Airhead.

Airhead.

Phew! Let’s just say the world record is safe enough, for now.

It is hard to get back into a routine. Running is like any hobby. Like blogging, even. Once the routine is broken it can be quite hard, for me at least, to get back into it.

I am pretty sure being friendly would seem like a chore if I didn’t practice it on a regular basis. I don’t think there is any real knack to making friends or being friendly. It’s just one of those things, use it or lose it.

Another thing we will lose if we don’t use is the right to say “No”. As some of you will know I had my own experience of standing up to the man. 

The lack of foresight in most people today is scary. They don’t seem to understand that saying nothing registers in the mind of a government as saying “Yes”. That is the reality of politics today. And very very soon the “system” will be running the show, not the politicians, not the lawmakers, not the people. We will be all so brainwashed into a certain way of living that changing the system won’t even enter our heads. Having a choice won’t enter our heads.

I used to get so wound up trying to waken the world. Nowadays I just take it in my stride. I can’t compete with the might of the mainstream media and the 3D goggles. Perhaps if I didn’t have children I wouldn’t care so much. Being a parent I will always worry about my children and their children and the system we sign them up for.

All my worries and stress seem to vanish when I am running. Perhaps it’s the heavy breathing.

There’s nothing like gasping for air to focus the mind!

Air is the fuel I need to live. And yet I didn’t appreciate it, most of the time. It was only since I started running a few years ago that I started to see air in a different light. Now I marvel at the stuff, especially running uphill, I can’t get enough of it.

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The London marathon is on telly tomorrow morning. It should be a good one. A star studded line up in both the male and female categories.  My money is on the new kid. The eighteen year old Ethiopian, Tsegaye Mekonnen, ran his first marathon in Dubai back in January in a time of 2hrs 4mins 32secs. He won that race. Crazy speed for a first timer! Even crazier, he says he could have ran faster.

Luckily for Tsegaye I have signed up for a local half-marathon race tomorrow afternoon. I could have put the cocky little youth back in his place.

Dream on. But I will take comfort from knowing that we both use the same fuel.

Hey…just realised, we are all connected after all. All together, breathe in…hold…and breathe out.

Thank you for reading

Frankie.

In response to a few daily prompts (sorry) http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/why-cant-we-be-friends/ http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/fight-the-power/ http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/have-you-never-been-mellow/ http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/when-will-i-be-loved/

 

 

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3 in 1. I hope.

3 in 1. I hope.

I hope you are sitting down.  The shock may be too much.

I am a mere mortal. Yes, you read that right, just flesh and bone like you.

I have signed up for another Marathon on June 1st in Derry. That’s about six weeks away but my training has gone to the dogs since I took up blogging. I have a lot of catching up to do.

I have to get the finger out. I need to get back to running twice a day. That means bed by ten and up at six.

I just realised tonight that I follow 120 blogs! I enjoy the reading but everything else is suffering. Running, writing a bestseller, DIY, gardening, etc and all that with an 8 to 4 job in the middle. I have been burning the candle at both ends.

I overheard two of my neighbours speaking about me, the other day.

“Frankie’s house is practically falling down around him, it needs painted, the lawn is knee high, he has bags under his eyes and he’s getting the beer belly back again.” Said one.

“Yeah, but he is a well read man.”

In truth, I didn’t overhear that but I’ll bet that’s what they think.

I am sure all you bloggers have had to make significant changes also.

My plan is this.

I hope to continue to read as many blogs as I can each evening. But I will only post maybe every second or third day. I hope to incorporate the two or three daily prompts into the single post.

I think the prompts are great practice. Just like running, the more one does  it, the easier it gets.

I value any followers or likers or commenters and I will endeavour to hold your attention with my posts. This change of my routine may perhaps go unnoticed to most but I am bringing you up to speed (pun intended) just incase.

