Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Hey Stupid

I like to think of myself as a reasonably intelligent person. This doesn’t prevent me from doing stupid things from time to time. Take Monday morning. I set out for a 13 mile run, which was supposed to be a run from our house to an area at the southern end of Caragh Lake called Bunglasha, and then the whole way back. Well, I got to Bunglasha, and since I started to feel adventurous decided to take a different route back home. There is a series of trails called the Kerry Way. It roughly follows the famous Ring of Kerry, but uses old roads and trails, usually high up in the mountains. One section of that is close to our house, but for some reason I’ve never run there. I decided on the spot to change that, and headed back home via this very hilly section of the Kerry Way, mostly dirt track, with a few stony sections. The stupid thing was that of course I hadn’t told anyone, and if something had happened to me there, like spraining an ankle (which certainly can’t be ruled out on that kind of running surface), I would have been in serious trouble. As it happened, I had a fantastic run, with some seriously gorgeous views over Caragh Lake, standing up to 250 meters (800 feet) higher than the lake’s surface. Add to that the dawn, and it was pretty magic. I’ll definitely repeat the experience, but next time I’ll be sure to let Niamh know where I am. The return leg took less time than the outbound section, which meant that it must have been shorter. At the end I called it 12.5 miles, which I’m confident is reasonably accurate.

Today was a much less noticeable run, but I definitely needed a bit of recovery. I felt as stiff as a plank, with my quads feeling especially dead. I did have one scary moment though. About 1.5 miles away from home I noticed a dog sleeping on the side of the road. I’m actually familiar with that animal, he’s always around there, and I’ve passed him dozens of times before. Today I must have startled him; he probably woke up as I was passing by. He immediately ran towards me, barking rather aggressively – and he was rather big, though I don’t know what kind of breed. But as soon as he reached me, all he did was to put his head against my thigh, and then he let me continue. That’s a rather bizarre behaviour for a dog, but from my point of view certainly preferable to shredding my legs to bits. He repeated the same thing on my way back home, only this time he nearly tripped me up by coming up against me from behind. I managed to continue unharmed, though understandably with a slightly raised heart rate.

Some manager in the office wants to send me to Dublin again on Friday. I really don’t want to go. Firstly this would once more be a complete waste of time, and more importantly, Friday is the day of my long run, and it’s the date of my last 20 miler to boot. Please don’t mess with my training!

2 Oct: 12.5 miles, 1:43, 8:14 pace
3 Oct: 6 miles, 54:00, 9:00 pace


  1. Two great runs, congrats.

    I have been tripped by a dog before, not fun. Around here you can't run without having at least one dog encounter. Glad to hear you escaped yours without incident.

  2. I carry a phone with me just in case...

    Great running - those views sounded awesome.

    That dog was behaving very oddly - never heard of a dog doing that.

  3. Yeah, tell them to stop messing with your schedule. One more 20 miler and on to the taper.

    I did not go all out at the marathon, but I was working as hard as I thought I was trained for. My legs did not have the strength and endurance I had hoped for and I probably could have squeezed in to the finish a few minutes faster, but once I caught up with Michelle's husband Eric I was ready to run it in with him. We ran a lot of the race together and neither of us was going to PR so we decided to have fun the last couple of miles instead.

    You, however, are well trained and I am almost certain that your training will pay off.

  4. Sounds like a great run, if rather hilly! And those dawnbreaks, yeah, they're fantastic aren't they? Almost good enough to get me up and go see even on my rest days!

    Don't it suck when work life interferes with running!

  5. Another great run Thomas. I constantly forget to tell my wife where I'm going and she has no clue how far I've gone. Most mornings I get back before she gets up, so, no harm no foul ... but you're right. If you're out trail running and get hurt, who the heck is going to find you?

    I always love reading about your runs. The descriptions are amazing and so very different than anything I see around here.

    Glad to hear that you escaped this morning.

  6. Work never seems to leave us runners alone. Great job with your runs, you're going to do great with the marathon.

  7. I've been attacked by a dog in the past, which makes me a bit more leery of dogs--I ususally give dogs a wide berth if they're not dogs I know well. I hope you don't have to travel for your long run day.

  8. great runs. i started running with my fuel belt - even without the water bottles just so that i could carry my phone in the pocket. last night as i was coming back from my run - i passed a tiny little cute dog. my running partner stopped to say hello to the dog and he (the dog) was all friendly. it then came and started sniffing around me and i bent down to pet it and it jumped and nearly bit my fingers off - guess it was more into the females.

    good luck on your long run. i am so jealous of all of you guys who get to run with beautiful scenery - it's not nearly as nice up here in the bronx. i think one of these days i need to take pictures along the route to post.

  9. Running with my lab helps me feel safe - not sure what she would do if I brkoe an ankle. Probably lick me to death I guess... I hope the Dublin trip is postponed but sounds like it may not be - bummer! Why can't management respect our non-professional athletic pursuits?

  10. Tell the manager where you priorities are:)
    I never tell my husband where I run, because every time I try, he'd forget. But unless I have a weird extra time on hands, I have fairely regular routes.
    Good runs, almost there!

  11. Thomas, I tried to leave a comment this morning, but blogger blew up in my face! I think the names of all the places you run sound so exotic and beautiful...makes me want to come and see them all!

    Hope your manager changes his mind and you get that 20 miler in.

  12. Lucky fellow to run in such a beautiful area! Lucky too that the road dog recognized a good guy when it met one!

  13. Your a brave man Thomas to be running on rocky ground with only 3 and a half weeks to go until the marathon.... I wont even run on grass now in case it's wet, i slip & fall & break my legs! Watch yourself, you've worked very hard.

    Bit of a pain alright when something tries to disrupt the most important day in your week.... the long run. Mine are on Saturdays & as much as I've been asked by friends to spend my saturdays with them in the pub, and as tempting as it may sound, I will not be swayed.
    Hope you don't have to go. You could say the dog bit you & call in sick (touch wood).