Europe: There and Back Again.

So…. Got a little behind on the blog…. My dog ate my computer? I was attempting to save the world through the demand of a secret government organization? I was going under the knife for extensive knuckle plastic surgery to replace my child hands? I travelled deep in the past to help protect the origin of writing, so I can continue this blog? Bueller???

Truthfully, life just got running fast (pun intended) and here we are. Let’s dive back into Europe for this Flashback Friday.

After getting to Europe with Matt we met up with our Co-European Running Adventurist, Justine Fedronic, and hopped over to our Belgian “flat.” Fancy, right. The humble abode was decked out with modern design and a beautiful back roof ideal for relaxing during the late afternoon when the sun went down, which was 9:30 by the way. Team FlynnSports was assembled and we were ready to take on Belgium. Except for one thing, no settling is possible in Europe, so after one and a half days in Europe it was time to hop over the channel and spend some time racing in Ireland.

The land of “The Man with the Red Beard, The Man with the Irish Connections, and The Man with the Flowing Locks.” Ireland opened its arms widely to us American distance runners. The identities of these three mysterious newcomers to Ireland are Trevor Dunbar, Kyle Merber, and myself, respectively.   When I look back on the experience that descriptive phrase encompasses my experience. Though the racing was spectacular and a mile PR of 3:58.17 was achieved, Ireland was, for me, about being initiated and introduced to the world of professional running. Getting to know all of these runners and coming to the realization that we were all there for the same purpose was somewhat poetic and reflective of a coming of age story for me. Irish culture was very welcoming, making it the perfect medium for an introduction into this life. Getting to hang out with (name drop time) the sorts of Pat Casey, Riley Masters, Will Leer, Kyle Merber, Trevor Dunbar, James Eichberger, Matt Elliot, Tommy Schmidt, Phoebe Wright, Heather Kampf, Marielle Hall, and all the runners over there was comforting. We’re all there to kick each others asses, but we were able to feed off of each other as fellow Americans.

Cork and Dublin were the venues of the Irish tour. Cork was a quaint-ish town almost on the southernmost tip of Ireland. Yes, I was excited to get my first professional race underway, but Cork is a hop and a skip away from the freaking Blarney castle! Not only is there the Blarney Castle, but there is also the illustrious… the mysterious… the fantastic… the magical… Blarney Stone! I mean come on, we had to go there. We got a big group together and went to the coolest castle I’ve ever been to, and we all kissed the Blarney Stone. Thus we were all endowed with the “gift of the gab,” which (thanks to Wikipedia) is a skill of flattery. In other words, we are now all well versed in the art of butt kissing. The castle experience, plus a decent rust buster mile of 4:00 made the Cork experience pretty amazing. The race personnel and everyone involved made the event memorable and a proper introduction into the professional racing scene. Dublin was much different then Cork. Big time city, Dublin is (say it with a heavy Irish accent and it will make more sense). I was able to run into Ray Flynn (my agent) while there and hear him talk about when he ran 3:49 in the mile on the track we were going to race on.  Talk about blazing fast.  Besides being home to this fast track, Dublin contains massive and incredible architecture that you have to see to believe. We were on the outskirts away from it all, but the day before the race a couple of us guys got together and went to the middle of the city. The goal was to go to the Guiness factory because that is just what you do when you visit Dublin (I guess). Fortunately for the authenticity of our experience, that fell through and we ended up just finding a hole in the wall pub down a side street and enjoyed a proper Irish Guiness together. We also would have gotten lost as all get out if it wasn’t for our properly versed “Man with the Irish Connections,” Kyle Merber. The following day we all were able to race a blazing fast mile, where Will Leer went 3:51 and most people got PBs (not pr because they do not say pr, and they will look at you like you’re crazy if you say pr), which really put a cap on a great experience as I made my way back to Belgium the following morning to reunite with the 68 Lepelstraat crew.