Dakka Dakka

An impending hover of dread, confirmed whilst most lay in their warm beds.

Heralds the beginning of a new season.

Swooping low enough to see, yet not feel the cold touch of unknown reason.

Whilst the birds sing sweetly unbeknownst, against the back drop of tears, filling the silty waters with further years.

Life goes on for most, unless draped in rubber tasked to recover, an unfortunate skill, knowing where this river will spill.

Meandering personality, traits, thoughts and movements.

Ended forever.

A permanent solution.

(Barry Loftus)

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How is you’re Anus?

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Yes you, how are you? How are you feeling today? And most importantly how is your Bum?

When was the last time you took time out to talk to you’re Anus? When do you believe was the last time a neurological pathway was opened up between your minds eye and you’re greatest orifice? Maybe spending a little too much time in that office, and not thinking enough about you’re orifice?

You are thinking about it now, sitting on it. Maybe. Maybe standing. Buffering your bum perhaps?

Or are you in denial, like I was. Have a poop. Check my poop. There is blood in my poop.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. I do remember a steroid head tutor back in the day say that the gut can leak with over training. That must be it. Self diagnosis. No need for a goooo on my pooo, I am over training preparing back then for an Ironman, that now I cant remember when. Or which. Because it was back then.

Two years ago.

There is still blood in my poop, dark red. Time for a gooo about my pooo.

YOU HAVE CANCER!!

Say’s the gooo on my pooo, holy Jesus h Christ. Now I have kids, and fuck all to show for life. No pension, no health insurance, no salary protection. Why the fuck did I not take a soft option back in the day.

Right, having a gooo on my pooo is one thing. Time to get a professional opinion. From one of those guys, yer no. Doctors.

Me: Erm, their is blood in my pooo

Doc James: (Random words) , weight loss, hereditary, what colour, going to send you for a Colonoscopy.

Me: I definitely have cancer. I can literally feel all the blood in my body draining into most likely my poop.

Floating away from the Docs towards my wife and kids apart from the obvious thoughts, I had a vision. Being one of the stories.

”Shure be jaysis he did not drink or shmoke, ate like wan of them fucking vegans and spent his time training and he got ass cancer”

Visions of all those folks who tag me in pizza for vegans featuring ice, ice cream for vegans featuring ice – thinking well if his ass fell out whats the point in me worrying about eating quadruple bacon cheeseburgers with extra coleslaw, garlic cheese chips and a DIET Coke every weekend.

A paradox.

Upon meeting Mr. Waldron, a gentleman I must say. But he literally looked up my ass. However quite kindly scheduled my Colonoscopy for the Thursday after my Ultra-marathon. This was quite sound, I had visions of getting an appointment either the Friday before or Monday after racing.

Have you had a gooo on a Colonoscopy yet? It’s basically sticking a camera up yer bum.

Buuuuuuut, you have to prep for this. My first foray into directing, producing and starring in my own feature film featuring such characters as my anus, sphincter , colon and large intestine. With a special guest appearance from the back of my ball bag. (3 time emmy winner).

I sought advice in prepping for this procedure, see you have to take a solution. In my case called ‘Moviprep’ . A different type of movie. This solution empties your bowels.

As you can imagine, working as a fitness instructor and having to take this 2 x 1 liter drink prior to instructing one of my Yoga classes. I was a tad concerned. The worry of moving from down dog to up dog and pebble dashing half of my customers. As sound as they are, it would not constitute a traditional Hatha yoga experience.

I took Wednesday off to focus on my insides. Thank god. Think, a geyser, a weekend drinking Kopperberg pear flavour and a curry eating challenge.

The forces were so great, part of me actually enjoyed the experience and briefly thought of contacting the manufacturers of this solution to see if they ever considered Moviprep parties. Such was the experience.

All cleared out and ready to rock and roll. My old man picked me up the next morning.

We shook hands, I commented ”They might find some sense” He laughed. We laughed.

#emotion

Much like a race. I was first man there, I literally turned on the lights that morning in the day services unit.

