We're back from a wonderful week in Ireland, travelling around the wild west coast, eating fantastic seafood and drinking the odd pint of Guinness and generally chilling out. I did manage to get a couple of memorable runs in, in between the hedonism.
The first was an early morning 7 from the hotel in Killarney, along the jaunting car path to Muckross Abbey and along the lake. It was beautiful. Sunny, warm (but not the killer stifling heat that England was experiencing) and utterly still, with the waters of the lake lying mirror smooth.
The second was a fabulous trot out at Kilkee a pretty little seaside town with a sheltered harbour with a fine, firm sandy beach. Again it was early (about 0630) and there was nobody about. In fact it was better than that. There was nothing moving at all, apart from a vigorous flock of crows which, curiously seemed to outnumber the seagulls. It was like one of those 1960s sci-fi films in which the Martian plague wipes out an innocent town. I padded gently down the middle of the deserted streets and out along the cliff top path. I've never seen the Atlantic so tranquil. I worked my way back down to the town, pausing only to examine the construction details of a sea-going curragh at the harbour yard, and decided to go on the beach and do some intervals. I did about 8x30s with 30s rest and saw the only other living soul in Kilkee - a woman taking an early morning dip in the sea. All in all, a memorable run during a great week. And I'd like to thank Angie, Sally and Lucy for their wonderful hospitality while we were there.
On our return I went into a post-holiday slump and did no running at all last week. So today, I did the 14 miles that was in the schedule even though the more prudent course would probably have been to go back a week and ease into things again. Perhaps I wanted to punish myself for my indolence of last week. I kept thinking of President Kennedy's words about the lunar mission '... not because it is easy, but because it is hard'.
I followed the Dales Way westwards towards Windermere which starts with a flattish bit along the river and then goes up and down in splendid fashion for training purposes. I went a bit wrong on the way back so ended up doing 14.55 miles, with 2,804 ft of ascent at 11.05 min/mile pace. So not too bad.
Which brings me to my nipples. I was rather shocked to discover the characteristic hideous red patch on my top when I got back. In all my, ooh, 28 years of running I've never had a problem. What is going on? I've used that particular top (a Nike Dri-Fit long-sleeve job) perfectly normally for ages. I don't think I'm any more man-boobular than I ever was. It wasn't cold. I had no particular saucy fantasies going through my head. Perhaps my nipples are revolting. And perhaps I should stop right there.
Smiley rating: For Irish runs, 8.5/10
For today's run, 6/10 (incs. nipple coefficient adjustment)