I have been asked to give a talk on resilience, however I have just realised i can not even spell the word never mind give a talk on the subject. R E S I L I E N C E. Resilience. Thank the lord for spell check.

It is something that someone else wants me to share with people yet i do not have the foggiest about what to say. I asked my wife to enlighten me. ”Its like when you go out and run 30k and then do it again the next day” I was no clearer. That to me is nothing to do with my understanding of the word.

Is Resilience a part of wellness or is wellness Resilience. I want my kids to have it. Yet what is it that I am supposed to be teaching them. And how am i going to teach it.

To me my closest understanding of the word is in cahoots with another word. Ego. And what is Ego but, Yin and Yan positive and negative traits to the human personality. Marmite if you will, some like it some do not.

In theory if someone wanted me to talk about Resilience to a group, based on what they see me do from social media and the likes I would have to say that what they see as Resilience is actually Ego in play, Ego and the drive of an ego be it conscious or subconscious manifesting as Resilience.

In my opinion Resilience is Not Resilience. And what one sees most times where it looks like Resilience is actually ego.

I still have to give this talk, they want to hear about Resilience – but maybe I can sub in Robustness for Resilience and see if anyone notices. To me Robustness is a better way of describing something tangible within wellness. The word first came into my lexicon through Setanta in Thurles. Not the mythical one but a lecturer on the course who talked about creating Robust players in order to prevent injury and improve performance.

I feel this is a better way to describe what is needed and i would feel far more comfortable giving a talk on the ways of becoming robust. To me, becoming Robust is quite simple.

To become robust means getting muddy running in trails in the middle of no where, to become robust means having a mentally draining day and knowing that it was not physical , Robustness is getting into a freezing lake, river, stream, sea or pond with or without clothing in January and enjoying it. And yes robustness is running 30k and then following it up with another 30k the next day.

There are many levels of Robustness, inter county , club and the non team sport playing individual that just wants to be robust enough for day to day life. One is not going to become robust thinking about it. Even reading about it. (Although I do appreciate if you are still reading this). Robustness means getting out and doing. And continuing to do, whatever it is that floats your boat.

Be more Robust, it is the new Resilience.

Dream stage

When you are training you are thinking about sleeping. When you are sleeping you are dreaming about training and the event itself.

Because so much time now is spent in preparation it naturally starts to take hold of most of ones thoughts. These can manifest in many funny ways. Apprehension , fear , worry and anxiety. All normal ways to feel when one steps into the unknown.

Long runs are going really well, as I am being coached really well. It is not sometimes the training but fitting the training into life itself that pinches time. I do try and make this pinch enjoyable in some way. I had to do a very late 30km run on a Saturday night finishing after 11pm. I had saved a Rich Roll podcast with Chad wright for this. He was a former US Navy seal turned ultra runner so two hours listening to his soft southern drawl was quite enjoyable. Amusingly, stopping many’s a time to chat to random people around Crossmolina at this stage I’m guessing that if something is running in high vis at a daft hour the assumption is – it is me.

The following day I hit the hills, taking in a lovely looped run around Tornakeel in keenagh , the following weekend I took in a skinny dip in a pool in Leterkeen woods. It was off the cuff, next time I will have swim shorts! For fear I’d get reported as some weirdo in the woods. but it was a lovely sensation after 20 odd kms getting into a wooded stream for a cold dip if only with one eye out for a random hiker.

This weekend crosses another level in training , one long run but then a weighted vest run rather than two long runs back to back. I also have the ”3 Marathons in 2 days” 100km race in Ballina in less than 4 weeks now so I am really looking forward to that.

Outside of the bricks and mortar of training, our tent has been allocated. And I now have my race number. I like the fact now that I do not know anyone – I think it makes the whole experience even more fun. Most of the equipment I need I have now in my possession. All the important stuff anyway, I am still in two minds about certain items I want to carry versus bringing extra food. On food , there is a company that does expedition food. I can get 1000 calorie vegan cous cous and veg. Probably taste like shite but I am sure it will do the job. I am not a Nazi Vegan but at the same time having gone this long now I would be disappointed to have to get chicken or beef for dinner!

