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.