Going Further

Going further

In running, there are certain distances you become accustomed to. 5km, 10km, 10 mile, half marathon, marathon etc. These are milestones every runner grows to know intimately – you learn to recognise how you feel at certain distances and what to expect physically and mentally at different points, the result being that you develop a kind of mental store and psychological toughness that helps you be better the next time. But when you’ve ran enough races, you also learn to know how you can expect to feel at the end of certain distances. For example, even though I haven’t run for over a year, I can remember exactly how I would feel after a 5km parkrun Vs. how my body feels after a half-marathon race Vs. after a marathon.

With Cycling, I find it a lot less clear cut. I could cycle an 80km today and be in bits tomorrow. Or I might cycle 100km today and be up for cycling another 70km tomorrow, no bother. There have been some days recently when cycling 37km to work on back to back days has just knackered my legs. But where is the sense, I ask you?

Apart from being able to draw the obvious conclusion that the harder the ride and more effort you put in, the more it will take out of your body and the slower it will be to repair and refresh. And the hillier the cycle, the tougher it is – also going to tire you out more.

But generally for cycling Vs. running, there are no milestone distances to focus on – or maybe there are and I’m just out of the loop! Oh well…

Some cyclists seem to work with time, rather than distance. You cycle for an hour a few days during the week and then go for a three hour ride at the weekend, for example. I don’t work that way. I like to map out a ride beforehand and then see how long it takes me. Next time, I try do it faster. That’s what motivates me. I’m less good with a “three hour ride” because for me that’s just a licence to sit on my ass and flooter away three hours coasting along at my ease.

So I stick with distance. Up to this year, I’d never ridden over 100km, with the longest cycle I’d have competed being around 91km. So I cracked out mapmyride and mapped a few 100km -ish cycles and worked my way up to them. Then I did a race a few weeks ago which involved a 105km spin around Carlow and over Mount Leinster. I loved it.

Today I took a spin from Naas to Kilkenny, travelling through Athy, Carlow, lovely Leighlinbridge and Bagenalstown along the way. The weather was a bit crap to be honest with dark clouds, some rain and a headwind most of the way… but I was happy out just to find I could actually make it all the way to Kilkenny. Needless to say when I arrived in Kilkenny 3 hours 41 minutes later, I was delighted with life and Kilkenny was buzzing with people, despite the rain.

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I had booked to get the train back from Kilkenny to Sallins and had a bit of time before my train was due. I knew exactly how to spend that time.

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What is cycling, if not really good coffee and cake?

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After all, it’s the worst kept secret in cycling that the only real reason cyclists actually cycle is for the coffee and cake. And it’s worth it every time 😀

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After wandering around trying to find a coffee shop that I could safely leave my bike outside without fear of it being pinched, I came across the Pantry on Kieran St., which was exactly what I was looking for. Really good coffee and a good selection of homemade baked goods, as well as soup, sandwiches and hot lunch options too. I really just wanted somewhere to sit down and rest my weary bones for an hour, while indulging in a much looked-forward to pick me up.

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Nice design and good, friendly atmosphere, you can’t go wrong.

The staff were lovely, the coffee was excellent and my cupcake was just grand. The bun could have been fresher and the icing was a bit over-sweet, but I was starvers so it tasted great anyway. Good spot and I’ll be back again.

Next Up. Now that I’ve gotten past the 100km mark, I’d like to build on that and be able for greater distances. There’s a clatter of 200km events in Ireland that look fab but I’m a long way from being able to remain upright for 200k. But it gives me something to aim for – oh, you know how it goes… citius, altius, fortius… better.

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Happy Sunday & Random Good Stuff

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I haven’t bloggged for a couple of weeks and I’ve been feeling rather guilty about the whole thing. So you’re getting me today – me and a summary of some of the random good things that have been going on lately.

But firstly, of course – Happy Sunday!

1. I just finished Holding by Graham NortonIt’s already received a lot of positive publicity with people saying such things as Mr Norton could easily give up the day job, if he wanted to. I don’t agree with those sentiments, purely because life is a lot more fun with the Graham Norton show in it and I get the feeling Graham wouldn’t want to anyway. He’s a funny, funny man and his chat show is one of the very few I actually watch and have the best laugh with. His novel? Exceptionally well written with an amusing storyline and his wit is seamlessly laced between the lines. Very true to Irish people and Irish rural life, I found it enjoyable to read from start to finish – something I don’t often say. I’d recommend.

