Friday, June 1, 2007

I...have...returned

If you've never experienced proper jet-lag (anything over 4 hours, I'd say), it's difficult to describe, but I'm running on basically coffee and fumes at the moment, even after 11 hours of sleep, so here's some bullet-pointed run description from Ireland:

• Thursday: Ran 40 mns around St. Stephens Green in Dublin, a 1/2 mile loop. Yes, I was bored, but watching the junior high school-aged kids makeout and the homeless smoke joint upon joint kept me fairly amused. App'x 5.5 miles.

• Friday: Ann and I found Phoenix park, about a 2 mile run from our hotel. It's roughly 6 times the size of Central Park, with rolling singletrack trails that I ran for about 1:10. Deer? Oh yeah - I saw about 8 of them 10 feet off the trail, snacking on their hind legs from the tree branches. A cricket team was also practising on one of the freshly groomed fields. We ran back in a cool drizzle along the River Liffey through rushhour pedestrians.

• Sunday: In Galway, ran about 9-10 miles along the Atlantic Ocean inlet, total time, 1:22. Galway's water was tainted by parasites similar to the ones that plague Mexican water, so I used my handheld contents sparingly, since refilling at local water fountains would have caused a massive attack of the irish version of "Montezuma's Revenge"...although a fair amount of Jameson would have the same effect.

• Monday: Run in the Connemara Mountains, to the north and west of Galway. Holy. Mudder. Oaf. Gawd. I still have to check the elevation changes, but at one point, I was power-hiking up a sheer cliff for about 20 minutes, only to descend the same steepness for about 15 minutes straight down. Ann and I split off about 12 minutes into the run, but the loop we ran was somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 miles, so I tacked on another, smaller loop for an extra 1.5-2 miles. Quad-busting.

The Burren: It's like another planet: Rocky, rolling...just plain bizarre. At our hotel in Lisdoonvarna, we asked the hotel manager if she knew where we could go on a trail run. Her reponse: "Hell if I know, but ask 'Mark' at the service station." We ambled to the service station to find Mark, and when he emerged from the garage, we knew we'd found a goldmine of info on running: The guy was SOLID muscle. Seriously. His quads were as big around as my waist...excentuated by the incredibly short, cutoff pants he was wearing.

After quizzing us as to our skill level, he sent us on a 6 mile loop through the burren, and it was GORGEOUS. Running towards the sea as the sun set, we could see castle ruins in silhouette along the Atlantic as a dog raced up from behind us, keeping pace with us for 2 miles. We bonked hard (probably from the day prior's intense climbing) around mile 4 and shuffled back to the hotel for showers, beers, and steak and Guinness stew and chicken and mushroom pie.

All in all, whatta trip. And now, to drag my ass out of my apartment and walk about LA in a zombie-like state.

2 comments:

ReneeMc said...

Mmmmmm....castles....
Welcome home!

Ann said...

I've named the dog Paddy.

As stereotypical as that name is, it belonged to more than one man we shared a pub with during our time over there.

Paddy the Pointing Dog.