Thursday, August 17, 2006

Quick Update

My blog hasn’t been updated for a few days because I’ve been away from civilisation for a while. Niamh and me went into the Heart of Darkness (also known as County Cork) where the people are still wild and Internet access scarce. I did manage to run every day, both in Baltimore as well as on Valentia Island on the last few days. I’m still on my holidays for the rest of the week, which is why I probably won’t be able to write another update until Monday. We’ll see. I haven’t got much time, and all I can give is a short summary of the last days.

We drove to Baltimore, Co. Cork, on Sunday evening, and booked into a cute family-run hotel, Casey’s in Baltimore, which I can heartily recommend if you ever find yourself in that remote corner of the world. Of course I didn’t know any running routes there, so I just ran for two hours on Monday over the hills of the peninsula. I got quite lost, but managed to find my way back without too much trouble. The terrain was very hilly, more so than my usual routes in Caragh Lake.

Tuesday was supposed to be a recovery day, but I managed to get off the beaten track, ended in a field full of gorse and blackberry bushes, which scratched my lower legs so much that I looked like I had gotten into a fight with a pack of small cats. As far as the run was concerned, it was quite enjoyable, but as for recovery, it was a bit of a disaster.

We drove home on Tuesday, and very very nearly had a very serious car crash. We went round a blind bend, only to see a car coming towards us on our side of the road. Niamh (who was driving at the time) slammed the breaks, as did the other car. Niamh moved to her left; the other car moved to his right, which was obviously the same side Niamh tried to steer. I was sure that we were going to smash pretty badly, but the brakes did the trick, and both cars came to a standstill. I got out, and there were less than 4 inches between our bumpers. By that time the other driver had finally realised that HE had been on the wrong side of the road, and looked pretty shaken. He apologised about a dozen times, but it didn’t save him from a stern lecture from Niamh, who didn’t leave a doubt that it had been his fault, that we drive on the left in Ireland, and the fact that he was a tourist and is used to drive on the right side was not a sufficient excuse (I actually felt sorry for the guy – he had looked shaken enough to start with). Anyway, we eventually drove off, and both Niamh and me confessed to each other that both our first thoughts had been “oh no, not the new car!”.

Sufficiently recovered from the shock, I ran 12 miles on Wednesday morning, back in Valentia. I had planned to do 13, but got my distances wrong; I was so confused that afterwards I drove the whole course with the car, just to get my measurements right next time. Sad? Probably. The course wasn’t hilly as such, but had a major climb of a bit less than 2 miles, with an elevation gain of about 100 meters, which is very similar to the “Hell of the West” climb at the end of the Connemara marathon. Maybe I’ll use that climb to prepare myself next year.

Today I did 8 miles in the morning with 12x100 strides; at least I think it was 12, I lost count at some stage. The legs felt very tired, and I’m a bit worried all that fast (for me) running over the last few weeks is catching up with me. The legs will have to manage 16 miles tomorrow. It is supposed to be a marathon pace run, but as I inadvertently did one of those last week, I’m not so concerned about the pace; I’ll just try and get my legs around the whole distance.

14 Aug: 2:02, approx 15 miles
15 Aug: 1:02, approx 6.5 miles
16 Aug: 12 miles, 1:35, 7:55 pace
17 Aug: 8 miles, 1:09, 8:37 pace, with 12x100 strides


  1. Wow, Thomas, that near miss is scary! I'm sure the lecture Niamh gave came from her adrenaline surge. Thank goodness you came out of it okay.

    You continue to rack up the miles - you are like a running machine! You must be in the best shape of your life right now. Way to go!

  2. Oh man, how scary is that? So glad you are all fine. I hate those close calls.

  3. my word! glad you guys are safe. sounds like you've had some adventurous runs!

  4. Whew!
    That was a close one!
    Glad both cars "missed"..

  5. Not likely a Canadian tourist, eh? We're pretty careful and we like the Irish.

    I echo're a running machine!

  6. yes, do reveal the nationality of the numskull...

    when my american husband and I were in scotland back in May, he pulled out of the rental car place directly onto the right side of the road facing traffic. Fortunately my shouting LEFT LEFT LEFT was sufficient to make him move over before we had our own near miss...

  7. Close call there with the car. I know that can be really scary. The poor foreigner must have been scared beyond belief.

    Great runs on your holiday. It's always fun to explore new areas. Running is a great way to really see the country side.

    Be sure to post pictures as soon as you get back.

  8. Glad you avoided an accident, whew! Must have been a German driver...surely not an American (well, maybe from NYC). I echo the other guys, you're a running machine, great job!

  9. In every Country there is a "Dark County". It's hard also for the Black Knight Army to bring there the civilisation