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2. BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND!!!!!!!!! Second bank holiday in the space of two weeks lads, I’m starting to get used to this three day weekend malarky and short weeks at work. Ah, so good…

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3. Speaking of which, I kicked off the weekend by heading out to the Punchestown Horse Races on Saturday with my Mum, Aunt and my Dad. The Punchestown festival comes to Naas every year and while I don’t get a week off work to enjoy it all as I once did when I was at school in the town, it’s still always great to head out to the racecourse for a day and enjoy the festival atmosphere. I left home with 25euro, I returned with 64 euro #ThankYouHorsies

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4. Popped out on Friday night to see The Guardians of the Galaxy part 2 (or whatever it’s called – you know which one I mean!) I went along to the see the first one and wasn’t that bothered about seeing it or not seeing it, but actually just found that I really enjoyed watching it and had a good giggle sitting there in the dark. Likewise, I wouldn’t have cared much whether I saw the second movie or missed it – but I went on Friday and had a good giggle and a few proper laughs. It’s so rare these days to find a movie that actually makes you genuinely laugh so if that’s what you’re in the mood for, then grab a bucket of popcorn and head out with a mate. You won’t regret it.

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5. Netflix’s Thirtenn Reasons Why – Has anyone else watched this? I’ve been working away at this series for the last week, watching one or two episodes each evening and I’m finding it hard going. If I’m honest, I’ve only persevered and continued to watch it because there’s nothing else on or because I’m too lazy to seek out something better. There’s bugger all on Netflix (Ireland) at the moment and I’m not impressed 😦

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6. I recently started getting the train home from work some days and I am loving it. I cycle in to work (Naas to Dublin) every day but it’s a bit of a distance at 37km so some days I opt to get the train home from Dublin to Sallins and then cycle the remainder from Sallins to Naas. Most trains have a bike rack so you can slot your bike in and then sit down and relax for 30 minutes. It’s also dirt cheap at the moment – 4.60 from Dublin to Sallins one way or even better – 3.56 if you use a leap card. Sold!

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7. I’m expanding my bike mechanic skills – rather slowly, I admit, but I am so proud. I can now fix a puncture AND change out an entire wheel. I got some new tyres which I popped on all by myself. No, you’re right – there’s actually no skills involved in that whatsoever but I’m digging it. I feel pretty badass, all this self-sufficiency.

If only I could figure out some actual mechanic skills, like how to stop my back brakes from sticking to the wheel. For another day. Don’t want to learn everything in one day or there’ll be nothing new left to learn, right? 😉

Lastly… I’m eating a lot of this at the moment…

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I’m a bit fan of Lidl’s version of this but when I run out and am just to lazy to drive all the way out to Lidl, I give in and pay an extra euro for fancy Jordan’s granola. Dry, with milk or my favourite – with greek yogurt and some berries – for breakfast, post-training or supper, it tastes good and it’s a filler-upper. AND it’s packed full of nutrition – oats, good. Almonds, good. Raisins, good. Probably a bit more sugar than I’d like, but it’s about balance people. Stop with all the sugar ridiculousness.

Out.

 

Runners and Injuries: Not Letting Panic Triumph Over Hope

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This is a subject extremely close to my heart. In fact, it’s so close to the surface that I’d swear if you stood close enough to me, you might just be able to hear my heart beating out “Help me, I’m a runner”…

I’m going through this right now. I may not be an elite athlete, but I am 100% a runner at heart. It’s what makes me smile, lifts me up, allows me to escape everything for a few hours everyday and honestly makes me feel like some kind of superhero. On the outside, I might look like a hot, sweaty, flailing mess… but on the inside I feel like Mo Farah. I feel like me.

One missed session in my weekly training plan makes me uncomfortable and I’m very bad at just “letting it go” but sometimes weather or unforeseen events just happen and you have to suck it up.

One week without running – usually only happens when I’ve just ran a big race like a marathon or half-ironman – I struggle with not being able to get out for a run for this long because regardless of how physically tired my body might be, I miss the fresh air and time outside, the peace and quiet. But I persevere for the sake of rest and meaningful recovery.

Suck it up.

More than one week… Huh???!! It has been years since I’ve gone more than 10-14 days with no running. Sometimes you do need a good rest as a runner and head-wrecking and all as it may be, you tolerate it because you KNOW that in a few weeks time, you’ll be back out there slowly building yourself back up again.

