Mark Grealish

Cats and wizardry.

Rocks and Misery

in running

I’ve been training since May for the August Reykjavik marathon, an effort that involves daily runs of up to 32 kilometres in distances! Doing so many long and short runs around Galway quickly became tedious, because there are only a few routes which meet my preferences. With limited choices in the city, I’ve turned to wilder and farther places that I can reach by bus, such as the magnificent forests above Oughterard and Rosscahill, the Moycullen bogs, and now Inishmore in the Aran Islands.

So, Aran, rocks and misery. Last week I dropped a suggestion into the running club’s WhatsApp group: Aran, why the heck not?


  • August 4, 2019

Where do we meet?

  • 08:45 at Queen Street, Galway (link).

Cost and Payment

  • €28 (€20 ferry + €8 bus).
  • Money can be PayPal’d to, sent by bank transfer (ask me for IBAN) or paid cash-in-hand. I’ll confirm cash payments via email.
  • I will make the group booking on Tuesday July 16 based on payments to that date. Anyone who wishes to travel with us after that date can book per times and dates given below.


  • 09:00: Depart from Queen Street, Galway.
  • 10:30: Sail from Rossaveal to Inishmore with Aran Island Ferries.
  • 12:30: Runnnnnnnning.
  • 17:00: Sail from Inishmore to Rossaveal.
  • 19:00: Arrive back at Galway.


Routes are superset: we depart from Kilronan as a group along the Low Road, and turn back after a given distance. I’ll be running the full 30 as it will be my last 30k long run before the Reykjavik marathon. Everyone coming alone is welcome to run whatever length they wish! :)

Details to be Confirmed By Mark

  • Lunch in Kilronan.
  • Bag drop in Kilronan.

Ik Ben Wakker

in me

De straatveger binnen maakte me wakker, ugh. Sinds de lente heb ik blijf om Nederlands te leren, tot nu wanneer kan ik kort zin schrijven! In oktober ik ga naar Amsterdam voor de Mizuno Halve Marathon te lopen, en misschien ook in november voor Le Guess Who in Utretcht.

Ik heb alleen paar Nederlands woorden over mij, omdat de woordenschatten van Duolingo is “gebruiken” woorden. “Ik doe dit.” “Je koop dat.” “Zij ziet deze dingen.” Ik zal meer op tijd leren.

At the Clare Burren Marathon Challenge

in running

Me finishing seventh at the Clare Burren Marathon Challenge 2019 10k

Fun race! I finished seventh at this year’s Clare Burren Marathon Challenge 10k.

Blog Silence

in me

The one rule I have kept to with this blog since the first day has been: write only when I feel like it. If the mood doesn’t take me, then I don’t. Well, truth be told here, the mood hasn’t taken me in some months.

The first and big obvious reason for not writing has been how busy I am:

  • A move to Galway.
  • Two half marathons and injuries and trying to maintain a vegetarian diet while running.
  • A growing relationship with someone new and awesome in my life.
  • Work, including trips back to the office in Dublin.
  • Many new and great books to read.

My life keeps me going even as it is not a morass of stress and busyness. Given that I work from home, the last thing I want to do after a day at my desk is spend more hours at my desk writing or playing videos games.

And as well, I’m out there trying to figure out where I fit. The last round of therapy left me with a profound sense of detachment and burnout. It dislodged my fear, the need to keep everyone away and myself safe, instead leaving burnout. It has left to fight to find the desire to engage with others, to reach out and make new connections. After everything, I’m happy to heal alone now.

So that’s me, running and enjoying the new summer with somebody wonderful.

Run Clare 2019 Race Series

in running

Scariff 5k result (virtual).
Barefield 8k result.
Ennis 10k result.
Lahinch 16k race result.

Scariff (Virtual)

  • Date: 2019-01-26
  • Time: 00:33:03
  • Distance: 5km
  • Pace: 00:06:37/km
  • Finished: 646/878 (74/100)


  • Date: 2019-02-17
  • Time: 00:39:11
  • Distance: 8km
  • Pace: 00:04:54/km
  • Finished: 125/888 (14/100)


  • Date: 2019-03-30
  • Time: 00:45:08
  • Distance: 10km
  • Pace: 00:04:31/km
  • Finished: 88/809 (11/100)


  • Date: 2019-04-07
  • Time: 01:19:08
  • Distance: 16km
  • Pace: 00:04:57/km
  • Finished: 58/658 (9/100)

Previous race: Galway City Harriers New Year’s 5k

The Run Clare event is a series of four road races held through the winter and spring around County Clare. In 2019 took part in it this year for the first time with the wonderful members of the Galway Mikkeller Running Club.

