Ironman Austria 2017 - Ciaran Fitzgibbon

Background

 

I signed up for this a year ago the day after Ironman Austria 2016. At the time I was 2 years into triathlon and the interest in going long was starting to stir. Plenty of the 3D gang were long distance racers and when a certain Sorcha McCann texted me and asked if I was interested, I thought 'why not, I have a full year to train, it will be great fun'. Skip to 6 weeks later crossing the finish line of Dublin 70.3 and I was cursing myself, and Sorcha, for getting me into this! I couldn't fathom racing twice the distance I had just raced, this was going to be tough.

 

I started training in earnest in January a month later than planned due to a stupid accident in work in November. Training went good for the first few months, the odd missed session due to other commitments and the odd niggle but nothing I couldn't handle.

As planned I raced Athy and while I wasn't happy with my swim, the rest of the race went well. It was the week after Athy that I first had a real problem. Having completed a long bike with my so-called friend Sorcha who I had now decided was solely to blame for this hell I was living, I strained my calf on a run off the bike.

This was a setback and I couldn't run for 7-10 days. This in itself would have been manageable but during those days off running I started getting severe pains in my back (which even kept me out of work). It took several physio sessions and a lot of rest to get to the root of the problem - a twisted rib head in my spine.

Skip to the week before I race and I haven't trained consistently in 3-4 weeks - At least I won't be fatigued racing!

Even on the flight over I don't feel fully comfortable and I get a massage on the Friday to loosen out the back.

Buildup

All of a sudden it's Saturday and time to drop off the bike and gear bags. I take my time packing my run and cycle bags and take a photo of everything I am putting in, in case I start freaking out later tonight and can't remember if I have packed something or not. Less is more is my motto for transition and I follow it today only packing the bare essentials so I don't confuse myself during the race.

I meet a few fellow 3D racers in the hotel reception and we spin down to transition. The bike and helmet is checked, I have my sticker on the wrong place on my helmet (not centred enough!) so I get a replacement sticker issued. Still no word on whether the swim is wetsuit or not and that's what most of the chatter around is about.

I find my bike spot and it's a beauty, Thank you transition Gods! It's at the end of a row beside a big lamppost with a permanent sign on it. I take a photo anyway in case I want to look at it tonight and I do walkthrough, swim to bike and out, bike in to transition and run out. I will remember this bike spot until the day I die!

After that, it's a short bus ride back to hotel in city center, an early dinner and an early night. I am just drifting off when Peter McGoey, out to support, rings me to wish me luck, cheers for that!

I sleep quite well, considering, everybody was telling me I won't sleep a wink the night before but I get a broken 7hours.

 

Raceday

 

4am, the alarm goes off and it's raceday. The hotel (which was superb, I fully recommend it, Palais Porcia) have put on breakfast at 4am for us. There is about 12-15 racing and staying in the hotel of which 6 are fellow 3D’ers. There is a nervous energy about the place. I finish breakfast, scuttle back to my room, pick up my streetwear bag (which has my wetsuit in it) and head back down to reception for our 4:50am taxi. I notice it's quite cool and overcast, I hope it stays this way all day.

 

We get to transition and are just in the queue in time to hear the official announcement - Wetsuits are allowed! Everyone cheers like Ray Houghton just put the ball in the English net all over again.

Into transition and I swear I could walk blindfolded to my bike. I pump up the tyres (105 on the front, 110 on the back), pack my nutrition and fill my water bottles. I walk through the change tent, drop my runners and nutrition into my runbag and walk down to the start line. Here I meet the 3D crew again and we lube up and get into the wetsuits (to waist height only, to avoid overheating too soon). We stroll down to the start line together and take in the sights. Time seems to fly by and all of a sudden my biggest rival off the day 'Frodo' is getting introduced to the crowd. I take my place at the very back of the 1hr 10min swim pen with the aim to get a draft off faster swimmers. I am not the only one with this plan!

 

Canons boom, shouts go up and the race is on.

 

About 10 minutes later, after the pro's and the AGer's fast wave start (which included Kevin and Sean) and I am lining up to go. 8 athletes every 5 seconds go in Germanic efficiency into the water. Sorcha and I start 5 seconds apart and it’s the last I see of her on the swim (despite emerging 13 seconds apart 3.8km later!). It's about 1.25km out to the first turn and I focus on a smooth stroke, straight line and see if I can pick up a pair of feet worth following. I get a draft here and there but for never more than 75-100m. I'm swimming dead straight though which gives me great confidence.