You KNOW. So… suck it up.

Now, try telling a runner that they can’t run today, or tomorrow or even this week. In fact, it could be as long as a year… Actually, I can’t tell you when you’ll next be able to go for a run or even if you’ll ever be able to run again.

To a runner, this is devastating news. For me, I just couldn’t accept it right away – it was too much to deal with all at once and it took months for me to even come around to the idea and I still haven’t fully accepted it. When you’re used to being able to lace up and get out in the fresh air – just you and your radio – and plod along to your own rhythm, it becomes a massive part of who you are and when it suddenly gets ripped away, you feel lost – like a big part of you has suddenly been whipped away and crazy as it sounds – it takes a while for you to come around to this new version of yourself that doesn’t run every day.

You suddenly feel  – as if you’re not you anymore.

Trauma. Grief. Loss.

Heartbreak.

I don’t say these things to be flippant. I have massively missed running and the goodness it brings to my life. Life without running has left a great hole that I simply cannot fill with cycling or swimming. I have been cranky, intolerant, impatient, angry, sad, an utter basket-case at times (on multiple occasions) and I’ve cried big fat tears of frustration and loss for my life as a runner on several occasions. I’m pretty sure my Dad (poor man has witnesses a number of my ridiculous meltdowns) thinks I’m a complete nut-job but then of course that’s how it must appear to sane people on the outside.

The Phases of Running Grief – not kidding, there are actual phases …

1. Blanket denial – the physio doesn’t know what she’s talking about… she’s talking out her arse – sure I know more about running than she does and I definitely know my own body better than anyone else. I’ll be grand in a few weeks. Your biggest worry at this stage is loss of fitness – worrying about losing the good place you’re at that you’ve worked so hard to get to. Your nervous that your sub 3.45 marathon goal may have to wait till next season.

2. Bargaining – Loss of control and helplessness make the control freak runner in you start to try and rationalise it all in a vain attempt to regain some control – what if I do this next time? What if I did that better?

3. Anger – After a few weeks, nothing is better, the injury is still there and you start to panic when the realisation that it might be quite a while before you’re able to run again starts to feel real.

I followed my plan… why am I injured and X, Y and Z are not? It’s not fair… I did everything I was supposed to do? Why is it different to any other training cycle? I should have taken a longer rest after the last marathon… I should have done more strength work…  I should have eaten better… I should have said 3 hail mary’s before every run… I’m so stupid, stupid, stupid……….and why does nobody understand me?! Get away from me…. No, I don’t want chicken soup to make me feel better!!! Aagggghhhhhhh…

4. The Sad Bit – crying in a pathetic curled ball on the floor as your running gear starts to gather dust, as the races you signed up to months ago all come and go.

Mourning the loss of running as a friend and of that huge part of you that is tied up in running. It’s not just a hobby- it’s who you are first thing in the morning, the feeling you carry with you all day having completed a great run that morning, Parkrun with you friends on a Saturday morning and coffee afterwards, the long run on a Sunday morning listening to the Marian Finuacan radio show and the heavenly after-feeling of that effort as you chill on the sofa drinking coffee, watching Downton Abbey.

Acceptance? Nah. See number 1. I’m an optimist and I love running far too much to ever give up on the idea that I could be out there running some day soon.

I choose hope, rehabilitation and optimism. So maybe I’ll have to keep spinning the wheels of this cycle for a little while longer- going through the phases of denial, anger, sadness – but I won’t stop hoping and I won’t give up.

I saw a new physiotherapist this week and for the first time since I got injured I heard the words “I see no reason why you shouldn’t recover and get back to running”. Like the saddo I am, I nearly cried when she said this. It’s the first positive thing I’ve heard from the rounds of Doctors, physios, orthopaedic surgeons and other specialists in a year. She gave me hope – she didn’t promise anything and she did stress that the first goal would be to get back to a place where I have no pain in my feet just as is. Then, we can look to bringing walking back. Only after that can we even consider bringing running back in.

This could take quite a while to get to that stage but right now, I feel hope – I can see a finish line. Not sure of the distance yet but I can see one drifting about in the wind somewhere out there – I just have to be patient, follow the right path and not be stupid.

Then maybe, just maybe… I’ll be a runner again.

Let’s Talk About Feet (again)

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Full disclosure-these are not my feet but I love this picture. Happy feet or what?!