I do understand that with Ireland being Ireland, and Mayo being Mayo. Somebody reading this is related to that lovely lady who books you in at reception. If she could stop ”Thinking out loud” as she types that would be great. 20 of us were sitting awkwardly, about to have our fannies or bum holes videoed . A little bit of privacy here would be fantastic. Apart from that 5 star service on Tripadvisor.

Once down in day services, whats great about our health system really makes you feel at ease. The staff. At this stage through our 6 month old, we have done the grand tour of maternity hospitals and units. Day services was a new foray. Different buzz but same, kind, caring, wonderful, amazing, hospitable, mindful, warm, friendly, loving, special what makes our country great – type people.

The individual that put in a canola did butcher me, but to be honest that individual was my kindred spirit because if roles would have been reversed I would have done the same thing. Say nathing. Run and hide and pretend somebody else did it! One of the porters who hates blood and needles, but works in a hospital cleaned it up.

I was talked through the process calmly, filled out forms. Cared for. An absolute fine thing of a Doctor came into talk me through the process and get my signatures on things if they went awry. It is definitely one of those ” Do you come here often moments” and with 2 single best buddies my thoughts turned to them and the fact that Tinder will never bring you the intimacy that, that freckily red head of a ride got to see up my bum. Hi Alma (My wife!) I am sure you met Dr Mc Dreamy during your 3 months in the Coombe!

Lying there in that ward. Listening to the mainly older men. Their stories, the care that they were shown in a very fragile time. It does warm me to think about how professionally run that ward is. I hope they will all be OK, in all their stages- of in some cases pre and post op scenarios.

I was wheeled down to surgery, funnily enough seeing those lights and surgical look already starting to zone out even before i received any sedative.

Lauren, another fine red head would you believe,  turned out was actually going to look up my bum.

She gave me sedative, what looked like enough to knock Shergar. 3 vials, two small and one big. I felt a sensation in my arm and then looked at the TV screen. I was actually interested what my insides looked like.

And then Lauren said ”Don’t look at the TV”.

I wanted to look at the Tv, but 99.9999999999999999999% of me went. Shut the fuck up and enjoy the sedative its fucking awesome.

All I can really remember was a pressing sensation on my tummy, that’s it. My big movie, 8 odd weeks of stress building up to this 20 minute internal exam and all i remember was that pressing sensation.

Next thing I was back in the ward, recovering. Still pretty doped for a while but then came around to be discharged. And sent on my merry way.

I seen the individual that butchered me. Head down, i still laughed. We are as one dude.

So, was anything found? Of course not. Sure that would be straight forward and make sense. I was told to come back in 3 years, which did make me think do these folks remember bum holes like i remember faces?

”He’s back” ”Who’s Back” ”Yer man, with the squinty bum hole” ”Oh, yer man with the squinty bum hole that curves to the right”

Codding and joking aside, and apart from the fact that I should now probably get an Endoscopy (camera opposite direction).

Maybe just maybe, like the Chinese symbol for Crisis and Opportunity being the same thing……

I SHOULD BECOME A SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCER FOR FITNESS SPECIFYING IN BUM HOLE EXAMS.

What Bressie is for mental health I can be for your Sphincter muscle. Signing a 6 figure deal with Moviprep , becoming the poster bum for all those camera shoving medics.

Mr June. Barry from Mayo. Hobbies: Running,  and staring at people that drive too fast past his house.

I can see it all, from my bum.

 

 

 

 

Jasper

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I once saw a bumper sticker that read ”If the valleys of Wales were flattened out it would be bigger than England”

The same could be said for Donegal, versus Connaught at least. We all know it’s hilly, most of us have gone buck ape at one stage or another when that song comes on in a nightclub or late bar- however to get the full appreciation of those hills you must race them.

Unlike previous sporting obsessions I have put a lot of research into Ultra running. Podcasts are just a fantastic medium, I really like Ger Prendergast, Rich Roll, following Damian Browne (@auldstock) on the gram and of course probably one of my favorite reads (Audible, which my wife does not consider reading) was David Goggin’s ”Cant Hurt Me”.