We get to the first turn and it get's a little congested, but I have dealt with worse. I turn and head across the lake for circa 500m and I'm still swimming as straight as a line connecting two dots. I draft off a few feet again but nothing sticks. I'm not worried, I can feel I am swimming fast (for me!) and I may be on for a sub 1hr 15 if this continues.

Around the second turn we go and I'm considering a career as a pro open water swimmer (do they even exist, I wonder). It's a little more difficult to sight a straight line here as we have turned into the rising sun but it's pretty overcast so it ain't too bad (for us pro's anyway). After about 1.15km back towards shore I spot the canal entrance right where it's supposed to be - straight in front of me. It's here my right arm starts to weaken, I think as a result of my back problems (which were on the right upper side of my back). I continue on but I have slowed noticeably in the last 100m into the canal.

We enter the canal and it's a washing machine. Everything backs up and its a case of do what you can to get to the swim exit. People try and swim over me, but I'm kicking like a mule on cocaine (Mark Waters would be proud!) and people quickly get the hint to stay away from this lunatic. My right arm has given up though, I can't get it through the water with an open palm so I close it into a fist and plod along as best I can.

It feels like an age but the exit finally appears and I'm out of the water.

Swim time - 1hr 17min 51seconds

 

All the kicking in the canal has helped eliminate any potential jelly legs. I pass Peter McGoey in the crowd who gets a high five for his trouble and I'm into transition. I grab bike bag, manage an average change and head out towards the bike.

Except now I'm upright I suddenly realise I need a number 1! A not so quick stop to the portaloo and I'm out of transition in an embarrassing 9mins 56seconds

 

Onto the bike and get the garmin going as quick as I can so I can settle into a nice heart rate. After about 2 mins it picks up my heart rate, perfect! It's quite congested the first few km's but I assure myself this will change as I am exiting the water with the masses and my stronger bike will pull me clear quickly enough. I fly along the first hour or so, executing my nutrition and pacing strategy like my life depended on it. Still no clear tarmac after 35km though and I am getting frustrated with the volume of people who appear to have purchased their tt bike the day before and are now learning how to cycle it. One Aussie guy can't figure out his gears going up an incline and weaves into the middle of the road as he is looking down to see what's wrong. I take evasive action as best I can and have to go up his inside. I get a barrage of abuse for my troubles. Thanks Crocadile Dundee.

Before I know it we are on 'the big climb' for the first time. I prepare for hell, but am met with heaven. The bloody Khyber in the phoenix park is harder than this. I pace myself up it staying in my heart rate zone and am passed by a plethora of cyclists who sound like they are going up Alpe D'huez. Needless to say I soon pass them on the descent and its the last I see of them. This pattern continues on all the inclines, but I am determined to stay in the right heart rate zone despite what my male macho ego is telling me.

The last 20-30km back to town are all downhill and I average 40kph. My first lap is over and I have averaged 32.5kph excluding the first few mins when my garmin was getting going. I'm a little faster than expected but I tell myself that's ok as I might slow a little on the second lap.

The second lap is a carbon copy of the first except the crowds are thinning out a little now. I spot Peter that's out supporting about 10k out but he is talking the hind arse off a donkey with someone and misses me completely.

With that I'm heading back towards transition. A quick calculation in my head and I reckon I could be off the bike in under 7 hours (I am unaware of the age I spent in T1 at this point). A 4 hour marathon would see me hit my goal but deep down I know that's not possible given my lack of running. I resign myself to sticking to the plan for the run - heart rate all the way until 8k to go and then give it all I got.

All of a sudden I'm at the dismount line.

Bike 5hr 36minutes 31 Seconds.

 

Off the bike and shockingly I find my spot no problem. Again, once I'm upright and running I realise a stop for a number 1 is needed. Once that's done, I find my run bag swap my bike gear for my run gear and I'm off.

Another embarrassing time - 6min 57sec

 

I tentatively start the run - this is the first time in weeks I have ran. I'm constantly checking my watch to make sure I am pacing it correctly. My heart rate is fine and the pace isn't even that bad. The first few km's are around 5:40. I know from my long runs that my pace slows naturally though so I don't get excited. About an hour passes and everything is trundling along. I see Sean coming the opposite direction and he is bossing it (he ends up running a 3hr 2min marathon).