I’ve talked about my feet so many times on this blog that I’m starting to feel they have more of a presence than I have on here. In fairness, their drama, trips, days out, dates and life in general has been far more exciting than my own of late…

For those who don’t know (and have been saved that pedi-saga) I injured both feet in the run-up to the Paris marathon 2016, in or about March last year, which has resulted in me being benched from running for nearly 10 months now. Since then, I’ve seen numerous physiotherapists, a GP, a chiropodist and two orthopaedic surgeons who specialise in feet – all of whom have given me a different diagnosis in terms of the source of the pain in my feet. The first physio told me it was soft tissue damage, “just a battering” from all the marathon training. The second physio (from the same clinic) told me it was NOT a soft tissue injury at all, rather it was more likely a rheumatological condition, possibly rheumatoid arthritis.

On foot of what physio no.2 said, I visited my GP who ran blood tests which confirmed no inflammatory markers in my bloods. So, she ruled out the possibility that the cause of my foot pain was rheumatoidal. She referred me on to an orthopaedic specialist who specialises in foot problems on the basis that the pain could be a result of a stress fracture. On inspection of my feet, this orthopaedic surgeon was of the opinion that indeed the source of my foot pain was most likely a result of a stress fracture – 90% sure it was a stress fracture in the 5th metatarsal – to be precise.

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Went for an MRI… went back to Mr. Ortho… no stress fracture, anywhere in my feet. He then promptly informed me that he could do nothing further for me given that the problem did not appear to be a bone problem nor could he offer any opinion on what was wrong with my feet.

At this point, I cried.

It had been 9 months of different experts, with wildly different views on what is wrong with my damn feet. And here I was, after spending a chunk of money on all these guys and having not been able to go for a run in so long standing in a car park outside a hospital thinking I’m never going to be able to run again…. and not one person can tell me what is wrong with me. So I cried. With my Dad (who had kindly come with me to the appointment) looking at me like I was crazytown.

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This week I went to see another orthopaedic (foot) surgeon for a second opinion, which if nothing else, was hilarious. What my mother calls a good old-fashioned surgeon- glasses, dicky bow, abrupt, utterly unsympathetic, impatient and entirely forthright and opinionated – I loved it. After examining my feet, he took the view that I have basically bad feet. I have splayed, wide feet, with bunions, swelling in the forefoot and collapsed arches – basically, all these factors combined mean that the mechanics of my feet is all off. He told me that the custom orthotics I had made many years ago were useless on their own and that they would not be effective without accompanying exercises to make them work.

So what did he decide should be the next step? A physio! No, but not just anyone, he specifically recommended a Dublin physio who has worked with Athletics Ireland specialising in sports injuries with good experience. Given that this glowing referral came from a man who strikes me as exceptionally hard to impress, I’m expecting great things. I’m honestly very excited and feeling more positive about this than I have in months.

I have an appointment in 2 weeks time and I can’t wait. In the meantime, I also have an appointment to see a rheumatologist to investigate my Reynaud’s and just to rule out any rheumatoidal cause of my foot pain.

For the moment, I am still cycling away at weekend and early mornings before work, when I can. The mornings are slowly getting brighter earlier and the days are starting to stretch out and I can’t wait for those long Summer days… I also just joined a gym to action my new year’s resolution to get stronger this year. Strength and conditioning is an area I’ve neglected for a long time and I’m hoping if I can work on it, it might help with my feet/ knee/other injuries going forward.

Injuries suck, no doubt. I miss running massively. Word. But for the first time in a long time, I’m starting to feel like there’s hope that maybe some day in the near (ish) future, one of these experts will tell me it’s time to run again.

And what a wonderful day that will be. Happy running folks, enjoy!

December 1st: Christmas Running Movies

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HAPPY 1st DECEMBER one and all!!! Welcome to my running advent calendar and countdown to Christmas, where I plan on celebrating everything great about running and Christmas combined.

Confused? Not to worry. If you like running and like Christmas, you’ll enjoy this.

Basically, everyday of Advent, you can pop on here and enjoy some running-Christmas fun (and nonsense 😉 ), in a similar manner to opening a window on the Advent calendar each day of Advent.

And for the 1st day of December…

I love Christmas movies and I also happen to love running movies and while it may not be popular enough its own regard to occupy its own shelf space in HMV, I think the Christmas/Running feature film has the potential to be a strong new genre.