I get such a kick out of Goggin’s every time he puts up a video, ”Shut the fuck up mother fucker” – would give a great summary of what he says and it is really awesome to listen to regularly.

This season much like a fan boy I really took all of that ”Cant hurt me” book on board, it was all about building a callous mind and seeking out those 5am long runs starts in sometimes horrendous weather in order to get 40 plus km runs in without leaving my wife too long without help with 3 smallies on a Saturday morning.

The Rocks N Rolling 63km Ultra Marathon was no different. Harold the organizer announced before we started that this was the last one. Numbers were too low to continue in the future. I know now why.

Upon the starting klaxon the lead runner took off, I know that these Ultra runners are a real eclectic bunch. And I honestly thought that the start would be chilled out Gentlemanly affair. ”Would you like to take the lead Sir, why thank you Sir I will do so now with haste”

Nope, this Nordi took off. I’d say at approx 4:45 pace. Three or four went with him. and even though I went up to Moville to win and hoped to at least place. There was no way I was going to get stuck in at that pace, that early in that race.

Once you exited Moville you were straight into a 20 odd% kicker of a climb and I just let them go and focused on myself. Some folks were chatty, there were couples and groups behind us at this stage doing it together. I was just really looking forward for things to space out so I could be on my own.

You follow the shoreline, the water is crystal. I guess It would have been nice to have blue skies to enhance this look more but thankfully it was overcast for the day. And I still received a sun burn. Following the leaders out of Moville, I was constantly climbing , dropping slightly and climbing again until you hit the first proper climb outside of Greencastle.

From here it was 8 kms of climbing, around Inishowen Head. You are looking all over the Causeway coast. It is so high and the roads so bad that there is a sign that reads ”Not suitable for cars beyond this point”

I was in 5th, 3rd and 4th place were running together. I thought they were buddies and I was doing my best to put as much pressure on them. To split them up. I felt they were really supporting each other. On the really steep climbs they would walk where I would run which narrowed the gap. But they were always about 2 minutes ahead of me. It turned out , when I got talking to one of them after they did not know each other. They were just telling each other their life stories!! With me in Navy seal mode.

The race was mainly on fire roads at this stage, very stoney. The first half marathon took 1:56, for perceptive my PB in March was 1:26. It was just constant climbing or, knee popping descents. Where there just seemed to be a lot of strain on my knee caps.

A drizzle set in and apart from my foot steps all I could hear was a cuckoo, and for company the blackest Hare I have ever seen and a curious fox.

In 5th place and really starting to feel the strain at 30kms we came to a grave of a Spanish Armada Galeon. That’s if you can see it apparently. To get there was more adventure race than Ultra. A wet slippy path where I fell. There was a local with a brolly sitting on a rock like a Hobbit from the lord of the rings giving directions. From here it opens out into one of the most amazing beaches I have ever seen in Ireland. Jurassic rocks pointing out of the sand like great big tusks that needed to be climbed over and slipped on and then a beach jog back onto the road.

I could see the two BFF’s in front, and at this point, below me running together on the beach. I decided that there was no reason to keep chasing and to focus on finishing the race and holding onto 5th.

From 32kms to the Marathon 42kms was an absolute drag, my main nutrition was cashew nuts. I started to take gels every 5kms from here and I popped some electrolyte tablets into water bottles. I completed the marathon in 4:06 and was able to recover somewhat on a flatish piece of actual tarmac for about a km, then it was into byroads and fire roads again.

Listening to ”Ger Prendergasts” pod on the way up to Moville with Jeff Butler regarding Marathon Des Sables. Jeff talked about walking parts of MDS. There is nothing worse than hearing about having to walk parts of a race, and when I saw the Bff’s doing it earlier I saw it as a sign of weakness. But at this half way stage I understood that walking steep parts 13% to 20% made sense. Once over the crest I would kick on running again. I did this about 8 or 9 times.

From 45 kms on I gave 5 kms each to my kids. 45 to 50 to Danny, 50 to 55 to Naoise or Ni Ni as we call her. And 55 to 60 to Dara.

