Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lots of Driving

There are two clear indications that I’m getting old. One is that I’m 6 weeks away from the Masters age category. The second one is the slow recovery – from a night out, that is. I didn’t even stay out late on Friday. When a colleague offered me a lift home shortly before midnight I was only too glad to accept. And even though I had not drunk THAT much, I was hungover all day Saturday. Luckily it didn’t affect Sunday’s race.

On Monday morning I was happy enough about the complete absence of post-race soreness and went out on my 18 miles around Caragh Lake. The sky had laid on a very special show for me. Not only was it completely clear, it was the night of the Geminid meteor shower and during the first 2 hours of my run I spotted no less then 13 shooting stars, with numbers 6, 12 and 13 particularly impressive. I’m sure I would have spotted a few more had I been concentrating on the sky rather than the road, but with the frequent icy patches on the road (it was well below freezing) that would have been a bad idea. The run was easy, but to my massive annoyance I realised that I had inadvertently turned off the Garmin after 3 miles. My data is lost, my miles and times are guesses, but the training effect in my legs is there, and that’s the one thing that counts. I was really pleased how easy it had felt. Running 18 miles has apparently become a doddle to me.

The mad part of the day started after my run. Since Niamh is an avid Eddie Izzard fan we deposited 2 kids at school where they would be collected by friends for a sleepover, put two more kids and ourselves into the car and headed up to Dublin. Nana and Gaga were excited to welcome our reduced family; Niamh and me headed into town for the show (which was excellent) and later on managed to stay awake for a chat by the fire until well after midnight.

Tuesday morning saw me running several laps in Dublin’s Deer Park to accumulate 8 miles, surprisingly again without any soreness. In fact, the only time my hamstrings hurt were during the last hour in the car journey, and that went away as soon as we arrived. At lunchtime we set off again homewards bound, collected the remaining offspring and returned to normal life. Driving to Dublin for one single night was entirely Niamh’s idea, but it plays into my hands. Never again will she be able to say things like “you want to drive how far for running [insert appropriate race distance here]???” without incurring a prompt reply of “well, you drove all the way to Dublin for one evening with Eddie Izzard!!!”. Sorted!

Wednesday is my semi-enforced rest day due to swim training and I was at the pool entrance shortly after 7 am. Sadly, nobody else was. A sign at the door announced the changed opening times for the Christmas period as from 9am to 9pm, which is totally useless for me. My swim coach turned up, noticed the same sign, and we re-arranged the class for Sunday. Since I didn’t have any other sporting equipment in the bag I couldn’t even go for a run, so I had to return to Caragh Lake after a completely wasted trip. I might hook my bike up to the trainer later tonight to get at least some training into my legs, or else the shock of a complete rest day might kill me.

By the way, both Niamh and me cannot believe how easy it is to look after only two children. All you parents of less than 3 kids have no right whatsoever to complain about the workload.
14 Dec
18+ miles, ~2:23, ~8:25 pace, HR ~140
15 Dec
8 miles, 1:02:18, 7:47 pace, HR 153


  1. To be fair to Niamh Eddie Izzard is worth a day trip to Dublin.

  2. Thomas, i enjoyed this read about aging;

    George Carlin’s Views on Aging;
    Enjoy the ride. There is no return ticket.

    Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we’re kids? If you’re less than 10 years old, you’re so excited about aging that you think in fractions.

    ‘How old are you?’ ‘I’m four and a half!’ You’re never thirty-six and a half. You’re four and a half, going on five! That’s the key.

    You get into your teens, now they can’t hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead.

    ‘How old are you?’ ‘I’m gonna be 16!’ You could be 13, but hey, you’re gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life ! You become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony.YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!!

    But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There’s no fun now, you’re Just a sour-dumpling.. What’s wrong? What’s changed?

    You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you’re PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it’s all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone…

    But! wait!! ! You MAKE it to 60. You didn’t think you would!

    So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and makeit to 60.

    You’ve built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it’s a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday!

    You get into ! your 80’s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn’t end there. Into the 90s, you start going backwards; ‘I Was JUST 92.’

    Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. ‘I’m 100 and a half!’
    May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!


    1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay them.
    2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.
    3. Keep learning. ! Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever, even ham radio. Never let the brain idle. ‘An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.’ And the devil’s family name is Alzheimer’s.
    4. Enjoy the simple things.
    5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.
    6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.
    7. Surround yourself with what you love , whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever.Your home is your refuge.
    8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.
    9. Don’t take guilt trips.. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.
    10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.


    Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. And if you don’t send this to at least 8 people – who cares? But do share this with someone. We all need to live life to its fullest each day!!

    Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘..holy cow ….what a ride!

  3. Thomas, I wouldn't let my wife read that last paragaph of yours I might not be allowed to blog any more ;)

    As for feeling old yes, I can't go out and drink and recover the way I used to. You'd think that all this running would make us stronger in that respect too, but it seems not.

    All the best to you and yours for a Merry christmas and a Happy New Year!

  4. Hey Thomas,

    Don't fret about the turning 40 thing. Think about it as still racing against the clock but now there's the age group thing to add a little more excitement.


  5. I've always thought that parents' jobs were easy with one or two kids. You always know who did everything!

    With multiple kids you become an investigator.