Conor's Bandon Blog

Running, Food and Local stuff from a blow-in

The Sheep's Head (Way) - Ambling 51 miles in 21 hours

Celebrating the loosening of lockdown with a loop of the glorious Sheep's Head peninsula.
The Unlockdowning As we approached the partial lifting of pandemic lockdown in Ireland in late March 2021, I wanted to celebrate in some way that involved trails, hills and running. Luckily for me, the brilliant Tough Soles published a new summary video on YouTube of their Sheep’s Head Way hiking trip from 2018. I was immediately sold. The route The official Way web-site has a ton of useful info including a trace of the whole route.

Using smashed phones as extra computers at home during the pandemic

Many four year old Android phones are supercomputers you can use as a desktop computer.
I’ve always been interested in maximising the lifetime of electronics. I detest built-in obsolescence and I hate the way computers are becoming impossible to upgrade or repair yourself. Apple is the absolute worst culprit in this area and their actions result in others following their terrible example. Apple’s logic is that phones and computers should be like TVs and no-one ever upgrades or repairs their TV. Except, we used to. I still remember the RTV Rentals man coming to our house to replace the tuner in our TV as the existing one couldn’t handle the signal of my new ZX Spectrum.

Irish Lockdown Vegan Brown Soda Bread recipe

This is better than any store-bought brown soda bread. Not as good as my mother's tho.
In January 2020, I went 99.9% plant-based as a way of kick-starting serious weight loss after 20 years of being either overweight or obese. The only initial exception was cow milk in my tea. I did similar back in 2016 but that was my silly “6 Day Vegan” plan where I ate chicken curry on a Friday. Both times I’ve used Veganuary as the starting point. After two months at 99.

Thinking in Public

Has it really been 13 months since I did a personal blogpost? So many things I’ve been meaning to share over the past year but never got around to. I’ll make sure to do my annual race/run wrap-up post over Christmas and I really want to get back into the regular blogging saddle since I’ve left Twitter and Facebook long behind. And speaking of the two hellsites, this post by Sabrina Little on iRunFar is a perfect summary of how I have been feeling about online (and real-world) discourse over the past few years.

Final words and stats on Flight EI123 and the death of the Aer Lingus brand

The response to my rage-post about our treatment by Aer Lingus really resonated with a lot of people. Here's a few interesting tid-bits.
I’ve been calling Twitter the Hate Machine and LinkedIn a Roach Motel for a long time. But they both really came up trumps with my EI123 blogpost. Unsurprisingly it turns out that IAG airlines have been treating passengers like garbage all over Europe and they are getting worse by the day. I received a large number of stories both publicly and privately that show a company which seems to detest the people who keep them in business.

Conor manages to get lost in the Galtees and only realises it later

I really shouldn't be allowed up the mountains on my own. The Galtee Horseshoe took a little longer than expected!
One of my favourite sights in Ireland is when I’m driving south on the M8 motorway and the Galtee Mountains appear on the horizon. At certain times of the year and day, it’s breathtaking. The 16yo and I had a fine time out there earlier in the year with Bandon Hillwalking Club on their Open Day but I wanted to find out how much of it was runnable by someone like me.

Flight EI123 and the death of the Aer Lingus brand

Without exaggeration, my worst passenger experience in 36 years of flying. From Aer Lingus to Aer Sleazeus
Buckle up, this is going to be the rantiest rant I’ve written in years. It’s mostly about getting it off my chest as, based on our experiences over October 5th and 6th, it will have zero effect on the dire state of Aer Lingus. Let’s do the timeline first and then dive into the death of once-well-regarded brand. An early start but lots of excitement My wife, 5 kids and I woke at 4.

Alex Honnold free solo 360 video - Mind-blowing in Google Cardboard

If you don’t have a Google Cardboard, you can still get some sense of the scale of what Alex Honnold achieved this year when he free soloed El Capitan in Yosemite if you use the 3D controls in YouTube. Free Soloing is climbing without any equipment or safety ropes. What Alex did is one of the greatest sporting achievements by a human ever. I’ve no massive interest in climbing but after watching the Valley Uprising documentary last night (available to buy or watch or Netflix), I have a whole new appreciation for the mindset and philosophy of people like Honnold and John Bachar before him.

Mario Fraioli on Eliud Kipchoge's performance in Berlin

Mario nailed it, as always, in his weekly newsletter. You should subscribe. “I understand the disbelief and the need to explain what many deemed impossible without some kind of assistance. But what if, at the end of the day, as Alex Hutchinson wrote for Outside, it was all Kipchoge? What if we were simply watching the greatest distance runner of all-time painting his masterpiece in real-time? What if we were witnessing the greatest feat of human endurance in history?

From NYC to Kerry, a wrap-up of my races over the past year

Apart from a couple like the Liverpool to Manchester 50 miler, I haven’t been keeping up on my mini race reports over the past year. Hopefully you’ll find them useful if you’re planning for next year. I’ll keep them short and sweet. New York City Marathon I’m not sure whey I never did a full race report on this because it was an incredible experience. It overtook London as the marathon that emotionally impacted me the most.