Friday, December 15, 2006

That’s more like it

I know I’ve sounded like a broken record recently, constantly whining about the weather. I’ll try and put a stop to that, and if the weather remains the way it has been over the last two runs I’ll even be happy with it. Btw, is the phrase “broken record” still in use today, or is it antiquated? Do the young people today even know what a record is, never mind a broken one?

I got lucky with the weather yesterday. I left quite late, about 6:50am, and there was only a little bit of drizzle with hardly any wind. Great, the best conditions in weeks! I had planned a 7-mile tempo effort, but I kept losing focus. I pushed hard on the uphill, and again and again I’d relax on the downhill and forget to pick it up again, until I eventually remembered that this was supposed to be a tempo run. As a result the average pace wasn’t great, there is plenty of room for improvement. Mind, it’s still the fastest run I’ve attempted since the marathon, apart from the 5k race of course. Later during the day it became apparent just how lucky I had been, because we got hit by a major storm front, it really was bad. So bad that the kids’ climbing frame in the garden was blown over, and it takes a lot of force to tip over that structure. Our roof has also suffered some damage, but luckily it’s not leaking.

After last week’s stumble on the Kerry Way for my long run I had decided to run around Caragh Lake for this week’s “long“ effort (I know, I know, they’re not long runs yet). This used to be a major undertaking when I started running. In fact, for my first ever marathon, this was my longest training run. It’s only 15.5 miles, but with two demanding climbs, one of 200 meters elevation in about 2 miles, and one of 100 meters in a mile, plus several smaller hills. About a year ago I drove the circuit once with my mom to show her the stunning scenery, only to come across a bull in the middle of the road. Yes, a real life size bull, as in huge big mountain of ill-tempered testosterone laden monster with horns. This kinda put me off running on this road again, but as far as I know the bovine population is not out and about this time of the year, and the road should be reasonably safe. Weather-wise it was a mixed bag, the wind had stopped completely, but it was raining heavily. I don’t mind the rain, as long as it’s not windy, and compared to the conditions I had to endure over the last few weeks, I’ll take today’s rain any time. I know that Michelle loves the old place names, so I’ll give you the low-down of all the townlands I’ve covered.

The run starts at home in good old Tooreenasliggaun and follows the main Caragh Lake road towards Glannagilliagh where the twins go to school. There you take a sharp right turn towards Ard-na-Sidhe, and after a while the road leaves the lakeside and starts a big steep climb towards Oolagh East. Take a left turn at the T-junction, and continue in southwesterly direction to Oolagh West, and we’ve already reached the highest point of the whole circuit. I hope you like the isolation, because for about 3 or 4 miles you won’t come across any settlement, or even an isolated house. Then we get into the woods of Ahane, ever downhill, and run past an old graveyard. (As I was passing this, I heard a noise. Of course it was just a harmless animal, but it seriously spooked me out. Remember, it was raining, pitch dark, and I was the only living human being within a mile or two. I quickened the pace for a bit). We follow the road downwards to Dromdoory, and get into the beautiful Lickeen Woodland, where we eventually cross the Caragh River (on it’s way towards the lake) via the Blackstone Bridge, and we’ve already reached halfway point. Then we climb again in the townland of Drom East (townland? It’s only one house, maybe two) and crest the hill at Bunglasha. Another left turn leads us downhill again, and one mile later we’re in Lauhir and finally back at the shores of Caragh Lake. We now follow the lake on its western side, though there are a few hills on the way, first at Treangarriv and another one at Cosha. There we can already see the black shape of the water witch in front of us, which we round at Callahaniska and Commaun. Continue onwards, cross the Caragh River once more (now on the opposite side of the lake, on its short journey towards the sea), and at Quaybaun we climb for the last time and reach the main Caragh Lake road, and we end up back home in Tooreenasliggaun where a hot shower awaits us.

When I said last week that the scenery isn’t as nice as along the Kerry Way, I just showed how spoiled I was. In the mountains the scenery looks like it has been lifted straight out of “Lord of the Rings”, and the rest is through beautiful woods and then alongside Caragh Lake. It really is stunning, even in rain and darkness.

14 Dec: 7 miles, 54:12, 7:44 pace, avg. HR 159
15 Dec: 15.5 miles, 2:11, 8:27 pace, avg. HR 149


  1. It sounds beautiful and the names give it a certain allure. I love it - especially the reference to the LofR - it sets it in my mind so well.

    We did get your weather. We just got our power back after 14 hours.

  2. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around those names. My mouth does some weird contortions but I think my pronunciations are dead wrong. They look cool anyway.

  3. I try to imagine those landscapes of the Emerald Isle. Amazing names!

  4. Great course description, as long as there won't be a quiz tomorrow. Sounds absolutely beatiful. However, I did have to laugh when your description of ideal running weather started with the phrase, "... there was only a little bit of drizzle with hardly any wind". Boy, do I lead a sheltered life!

    I took an informal survey of 3 teenagers (14 through 19). 2 out of three knew what the "broken record" meant; however, none of them knew what it had to do with a record.