Spring and the Wanderlust

This post could also be called,
“That Time I Was Lost on a Run and Got Chased by a Goat in Ireland – A True Story.”

We’ll get to the goats and Ireland in a moment.  First- what brought this story to mind:

The weather this past week and a half was pretty bonkers!

not Ireland. we’ll get to it soon
Start of last week had us sliding through snow (You’ll recall I was on a treadmill running out 20 miles like a crazy person…who is still less crazy than anyone who was out in the white-out conditions pumping out similar or more distance.  So.  There.).   By that Tuesday we were slushing through melting snow and running in weather topped at the low 60s(F).


even plants are ready to get on with spring
The rest of the week was “just perfect” for running outside.  The sun was warm, and the temps were “high”, but there was still that soft chill in the air and wind because the Earth wasn’t buying into an “early spring” just yet.

I love those kind of days.  Sitting or running out in the open air and dragging in deep, whole breaths of just so super-fresh air.  It’s wonderful….and, for reasons I can’t explain, it always fills me with excitement – like I’m about to embark on some adventure somewhere.


Now. This is Ireland
When I was young I would get such a devastating wanderlust.  And though my parents didn’t have a lot of money, we did go on trips…but they were canned trips…the usual tourist stops, some but little exploration.  My parents were never very healthy, or fit, and they were actually quite a bit older than normal when they had me.

   As a result, on those early trips in my life, we would hike, but that died down after some years because my Dad started hurting too much to do it.  So many trips of my Mom and I walking around a tourist shop center and my Dad just staying in the hotel to watch TV and sleep.  When I was young, I watched so many adventure movies, like Indiana Jones, and documentaries about Egypt, and I would dream about that kind of travel and sights.   When I was young, my wanderlust wasn’t fulfilled.  I wasn’t without travel…I just wasn’t getting what I craved.

There was no way I was going to get to Egypt then.   Years later, my then-boyfriend’s Mom took me on a trip of a lifetime to Ireland. Ireland Connemara Mountains It.  Was.  Amazing.  We explored, we followed a path but not a plan.  We made friends and spoke broken French to other travelers.  I sat in on a jam session in a castle!   This was some of what I craved.

A few more years after that I got to watch my Mom meet a life-long dream of hers – to travel overseas.  We went to Ireland together.

Beautiful is what you get when you go for a life-long dream.
Although it wasn’t all that fun a trip for me, we did get to see a lot of beautiful scenery and I got to watch my Mom enjoy something she never thought she would be able to do in her life time.  We spent an inordinate amount of time in the car though, and I don’t sit well…  I needed more adventure…to do more…get out and experience, rather than stare from afar.

A short stop to take photos….I’m the one halfway up the rcoky (and pointy sharp, and slightly painful) hillside…
I found my adventure then by going out for runs (My travel companions weren’t that into me doing this: “If you run you can’t have breakfast.  We don’t have the time to wait around for you”).  I always opted the run over breakfast (And Mom always made sure I had breakfast).  It kept me centered – and awake despite jet leg – and it allowed me to tour the area freely…  to get that adventure i needed.

The downside to exploring alone beyond the tour stops is that there’s no one to take great photos of you doing great things in beautiful places…
I got chased by a goat in Ireland on one such adventurous run. (See, I told you we’d get to it)

 In my defense, I didn’t work in kilometers for distances at the time, so when the desk lady at the place we were staying said,
“Go about 7 kilometers ’round that way, there’s a fence, hop it , there’s a bit of a bog, and then it’ll rise to a disused train path….follow that west and you’ll come on a ghost town.  It’s pretty neat.  No one knows its there.”

Granted, With this view from the roads, why should I want to find a ghost town?  BECAUSE IT’S AN IRISH GHOST TOWN!  Who wouldn’t want to find that??!
I was so down!  100% for seeing an Irish ghost town!  …and had no idea how I was going to judge that distance.  You see, I didn’t have a phone, let alone one that could track distance for me… and I didn’t own a GPS watch at the time.  I was confident that since I knew that 5k was 3 ish miles, I could “figure it out by feel”….  hahaha… 


Beautiful… but not what I was looking for…
I jumped one gate a while later…thinking, “this feels like a little more than three miles…”
I have no idea how far it was.  I high kneed my run through some kind of boggy mess….which made me think I was on the right path…but it went on forever…and got worse.  Mud and water streaked my legs and up my back…  I gave up, thinking it was the wrong path.  Back on the road I ran for a bit longer and saw another gate coming up.  “I could have been wrong about the distance to the last one… This could be it.” I thought.


I hopped the gate and started a slow, soggy jog.  Suddenly,  I heard an angry noise to my left.  Looking over I saw a goat that did not seem too pleased to see me. 

 I stopped and the goat lunged toward me.  With a yelp, I reversed direction and sprinted hard, splashing mud and water (and likely goat poop..ugh…) everywhere as I aimed my body hard for the gate.   I’m certain I was muttering “no. no. no. no.”  internally… probably outloud too.   I hit the fence like a pratfall, and after picking myself up from the grass, I pulled myself over, landing hard and falling to my side on the roadway.  The goat hit the fence and backed up, glaring.  I was panting and shaking, but I was safe.  I know goats don’t eat people, but honestly readers, have you ever been rammed by one of those shits?  I have.  It is not fun.  They can be fucking mean.

