Just For The Fun Of It

I was supposed to do great things
I know the road was long
But I wasn’t raised to shoot for fame
I had the safety on

I cut my ties, I sold my rings
I wanted none of this
If you start from scratch you have to sing
Just for the fun of it

Gallucci/ Maust / Willett / Aviero    ( Cold War Kids – Miracle Mile )

The idea of running 10 miles a year after major surgery was empowering.

The actual running was a different matter altogether.

I collected Ray and Dominic last Saturday morning and drove to Castleblayney and ,for the first time ever , arrived in good time. We collected our race numbers said hello to fellow Monaghan Town Runners, and old friends. It felt good to be on the starting line again.

The race started and we headed off in great spirits.

After about a mile everyone had overtaken us and we were being stalked by an Irish Red Cross ambulance. This was not reassuring.

I was delighted to see the first water stop between miles 2 and 3, and the opportunity to stop for a moment or two. We then plodded on. Ray and Dominic kept having to wait for me to catch up, and Dominic even circled back a number of times to make sure I was OK.

I was OK. I had no pain, just lacked puff.

I took photos of the race marshals as we passed them. They were all really cool, and very encouraging…although they were all terrible liars, constantly telling us that the last hill was the last hill…it never was.

Up until about mile 5 we could still see other runners in the distance, but from them on we were on our own…apart from the Irish Red Cross ambulance.

Dominic kept us distracted and entertained with tales from the world of tonic water, and the bizarre coincidences of his presence in various countries and the subsequent outbreak of war.

The lady at the last water stop said we were great, and that gave me a wee boost.

I found between mile 8 and 9 the toughest. I couldn’t go any faster, and I looked down at my shuffling feet and had a flashback to a year ago and shuffling along the hospital corridor. I felt sorry for myself for a moment, then shook my head, said “Fuck it !” , and trudged on.

We passed the 9 mile marker on the Dundalk Road and the ambulance finally left us, assuming that as we’d made it that far, we’d be fine. The race finishes at the football pitch, and as we neared the entrance to it I spotted someone wearing a Brix beanie. It was only when We got closer that I saw that it was my Soulmate. She hadn’t told me that she was coming, so it was a bit of a shock. She gave me a hug and I cried….just a wee bit.

We then ran three side of the pitch to the finish line, Ray and Dominic letting me finish ahead of them. We got our medals and delicious post race bananas and walked up the stand to where they were presenting the prizes and serving coffee. When I got to the top step clubmate Barry Evans met me and gave me a big hug and said well done, and I bawled. And then I hugged Eileen again and cried some more.

I sat down and she went to get me a coffee, While she was away a couple of men who were the last marshals we passed came by and clapped me on the shouder and said “Fair play to you, that’s some achievement.” And of course I cried again. When Eileen came back with the coffee I told her about the two men and wondered how they knew.

“They were closing the gate to the pitch and I roared at them that there were still three runners out there. They said that everyone should be finished by now and I told them my husband is out there running his first race since cancer and surgery, you’re not closing that gate !”

I squeezed her hand. God I love that woman !

The race was run by Castleblayney Rockets AC , and they posted up the finishing times and a few photos. One of the marshals that we’d passed commented :

“I saw these last three men stop and take selfies with the cows enroute. That’s the way to enjoy a run. Having a bit of craic along the way.”

And when I thought back, we did have great craic, and I did enjoy it. Some of us race to win, some of us just do it for fun.

For more fun, and at a more relaxed pace my Soulmate and I went to Galway on Monday to go for dinner with our first born , Jake, and Sarah, and then on to see The Pillow Queens and Pavement play in the big top.We had a fantastic time. The Pillow Queens played a short set, but had the place hopping. During the break before Pavement came onstage Sarah went off and then came back and handed me a folded piece of paper, the PillowQueens set list , signed by the band. I was chuffed to bits.

Pavement thundered on to the stage and played a medley of classics. Oddly the biggest cheer was for their song Harness Your Hopes, which was a B-side way back in 1999 and never got attention, never made it onto and album, and was never played live, and then in 2017 , possibly because of a change to Spotify’s algorithm, it became their most popular song, introducing a whole new generation og kids to their music, got them to reform , record new music and tour again. It has over 104 million plays on Spotify now.


We got up the next day and headed to meet a lovely lady called Anna in her tattoo parlour. My Soulmate and I had decided a while ago to get matching tattoos.

Why ?

Why not !

They can be wonderful expressions of art, and in our case they were that and an expression of our commitment to each other. This is what I kept repeating to myself  as Anna lay me down on the chair and started to work on my arm.

I won’t lie. It hurt. But I was very brave and Eileen had promised me a treat if I didn’t cry. I’m glad I went first , because I think I’d have walked out if Eileen had gone before me. That buzzing sound of the needle was reminiscent of the dentist’s drill. It didn’t take too long and we were thrilled with how they looked. We went to meet Jake for lunch to show them off.

He said he was very proud of us.

Last night I went out for dinner with Gareth, Stephen McCann, our John, our Stephen, and Elliott. The dinner was organised by McCann and it was great to catch up with him. It was Gareth’s birthday this week , so I made him a card which he seemed to like almost as much as I did.

We set the world to rights…again.

My cardinal rule when going out dining and drinking is to never drink whiskey.

We drank whiskey.

Lots of whiskey.

A lot of water and paracetamol is being consumed today.

My friend Nollaig sent me a message this week as he was reading something that he said reminded him of me. It was a quote from Kierkeggard :

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

I’ve never been compared to a Danish theologian before.

I do love that quote though…it’d make a great tattoo………..



P.S. When we were in our early 20’s and living in Dublin we’d regularly go to Midnight at The Olympia for gigs. I smoked at the time, and I smoked Dunhill International because someone had told me that they were the only cigarette that tasted the same all over the world as they were only made in one place. I travelled no further than Monaghan and Dublin, but I liked the packet.

We were at a Michelle Shocked concert and as I lit a cigarette the chap sitting beside me asked for one. I handed him the packet and he passed it to the girl he was sitting with. She had a shaved head, and a big smile.

“Oh ! Posh boy cigarettes !” She said taking one.

“I’m from Monaghan !” I roared at her over the music, slightly offended.

“A posh culchie cigarette !” She laughed.

The chap passed the packet back to me.

As they left shortly afterwards, she said, “Thanks again !”, and gave me a smile.

This is my favourite Sinead O’Connor song, ‘Just Like You Said It Would Be’.

When my Soulmate lived in Galway I’d get the bus from Monaghan to see every weekend or so, and my friend Micky would lend me his Sony Walkman, and I’d listen to The Lion And The Cobra album from beginning to end and on repeat.

Listening to it now.

Safe travels Sinead.

Author: paul

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