Everything and nothing is happening at the moment.
As this is a running blog I’ll do the running up-date at the start to save you struggling with the metaphors (and the chronicles).
The running is going not bad. Not great or even good but certainly better than earlier months (i.e. May & June).
This not bad situation is not brought about by any sort of improvement in my sore left knee, although it seems to respond well to being run on as opposed to being knelt on to carry out the numerous outstanding DIY jobs I have hanging over me but rather by a mental click that occurred about 2 weeks ago.
I know after Thomas’ epic second place in the Irish 24 hour making yourself dizzy competition he expressed some doubt about the label of elite being stamped on him. I think what he means is that there is a significant mental commitment to focusing on specific events. While the body may be willing or, like a reluctant wife willing to put up with your sex demands in order to get a few
days weeks of peace, the mind can feel exhausted by the commitment.
If you doubt this just look at the emotional breakdowns that you see from the elites at the Olympics as they come in 4th or 5th in their heat and are relegated to being 12th fastest in the world (which one of us wouldn’t grab that with both hands?)
So, for me, I generally have to wait for the mind to be ready for the next event. I had (or have) two options:
A really serious marathon training programme that would see me having to lose a bit of the recent weight gain that puts me close to my healthy weight rather than the constantly malnourished weight that continual training can bring about.
A long off-road picnic with sightseeing and dodging sheep droppings.
No brainer really, isn’t it?
I don’t have the required pass out yet but I might as well get the ground work in. I’ve embarked on an accelerated endurance programme of training for the month of August. This is the runner’s speak way of saying that I have about 3 weeks to crack out some serious long runs (20, 24 & 28 miles) . I’ve already done the 12 & 16 mile runs and all the mid-week 10k & recovery runs. I’m trying to throw in some off-road stuff as well (for the proprioception – i.e. so I don’t trip over the first rock I meet).
That’s the running – a half-arsed plan and a sore knee.
August is usually one of those months where nothing happens -the school run is cancelled so you have a bit longer to lie in bed promising yourself you won’t have a glass of wine the following evening because it’s bad for you (the look from your wife tells you that anyway).
But if you stop for a minute you’ll see life is flying by as fast as ever.
We had a class re-union last week – UCC Civil Engineering. We (about 35 of us) were weaned off the teat of subsidised third level education in 1992 so to mark the occasion we met up for a bite to eat and a few pints. Nothing spectacular.
Thant could be our class motto – Nothing spectacular.
We were the generation for whom mediocrity, lowered expectations and under achievement were the thesaurus entry for the term career.
Not that we didn’t work hard or anything, we did. But we were always set up to realise that (in the post-Thatcher world) you’d survive much better if you worked to live rather than lived to work (thing about that).
The problem with that is that a good few from the class didn’t turn up to the re-union as their careers were, like a Ryanair bird of freedom in the winter, parked-up.
The rest of us (those who did turn up) are either gainfully employed by the State in one form or another or self-employed. Self-employed is a euphemism.
The best thing about the re-union was that nobody gave a shit. As we all started out with nothing 20 years ago, anything we’ve gained or lost in the intervening two decades seems borrowed anyway. You still judge someone as if you were both drunk 20 year olds.
I don’t have any photographs of the reunion yet (phone is still kaput) but if you can imagine men and women in their early to mid 40’s behaving like they were 20 you’re close enough to the mark.
The reunion was, however, nothing compared to the other events of the last few weeks.
I built a garden path that has (as an art critic would say) certain naive qualities.
The path merits a complete post of its own. It’s the sort of path where visitors are asked not to comment as the path builder thinks it’s the 8th wonder of the world and everyone else thinks it’s a dangerous trip hazard.
The defining event of the summer of 2012 – the event that will allow you to fulcrum all other memories from it in 20 years time took place last Saturday.
We were in Cork City to buy a rain coat for the Wife (think raincoat, not PVC bondage gear). This was not going well as the price of Gore-tex is up there with Kryptonite or Dilithium crystals. For a country that is second only to the Brazilian rain forests in terms of rainfall it’s surprising how few people own rain coats.
We passed a shoe shop with some sort of irresistible sale. At this point in the tale female readers should be nodding in an understanding way and the men should be thinking: I already have one pair of shoes. Why would I need two pairs? This irresistible sale involved us all being sucked into the shop to check out a pair of boots my wife had been eyeing for an age. They were now the price of a pair of expensive Hokas but as this was less than half price they were a must-buy. Knowing I was on a loser I made some noise about there not being much room for her toes in them (I know, what sort of idiot am I?) and then she bought them.
Then the BIG THING happened.
The 10-year-old got a pair of Doc Martens.
She goes around the house in her pyjamas wearing them and now volunteers to walk up to the shop for the milk so she can show them off.
She does that thing where you go everywhere staring at your feet.
Childhood is over, my work is done.