One more thing. Windows xp has become obsolete today. My trusty Laptop runs on it. This gave me the excuse to splash out on a new one today. I went for one of those mini laptop/chromebook numbers. Cheap yes, but very versatile, very liebster, and very beautiful, like a certain trucker. It will suit me fine.

PICT0039

It also has a long battery life so I can take it with me to make magic on my lunch break and on long straight stretches of road…ahem.

Thank you for reading,

Frankie.

In response to http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/04/08/prompt-wasted-days/

Candle pic from etoro.com

Puffing and Panting.

Puffing and Panting.

When I was only a young boy I made a promise. I promised myself that when I became an old man I would take up Pipe smoking.

I grew up in the days when everybody smoked cigarettes. Even the non-smokers had the occasional puff when in the company of a pro. You could always spot the amateur. They held the thing differently. They blew the smoke out with less class than the pro. They stood out like a sore lung.

I had smoked a whole lot of cigarettes since boyhood until Pancake Tuesday 2009. Something happened that day. Yet another part of me woke up.

I was driving along, radio on, sun shining, smoking a cigarette. As I reached over to stub it out a piece of ash fell onto my beer belly. That was the first moment I noticed my belly. In the seated position it was covering my belt buckle, you know. “Frankie,” I said to myself. “You Sir, are a slob.”

I brushed the ash away. My mind meandered as it often does when I’m driving. I eventually arrived to a comment a close friend had made at a Christmas reunion party. “I ran a marathon.”

Up until that point I thought Marathons (26.2 miles) were reserved for chaps who had been running since their first teeth. My friend was similar to me in that he had also smoked his best years away. I was gobsmacked when he told me but it wasn’t until that moment with the ash on the belly that the penny dropped.

The decision was instant. I had smoked my last cigarette, at the age of 38. I wanted to be like my friend. Next Christmas I wanted to be able to casually drop it in there, mid conversation with somebody, like it was Oh not such a big deal.

That’s the truth right there. I wanted people to be in awe of my athletic ability. “Gosh he must be so fit, not just a handsome face. I want him.”  Of course they couldn’t have me, could they Darling?

So later that evening, when I got home, I pulled a pair of sneakers on and crossed the road to the beach, all business. I think I made about 200 metres (meters in USA) before I collapsed. Some parts of my life flashed in front of me. I gasped for air. Eventually I caught my breath. This wasn’t going to be easy.

Over the following weeks and months I kept at it. I reached one mile. Then two miles. My first three mile run was one I’ll always remember. I tried to show off, passing two female runners. Look at me, I’m so fast. Bloody eejit! I nearly took a heart attack.

The lads at my work placed bets on whether I would see it through or not. They would donate the proceeds  to charity, which was extra pressure. But I didn’t mind the pressure. Something happened to my mindset from the time I was able to go three miles non-stop. Running after that became, addictive, enjoyable, almost easy…in a painful sort of way.

What I had called ‘pain’ before was now a mere side effect. The sense of happiness that washed over me after each run, was worth every step. I was no longer doing this for praise or awe. I was now doing this for the way it made me feel aprés run. Little worries which would give me sleepless nights now didn’t cost me a second thought. It was a grade A drug and it was free!

To cut a long story short. I did it. I ran my first Marathon in Dublin just eight months after the ash on the belly incident. If you haven’t done so, I suggest you give it a go. No matter what age you are, no matter whether you run it, walk it, wheel it, or be wheeled by another, it is one of those things everybody should and could experience. Only then will you understand the sheer joy of crossing that line.

There I go again, away off in a different direction than the one intended. My intention was to remind myself of the importance of close friends as I grow older. The thing about keeping in touch with friends, even if it is only once in a blue moon, is that they make me feel younger than I am.

Take for instance a recent wedding I atteneded. One of my best friends was tying the auld knot. After the ceremony, back at the reception, my friends and I were able to laugh and joke like we did at school. Even dancing, we owned the floor. We were all finally at an age were we realised the important things in life aren’t things. We had learned to savour moments together like this.

