Sunday, May 02, 2021


We moved house about six weeks ago. Not very far, just from one end of Bray to the other, so not a big deal. However, what that did for me was to put Shanganagh Park within easy reach. Initially I thought that was great, having a nice, big park available for a few easy laps any time, but as it turns out it doesn't actually quite work that way.

There are printed signs on the tarmac saying "Keep Left", and there are arrows all along the loop to reinforce that message. It's a actually quite a simple concept really, you'd think people would get the hang of it quickly enough. 

I had seen the exact same thing on the prom in Bray, last year when the pandemic started. It took a couple of month until everyone managed to get it, but from then on it was plain sailing (I usually run along Strand Road, though. The prom can be crowded). However, 14 months clearly weren't enough to get the same through to the population of South Dublin. Groups of up to 10 spread out across the road? Check! People walking on the right, making no effort whatsoever to move aside for the 75% of people who do actually move on the left? Check! Dog walkers with extensible leads spread across the entire path? Check! 

South Dublin really is full of fucking wankers. Irish people from anywhere else were right all along.

Enough about other folks' shortcomings, I've a few myself. Running-wise, the most glaring one is that I seem unable to slow down properly. My usual training runs tend to be around 8 minute pace. That's similar enough to the pace I used to do for years and years. Problem is, I'm far from the runner I used to be all those years ago. You're supposed to do your easy runs (as in at least 80% of your runs) at least 1 minute slower than your marathon pace. As I'm fairly sure I would not be able to run anywhere near a 3:30 marathon these days, that means I'm actually running faster than my marathon pace. That's a very common mistake runners make, almost certainly the most common one. Thing is, I really should know better but somehow I can't seem to slow down. I start out nice and easy but as soon as my conscious self switches off, my pace falls into the 8 minute trot that I have done for thousands of miles. It seems to be hard-wired into my brain. 

Also, I tend to zone out very quickly. Five minutes into any run and I'm spaced out. That should be a great thing, though with that disconnect between what my brain thinks I can do and what my legs can actually do, there's an issue.

I can see that it's not really working. I did a 5k time trial last week and had to suffer for 21:24, which is just shockingly slow. And I can barely run 13 miles without feeling wiped out afterwards. I tried to go for a flatter rout this morning, avoiding steep hills like Quarry Road, but turns out that's not the solution either.

Ah well. I'm still on track for Ray's marathon challenge, running at least a marathon a week, though I got rather lazy and on some weeks I barely ran more than that rather modest target. To give myself a kick up the backside I just signed up for another virtual Last Man Standing, in the hope of giving me an incentive to move a bit more. There is no hope whatsoever of making it to the end of that but if it gives me a reason to get moving it will have served its purpose.


  1. Oh for a 21:24! The harsh reality of aging.

  2. That is amazing running at least a marathon a week.