Thus endeth a poxy summer

Today I didn’t run the Dublin City Marathon. I didn’t come in under four hours. I’m not bruised and sore. I didn’t get the endorphin rush that comes with scraping over the line and I didn’t raise a shedload of cash for Down Syndrome Ireland and St Michael’s House. Gah! I didn’t get to look like this bundle of pent-up energy from four years back. And what an unstoppable force he is. Coiled tight like a… like a dishrag.

So no marathon 08. The writing was put on the wall back in summer. Tuesday 22nd July, while I was visiting my father in hospital, I got a phone call. He’d just had a quadruple bypass. Last thing he needed to hear was how my employer of fourteen years was closing down and laying all the staff off. I didn’t especially need to hear it myself. Luckily (for Pops at least) my guardian angel had conveniently arranged for me to leave my phone on the driver’s seat of the car on a dodgy side street, in full view of every pigeon-necked shoe-shuffling skanger in Dublin 7.

Well done Archangel Nokia. Because of you Dad didn’t get to have a pained reaction and wander off towards the light as he watched me take that phone call. And it also meant that I had a car seat under my ass when I got to hear the news.

We were given six weeks.

It’s hard to quantify the feeling. It felt like a chasm had opened up beneath me. No, not opened up. Revealed itself. A big, grinning maw of spikes and jagged rocks far below that had always been there, but fourteen good years on the front tit kept me from seeing it. Well it was there now, and it would never not be there again. The grip of friendships felt suddenly tenuous. The long cycle up the road to home (our suddenly threatened home) made me feel that every single neighbour knew my shame and inadequacy, and was secretly indifferent. Nobody had any idea, but that didn’t stop me from feeling intensely watched. First there’s a paralysis, then there’s a frantic burst of misdirected energy and all the while there’s a feeling like the world has gently fallen away and you’ve got too much caffeine in your system. We’ll lose the house! What the hell’s going to happen with the kids? They’re babies! Jacob can’t look after himself HE CAN’T LOOK AFTER HIMSELF!!

It takes a lot to make me lose sleep. But I lost sleep. With spectacular timing the builders had just started the attic conversion, so we were all homeless vagabonds crashing in the houses of whichever family members were on holiday right then. Jacob had just been discharged from hospital, Dad was starting the slow road to discovery and I was standing on a tightrope high above it all. So marathon training kinda came undone at that point.

My apologies to those who pledged and gave cash and to those who offered me such good encouragement. A plan is being formulated and the roads will not be safe from me for much longer. And the rest of this story is already on the boil.

Whatchoo lookin’ at?

Yesterday Jacob got the results from his Breathing Cert. He scored a double A for his lungs. Crystal clear, said the doc with the x-ray vision in Temple Street, while his mammy exhaled in delighted relief.

We’ve been told by the smart folks at St Michael’s House that because of his history of aspiration/pneumonia/lung infection that it was important for Jacob to drink his bottle in as upright a position as possible, and also to remain in a sitting position for a half hour after feeding. No more last bottle of the day and straight to bed. The top brass in Temple Street reckoned that this was pretty good advice. And so do we.

On a separate note, a big congrats to Sesame who has just qualified as Senior Big Boots Professor in Children With Special Needs. She now Officially Knows Everything™ so scoot on over and ask her something really hard, like what the capital of Bolivia is.

Mini marathon run-down(s)

Bank Holiday Monday, June 2nd

Dublin was basking in a heaven-sent shimmering blue heat last weekend as forty thousand women gathered for the annual Flora Women’s 10k mini-marathon in aid of a bagload of super charities.

And our Dee was in there too! That’s her above, towards the left, the one in the t-shirt. She was running for St Michael’s House, which does fantastic work for people with intellectual whatsits.

She’s been hassling virtually everyone she knows for sponsorship money (and she knows me really, really well). Great news for St Michael’s House, and I suppose great news for me if we ever end up living on the street together. Otherwise a complete pain in the arse. But we’re all very proud of her anyway. She really hit the training circuit hard, putting in possibly three or four gruelling road sessions between February and May alone. And what about that heat!

She did the run with our neighbour Helen. My sister Bonn did it too with her friend Leslie – well done you two as well! But it’s not just about the runners and walkers. Oh no. There’s a massive backroom team who do tireless work, you know. I tirelessly took photos in the blistering heat. Aisling, Helen’s daughter, held Jacob for the photo op. Jacob modelled a t-shirt that said ‘Am I rockin’ my extra chromosome or what!’ And I took photos. In the blistering heat.

As can be seen, the fitness fanatics threw some exotic shapes before the start of proceedings. Here we see the Crouching Dragon limber-up. After the race this gets replaced by the Dragged onto Couch warm-down.

Remember, forty thousand women. In one place. Many of them very serious runners. Many, many of them very serious talkers. Either way, over ten kilometers (six and a quarter miles, non-metric fans) it all requires energy, that’s all I’m saying. You end up pretty shattered, but they give you a medal, you earn squillions for charity and you get a nice, gooey, warm feeling inside. It’s just that you don’t actually have the energy left to tell your face to smile, dammit.

Well done, our hero!
(And a BIG thank you to everyone who supported with the ker-ching.)