I watched in horror, as the gate swung open slowly…  and I think the goat huffed something that meant, “And now you die”.  I jumped up and pulled the gate closed again before the goat could get through.  It gave a loud gobbling yell that only goats can get away with… and then trotted back up the little hill.  I took off, intending to just do the loop of roadway around the place I was staying.  Really, i was trying to figure out how to get into the fancy castle hotel we were staying at without drawing attention.  (I ended up finding a gravel road that turned into a dirt trail, and that got me lost but gave a wonderful view of the mountain range “The Bens”).


I had to face the hotel and my family at some point…  so I returned to the posh place we were staying, mud all over me.  I stopped to take my shoes off outside the entrance, and I used my wet socks to try and mitigate some of the awfulness of my feet and legs.  It did not work.  One guest saw me, did a full up-and-down look over and asked, “Have a nice run?”  I blushed and hurried up to my room to shower.  

My Mom thought it was funny as hell that I was covered in mud.  Later that night, the guy that asked about my run joined me at dinner (my travel companions opting out because they wanted to “save money” and “weren’t hungry”).  He introduced himself and told me about his triathlon training and about how seeing me come in covered in water and mud made him a little jealous.  If I wanted, I had a run companion for the next morning.

Travel is wonderful – when you explore…break the normal route that everyone else is taking.  Shows and websites always say to “go where the locals go”, and there’s a huge call for that.  It makes the whole adventure more authentic.  There’s also nothing wrong with being the blundering tourist who gets lost…who…unwittingly… finds themselves facing off with goats and enjoying a private, lost view of a sunrise over mountains.

Running really helps me contain (or fulfill some) this wanderlust.

tour of the subway system Cincinnati didn’t quite finish
Especially when I get out and explore my own hometown as though I’ve never been there.

exploring a park I go to all the time and finding new sights
My running group has really built the experience up as well – taking tours of the different areas of our towns.  Finding the random oddities, like a replica of the “Tomb of Jesus”, or a UFO… Or traveling to a race.

My husband also feeds this desire to travel and explore.  He hates tourist spots, he hates having a plan, he loves the journey and the experience.


Although, there was that trip to Florida where he wouldn’t let us stop at the abandoned shopping center/tourist trap to see the “giant mysterious sea creature”. he quoted scooby doo at me. I think we really missed out on something there….  He won’t admit it though.
So come on spring.  Quit fooling around with winter and lets get some adventures started!


Sun Dogs

When the whips of clouds

actual “sun dog”

Shine back the brightness of the sun,
It’s called a “sun dog“.


I think all dogs are sun dogs.
They soak up the sun
And though they don’t shine as bright
As the clouds to the sun
They still reflect the warmth
Of the sun
Onto their owners.


Beagle Face VI
My “sun dog”

A Day in the Fall

Its recovery day for me here in the world.

Post-marathon worst nightmare

Yesterday I ran the 40th Marine Corps Marathon.  I had an excellent first half… I even was on PR-breaking pace.  But, like they usually do, things came crashing down.  I know what  I did wrong.

1.  Poor training season (I had my Mom spend time in and out of the hospital until she died…  her death, two weeks after my wedding, wasn’t unexpected, but it still hurt),
2.  Lack of training at the level I needed to be at for the PR attempt (I refer above),
3.  I was an idiot and, although it felt amazing at the time, running super fast times at the Bourbon Chase a week before attempting PR times at a marathon is a bad strategy (For injury-prone me, at least).
4.  Poor choice of shoes.  I wore a newer pair.  They were field tested, yes, but not at the long distances.  I think the longest I put in them was about 8 miles.  26.2 was too much, and my muscles and ankles took the beating for it.
5.  High stress from work, which was compounded by false accusations on the day before I left for D.C.
6.  And poor sleep the days leading up to race day (Because, although I am working on it, and getting better, I do have a serious problem just letting things go.  Especially when I feel wronged and hopeless).

Hopeless is not a good emotion to go into a marathon with.

I’ll have a recap of the race – which was a good one, though not at all to the level I actually expected.  Today’s post is about my recovery day.  I’m pretty sore and beat up…walking is a bit hard, but I need to do it.  So I took the pup, Dante the Dog (He’s world famous in Cincinnati), for a walk in a new to him park.  He’s a cheeseball and knows a photo op when he smells it.

The trees are changing color here, and the sun is rising at just the right angle now that it hits the world and the color just… pops.  Wonderful.

Eden Park is a wonderful overlook, and, up those stairs in the first photo is more overlook and park.  I guess they’re working on the ponds, since the water was all drained out.  Want to see this park?  Come visit Cincinnati!  Even better, come run the Flying Pig half or full marathon.  It passes right through here.

I hate to have to say it, but it’s not legal unless it’s put there:  All photos are copyright folks, and these are property of me.  Wanna use or buy one?  Hey, drop me a note.  We can chat.  🙂