Handsome Mark with a handsome 16k medal.

Running the series as a whole has been a great step for me, first for injury recovery and later for pushing myself hard through races. In January I tore a ligament while out on my morning run. I still don’t know how it was that I injured my knee, only that the pain in my left knee got worse over the course of the run, so that by the end I could barely walk.

So injured, the 5k was a horrible run around Harold’s Cross and Rathfarnham in the rain while my knee screamed bloody murder at me. Every runner has their own mantra to get them across the finish line. Mine is that I pour out all my anger and scorn and pain. My world shrinks down to my breath, my feet and the road below. Nothing matters more than the next step, then the hill, then the next kilometres. These are things I expect on a half marathon,not a neighborhood 5k! I cried, I raged, I ran.

Assembled medals from Run Clare race series.

The other races in the series were not so dramatic. Running with the Mikkeller Running Club was so much fun. It’s a place where we build each other up. We grant each other the confidence to run the length, do the hard thing.

My 8k and 10k runs were perfunctory out-and-back loops around the Ennis area, one that gave us pretty medals at the end. :)

It was the 16k that challenged us (look at the number of finishers!). The race began with a 200 metre ascent and kept us on roads shared with traffic, but the glorious sunshine of the day got me through the day!

My progress and improvements through the four races of the series are a point of real pride for me, proof manifest of the gains of hard work and training!

Mark’s Terrible Chili

in me

This recipe has been an on-and-off staple of my home cooking since 2009. Last presented here in 2013, my chili has evolved with my tastes. These days I mostly eat vegetarian food, and have gotten over my earlier distaste of kidney beans.

Montage of food prep with chili

Speaking only for myself, I’ve desensitized by palette to hot and spicy food. What I find mild will likely be oppressive and hot for someone else, and the recipe below makes a fiercely hot pot of food. Adjust the pepper and chili powder used to make this to fit your own taste. Whether or not you find this to be edible is a subjective matter of taste.


This recipe should be both low-cost and low-effort to make. Prep takes me about 30 minutes, and cooking/simmering another 90. The upfront cost and overall effort of making a pot are higher if you don’t keep a stock of spices. One you do that, the cost drops to as low as €15/week for five portions. All ingredients can be sourced from your local Tesco or Dunnes supermarket, though you’ll get far better value on spices from any Asian superstore.


  • 0.3 cup of chili powder, any heat.
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle paste.
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar.
  • 1.5 tablespoon cumin.
  • 2 teaspoon paprika.
  • 0.5 teaspoon salt to season.

Sauces and Stuff

  • 1 400g can of kidney beans.
  • 1 carton of tomato passata.
  • 1 tube of tomato paste.
  • 1 cube of vegetable stock, to make 500mg.
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

Fresh Bits

Feel free to substitute something for something else. I really like mushrooms, for example. You could replace the Quorn mince with chickpeas, or diced carrots and sweet bell peppers instead of mushrooms.

  • 350g pack of Quorn mince.
  • 1 hot chili pepper of respectable heat.
  • 250-300g mushrooms of any variety.
  • 5 cloves fresh garlic.
  • 1 white onion.



  1. Dice onion, garlic and pepper. Slice or dice mushrooms as your prefer.
  2. Measure dry spices into a bowl and mix.
  3. Lay out tomato passata, paste and can of kidney beans.
  4. Boil kettle of water.
  5. Drain and rinse can of kidney beans in sieve.


  1. Add oil to pot on medium heat.
  2. Add diced onion until it begins to caramelize.
  3. Add diced garlic, pepper and chipotle paste.
  4. Add mushrooms and quorn.
  5. Add mixed bowl of spices and vegetable stock.
  6. Add carton of tomato passata and paste to thicken per your tastes.
  7. Increase heat to bring to boil, then reduce to simmer.
  8. Taste chili. Add anything you feel the chili needs: more cumin, stock, water, brown sugar or chili powder as you feel fit.
  9. Reduce heat and leave to cook. Stir regularly, taste and add whatever the chili needs.
  10. Leave the kidney beans until the very last, about 15 minutes before you take it off the heat to serve. Mix those in when you’re ready.
  11. Take off heat and serve.


Serve the chili with whatever you like. This goes great with a cilantro garnish, sourdough baguette and butter, sour cream, tortilla chips, or rice. Use whatever works for you.