Yesterday (Sat) there was an educational but fun afternoon at the ALSAA sports complex hard by Dublin Airport. A group of seven runners from Boards.ie got together under elite athlete (let’s continue to call him) Tingle with me shadowing and sticking in my oar when I felt competent to do so. Amongst the group were a couple of lads who I got to know in Cork, namely Woddle and kevinkilbane. The idea was to introduce the group to some track & field practices. These included dynamic warm up, stretches, drills, speedwork, basic plyometrics etc.

It was interesting how a few of the boys, all of whom are useful distance runners, were initially all at sea with the drills in particular. Much as young athletes are when they first turn up for athletics. And in the first run-through of the speed module most arms stayed resolutely by the sides as the legs tried to accelerate without their assistance. But in all cases improvement was dramatic once the group understood what was required. All in all a very useful couple of hours.

Whilst I could just have made it to Dunshaughlin for the 10k I gave it a miss this year. And this morning (Sun) I had the option of getting an early train down to Tullamore to watch the national junior and U23 t&f championships. Instead I ignored the alarm and settled for my Sunday LSR instead. Another warm Dublin day – best make the most of them while I can. Today I reinvestigated the way through to Poolbeg and today took the turn I missed last week. Pigeon House Road snakes its way through an industria-scape of container parks, overhead gantries, warehouses etc. To the right a halting site. Ireland’s Travellers (one can’t call them gypsies these days) do not have the best of reputations. But from my experience any trouble attached to these folk is kept mainly in-house, just as the various stabbings and shootings in and around Dublin are generally confined to the members of rival gangs. Your average punter would be very unfortunate to be caught up in any such unpleasantness.

Anyway this interesting (in its own way) thoroughfare eventually brings one to the Shelley Banks, half way out to the Poolbeg lighthouse. Instead of heading out that way I turned inland and took a path through the Irishtown Nature Reserve – a rather grand name for a couple of acres of land left free of development. The only sign of any ‘nature’ was a sign warning of poison put down against the local rats. But onwards to Sandymount where the sun was suddenly replaced by a magnificent sea fret bringing the visibility down to 10 metres or so. Trotting along the beach I got a lovely feeling of isolation, accompanied only by Steve Runner via my iPod. I’d settled into a nice though slow rhythm and thought I might push this run out a bit today. So on through Blackrock Park, along the little alleyway to the DART station, behind Blackrock village and onto Seapoint where the bait of a sports drink in the little shop there awaited before the turn for home.

I couldn’t resist the beach again on the way back, though by now it was becoming somewhat dog-infested. But in fairness I’ve found Irish dogs to be remarkably well-behaved towards runners with none of the aggression routinely displayed by their Jersey cousins and their gormless owners (‘He’s only playing’, ‘He won’t bite’ etc). This time I went back via Sean Moore Park. There are a couple of massive cruise ships tied up at the docks right now – the Ocean Princess being one. These look all the more magnificent looning out of the sea mist. And so upriver to home. A most relaxing 13.59 miles in 2hr 32min for 28.4 miles on the week.

And 2048 calories apparently. Best put a few of those back later. With Dublin’s footballers playing at Croker, Mulligan’s will be packed this evening. However I’ve discovered Doolan’s on Grand Canal Street, a typical ‘old man’s pub’ where they are rather startled to see a stranger but who serve you an excellent pint for €4.10.

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