I cant really describe much here because when I get to this stage of a race I always bring my head to another place to help with the strain or pain. This is where the kids come in. They carry me.

I do remember however how foggy it was up top at this stage. And out of the fog one of the Bff’s had been dumped. Nice one.

I could see he was suffering, I knew I was going to catch him on a hill. I just wanted to make sure I could make it stick and not only go pass him. But keep going ruling out any tit for tat. I was patient and waited for the right spot, downed a gel and went for it. I just pretended I was physically fine and got a real kick and release of energy going into 4th place at this stage of the race.

Once the crest of that hill was taken, it was pretty much downhill. I had left the final 3kms for Jasper.

Jasper is the name of the room that my wife stayed in Hughs House. Hence the picture above with my son Danny. The picture has a funny thing going on around my fingers of my right hand. Might be easily explained. Or whats the point in explaining. Leave it as something special.

(https://barryloftus.wordpress.com/2019/04/09/marathon-des-sables-and-hughs-house/ )

I do not know anything about Jasper, his or her parents, his or her story. All I know is that he or she did not make it. Like many of the children of parents that stay in Hugh’s House.

It was Jasper’s job to carry me down that hill as fast as possible, it was Jasper’s job to keep the twangs of hamstring cramps away. It was Jasper’s job to keep me close to 5ish min pace at this stage of this race. Jasper did it, I completed an absolute humdinger of a race in 4th place 6 hours and 21 minutes.

I crossed the line scanned, and sat down. Soup and a wrap provided. My buddy and fellow member of Crossmolina GFC coaching staff came in soon after, calling me expletives. But I could see he was stoked. He and his partner Julie on a romantic weekend away. lols. (My Mrs would stab me at the suggestion of such a weekend away from the kids)

Thanks to Harold and all the Volunteers in Moville, Barr’s B and B and everyone in between for a wonderful experience. Smaller numbers in races are really cool in a sense that everyone gets to know everyone else. It is a far more intimate experience versus over 2000 competitors in an Ironman.

The Rocks N Rolling 63 km Ultra has left me with more questions than answers. If the course had been flat, how far can I run in a race? I can feel a physical and mental yearning to push the distance now to 100kms. The only way I can describe it is that I have found more gears. And it feels very natural to run longer and further. Much like our ancestors did. Centuries ago. Up top on those hills chasing, I felt closer to the bronze age than titanium.

The journey as always is becoming more and more fascinating.

Roll On Marathon Des Sables for Hugh’s House 2020.

Barry

Marathon Des Sables and Hughs House

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Writing or Blogging has become somewhat cathartic over the last few years. I have one half written book, and another project that was to become a published short story to raise funds for ”Hughs house”.

This short story is a fictional tale based on the real life events of a little girl called Dara. It is finished, but prior to taking it any further I asked for help from the big smoke writing factory – specifically Elizabeth Murray. I had hoped that through this critique. I could publish the story to raise funds for a very special house we stayed in whilst Dara took her first tentative steps in life.

With the critique, we both realized that i was trying to squeeze too much into a short story. And this story could possibly form the basis of a novel. The story as fantasy fiction but based on a  real life event is quite sensitive not only for obvious reasons but also from a societal standpoint. And even though many months have passed since this story started, I personally am still, and quite possibly never will be over the trauma that was experienced within the walls of those maternity wards.

This novel will be written, but may never see the light of day.

But the walls I hold dear, and often think about are the walls of Hughs House. This great Georgian hulking urban warmth. Nestled in between centuries of human transience. When in life you are stripped down to the most raw state, left with a bare bones of emotion to find a welcoming place that understands and allows is very hard to explain. To find an understanding in walls. That can just let you be, and be there at your most vulnerable is both something I would not wish on anyone but at the same time glad that it is available, if the worst ever came.