Soon after, I pop my second gel of the run and all hell breaks loose. As soon as it hits my stomach it's coming back up and I empty my stomach into one of the rubbish bins at an aid station. This was not part of the plan. My stomach is sore now but I can still trundle along at roughly 7min per km pace. At the next aid station I try some water but that comes straight back up too. I get the same result when I try ISO, Cola, an orange slice, nothing is staying down and my stomach is getting worse. Somewhere around km 15-25 (I'm disoriented as this stage) I have to walk. Just the movement of running is causing my stomach to wretch and there is nothing in there to come up.

After about 30mins of strolling through downtown Klagenfurt my stomach has calmed down a bit and I try jogging. I can jog but I know I won't hold anything down so I resign myself to the fact that I am going to have to finish this without food or water. The last roughly 15km are hell. I push myself by repeating the line 'It's just one foot in front of the other'. Time is irrelevant now, just get to the finish.

I know I pass Maire and Peter in the crowd cheering me on but I don't know at what point in the race this is. At last I see a sign for 40km and that brings me around a bit. I see the gang again including Kona qualifier Kevin and this time I acknowledge them. About 250m from the line Peter hands me the Irish flag. I am going to enjoy this. I briefly try figure out which way I need to carry it over my head so that it's the right way around, but that's like trying to figure out quantum mechanics and I give up. (it ends up the wrong way around). I do an airplane down the finishing shoot and cross the line.

Run 5hr 7min and 17seconds

Total 12hr 18min 32 seconds

 

Apre Ironman

 

As soon as I cross the line I am staggering and a volunteer pretends to be my friend for 5 mins in case I collapse. I make my way to the athlete’s tent and bump into the McCanns. They have both smashed it. They look after me for about 20mins and I manage to eat some pizza and get my senses back. I can't figure out if I am happy that I completed an ironman or distraught that it all fell apart on the run. Typing this now, I still can't figure it out. I shouldn't really be so hard on myself. Maire pointed out to me that when I joined the 3D 2.5years ago, I couldn't swim, I had never ran further than 10k and never cycled further than 60k. I suppose that's the triathlete's curse though, we are forever disappointed with our races.

There is one way to get over this disappointment though, do another ironman and redeem oneself............

 

Review

 

The ironman journey is one a lot of triathletes take. It's almost a right of passage, a badge of pride to be worn. Some dive straight in in their first year, others take decades to build up to it.

Having completed it, it is definitely a journey worth doing and one I will recommend to others to do.

I learnt a lot about training, nutrition and myself, more than I have learnt in years.

What would I change about my journey if I was doing it again? Quite a lot actually, but here is the 5 biggest changes I would make:

 

1: I would have taken natural foods only on the bike and saved the jellies/mars bars for the run

2: I would have completed a marathon before signing up for an ironman. Psychologically this played on my mind quite a lot in the months leading up to the race.

3: I would have ran more when I was tired. This is a tough one as I was trying to protect myself from injury and managing niggles at the time but I would have liked a lot more running.

4: I would have started swim training 9 months before and spent the first 3 months solely working on technique. I made a lot of gains in the pool this year some through technique, some through general fitness, but being such a weak swimmer I feel there is a lot of speed to come from technique improvements yet.

5: I would have used a coach. Again this is largely psychological, I don't think training would have been wildly different but it would have given me some comfort.

 

With that, that's me signing off, for the moment...............

Alan Kenny, Rotterdam Marathon-Race Report

Death by a Thousand Cuts

 

Intro

After finishing my warm up, I quickly stopped off at my hostel to put on my Dunboyne running singlet and pick up a few other race essentials. There was a handy 'take something or leave something' clothing wardrobe in the hostel, that I was able to raid for a top which I planned on discarding at the start line. I paid one final trip to the toilet to squeeze out the last bit of extra weight I was carrying. Then I was out the door and and onto the streets of Rotterdam, where I joined the mass of bodies moving as one to the race start in the centre of the city.

