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Annie’s Ironman Blog

From the Beginning

It’s 3 years on from my frantic Fr Ted style blog ‘Marathon Dreamer 2012’…..

A lot has happened in that time…ups and downs,tears and fecks,refusals and just do it attitude, 3 marathons ,upset and realisations, starvation and drive through McDonalds trips, 13 half marathons, 2 Ironmans, 2 Sprint triathlons, no Olympics, laughs and behind it all….a changed person.

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One of the main reasons why I started blogging ,was to  shift weight from being 17st in Nov 2011 to losing over  6st and and to keep me motivated-also I like talking crap…ithe only person stopping you,is you.

That reminds me-I was at my Docs last week for dope testing (joking) -he weighed me in and he sat back on his chair and I actually think he took the calculator out to measure my weight loss-he sat back swinging like a kid in a rocking chair saying ‘jesus that’s brilliant’ -if he only realised that I came in because I felt shite and was looking for quickie drugs to get back training and hadn’t eaten in two days so of course the scales looked good and of course he told me life was too short ‘to be doing all that training’-I’m blunt so I had to bite my tongue…I smiled and grinded the teeth!the conversation continued  So… You doing this Ironman thing again?
Uh huh…
How far is it?
Well, it’s a bit far.
So how many days does that take you?
My Fr Jack reply-would you every shag off! Smiling of course….

Back to the weight issue- being over weight affected everything I did from a very young age….social aspect of life,buying clothes,embarrassment of who would see me walking down the street,dressing up to go out,and in general it was always there like a little chubby 100watt light bulb flickering on and off! Life took over,worked day and night,stressed to the hilt,24cans of diet coke weekly,ate all around me as if there was a famine coming…and life was general passing me by in a constant rut.The turning point was climbing Carrountouhill 3 years ago…a whim decision but one that changed everything without realising it.That day was torture-let’s put it this way…the goats up there were faster than me…But I did manage to smoke a few fags and knock back a few Mars bars ontop of a big picnic so that was the best part of the day!

Fad diets were a monthly endeavour. I could write a book on them. I’ve tried everything from vomit tasting shakes to starvation days but obviously they never worked.That November,Marcus from Born To Run was running a marathon programme up in the IT Tralee.Lightbulb moment?not really but It was the last straw as I’d tried everything else. One minute jogging…two minute walking…I could do that?! Smoked 10 fags before the first session-it was the toughest decision I’d ever made but the best as from that point everything changed.

In summary:Limerick marathon completed-catriona walked most of it with me (fecked,blinded,Tourette’s-everything I could think of came out that day!)and I stomped all the way around limerick that day but I didn’t care-I was a marathoner! The seed was set…but that didn’t stop me filling my belly for the next few weeks,clapping myself on the back every so often like a simpleton,in general I was chubby chuffed…

So after the Limerick Marathon, I did Dublin Marathon and then the biggie decision came….Don’t even ask how I made the decision to do an ironman when I’d just learnt to swim ( even though I looked like a drowning seal) that summer. Catriona my easy going training buddy( I think I might have finally worn her down!) just went along with everything I suggested that we’d do-as the saying goes… anything is possible and you have to believe that to achieve goals in life.

Ironman Wales:didn’t go as planned with Catriona not making the cut off…
In summary:Wales was in Sept 2013 and coming home with that medal was a bloody curse.That night at the finish line in Wales was absolutely gut wrenching and I will never forget it.I never bawled and blubbered so much ( yes I do have some emotions!)-didn’t sleep a wink that night as the bottom lip was working overtime. I felt that I didn’t deserve it as Catriona was the one who guided me all the way along to the start line and when I saw her at the finish line in her clothes waiting in the pissing rain and howling wind….if only I knew she was struggling I would have went back for her and brought her home but in a way it felt selfish coming through the finish line-and coming home with my medal was not what I expected.

With Catriona not making the cut off for wales -I decided to sign her up for Ironman Lanza.Round 2:Headed back straight into training to get that blooming medal.

With such a bad winter last year- I remember doing turbo training on Christmas Eve and thinking -holy f*#k how the hell am I going to get through this till May (my arse was broken from the turbo anyway!).Kardashians on the E channel got me through it-they kept me busy-rolling my eyes and muttering how stupid they were-I spent more time on the turbo watching telly than I did on the couch.It was tough.But it was all about the bling.

Lanzarote Ironamn started with a crap swim- I remember coming out and fecking and blinding about our swim time-but now I realise that you can swim till the cows come home but if your technique is wrong you won’t be getting anywhere far! Just a thought-I have peed outdoors more times in the last year than I have @ home! Off on the bike,I knew catriona was struggling-I didn’t care what it took I was getting her that medal! Half way through Catriona got a penalty for drafting-the f*#ker! Seriously- would they not have left us alone-we weren’t exactly conehead whizz kids,I left out a sting of internal abuse…  I remember giving her one of my jam sandwiches in the penalty box (typical Paddys!) -she looked drained and we were very tight on time.I remember flying down Mirador Del Rio with the bottom lip quivering thinking here we go again.I knew if we made the run by 6 o clock we could pull it off.I waited in transition for over a half an hour for Catriona-it was the longest time I ever put down….went for pee pees,had the chats with TJ,waited and waited…at 5.57 catriona landed…26.2 miles to go…jesus Christ we can do it-c’mon, bring it on!

I lead the run…one foot in front of the other…it was going to be the longest run of our lives..kept the head down and focused..23.54 on the watch…could hear the finish line ahead…f*#k this for a laugh…what shite do I sign us up for..tourettes…took a breather..headed home…running down that finish line shoot was the best experience and worst experience I’ve ever had…all in aid of some bling…but bloody hell…to hear ‘your an ironman’ at 3 minutes to midnight was an experience you definitely couldn’t predict nor write about..the support from Tralee Tri Club and friends was phenomenal-half of them turned to drink just to get them through the experience! Didn’t sleep a wink that night so I decided to do a bit of 8min mile cleaning (mrs bouquet didn’t get a look in!) 2 days of no sleep was well worth it and from that day on I decided that Ironman was now going to be a lifestyle choice-there is something about the whole Ironman experience that I cannot explain-anything can go wrong on the day but getting that bling at the end is something special.

It’s very strange how life can consume you with stresses.All for what? The 16 week lead up to an Ironman takes over your life-nothing else matters but training.Your head might be dropping with the tiredness like an ould spit flying granny and have forgotten how to drink out of cups but your happy. Stress, general worries, daily chores all come second to everything else.That why life of an Ironman is so appealing.

The blogging continues…solo this time.

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Annie Horgan

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