The running bit first:
All is well in the lead up to the next marathon – the Cork City Marathon on the 6th of June. With less than 4 weeks to go I’m putting in (for me) another big week and then I can let the gut out a bit and cut the miles.
I’m after breaking through the fittness barrier where the runs go from being a bit of a struggle to stay on the pace to where you look at the Garmin and go ‘oohh, not bad, should probably slow down a bit’.
That is bad. Because now I might try and race the marathon. This race has been held in sweltering heat for 3 of the last 4 years which for me is a disaster. If you add me to a marathon and anything over about 10 degrees C and the results are a mess (well, I’m the mess but the results show that).
So, to avoid the mental anguish of this, I normally adopt the ‘it’s just a training run’ approach to the race. Then, if I cruise over the line in a great time and say I didn’t race it I can enjoy all the praise. If I melt like a 99 in a kids hand then I can say I was just testing myself for the next race.
Anyway, the old man shouty bit.
I still think I’m about 14. I look at the 23 year old Italian Au Pair and think I’m (a) younger than her or (b) about the same age as her. From what she’s told me I’m closer to her dad’s age but you get the picture. My age is a mental thing – I like viz and fart jokes. I find the adult world all a bit ridiculous.
There are signs that I’m older than I feel but most of these are physical – My barber now offers to trim my eyebrows, my wife ridicules my cool, ironic tee-shirts (come to think of it, she’s being doing that for years anyway), my laughter lines don’t go away when I stop laughing.
Last night I had one of those signs that showed me the future, or more specifically my future:
Outraged from Ballintemple
I was out walking by Blackrock Castle with my two youngest to pass the time between recycling daddy’s beer bottles and going to bed. On these walks I like to make up my own version of the world so I can colour their perception of me and the world. This will succeed when I (in their eyes) am great and the world is fully explained. At the time of my old man moment I was explaining how the tide works and why roses don’t have willies and boobies (looong story).
On this walk you have the usual mix of people walking, roller blading, cycling and taking their dogs for a shit. I have no problem with any of these, especially the last one as as a runner I have been known to do the same thing.
Now, most dogs run free which is normally not a problem as they have been well trained to not jump, bite or piss on strangers but God bless the poor sod who happened across me last night with his bubble permed white poodle job. It was off the lead and came after my two kids with an annoying high pitched squeak that passed for a bark. The kids took refuge behind me as it nipped at them. I waited for the owner of said hairdresser’s dog to intervene. Which he didn’t. So I did.
My intervention could be described as ‘putting out my foot to stop the dog biting my children’ or as ‘kicking the dog in the hole’ . It’s all about perspective really.
If that had been the end of it I’d have been happy (and so would the other fella) but a switch had been flicked in my head and I launched into Old Man Shouty Mode. I gave him the full hair-dryer effect about leashing his dog, being in control of the dog in a public place, being a danger to others and all that other ‘letters to the editors’ shite. For this to have full effect you’ve got to visualise the throbbing veins on my neck, the red face from shouting and the bits of spittle flying out and hitting yer man. All I was missing was some tattoos and the title ‘being known to the Gardaí’. In the end he, now holding the dog in his arms said that there was no need to have kicked the dog to which I replied that the next time I saw him I’d kick the dog into the river.
As I wandered away with my kids, who still wanted to know how a rose took a piss if it didn’t have a willy, I made a note to myself to get less shouty and try and keep ‘Outraged from Ballintemple’ in check. I suppose Botox would do nothing for this sort of thing.