I had to stop off at the bag drop first, which thankfully was on the way. Inside the large marquee that served the dual function of changing tent and bag drop, I applied sunscreen and Vaseline to stave off the twin tortures of long distance running; namely sunburn and chafing. I decided on which four flavoured gels to put in my fuel belt, nibbled on a sports bar, started sipping a can of Red Bull, pondered for a while if wearing either one of or both a visor and sunglasses were necessary, finished my sports bar, decided it was already warm enough and that I wouldn't need the top I had pilfered from the hostel's 'take or leave' clothing rack, so stuffed it in my clothing bag instead. Sunglasses or headgear of any sort are not something runners tend to typically wear, but by this point I had determined that neither of these two triathlon fashion accessories had slowed me down in Mallorca last September. And with the warm and abundant sunshine predicted from early morning onwards, I decided that they were both going to be absolutely vital today.

With such resolve, I made my way out of the changing tent and marched with purpose to the start line. I had more belief in my ability to run a PB today, than I had at any point over the last month and I was walking with a pep in my step as a result. Alas, such mental resolve is not always enough, but more of that later. For now, it was get to Coolsingel in the centre of Rotterdam and find starting Pen B.

A lot of roads were closed off because of the race and trying to find the entrance to my starting block brought with it a little bit of unwanted stress. After jogging around a few side streets, I'd bumped into a few others who were also searching for Pen B. We eventually found it, and after the stewards checked our bibs, we were let take our places with the other 2:30-2:45 marathoners.

I still had 15 minutes to spare and I got more stressed about finding my starting pen than I should have done, but I was relieved when I finally got past the fences separating runners and spectators. I breathed even easier when I saw how relatively few people were inside my pen. I was expecting we would be crammed in like sardines, but it was in fact easy enough to move about. Maybe people who have ran a sub 2:45 marathon are rarer than I thought. Obviously there was even more room in starting Pen A for the sub 2:30 runners ahead of us, but the poor folk in Pen C, holding the the 2:45 to 3 hour runners, must have felt like battery hens. Thinking of them, I felt privileged to have been given such an advantageous starting position.

Now that I was permitted entry, I was hoping I'd bump into Gary Condon and Anthony Flannery. Both had put a lot of time into me in the Trim 10 Mile and invariably they were going to do the same again today. Anybody I'd talked to who'd raced Rotterdam before, told me to expect a chaotic start. Staying behind two guys I knew were going to be faster than me would ensure I kept the reins on in the opening kilometre. I wanted to get clear of the crowds, but I didn't want to blow a gasket doing so and having two more experienced runners to pace off would assist me in that.

I'd entered towards the back of the pen and figured with a 2:35 marathon on my resumé, I was entitled to make my way to the front third of this band of runners. I had taken a few steps forward when I heard someone call my name. It was Gary, who with a 2:33 best time and a realistic shot of breaking 2:30 today, should really have been standing right up at the very front of the pen. I told him as much, but he said he was fine where he was and that his plans for the race weren't going to change regardless of where he started. Who was I to argue? And with a less ambitious target of 2:34:??, I tried to adopt a similarly pragmatic outlook and stood alongside him.

I was introduced to some other Irish guys standing close by, and we proceeded to make small talk about our previous marathon times and our targets for today's race. dublin runner wasn't amongst them though, so I'd just have to ensure I kept an extra close eye on Krusty to keep my own exuberance in check. One of the group of Irish, was one Seán Murphy from Trim AC. I'd ran with him for a few miles in the Trim 10 Miler in February. Fortunately I got the better of him that day. His target today was sub 2:40 and in the race between just the two of us, he was expecting a similar outcome to our short lived duel back in February. My resolution to stay positive meant I didn't argue the point.

 

 

The Race

There wasn't much more of a wait between this exchange of pleasantries and the crowd pushing forward a few metres. I wasn't aware of any cue that told us the race was about to commence, but within a few seconds of the surge, there was the unmistakable noise of a starting gun. Immediately I began passing people. Having to weave around other runners moving at a much slower pace left me wondering how they were let start with <2:45 runners. Not having ran a marathon in under 2:45 in the previous calendar year, I had to plead a special case to get a berth in this starting pen. I thought I had but forward a pretty compelling case for inclusion and was obviously successful. However, whoever made the decision on such requests can't have been looking for much evidence if plodders like these had talked their way in as well.

Anyway, I'd sworn before starting I wouldn't let the inevitable congestion get to me and I just took it easy until we reached the bridge, where I had been told things would have calmed down quite a bit. It was certainly calmer than the opening 500m, but I was still having to veer well off the straightest possible line to get by people. I'd no idea where Gary Condon had gone and I was on my own. I'd set my watch to autolap every kilometre and my hope was that all 42 splits would be under 3:40. When 3:48 flashed up on the screen for the first split, I told myself this was acceptable and almost inevitable. In fact it was probably a good thing, as unlike most races I do, it confirmed I hadn't set off at an unsustainable speed. The pace of those around me now more closely matched my own than that of the poorly positioned numpties I was jostling with in the opening 500m.