Slowly but surely I am getting my head around the nutrition, the amount of calories I will need and how I will facilitate that. I am part of a UK and Ireland Marathon Des Sables facebook group which drip feeds information based on where we are all at in preparation and equipment buying which has been great because I would have a nervous breakdown leaving things to the last minute.

My own body fat is way down, but weight still holding at around 85kg. I am working at keeping my diet as nutritious as possible whilst trying to get into a calorie deficit to cut those 5 kegs as intelligently as possible. I am following a fella called Fionn Mc Sweeney on Insta that shared a pretty good study regarding over exercising and underfeeding in order to cut weight. It is something that does not work well in heavy bouts of training.

So what I have been doing is eating 3 really nutritious meals per day and essentially not eating after dinner bar an apple until the next morning. (I do snack, but as well as posssible) . My dinner time is generally around 3/4pm and I work from 5-10pm. Coming home from work I can be hungry so ill just have a glass of water. It’s working slowly but surely. With 7/8 weeks of hard training left I should come down a couple more kg. But I do not envisage dropping under 80kg.

Fundraising for Hugh’s house is now coming along nicely to date we have nearly 1200 EURO in go fund me link here :

I also got word yesterday from a fellow Crossmolina man who based on the story and many like it regarding our and other experiences with Hughs house donated 4000 euro through his company.

So it has not been a bad few days fundraising. Maybe we can make a few more pound for Hughs House before I hit the sand.


Maybe it is lyrics or maybe I read it somewhere – when there is a young death that person is forever young. What is young however changes as I get older. It was teens but is now late thirties and sometimes someone older will comment that a fifty year old was very young when he or she died.

When they pass their face is a time capsule, it is not an old wrinkly face but a young and buoyant one. It is not what i associate with incense and funerals in my youth all those heavy winter jackets and smells.

Mairead was one of those people that formed a glue between many different groups. Folks that I would not really have much in common with were connected by a common denominator- Mairead. She was wild, but in a kind cosy sense. I love to hit the hay at 9:30 now. Back in my twenties it was not that early but when Mairead and our friends would be headed for an early opening pub or later nightclub I would be in bed. In a hoop. She had a zest for life in a way, that I have not met many like that since.

We all drifted as the years moved on, like all do. But it was when she got her first diagnosis and when I started to get more and more into health and wellness did we re connect – albeit online. All of a sudden we were liking our shared enthusiasm for magnesium bath salts, Yoga, plant based lifestyle and Wim Hoff .

I followed her like thousands of others in her cancer journey. All the ups and downs, treatments and journeys to far flung places and people.

And like many others felt a deep sense of shock when our mutual besties messaged to say she had passed. Shock in an overconfidence that she was just going to pull through again like every time she had done before.

Luckily I was able to go and say good bye to her last Wednesday. Luckily I was able to hear stories from her nearest and dearest and she her final resting place which is quite beautiful being overlooked by green hills. It reminded me of stradbally, where I will derive memories from the most.

Overwhelmingly the only way I could describe this sense of grief for the loss of a woman that I had not seen in person in nearly 10 years was a sense of imprint on my heart. Like a chick is imprinted to its mother she had somehow managed to imprint herself right here in the left side of my chest.

It created the most somber feeling exiting strokestown on the N5 early Wednesday afternoon.

The priest giving the sermon mentioned that Jesus died at a similar age, and that lots of people expect to live to 90 or a 100. People do not expect that someone like Mairead can die in her mid thirties. Even with her diagnosis I had no doubt that she could scrap all the way.

Thinking about fairness would make one angry, thinking about sadness is unfair to her and what she brought to the world. Thinking at all hurts my head.

Either way, we both loved to write and now I write about you Mairead. All on the pulpit talked about you attending this great gig in the sky.

I hope if you get a moment you can give this a read