Truth be told, I probably am at least 1/16 Irish but I will be running here as an American. For some reason they invite a few other athletes to their Nationals to help foster some competition for some of the top tiered Irish athletes. So here I am. I flew in today from Tampa, which I expected to be an easy trip since I had only one stop in Philadelphia and was already on the east coast. That wasn’t so. The snow and long delays caused me to stay in Philly for nine (!!!) hours. All of the sudden my decision to be Irish for the weekend doesn’t seem like such a great idea, but I’m here now so I will make the best of it.
Today has also been a history lesson of sorts. I flew into Dublin and then had to take the bus down to Belfast, about a 2-hour drive, as that is where the meet will be. Now I’m assuming that because it’s the Irish National Championships and all, I most certainly will be in Ireland. But depending on who you ask, this isn’t necessarily so. I was first clued into this fact when I went to exchange money and was told I would be receiving sterling instead of Euros. Everyone knows that the country that screws you the most when traveling and converting your money is Great Britain and the irritatingly costly pound. You give them $100 dollars and you get back 50 pounds (maybe slightly more these days). And things aren’t half as expensive either, your Big Mac will still cost you 4 pound, and for us that is about $8 dollars. Anyway…supposedly there is a bit of discrepancy as to whom this part of the country really belongs to. The British have painted the curbs as if to signify ownership, but you ask the Irish and it becomes an extremely touchy subject. So, because I am surrounded by Irishmen and am running at their championships I will claim to be in Ireland for the next few days. And if anybody cares to school me on the cliff notes version of what is really going on here, please feel free.