HOME AND HOSED : ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING
Permanence, perseverance, and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.
Picture the scene - I am four hours into a 112mile cycle with another three hours and fifty minutes to go. I've just reached the top of a mountain in the beautiful island of Mallorca. I have been climbing for the last 10 miles and I am completely exhausted. I reach a crossroads at the summit, and prepare to stop the bike to make sure I avoid the oncoming traffic when one of the race organisers comes over to me, asks me my name, takes my number and tells me my race is over and i'm out. "What are you talking about - I have eight hours to complete the bike course and I'm on time"? your race is over he said - your out, I'm sorry. This was last Saturday of course when I along with 3000 other athletes from all around the world took part in the magnificent IRONMAN triathlon. This involves a 2.4mile swim, 112mile bike and then a marathon - 26.2mile run. Its recognised as being the toughest endurance tests a man can face and I have been training constantly for the past six months to make sure I was ready for it. This was now a nightmare scenario, as according to this boy - my race was over and not only me but the twenty or so people who were also at this point on the course and everyone behind me (and there must have been loads) were also told the same.
Everyone was completely shocked, angry, devastated and overwhelmed with rage. Apparently the problem was that we were allegedly told at the race briefing the day before that we had to reach that particular point in the course by 3pm and I didn't arrive to 3.11pm. It was the first I heard of it and also all of those around me were in the same boat. It was devastating. My mind was racing, all sorts of thoughts were now going through my brain. My race was over, how could I explain this to my family and all of those all over the world who were tracking me through the race. I had let everyone down. I couldn't believe it and very quickly started to sink into a real low point. All of the competitors around me had given up and got off their bikes. I was just about to do the same until I heard a voice in my head saying "just keep going, you never know, you might still be in the race - just get to transition and see what happens". So thats what I did. I set off on my bike, put my head down and hit the pedals hard. The next two and a half hours were probably the lowest and the hardest I have had to face in my life. I was in a very bad place and couldn't take in what had just happened. I had thirty five miles to go and I knew if I went hard I would make the eight hour cut off and if luck was on my side, they may let me continue to race.
It was a lonely ride back to transition with no other athletes around and even the water stops had all been dismantled - soul destroying. My legs were aching, and my mind was in pieces. I was running through on my mind how I would tell my family about being out of IRONMAN. I had accepted that I wouldn't finish and I was trying to prepare myself for the situation that lay ahead. I was in shock and trying to make sense of it all. At 5.20pm in the evening sunshine I pulled into transition within the eight hour allowance and asked the race director to confirm I was out of the race. He went on his mobile and spoke to the someone I can only assume someone from the race directors team. It took about a minute for him to speak to me again which seemed like an hour. "You can go on - your still in, keep going my friend". I couldn't believe it, Im in the bloody race - WTF...!!!
I ran down with my bike, set it in its stand and grabbed my run bag and started getting ready for my marathon - my head was racing and I couldn't really take it in. I set off on my marathon just after 5.30pm and in over 5 hours later I heard the magical words "CONOR.....YOU ARE AN IRONMAN...! - absolutely tremendous feeling and to top it all off, my little daughter Lilyanna, ran to meet me and crossed the finish line with me - hard to put into words.
So lets look at the top of this piece gain:: Permanence, perseverance, and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak. - this quote is certainly very apt for where I was last Saturday when faced with a very difficult situation. I had a choice to make - either give up like everyone around me....or - put your head down and keep pedalling, which is what I did and the rest is history.
The IRONMAN lived up to all my expectations. It was amazing, terrible, brutal, exciting, fun, horrendous, soul destroying, exhilarating, painful, nauseating - all of these things but overall an amazing experience. I learned a lot about myself in the last few months both with the training and the event. I still can't believe i completed it and my recovery this week has been great with only my feet being a little tender.
I have completed my 6 challenges in 20 weeks and this has done so much for me in terms of my belief in myself and confirmation that I am on the right track with my health and wellness campaign. Its a great feeling.
The plan over the next few weeks is to take it easy, and do some random adventures like trail runs and a few swims with a few strength sessions thrown in for good measure. Overall I am going to spend some more time with my children and take in what I have achieved over the summer and continue to write my second book, which will cover all of my adventures this year.
2015 has been big year for me and its certainly one whereby permanence, perseverance and persistence has been to the fore as I have had many hurdles to face and overcome. However constantly pushing myself, my mind and my body continues to help me fight all adversity in my life, so I will continue in this vain I think - it feels like the right thing to do.
I would like to finish up by thanking everyone for their fantastic support over the last coupe of months. It has exceeded all of my expectations in terms of funds I hoped to raise for the MS SOCIETY. If you would like to support me, I am going to keep my JG page open for another couple of weeks so please go here ::