Without further ado (or general babble), I give you my shortlist of Christmas/Running movies for you to enjoy over the Christmas period (or just today, if you have time 😉 ):

1. Forrest Gump – This is the quintessential family film. It’s happy, it’s sad, it’s heartwarming and utterly heartbreaking… and yes, there is some Christmas in there too. It’s the perfect movie to sit down and watch with family or friends and have a good quality laugh and cry. To add to this, there is the whole running section of his life for all the runners of the world to enjoy. Usually on at some stage on TV over the holidays and absolutely worth putting it in your diary to sit down and watch.

2. Unbroken – Not as well known as the last movie, this stars one of my favourite actors at the moment, Jack O’Connell, and tells the incredible story of US Olympian Louie Zamperini, a 5000m runner whose plane is shot down during the Second World War and is taken as a prisoner of war in a Japanese prison camp. This is a brilliant, brilliant movie, if tough and sad at times. A story of resilience and strength, if ever there was one.

3. Chariots of Fire – A classic, in every sense. This movie was made for sitting by the fire with the grandparents.

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4. The Four Minute Mile – Lesser known but thoroughly enjoyable for the 4 minute miler inside you (deep, deep inside me…not outside me unfortunately). It’s a heartwarming film about a teenager Drew who is struggling to improve on the track, before he teams up with a new coach, Richard Jenkins, who sets him on his way. Think Rocky but with a teenager and running instead of boxing. Nice way to pass an afternoon after a run!

5. The Great Escape – A classic Christmas movie, with plenty of running… even if it is in the unconventional sense! If you haven’t watched this movie from start to finish, do it this year. The Great Escape defines the meaning of “must-see”. I’m watching this as soon as I get the chance. Again.

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5. If I Had Wings – a blind teenager with a talent for running teams up with another rebellious teenager, also with a talent for running. Queue lots of heartwarming moments and feel-good running vibes. A good, uplifting family feature for a cold, dark evening.

Sunday-ness

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Happy Sunday one and all! If you too are in full-throttle Sunday mode, chilling out, feet up and looking for further validation that it is in fact okay to do this once a week, then look no further.

I’ve had a good old fashioned chill weekend, full of long bike rides, rugby matches, a little bit of reading, a fair bit of baking (once you start…) and nice chunk of Netflix.

My Mom headed off to Oman on Friday for a week of meetings so I’m home alone with menfolk for the next 7 days. To kick things off, I headed to the Ireland v Canada rugby match in the Aviva stadium in Dublin last night, which despite the massive scoreline of 54-21 (or something like that!), it was actually quite an entertaining game, with the Canadians making the Irish lads work for their win.

Good weather and a fun crowd in the Aviva made for a very nice way to spend the evening with my Paps.

I headed out early this morning for a long ride from Naas to Clane, then on to Carbury, Edenderry and home via Rathangan, bringing the total distance up to nearly 97km. Although the roads were pretty wet, it stayed dry throughout the ride and there was little wind. Happy days. A bit miffed though when you cycle 97km… and it’s JUST shy of 100km. Last week I did that demented thing of riding up and down the road until my watch registered the 100km, but this week I couldn’t be arsed.

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The remains of a long bike ride… carnage

I’ve been trying out different energy bars and foodie bits on the bike for energy over the longer rides and I’m really liking the Powerbar energy bars at the moment. I nabbed about a dozen of them at the Dublin Marathon expo a few weeks ago for a bargain price and have been trying out lots of different flavours. When I first tried the mango flavour, I thought it was just weird but then I came around to it and now quite like it. The Salty Peanut flavour is really good too.

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A good tip is to cut the bars in half before you head out, so you don’t have to be messing around with wrappers, trying to open them with your teeth as you also try to keep from crashing your bike. Then they’re ready to go when you are. I do this with bananas too.

I’m also trying out different recovery drinks at the moment. I like to make my own recovery smoothies and play around with different flavours but sometimes it’s just so handy to have something pre-made when you’re too exhausted to care about making your own flavours.

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One that I’m really enjoying at the moment is Avonmore Protein Milk, a 500ml carton of low fat milk with extra protein and flavoured with vanilla. It tastes like a vanilla milkshake but with the consistency of milk. Delicious and nutritious with over 100% of your daily calcium needs in there, along with vitamin D and 27g of protein. It’s also considerably cheaper than any protein milkshake or drink you can buy off the shelf.

