I recently set myself up on Facebook to try and help publicize this blog and our site. Well, you could knock me over with a feather due to the support we have received. I have met some new people who seem genuinely interested in helping us out and have gone out of their way to advise us. Some are high profile athletes, others are well known in Autism circles, to one and all I say thank you. Then there are the people I have lost touch with and not heard from since my teenage years, these folk all seem to have the same pondering question..... "Mally, why are you running?" Boy that's a long story.
Rewind to my school days. In our school if you played football or hurling, our national Gaelic Games, you were part of the in crowd. Yes, this is a familiar story in schools no matter where you live. I did attempt football just so I wouldn't feel as ostracized as I already did, this was not a good move as the coach informed that watching me kick a ball was akin to "watching a newborn foal trying to walk after birth", a comedic way of telling me I sucked while making him look like the big man and me the fool(not foal ;-)..... So the only thing for me to do was gather a posse and form a band. Only one of us could play an instrument and that was not me. I decided I liked the look of the drums and proceeded to massacre a friends kit with no sense of timing whatsoever. Things gradually improved and we stuck at it for a few years. The trouble with rock n roll is that it needs sex and drugs to be complete, or in my case drugs and alcohol. I was what Bill Hicks used to call a "weekend" drinker (start on Saturday and end on Friday) I spent so many years in a blur from drinking and smoking too much. Every available moment was spent in a pub, from opening to closing time. Of course you say to yourself its all part of growing up and that you will mature and outgrow it. That was not the case for me, I grew into it. Before I knew it a decade has passed and I found that there was much more I could have achieved, don't get me wrong I had a lovely family and great jobs but the bottle always had me right where it wanted or vice versa.
When I reached my thirties I longed to give it all up, when Pearl was diagnosed with Autism it felt like an excuse to keep on sipping but I had had enough. I had to face this down and be able to look at myself in the mirror and be proud. So I kicked the cigarettes and a week later the alcohol was gone too. A bit dramatic? Not for me it wasn't. I got tired of being tired, of feeling lethargic and negative each morning. I had been running for a little bit but usually no more than twice a week. Back in the old days I hated runners with a passion because I could not see the logic in it at all. I used to think that they needed their heads examined, was it a deep down jealousy? who knows?! But when I changed my ways everything started to fall into place, I found myself being able to take my time in life. To appreciate, as cliched as it sounds, the simplest of things that I had been missing out on everyday. Now when I run its not that I am running from something, I am running towards a better understanding of myself and a higher appreciation for the wonderful gifts I have been given. The family and friendships I hold dear to me have blossomed and everyday I am grateful for the generosity that others show me. Running is not the be all and end all in my life, but the addictive approach to it is in my blood and it is an outlet which enables me to reflect and helps me to be a stronger man. I have met a community of people who inspire me with their stories and bravery. I also dedicate my running to the little girl who is sleeping in the next room right now. After three nights of very, very little sleep due to her ear infection, I rose this morning feeling exhausted. She was feeling a bit better and after dropping Dylan off at school I dropped her off at the creche, much to her delight(she loves it there). I needed a pick me up so on went my gear and I was out the door again. After an hour and a half on the forest trail I felt like a new man. A man who is glad to be able to share his story with you today.
See you round the bend.