There was over 41km left to make up the 9 seconds I'd lost and if I'd any realistic chance of breaking 2:35, I couldn't look upon clawing back this deficit as being anything other than easy. 'Steady as she goes' with one eye on my Garmin was my strategy from here. The second kilometre passed and 3:31 flashed on my watch's display. I'd made back the 9 seconds, but this was a bit too fast and certainly not what I had been planning.

Then I reasoned the first half for this split included the gentle sweep downwards to terra firma once we crested the brow of the bridge. I still told myself to back off slightly and see how long the next kilometre took. '3:35' was the answer; just a little bit too fast, but not by much and anyway I hadn't expected all the splits to perfectly beep on 3 minutes 39 seconds every single time. The fourth kilometre took me 3:40 and without panicking, I started the next one telling myself I wasn't going to see 3:4? flash on my watch again for the rest of the day.

Obviously it was important I stuck to a certain pace, but I wanted to keep my breathing under control as well. I was making a conscious effort not to push overly hard and for eight consecutive kilometres, my watch registered times under 3:40 and I still didn't feel like I had exerted myself.

My race so far had consisted of trying to find suitable company to run with. I wouldn't put in any big surges, but I found myself latching onto groups and sitting in behind them for a few minutes. Then I'd look at my watch and decide the group wasn't going fast enough for my liking and push on again. Trying to find the perfect running partner among the thousands taking part wasn't easy. I didn't think I was doing anything foolish, but the fact that nobody else seemed to want to work with me probably tells a different tale. There were a few runners in particular, that on reflection would have been wise to try team up with, but I think how runs unfold in triathlons has moulded me to be of a 'go-it-alone' mindset and this slightly messed things up for me today.

'3:41' flashed up on my watch for the 13th kilometre. 'Nothing to worry about', I told myself. It was only 2 seconds off target, I'd plenty of surplus time banked and in any event it might have simply been attributable to GPS inaccuracy. The next kilometre turned out to be the exact same though. Cognitive dissonance can only be used so often. I knew I had slowed and I couldn't blame satellites twice in a row. Only one-third of the way through the race, it served as a bit of an awakening. It was time to start suffering. I was running a marathon after all and I couldn't expect all twenty-six miles to be a doddle.

I upped the effort a and completed the next three kilometres in 3:34, 3:39 and 3:38 respectively. All three were on target, but I was back out to 3:41 for kilometre 18. Unfortunately, that was that as far as staying below 3:40 pace was concerned. I was 2 seconds slower for kilometre 19, got it back down to 3:41 for kilometre 20, but I had already fallen off the metaphorical cliff. Nothing I could do was going to prevent the slide that had been set in motion and unless there was an act of divine intervention in the second half, I knew a sub 2:35 marathon just wasn't going to happen today.

I thought if I could get to halfway still on course for a sub 2:35 marathon though, it would be something to take from the day. According to my Garmin, I was on track for this, but sadly the laps were always flashing further and further away from the kilometre markers. It was unlikely the organisers of such an illustrious race could have placed the signs in the wrong position time and time again, but I still clung to the faint hope that I'd get to 21km at the exact moment my watch auto-lapped for the twenty-first time.

Needless to say this isn't what happened. After completing 21km, my watch showed a total race time in excess of 1:16:30. 3:42 is what I had ran the 21st kilometre in, which up until then, (bar the opening kilometre) was the slowest of the day. Based on previous readings, I knew I had 300-400m more to run until I'd pass through halfway. But once past the official 21km sign, it was a case of how long can the 97½m be until I'm at the half way point. It turned out to be pretty fncking long indeed.

Not knowing exactly when I'd crossed the starting mat after the gun went, the official timing clock was no use to inform how I was doing. Maybe it's confirmation bias, influenced by what the official results are telling me now, but I'm certain the time on my Garmin at this juncture was 1:17:34. This figure multiplied by 2 was an easy enough sum to do; a 1:35:08 finishing time. While not the sub 2:35 I was hoping for 6 weeks ago, would nonetheless still have been a PB, which I'd have happily settled for.