”Hughs House provides family accomadation 365 days of the year for parents who have ill children in Temple St, Holles St, The Coombe and Rotunda hospitals. See http://www.hughshouse.ie/

So rather than wait for god knows how long to finish a novel, I will be participating in next years Marathon Des Sables in aid of Hughs House.

http://www.marathondessables.com/en/marathon-des-sables

”Marathon des Sables, or MdS, (French for Marathonof the Sands, also known as Sahara Marathon) is a six-day, 251 km (156 mi) ultramarathon, which is approximately the distance of six regular marathons.”

To be honest after what myself and Alma went through, I found it very hard to get back on the bike in the shed this winter,  and get Triathlon ready. I felt the life had totally been sucked out of me. I thought if i rowed back the distance from Ironman to sprint Triathlon it would work. But my heart was not in it. All i wanted to do was run. And run long.

Preparations are well under way, and via the coaching from @stephandonnellytri I am slowly but surely being transformed into a plant based runner. I have a 63km Ultra next month which will be the real start. But i have undertaken some really long training runs already. I love the sense of adventure, solitude, and thought of filling my camel back with water – and running what now as of this weekend will be 44km training run.

Even though I enjoy the solitude, I am also looking forward to running in the desert with 3 lads that I know. All equally up for and looking forward to the challenge ahead.

I have only ever done one day events, a multi day event camping out in the Sahara is both exiting and daunting at the same time. Having to carry all of your kit including food throughout in that heat will be difficult I am sure. But we will be well prepared. And as always I will not be going over there to make up the numbers.

The costs borne to do the event will be out of my pocket.

All monies raised through a funding page will be given to Hughs House to be used as they see fit. I will be posting up details of how to contribute to this cause in the lead up to my first Ultra Marathon which is next month https://extremenorthevents.com/rocks-rolling-ultra-marathon/

Barry

 

 

Nature

Ironman branded races make a big play on “Why we Tri”. A wordplay on the reasoning behind bothering to put oneself through hours of being uncomfortable.

Why I did the Dublin City Marathon, has its own Prism. Imprisoned with respect for the privacy of others. It has it’s own story. It has it’s own life. Why I did yesterday, was to express the darkness and cruelty as much as the humour and light.

Fate.

Why is it that some people come into one’s life for such a brief period but yet leave such a lasting impact. Through action not words. Without pushing an agenda, a softly approach.

Last May Deca Man Ger Prendergast came down to do StrandMan. Ger is doing 52 Ironmans in 52 weeks for mental health Ireland. Whilst we all raced a half Ironman on one of the hottest days of the year, Ger did a full. On his own. Ger is a vegan. He does not drink alcohol. I found this out, post race around about my 8th pint of special. A seed was sown.

Two months later whilst getting a lift from Ironman Estonia registration, back to our accomodation, a fella who has not publicly talked about an alcohol free life – we will call him Danger – Talked about a book by Alan Carr “The easy way to control your drinking”

‘Pah’ I said in that rental car. “I love pints. I am not a big drinker. I love going down for 2 to 4 pints, coming home having a few glasses of wine and watching Netflix with Nobody annoying me. I love that”.

During post race Ironman celebrations. Having been on the beer all day. I questioned Danger. He talked about the book. The differences. The life. Seeds were sown.

That night, I got absolutely fucked up. Myself and the two remaining Westport girls were the only surviving members of a large group. Beer moved to Gin. Because you know. Classy.

I got malogen. Up to and including showing how I was still physically fine after Ironman by doing press ups on the night club floor.

The bruise and swelling on my nose from falling on my face after the first press up was the only injury declared in customs upon arrival home.

I have known for a long time that my level of alcohol intake was not conducive to what I do. The best and worst part of me is that I could drink a pint after work and a bottle of red wine at home on a Friday night. And then get up the following morning and do 6 hours on a bike or run 30km no problem.

If after an occasion, be that a party, event and or stag. I could get up, pause a hangover, train and then resume said hangover. There should be a study done as to how this is possible.

Bottom line, some may see this alcohol intake as a lot. Some may say it’s a little, but I see now it was ridiculous considering what I do on a day to day basis.

