Endorphins – is there a cheaper and more effective way to get a high? They are created when you put your body through a serious physical work-out. As your groans and gasps grow quieter, a feeling of acute well-being creeps over you and you feel you have just acted in a highly commendable fashion and are now ready to take on any task regardless of its difficulty.
All of which is another way of saying that I did the Ceathrún Gaeltachta 10K this morning. While half the world was lying in bed still scratching itself, a lively crowd was gathering at An Culturlann on the Falls Road,Belfast. Maybe it’s the fact that the £15 running fee goes to help Irish-medium schools; maybe it’s the sense of camaraderie that most runs like this inspire; maybe it’s the thought that once this is done, you’re going to have the biggest bloody breakfast ever put on a table. Whatever the reason, myself and my daughter Phoebe felt enveloped in a small sea of good will.
The 10K was the first competitive run I’ve done since breaking two bones in my foot (don’t ask, for God’s sake) last March, so I was more than a little apprehensive. But by starting at the back where fewer people could see my tentative pace, the miles soon piled up. One, two, three, four – my God, we’re more than half-way! The cops on duty were on their best behaviour. I come to an intersection and I call to one of them “Which way?” He gestures “Go direach!” EH? An Irish-speaking cop! And other people attested to the same. You could be cynical and say the cops were carefully chosen to do a good PR job, but at the same time it’s nice to feel that the guardians of the law are on your side, not surly barriers to the things you value.
Yes, I finished very near the rear of the runners. But I finished. And I felt goooood. I’m still digesting that massive breakfast I spoke about. Outside the day looks grey but it doesn’t matter. I have my t-shirt, I have my medal, I have my endorphins. Life is good.