was spraying all those who tread too close.  And I loved it.  In fact, I loved it so much that I defied her will by cutting out on to the causeway heading towards the lighthouse, while spray spluttered all about.
An overboard look from the Mutton Island causeway.

I was wet for sure, but it was a refreshing kind of dampness!  All in all I ran about four miles this evening, but it was probably as good as 10!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Five Miles on Mother's Day

A famous landmark on my 'out the door and up and down run', this old ruin was a grand mansion in long ago days.  Today, the Council has left a water tank outside this old house because the village's water supply has been contaminated by a home heating oil leak!

Mother's Day, with neither a wife or a mother in sight.  D headed up to County Louth to visit her own mother and family, while my mother left our little village to head up to the big smoke of Dublin City to see my sister and brother who are both married up there (not to each other, I stress).  I was working on Saturday, but today was blissfully spent at home - cleaning, studying for a wee project of mine, a visit from big Ron and his two fine boys, doing a bit of gardening, and of course, a five mile run!  It was my 'out the door and up and down route', in brilliant wind and threatening rain.  Thankfully the rain stayed away until I had finished but there was an icy tone on the wind and it took me a good mile to warm up!  I felt great today - the slow but sure policy is definitely paying off.