I’m in one of those “meh” stages of training, when heading out for a run seems about as useful and appealing as ironing bedsheets. Fitted ones.
I was probably a bit too eager announcing I would run the Dingle Marathon as soon as I had sweated over the finish line of the Lakes of Killarney Marathon, so now I’m starting to look for a way out whenever it is mentioned. I’m starting to hear excuses like “€70 is a lot for a run around Slea Head…/I wonder is running a marathon on the road seven weeks before the Mourne Mountain run a good idea…/It could be very warm…/I think I’m due a hair appointment that weekend..” spoken in a voice that appears to be mine. The result is that that, even though I have two perfectly serviceable legs and I am surrounded by scenery like this,
I just can’t get enthused about running these days.
But I have a plan to get me fired up about running again. I’m going to run a half marathon on a beach next week. I don’t mean on a road next to a beach or in a park overlooking the sea. I mean 13.1 miles on sand. I did the inaugural Brandon Bay half marathon in Castlegregory last year. It felt much longer. The sky was rolling with black surly clouds that occasionally slapped us with needles of rain, just in case the unrelenting gusts of gritty wind were not mean enough. The course is obviously completely flat, which has its advantages, but it also means that you can see just how far you have to slog until you get to the tiny little dot that is the half-way flag. Then there’s the sand. You find what you think is the Goldilocks medium between not-too-hard and not-too-soft, but then it vanishes into a mass of puddles, so you add miles to your route veering between surf and dunes trying to get the balance right again. It’s all very challenging, but in the spirit of all the best epic fantasies, there is turning point, a stage where you leave the dark shadows behind you and enter the sparkly place.
As soon as you round the flag, the wind is at your back, the sun comes out, and angels sing. Well, maybe not the last two, but things definitely take a turn for the much, much better.
And that’s what I’m hoping for next Saturday.