I started to listen to “How to control your drinking” on audible during our family holiday in early August. Maybe those seeds had started to sprout or it was intrigue.

Without giving anything away. If these words resonate, I do not want to spoil the book for you. You will know what I mean when you read or listen to it.

7 days in to a 14 day holiday I had my last drink.

Why leave myself so open here?

A week after that we had our 22 week anomoly scan for our third baby. Re read paragraph 2.

Last week, a Tuesday before a Sunday marathon I decided I would do it. I have not trained specific endurance since late July. It is the equivalent of playing some League football in the summer and then deciding to line out in the County Final.

How I did this, I put down in no small part to the fact that I was alcohol free since mid August and vegetarian since close to the same time.

I was nervous on the start line owing more to the level of preparation. Frantically looking for the 3:30 balloon Pacers , only to be told they were in the second wave. My plan was to keep the powder dry for the first 25kms.

Keeping a close eye on my heart rate and pace I would check myself regularly. It’s very easy kick onto a faster pace and get sucked in by the crowd and fellow competitors. For the most part in that first half i felt good. In some parts great. And I looked forward to seeing my wife and bump outside the coombe.

Keeping a sharp eye coming towards Dolphins barn I could not see or hear her and knew something was up. But also knew if she had gone into labour whilst racing word would have got to me on the course.

Reaching and passing the half way point I started to feel the pinch. I had hoped to maybe open up the choke and start running at 4:30 km pace but I knew that it would now be a struggle to hold 5:00km pace.

From here on in it was all about my kids. I imagined them willing me on in their own voices, it dulls the pain. Without proper training , everything down to tendons and ligaments have not experienced proper training load. Those voices carried me the whole way to 40kms.

I was saving the last 2 Kms for our bump. We know who she is. We have named her. It was her who was carrying me over those 2000 plus metres.

I started to tear up a bit with about 800 metres to go.

I spot Ciaran Maguire. Myself and our bump drop a gear to take him out. We like beating the jackeeeeen on their own turf.

I sprint to the line and finish 3:34. 17 minutes outside of last year’s time.

Nature can be cruel. But it ain’t as tough as our baby girl.

B

Ps. Due to the nature of chip timing I actually started ahead of Ciaran as he was behind me in the pen. So he bet me by a minute. Not annoyed about this at all. Cough.

5 Thing’s Ironman has taught me about business

1.

Keep going

Lanzarote is billed as one of the toughest long distance races in the world. Being my second I was cocky as hell. I even invested in a snazzy pair of new speedo goggles a few days before the race.

The swim start in lanza is the stuff of legend. Totally unnecessary. But legendary nonetheless . Two and a half thousand athletes are funnelled through what could be described as the width of a room.

You hit the water like a missle and are soon engulfed. The washing machine goes into its last spin cycle whilst at the same time getting kicked and punched in the face.

My snazzy speedos were expedited from my face. Never to be seen again. There is no hand up in air. “Sorry gents I seem to have lost my water spectecles, any chance you old chaps would have a spare? ”

Nope.

The only option was to put the head down and somehow using jedi powers find my way without the ability to see.

Exiting the Australian exit for the second 1.9k looped I screamed Goggles like a recently felled Hollywood screen soldier looking for a medic. And with a stroke of luck I got a pair!

Lesson: When you can’t see shit, keep going. You may be helped by a random stranger

2.

Having the best kit means nothing

In the same race towards the end of the 7hr bike leg I arrived at the second lowest point in my life . (The lowest is a doozy)

On the second last climb. I was willing my €4.500.00 Trek 7.5 speed concept time trial bike up that bastard mountain. Grinding the gears, at the corner of my eye I could see something starting to creep past.

I looked to my left. A British army soldier, riding a €400 fixed gear bike was about to pass me out. It get’s worse. On the back of his bike was the Japanese flag with the image of Hiroo Onoda.

Who the jaysis is Hiroo Onoda you may ask.

He is buck, a few buttons short of a remote control- that kept fighting in the second world war 29 years after it ended because he did not know the war was over.

lesson: No matter how much you have. Someone with less is doing more. Keep grinding.

