I Used to be Bulletproof

Portumna 50km 2012 – Copyright Ian Shaw

There was a time, not too long past, when I felt bulletproof. When I trained, I saw fitness as a big bucket into which I could throw as much pain as I liked and that I would grow stronger with each passing race. When I raced, although I didn’t often figure at the very front of affairs, I could predict with confidence how I would perform. I rarely failed to race up to expectations and sometimes I surpassed them. My ‘off’ days were when I came up marginally short of expectations.

Those days are apparently gone, and I’m not really sure why. I seem to make training and racing mistakes with gay abandon which I remain blissfully, and sometimes intentionally, ignorant of, until I’ve made a hames of whatever race seems most important at the time. My former rock-steady’ness serves only to highlight my current life-is-like-a-box-of-chocolate’ness. Despite repeatedly advising myself and others that it’s not worth worrying about, I worry. Despite trying not to care, I do. Most infuriating of all are the occasional indicators, usually encountered on training runs, that I can still run a little.

What thankfully saves me from complete self-absorption and morbid introspection, is the kindness of others. In the picture above you’ll note that I have someone’s good jacket draped around my smelly post-race shoulders. The jacket’s kind owner had wanted to protect me from the element,s despite my repeated protests that I’d ruin the jacket and that I was heading back to the car in a minute anyway.

As my mother used to say, I might as well have been talking to the wall.


8 thoughts on “I Used to be Bulletproof

  1. One of your rare posts. It only serves to highlight to me that all runners (front of pack, middle and back) experience the same emotions, doubts and feelings in general. The fact that we take to blogging about them rather than telling each other makes me wonder whether what we really need is some sort of self-help group as opposed to greater and greater physical challenges.

  2. ThomasBubendorfer

    There are different ways of fail.

    The other man in the picture, Shane Whitty, is a runner I have tons of respect for and who can certainly run a little as well.

    Despite all your troubles in Portumna, you finished ahead of him.

    Take the positives out it. You managed to finish a race despite going through a very rough patch and the fact that you beat some very good runners shows that you can still produce the goods, even under testing circumstances.

    It might have been more difficult that you expected, but that’s ultra running.

  3. Graeme Colhoun

    You are (and have been for years) running at a level very few can Mick. To run at that pace for 50km and stay strong minded when things aren’t going great is a credit to you. There is such a fine margin between a 7 min/mile and a 15 min/mile when you’re pushing hard, on the edge.

    Be proud of a fine performance in Portumna….see you on August 10th =D

  4. niamh

    Good to see you back blogging again Mick. I was beginning to think that you had forgotten about the fog!
    Being bulletproof is overrated anyway.War wounds are much more interesting when you have recovered enough to comment!!

    Keep on running!

  5. John

    Mick, I met you after the Galway 5k series grand finale in Tuam. I was the guy going to give his first Ultra a go the following weekend and was looking for some advice, thanks for the pep talk, ended up completing the Mourne Ultra and I couldn’t be happier! Reading your blog over the past few years has changed my perception on what is humanly possible. The passion you have for running is very obvious and with that, infectious! Your an inspiration for my own running exploits.
    Keep up the good work!

  6. Keith S

    I can only agree with John above – your passion is infectious, your blog was/is a big help to me anyway, keep it going Mick, the fog will clear.

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