If only it were that simple though. The wheels were coming off and I would have only loved to have been able to hold 3:4anything pace for the rest of the day. A slow gradual decline saw my 1,000m splits slip from high 3:40s into the 3:50s and finally the ignominy of a 4 minute kilometre. This sort of sparked a mini revival and I found reserves somewhere to follow it up with 3:59, 3:50 and 3:57 splits. My original target was a lost cause and there was still quite some distance to go, but if I could hold my pace below 4:00/km, I would still finish in 2 hours thirty-something minutes. If I achieved this, I would have felt like I'd salvaged something from the trip. I was unable to arrest the slide though and in time that newly revised target too fell by the wayside.

Almost 30km into proceedings, we were afforded a glimpse of the 40km sign on the opposite side of the road. After this, we ran through Kralingse Park. For the first time all race, buildings disappeared from view behind trees and it felt like we had completely left the city. Running under the shade of the trees provided some respite from the energy sapping sunlight. My pace through this section, which roughly corresponded with kilometres 30-35, held steady at sub 4:00/km. I couldn't say I was comfortable, but at least I was consistent and I thought if I could just suck it up for another 30 or so minutes, I might still bring it home in under 2 hours 40 minutes.

It was around here Seán Murphy passed me like I was standing still. Knowing he was aiming to break 2:40 and seeing how he was moving, starkly drove home to me just how poorly I was running. I hadn't a hope of matching his pace and I knew the game was up. He spoke some words of encouragement, but that moment marked the death knell of my race and I just simply packed it in.

I'm not sure what faint hopes of salvaging anything from what was turning out to be a very disappointing race, kept me going for the next 5 kilometres. I suffering badly and I was being passed both left and right by numerous people I had dropped earlier in the race. I doubt they were paying much attention to someone now struggling to even hold sub 3 pace, but part of me wondered would they have remembered our battles earlier on, and what would they have to say about me now if I could have asked.

With sub 2:40 now well out of reach, sub 2:45 became the target. I'd failed to break 2:35, then 2:40, so I use the word 'target' very loosely here. It was going to take a complete implosion for me not to hit this time. As long as I didn't walk (tempting and all as it might have been), I was absolutely certain I'd be comfortably under 2:45.

Two more people went by me in the final kilometre. Ordinarily, I'd try mount some sort of resistance, but I'd stopped caring a long time beforehand and I merely stayed shuffling along at what now felt like nothing more than recovery pace.

When the finishing gantry finally arrived, it was with a huge sense of relief I crossed the line in 2:42:48. With a PB of 2:35:51 from Connemara, this isn't a time I can get excited about. But given the fact I'd only ran 79km in the previous 4 weeks, it wasn't a complete disaster either. From a long way out, my biggest fear was that the painful jog my race pace had become would eventually grind down to a walk. Had this happened, whatever my time, I honestly wouldn't feel like I'd completed a marathon. Pheidippides never walked when he was charged with dispatching the news of the Athenians' victory over the Persians. At the simplest level, it's against this that I judge my own success or failure over the marathon distance. Even if I'd walked on the way to a 2:34:59 finishing time, I'd feel like the distance had beaten me. I've done much slower times before, but I've never walked a single step of any marathon I've done. It might happen some day that I'm reduced to this, but despite everything else that happened, I'm happy at least that today was not that day.

DCM 2016 by Alan Dilleen

DCM 2016

Lead Up

Friday 28th I went for my tempo run (6k) – the last run in my training plan and then registered at the Expo. The next day I brought the kids to GAA as normal. My calf was not great – I began to get a sharp point in it about 10 days ago and after foam rolling and compression it was not going away, I was a little worried. Relaxed for the rest of the day, sipping water. Cousins were up that evening, my sister in law Liz was doing DCM too.

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North Tipp Sprint Tri Race Report (Nenagh)

Or Viruses, Vertigo & VO2Max

By Derval Cromie

Up at 5am to pop stuff in car, shower, and get bike on. We were heading to my parents in Cork for Easter after the race, so there was a fair bit to load up. Kids were game to come support me in the race and were tucked up with cushions and blankets in the back. Gorgeous morning at sunrise but chilly – thought about the Happy Pear crew who do #swimrise in the Greystones sea – and wondered how they do it. Overnight oats in almond milk & scrambled eggs for breakfast for me. We got away around 6.30, waving goodbye to our mad cockapoo Hugo (our dog) as he wondered when the neighbours were coming round to collect him.

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