The Blindboy Reboot

How ya gettin’ on ya bunch of blaggarding Brendans?

Good I hope? All things considered.

Me? Fair to middling although on the running front I was in a bit of a rut if truth be told. Following a great 2018/first half of 2019 my body seems to be at me. I have niggles and injuries that just don’t seem to want to vacate no matter what I do. It’s frustrating and the mojo has taken a battering. But often times it is the faintest of flickers that can lead one out of darkness and recently a Limerick lad with a plastic JCs supermarket bag fashioned over his head provided it.

I listen to a lot of podcasts. They are ideal for working on the road, I just load ‘em up, stick in the old EarPods and let ‘em go. Long trip? No problem. Perfect for Dan Carlin’s latest Hardcore History. For Father Ted aficionados Carlin is the Fr Clippet of podcasters, a good three hours and he hasn’t even had a stroke, not that I know of anyway. Guardian Football Weekly, Quickly Kevin, UWS, This American Life and Freakonomics are also favourites. And then there’s The Blindboy Podcast.

For the uninitiated Blindboy is one half of the Irish hip hop duo the Rubberbandits. He’s an interesting thinker and articulates his thoughts and ‘hot takes’ in his weekly podcast that has become essential listening. His look is a tad bizarre given the shopping bag head adornment but I’ll let that fly. Each to their own.

The topics Blindboy broaches are wide and diverse; from the origins of Disco to the social history of the lawn, from Rococo art to the equivalence between the music of Irish Rebel band The Wolfe Tones and 1990s Los Angeles rap outfit NWA. It was one of his recent podcasts however that had a particularly resonance. Entitled My Mental Health Philosophy So Far it highlights his own mental health struggles and more importantly the coping strategies that he has developed. In a five minute segment early on Blindboy talks about how running became a positive part of his own mental health regime, something I’ve also written about in a previous blog.

Blindboy runs around 30km per week, but it wasn’t always thus as like me he is a late arrival to running.

“Running is horrible at the start, it’s very unpleasant. Your body is saying to you ‘what the fuck are you doing?!’ Your legs are saying to you ‘what the fuck are you doing?!’ Running isn’t nice at the start.”

No truer words said but…

“…once you get to a point where you can run 5k it doesn’t feel like effort any more.”

Yep and then this…

“So when I run my 10 kilometres, I don’t even say to myself I’m exercising. I’m releasing very intense and beneficial chemicals from my brain into my body that keep me healthy… When I’m in the middle of a run lads it makes me feel really really alive. It fills me with the vitality of being healthy and alive and I feel vigorous, young and healthy.”

Young? Steady on Blindboy but I get you.

“…It is such a positive and confident feeling… and that’s why it’s hugely beneficial to my mental health. When I run the rest of the day, it’s just a solid start… When I do a 10k and I’m out there breathing in the air, and seeing the birds and I run down by a river, and seeing the water. Just getting out there with nature and doing something as positive as that… It’s just non-stop positivity.”

Yes Blindboy! That’s it!

I had gotten so used to counting the kilometres, racing and chasing times that I’d forgotten the essence of what it first felt like when I started running. The days before I had decent running shoes, bespoke insoles, my gait was analysed, a GPS watch and Strava. I wanted that exhilaration of the new runner back. I vowed to make a change.

I’ve gone back to running an old route, a four mile circuit of my locality that first made me feel like a proper runner. Jesus Christ when I first ran it I felt like I was Emil Zátopek! It felt good, a grounding for want of a better word. I’ve not ditched the watch but I’ve ditch bothering about time and simply running for the joy of it, ‘breathing in the air’ as Blindboy would put it, just like old times when everything was new. It’s a reboot, A Blindboy Reboot.

Cheers Blindboy. I let you know how it goes.

“No problem. Yurt!”

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