3.

Life low

Yet again the same race . And people wonder why I will not go back there.

Towards the end of the lanza bike, I was, bonking (body has ran out of nutrition to fuel) like no one has ever bonked before.

There is nothing left in the tank. But you have to somehow keep going.

Draughting ie. Staying behind another rider to gain aerodynamic benefit from the rider in front, is illegal in most triathlon races . There is supposed to be a 12 metre gap between each cyclist. In order to prevent cheating.

Not only did I draught behind another athlete, that athlete was; Female. Old as fuck . So old in fact Wayne Rooney would have been all over her. She was a granny. No offence to granny’s anywhere.

But then, as a 33 year old man. On a €4.5k bike draughing behind a Rooney groupie it was my greatest low point. And what made.it worse was, one of those bronzed continental types passing as I was draughting giving me a disapproving shake of the head.

lesson: If its embarrassing but its getting you to your destination. Suck it up.

4.

Everybody hurts Everybody cries

Everybody around you suffers too

Sure there has to be a sad song!

It is easy to get sucked into your own self in these drives of motivation . However everyone around you takes the blows as much as the individual racing.

Be thay at home tracking, or there on site frantically fretting about the health of their own loved one.

Everyone has their own personal drip drip drip of cortisol. They feel every bump on the road to the start line never mind the finish line. They are as emotionally corded to a dream. As much as the dreamer, he or she. But without any comparative release of chemical to that of the main card .

Lesson : those who follow and execute dreams drain the emotional resources of those around them.

5.

It happens

I get a lot of comments from folks after I post regarding my trend to always comment, on some sort of bodily fluid ejection. What you take from that sentence depends on how corrupted you may already be. Seek help.

But it does happen. People do shat themselves. The old 50/50 the joke is as old as endurance racing or two day drinking itself.

Do not trust a fart lads. It may destroy you . And whatever you do, please preempt this scenario by not wearing white all in one triathlon gear . Beacuse the result is hard for the duck running athlete in front as much as the horrified individual behind.

Lesson: err on the side of caution .

7th and Down

Tallin 7th and down

We had a fantastic Yoga teacher on the recent qualification I did this year. He taught yoga philosophy. I always remember great teachers, how they leave you with something. A road to follow.

He was full of stories, and yoga stories trip balls. But this special one I was saving for this Ironman.

The Ram mantra in yoga means super conciousness, truth and virtue. But it can still mean many other things and be taken many other ways depending on who, what,or why.

When Gandhi was shot in 1948 at point blank range, he could be heard saying “Ram Ram Ram” in his dying moments he could be heard reciting a mantra.

Upon hearing this, I knew this mantra was going to work for the marathon leg of Ironman Estonia. “Ram Ram Ram”.

Then another endurance junkie friend told me to give a lap to someone. So each 10k lap was named either Danny or Naoise.

Are you still with me?

Corny?

Try swimming what should have been 3.8km but turned out to be 4.02km in a sea aptly named baltic but without any salt. But with added diesal tasting water who’s fumes got into your teeth.

Nobody could see shit, at least twice I thought- That must be it, only for another turn. That swim leg seemed like an ice age. And I was happily surprised to finish 4k swimming in 1.09.

“Danny ram ram ram, Danny ram ram ram, Danny ram ram ram”

Not taking any heed of pace, no heart rate monitor. No gels whatsoever. “Danny ram ram ram”

Part of me laughed at those Russians, it was either a Vitaly or an Andrei bombing past. Doped to the gills, never mind draughting! Men the size of Aiden O’ Shea. Tree trunk legs. Huge. Like a train, hurtling past. One buck had a special holder on his race belt for an inhaler. I shit you not. Nearly blew a fuse laughing .

I just felt my way around that 180k bike. First 90 in sub 2:40ish. Going hard but holding back at the same time . My pee pee game was good. Happy to pee on the bike, knowing that I was hydrated and thus so more than likely not going to cramp on the run.