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Upbeat strawberry protein drink was on sale for half-price in Tesco this week at 1.49 euro so I picked up a bottle to try. Tastes like a Yop or other yogurty drink of the same ilk and contains 20g of protein. I thought it was very nice and I’d happily have it again.

If you’re looking for a good novel to read at the moment, I’ve just finished Tony & Susan and wrote a review over on my other blog here, which I highly recommend. You may also know it by the title Nocturnal Animals, which has also recently been released in the cinema.

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Netflix. I get a bit lazy sometimes when it comes to Netflix, easily giving it to browsing fatigue when I fail to find something I want to watch within the first 5 minutes of scrolling. But I’m eager to break this nasty cycle in the belief that there must be a cave of hidden gems in there that I’m flippantly skipping over in my haste. What I’m watching at the moment are:

The Crown. A dramatised series following the current British Queen Elizabeth in her early days, starting off from her wedding to Prince Philip. I’ve only watched one episode but so far, so captivating.

Narcos. Okay, so who isn’t watching Narcos at the moment? It’s really very good though, in a Colombian The Sopranos, funny but oh-so-horrible and violent kind of way.

Until next Sunday, have a good week!

 

Autumnal Bliss

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Life is full of big, beautiful – free – gifts. Most of the time we walk around, head down, lost in thought or glued to a screen of some variety or other and fail to notice these gifts. Or if you’re a glass half-empty sort or the moanie type, you probably… well, you probably moan.

Let’s talk Autumn – I L.O.V.E Autumn. Others don’t take to it so well, preferring to view it as the end of summer, stealer of the long, balmy evenings and thief of days spent sipping wine by the beach. The slow march into dark, cold winter.

While these things are true, I can’t resist the warm glow of autumn – the occasional warm, sunny spell, reminders of the summer just gone and the gradual change in the colour of the leaves, letting the gold, orange and burnt red colours take centre stage.

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Autumn marks the beginning of cross-country season too. Mad fun altogether!

And let’s not forget, October marks the build up to pumpkin season – ie. official licence to eat as much squash and pumpkin as I like. In fact, not to do so would be wasteful and environmentally unfriendly and an all-round social injustice to not adhere to eating in-season vegetables. It does one good to prepare one’s arguments ahead of remarks such as “Butternut squash again? Are you not sick of it?” No, I am never sick of it, silly person.

Autumn on the bike is a new experience for me, as usually at this time of the year I’m at the height of marathon training for the Dublin marathon (in exactly 4 weeks time – not that I’m counting or anything 😉 ) Cycling at the moment is a real treat when you get a pleasant sunny, dry day. The temperatures are definitely coming down but it’s the nicest thing to be cycling along in the autumn sun along tree-lined roads, watching the changing colours in the trees and bushes… and saying hello to all the sheep and cows too (obvs).

The weather is not always that cooperative but when you do get those days, it’s bliss.

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Two Things: Dressing correctly for cycling in autumn (or winter for that matter) is a minefield. I am braced for a plethora of days of cooked Fifi on a bike due to ridiculous over-dressing and over-dousing of layers… and freezing Fifi due to fear of the former occurring and the resulting under-dressing and under-layering debacle. Secondly, the days are WAY shorter already so early morning cycles and evening cycles before or after work are now out. Sorry autumn but you do lose a point for that.

Dark evenings may be about to strip me of a long evening cycle to wind down after a day, but autumn, in all its glorious good nature, transforms these into an irresistible, seductive gift. A proper excuse to light a fire, wrap up in a big fluffy dressing gown, spend a ridiculous amount of time in a hot bath walled in by candles and bubbles or just curl up on the sofa with a movie.

Squash

Food Glorious Food. October marks the start line for that time of year when salad for dinner starts to feel all wrong. Move over salad, hello soup, stews, curries and squash cooked every which way from Sunday. Orange coloured food everywhere. Beautiful.

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And… some roast butternut squash on the side cuz I’m an addict. Duh.

I am ready for October – and when I say ready – what I actually mean is I’ve been waiting for autumn since the beginning of the summer. I know autumn actually technically starts in August but real autumn doesn’t begin for me until the temperatures start to fall, the leaves start to turn and the days begin to close in.  Their time is now.

Let the joy commence!

P.S Countdown to Halloween is ON… what are your plans?