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.
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.
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.