I met and past Ciaran, doing our now customary “ah jaysis” and kept going. Just 1km per hour faster mind. This was the strongest I have ever been on my bike .The course suited being flat. Then the heavens opened, lightning and claps of thunder and boiling rain. I felt sorry for the awesome volunteers. I don’t think those Estonian military recruits volunteered to protect random byroads versus their borders but they were also awesome nontheless.

After being passed by many juiced riders and draughting pelotons. At approx 160km on the bike I threw skin in the game and went draughting too. At this stage with all the rain, the roads were like a bottle and motorbike marshalls had backed off even though their stewarding of the rules were as effective as an ash tray on a motorbike. So I also broke the rules.

I got in a stick and rode hard, too hard. Sure as hell I cheated then took the wrong line into a roundabout locked up and had to eject. Better than Goose. I waited for the canopy, but ended up in a ball on the grass. No dramas I was fine, bike was fine. Up and at it, junior b shhhtyle.

I bonked a bit towards the end of the bike. I lost 5 mins approx. One mad viking type gave me a gee up and I got home . PB 5:18 bike.

“DANNY RAM RAM RAM”

Ok Danny get me through this first 10k.

“Danny ram ram ram” I needed him, the marathon course was in parts. A joke . I would not tolerate it for StrandMan. The hills I did not mind even though hard to get done. Turns, I get it. Its a city there are going to.be turns. Crowded, fine. But if AGS scaoffolding had seen the state of the temporary bridge erected they would have taken photos on how not to do it. I am sorry for being negative first timers . But at €550, not good enough. At one downhill turn there was a ball of concrete left- and close to that barriers way too tight for two streams of runners.

Some may say teething problems, I say bollox . Ironman is a billion dollar company this was basic stuff.

“Danny ram ram ram”

Get me too the turn around Danny, just clipping those kms. The volunteers were awesome. The feed stations awesome. Even with pickled cucumbers and black bread. I stopped at every station. Staying away from gels, an unnecessary evil imo. “Danny ram ram ram” Get me home Danny. Then Ni Ni has me.

Naoise is feisty, she is not two yet. But she will claw the eyes out of your head to watch paw patrol . She talks to you when she wants. Watches paw patrol when she wants.

“Ni Ni ram ram ram”

Take over Ni Ni, get me to the turn around. Shit starts to get real now. Fatigue is setting in “Ni Ni ram ram ram” but Ni Ni claws that lap for me. I meet “ah jaysis” himself. Going in the wrong direction. Looked like it was all over. Gi issues. But in the most impressive and truely awe inspiring fashion. He soldiers through 37km of puer torture. Kudos.

“Ni Ni ram ram ram”

I had to pee, not on myself. Im good but not that good . But happy . Hydrated. The heavens.opened again. It was like a trail run. These random Tallin volunteers in the biblical rain helping for a free tshirt from a billion dollar company were amazing. Kept smiling, kept encouraging. “Ni Ni ram ram ram” get me home Ni Ni.

Danny is like his mam, relaxed. Sometimes he just heads to bed because he is tired. I needed him for that third lap. “Danny ram ram ram”

This mantra never stopped throughout. I observed but the record never stopped playing. It got me through, it kept my pace. It kept my heart rate. It kept me. “Danny ram ram ram” Get me home Danny. Get me to Ni Ni.

Ni Ni takes over. Its all Ni Ni. “Ni Ni ram ram ram, Ni Ni ram ram ram, Ni Ni ram ram ram”

Get me home girl, get me over the line. Help your Daddy finish. Get me a good time. Around the corners, over the concrete, up the death trap into the park. “Ni Ni ram ram ram”

Onto the cobbles burning my feet one last time. Come on Ni Ni, get Daddy home. 800mtrs. “Ni Ni ram ram ram” 200 mtrs. “Ni Ni ram ram ram” finish .

For the 7th time. I do not hear Barry loftus you are an Ironman. And nor do I give a fuck.

I could not talk for approx 30 minutes.

I went to the maximum on each discipline. I did a personal best of 10 hours and 26 minutues for 226km. With Danny and Ni Ni every step of the way.