When I am with a lifelong friend or group of friends age doesn’t scare us. We don’t even notice it. It could be outside the Pub door banging to get in and we won’t hear it. We will be far away in Tír na nÓg, the land where nobody grows old.

Pipe smoking is an Art. The ritual of scraping out the old ash, banging it on the table, filling it with new tobacco, then striking a match, watching the flame being sucked downward. And then comes the smell. It has to be one of the nicest smells ever. Pure nose candy!

I can see myself sitting back in a lazy chair, pipe between my teeth (false or not), letting out little tiny puffs from the far corner of my mouth.

I haven’t yet reached pension age, but I will! By hook or by crook I will smoke that pipe whilst listening to my friends tell tales from back in the day.

And the young ones will be looking at me saying “Isn’t yer man fit looking, for an old timer? How many Marathons did you say he ran?”

 

Thank you for reading

Frankie.

In response to the Daily Prompt plus the Weekly writing challenge.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/weekly-writing-challenge-golden-years/#more-70347

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/prompt-something-so-strong/

 

When Parades go wrong.

When Parades go wrong.

Saint Patrick’s day Hell!

That was the headline on the front page. There was a photo too.  It showed a man, wearing a Leprechaun’s hat and a fake ginger beard, giving a breath sample to the Police.

The man was me.

Saint Patrick’s day in our house was always a big occasion. We would start the day with Mass and then on to the local parade. It still is a big day but it has a bitter taste, for me at least, since “the wee hiccup”. That’s how the polite people of my town refer to it. At least that’s what they call it when I am within earshot.

Being the pillar of society that I am, I was asked if I would donate my services and truck for the parade. The truth is I didn’t want to do it. Not that I don’t like to help out, but rather I don’t like being in the public eye. It’s just the way I am. But anyway I said “Yes.” Because that’s what Yes Men do.

So, on the day prior to the parade I pulled the side curtains (tarpaulins) right back and the local Arts and Crafts club went to work.  I have to hand it to them. When they were finished it really looked the part. The idea was that it would be a showcase for their work; Knitted jumpers, Paintings, Paper mache sculptures and the like.

The day came and there were about a dozen kids and two adults on our float. All beavering away on their sewing machines and spinning wheels and what have you. The crowds were clapping and cheering like they were in New York. I was even getting in on the act as we went along, giving the odd wave or tooting the air horn.

This ‘Float Driver’ lark was a first for me, so I can be forgiven for making the fatal mistake. With all the excitement I had forgotten to fill up with Diesel. The first I knew about it was when it was too late.

It wouldn’t have been so bad if the engine had just stopped. We could have gotten a tow from the float in front. But it didn’t just stop. It started to air-lock, on and off, offering me false hope that I might make it to the end of the parade at least.

To put it into layman’s terms, when a machine is running out of fuel she starts to Chug. And boy did this baby chug! She chugged so much that one of the children fell off, but landed on his feet thank God. The other kids were clinging on for dear life. In fact, one of the adults almost lost an eye with a knitting needle.

Of course I was oblivious to any of this until I had nursed the truck off down the nearest side street. I thought the two adults would have had the sense to get the children to sit down when the chugging started. They don’t make adults like they used to. When I did park up I could hear the crying which I hadn’t been able to hear over the Marching Band.

Next thing I knew there was a crowd gathered around snapping photos of the crying children. To be honest it looked as if a Tsunami had struck the float. And of course low and behold the Gardai (Police) show up and inform me that under Section something or other of the road traffic act they are obliged to ask me for a sample of my breath. I wouldn’t have minded but I knew the two cops personally. I suppose they were only doing their job.

And then the local newspaper the following day made it look like I was the Grinch who stole Saint Patrick’s day. Journalism is a dirty word in my house since then.

But time is a healer and maybe in a few more decades they will allow me to forget the wee hiccup.

 

Thank you for reading

Frankie

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/prompt-time-after-time/