Lost in Dublin, or are we in Tuscany now?


“Pack the bags, the taxi will be here in five minutes!”. Half noon at the Best Western Dublin and our RyanAir flight to Pisa / Florence boards in minutes as our jolly laughing taxi driver blows through a red light in front of a police station racing us to the airport.


“Calm down.” “You are doing great.” “We are going to make it.”. I thought I was talking to myself like I do in workouts and when I race, but Lost Worlds Racing Media Director & Athlete Coordinator Erik Lundstrom laughs at me in the cab saying my self talk was audible as we were rushing to pack. Tim remembers hearing me mutter: “relax. stay calm. do the right thing.”


What had started as a leisurely morning in overcast rainy Dublin had turned into the Lost Worlds “Race to the Gate!”. With three heavy bags and slippery dress shoes Gate 102 at Dublin Airport seemed like it would never appear. With sweat dripping from my head, and my heart pounding I raced to the gate just minuets before Erik, himself a 2:47 marathoner, and Lost Worlds Racing Founder Tim Holstrom who can always hold his own on trail runs in the hour range with me. Erik and Tim had to explain to the Irish security personal that race medals were not a threat and could be carried on so I did have a little head start. I smiled at the RyanAir gate attendant and said “top o’ the morning to you, did I make it?” She laughed and asked me how many Guiness I had last night. I told her I didn’t count as she checked us in and allowed us to board the flight a few minuets after the scheduled departure time. We made it! Next stop: Lost Worlds Racing Tuscany Crossing!


What makes The Lost Worlds Racing Series stand out as special for me are the experiences like this afternoon. Culture, laughter, and friendships for life. I first met Tim before the 2nd Coastal Challenge Rain Forest Run as I was looking for an adventure to push my body and satisfy my soul. Almost a decade and half a dozen Coastal Challenges later Tim and I departed the Trumbull Marriott on that April Tuesday after noon for a journey into the “lost worlds” of Europe. For years Tim and I would run the Trumbull trails on and off as I would visit my sister, finish college, and visit my nieces. We had always dreamed of the day when we would plunge into a great adventure together and now here we were driving down the Merritt Parkway leaving the comforts of home and family behind to follow our dreams and passions.


Tim had picked Dublin as the base of operations for Lost Worlds Racing for these three weeks as the next weekend’s race was in Northern Ireland and the week after in Sweden.


We flew a red eye cross Atlantic flight to Dublin and Wednesday morning we loaded over 300 pounds of luggage and gear into our hotel room. Erik was delayed in Chicago and his 24 hour adventure from Minnesota to London wouldn’t put him into Dublin until late afternoon so Tim and I laced up our sneakers to hit the streets of Dublin. We found a beautiful public green space we circled and as we were heading up a driveway to what we thought was a church Irish security personnel informed us that we were trespassing on a “military instillation.” Whoops! Lost Worlds! We finished our run with an out and back along the Royal Canal.


After showers we headed out to Fagan’s Pub for some lunch. Tim had Cider, carrots, chef carved beef, & roasters. I decided for the liquid lunch of vegetable soup and a Guinness. Fagan’s is a beautiful traditional Irish pub circa 1907 with copper air ducts, gorgeous polished wooden bars, plush couches, and pictures of stars, dignitaries, and Irish art on it’s walls. President Clinton had a pint here in 2000!


After lunch we decided to get some work done over another beverage before we headed back to the hotel. Tim sorted gear for his races and I took a nap. I woke as Eric arrived a few hours later refreshed and cured of any lingering jet lag. It was raining so I went to the lobby for a coffee. I was admiring the pictures of decades worth if Irish Football Team photos when the owner and her blonde sister pointed out their father with pride in a 1960s era team shot. The hotel has been in the family for years only recently taking on the Best Western umbrella. Their Irish hospitality made me feel right at home.


After a walk in the rain to loosen my legs and to buy some groceries Eric woke and Tim returned from his business meeting downtown. We decided to head out for a meal. In keeping with our Lost Worlds theme we apparently lost track of time as we caught up and watched the Champion’s League football semi final match. Real Madrid lost. When we tried to order Fish and Chips our waitress Aisling told us the kitchen closed at 9pm as she grinned with her Irish eyes smiling but we could have another round of drinks. She was a good sales person for a young religion and music education major from a small farm town. After we finished our beverages and bid Aisling farewell we headed out to grab a bite to eat before bed. Walking to dinner Eric proudly announced to an Irish lad that asked that we were from “The United States of America.”. The guy chuckled and said he figured that.


Eric and Tim were asleep when I started and ended my workout so I went for coffee and a late breakfast. I ran down to the Port O’ Dublin and along the water past the Royal Dublin Golf Club’s Links. I explored the jetty rock hopping slippery surfaces and strides out on the soft sandy beach before I looped back through the cozy neighborhoods of Dublin past the Rugby stadium and universities.


When I got out of the shower the guys were awake and Erik told me Tim was checking our options since our flight left in 40 minutes! We were on code red! Apparently Erik and I had neglected to check our email and Tim saw the 1305 and interpreted it at a 3pm flight or looked at the car rental time, return flight time, or arrival time because when we went to bed we thought we could sleep in, and enjoy a leisurely morning in Dublin.


Our 24 Hours O’ Dublin were a fun adventure and great way to start the Lost Worlds Racing tour. Laughter, culture, and good friends coupled with the most amazing views of the snow covered Alps from the Boeing 737-800 series window seat I lucked out with have made this trip start with nothing but fun & great memories!


My niece, Emma, is four and wants to be an explorer like Dora. I think she also might get some of that sense of adventure from her Godfather and the post cards I send her from my trips. I am very blessed to get to run in so many amazing places with such awesome people. Stay tuned for more from Europe and the Lost Worlds!


About rundavejames

Two Time USATF 100 Mile National Champion Two Time Coastal Challenge Rain Forest Run Champion Team Red, White, Blue #CoachDJ www.rundavejames.com @rundavejames Premier Mozart100(r) Winner Athlete / Public Speaker
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