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Road To Ironman Austria 2015: A Blip…

This is a year of firsts, the first time I have trained properly, the first time I have become consistent in training, the first time I have had real craic in training and the first time I got an injury.I was always quite cocky about never getting injured,but by god did this knock that streak out of me!

With so many firsts, its hard to believe that this is my third Ironman, the first was special but left unfinished business, the second one was to get it finished but this one is for me. This is my starting point to a long road of many Ironman’s to come, I love everything about the M Dot, the training, the friendships, the gear and most importantly as much as it sounds corny…the journey! It is something I have never experienced before- an addiction to ironman and I love it!

However with every high that comes with training, lows are bound to crop up. I have never feared the Ironman distance, I have always felt that anything is possible and have held that thought up to three weeks ago when all I can describe is my nightmare begun!

Sounds dramatic…But that is not strong enough! Two discs popped out in my back with a nerve compressed for an added bonus and I just fell apart, from training for up to 20 hours a week to crying 20 hours a day- it became tiring!

If I heard ‘motion is lotion’ once more… I thought I would crack- yes I understood it but all I wanted was to train, so I took to sleeping on the floor to help, roaming and shuffling round the house at 3,4 and 5 in the morning became the norm, stretching against the fridge, the kitchen sink,the toilet and even the fireplace for variety!

So from the stretching came the pills,first came the Valium, that was to relax the back, that sent me into a coma! 20 mins after popping them,the head would just drop like a narcoleptic dribbling granny….I could not walk.Next came the stronger painkillers, that sent me over the edge- the fecken edge of the toilet bowl! I was officially chronically constipated from the codeine and by the way the back was no better! I nearly fainted twice with pain from it…horrific.Yes I’m blunt but why gloss it up!

That trumped the back pain and that’s where the pain in the ass ensued! I was now desperate, instead of the lads texting how was the back I was getting ” any bowl movement today?”!

I was so desperate to train that I got the lads to take me swimming last Wednesday week…arrived into the Aura car park..could barely get out of the car but nothing would stop me getting into that pool..so I sucked it up and tried to block out the pain..hadn’t gone to the bathroom in three days but guess what…I needed to go…f*#k it anyway! but I was actually, mentally afraid to go because I knew what was going to happen…I had to ask Catriona to block the door of the bathroom like a bouncer in case someone came in….all she was missing was the walkie talkie! it was like something out of Greys Anatomy with no crash cart…felt sick with the pain and I won’t explain what happened but I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy!

Dear lord it could not have got any more dramatic (you feel my pain don’t you?!!) I was in bits and couldn’t physically walk but fear not I am not one to give up hope and when I heard there was a butcher in Rathkeale that fixed backs I didn’t think twice about going!

It was the best night out I have had in ages…from the moment I landed outside his house I was in better form…I took my turn in the long queue on the garden wall crouched, as I looked around there were people of all ages there, one or two puffing for dear life out the car window.

We were told that once he had the dinner eaten, the sliding door would open and in we go and that’s what happened! It was like something you’d see happening in Lourdes..waiting for a miracle to happen!

One by one we shuffled into the kitchen of the butcher, I got talking to couple from tarbert that were hoping for a quick fix and to be on the road again to catch a funeral and a cup of tea! I fitted right in…

One by one he stood at the door and ushered you in and I was next up! The only way I could describe him was-rough as muck! Or a similar version of Puff Daddy…sparkly white puma trainers,shirt half open,medallions hanging off the neck but I must admit that the minute he spoke he just made you laugh and put you at ease! I liked him straight away.Never judge a book by its cover…Off into the sitting room, looked around for a plinth or a table- but no joy- throw yourself down on the floor there he goes…I go – the floor huh??!…he goes ‘ya’with a smile…I nervously laughed- he then kicks a cushion under my head, catches each leg and I can only describe been thrown around like a piece of meat…one leg up,one leg down,one leg out,one leg in…Christ God help me… I was in stitches, he was literally pulling me apart, to then jumping on top of me like a sumo wrestler and pounding the life out of me- he had my bra open without me knowing! Yes it was five minutes I will never forget! But I kid you not – for the first time in 2 weeks I had no pain! I never laughed so much on the way down in the car…..I was still in shock!

Over the next few days I became bi polar, one day full of hope, planning training, getting the gear bag ready, lists galore,only to wake up crippled, tears flowing, not myself,more doubt and more tears and insecurity’s – I was now a loola and one of the best Loola’s ever to grace this bloody planet!

The final nail on the coffin was going to Fergus (our club Physio) butcher number two…he clicked me,twisted me in all different directions,kneaded my back like a piece of steak with that one dangerous finger that he has…the clicking was the worst-bones cracking and when he put me into the clicking position…I would just tense up and make a scared child screaming noise because I knew what was coming! But I will say this much…he got rid of my pain after a couple of visits so fair fecks to him! Through random chatting with Fergus, he asked me ‘ any plans for the weekend?’…I nearly bawled as since January all my weekends have been based around training and was just not used to doing nothing! It put it into perspective how Ironman training takes over your life. Still can’t bend properly but that will come in time…just have to wean myself off the pills now!

A psychological dependant pill addiction is now my next fence to cross…! I have the packets sitting on my kitchen table…they are like a Dairy Milk staring at me…’Eat Me’! So I’m in such a routine for my 4 hour fix that now I’m saying before I take them ‘will I or won’t I?!!’…I admit I’m hooked! But I can do it…

I think one of the main reasons I’m writing this is because when u get injured, you become very isolated…lost in your own mental bubble,away from training,loss of routine which I love and need,loss of comradeship with the lads..,as over the last 6 months I’ve made very true friends where basically I can say or do anything with them-and that’s hard to find in any training group.Injury is a curse and finally I understand that s*#t happens (not for me!) but it’s how you cope with it is the key….water off a ducks back…

I decided to open up a ‘mind gym’ just to keep me sane, Its very busy, it’s only open part time and membership is coming to an area near you soon! (You just might see me on Dragons Den!)

I’m not back training yet but today as I write this, I have smiled, cried, stretched a lot, slept a lot,bawled again,fecked a bit, I’ve never had so many hot baths, verbally abused whoever crossed my path,spent a lot of time on the toilet and basically very emotional….

Thank god I’ve completed the two hardest Ironmans in world as a warmup for the flats of Austria….you can never take an IM for granted though.

Ernest Hemingway, who once claimed he could write a great story in six words or less came up with this:”For Sale: baby shoes, never used.” Back in the day before training and over a nice fry in the Snackery…I’d read the Irish Independent every Saturday but especially the six word story section – today I read the Irish Independant but without the fry! So to finish off my six word synopsis of the past few weeks would read:

Bad patient: I don’t need rest!

You know,everyone has a happy song and John Parrs St Elmo’s Fire is mine – it’s my Ironman Song…it just gets you fired up and ready to go..and that I am..

I will crawl through that finish line if I have to but most importantly I’ve finally accepted that ‘it is what it is’ and with my third ironman in 6 weeks anything is possible! So bring it on…

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