How is you’re Anus?

dav

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

rpt

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