When I was 39

There’s a great TV programme on Irish Television called Reelin’ in the years

When you are sitting there with the wife drinking wine and laughing at the get up of people back in 1976 the programme works well (i.e. the prism of time makes everything fit together). When you’re sitting there and they’re reelin’ in 2007 the programme is shit.

No comparison here then, right?

Only tonight and tomorrow and we’re free though!

2009 was a big year for me from a running perspective. I had had nothing but great experiences up until April 2009. I had run a sub-70 Ballycotton 10 in March and had just missed out on a sub-3:20 marathon the previous October by 19 seconds.

So, when I ended up in the medical tent on an IV drip after a tortuous 3:45 in Rotterdam and then was referred to a cardiologist when I got home, I knew something wasn’t right. There was nothing physically wrong with me but I was having trouble moderating my mental determination.

The cardiologist summed it up for me by making a fist and holding it up in front of me and saying: ‘That’s the size of your heart. Sometimes it’s useful to listen to it’. A few months later I was approaching half way in a sweltering 27 degrees in the local marathon. My time was in the bin and because of the heat my heart was hammering away in the 170’s. I thought back to the words of the cardiologist and stopped. If you’ve never run a marathon you won’t realise what that means. If you have, you will.

Anyway, from that point on I had another 18 months of re-building to do on the running front. That entailed lots of running and not feeling great and having to go back to basics. Harder than it sounds.

We’d no kids in 2009 (and have had none since) so it was just a case of rearing the 3 we had.

The house extension was taking up most of our free time in 2009. We;d spent the previous 3 years designing it, being refused planning permission, re-applying, falling out with the neighbours, appealing the planning permission and finally tendering it and getting prices for it. When a guy sends you in a tender price that is €100k more than you thought it would be you do that sucking air in through your teeth thing.

And then you throw his tender in the bin.

In Ireland 2009 saw the start of the big down turn in the economy. I think it is a depression but it’ll take another 10 years before we all agree on what it’s called. On a day to day basis what this meant was a whole generation and beyond had to be weaned off the drug of consumerism. Many were weaned off it through fear (might lose my job), others through necessity (did lose their job) and others because they had pay cuts. Now, being weaned off a drug like consumerism is no bad thing but when that means that people have to shut their businesses and lay off their staff it makes you realise that, like a Wednesday night drink, a small bit is probably OK.

Brisighella came up trumps again for us in 2009. we were finally realising that you can’t eat out when you have 3 kids – not unless you can eat 3 pizzas,  a half litre of wine and a pint of beer in 20 minutes. I can, but not every night.


Italy, July 2009 - seen it before?



One for everyone


They called him the streak



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