Friday, December 30, 2011

The End is Near

As 2011 draws to a close, I look back on some personal highlights and in general I would have to say it's been a very satisfying year. Yes I was injured for most of the year. I only did one competition.
But I am stronger than ever. My children are growing and are a constant source of joy, and sometimes frustration, but it's beautiful.
My vision quest was probably the most important thing I have ever done for myself. I have to carry with me the lessons I learned as I head into 2012.  I have read a lot about the end of the world in 2012, but I don't believe the world ever ends. We are spiritual.....we may transform...but end? No I don't think so. I managed to improve my working situation and get assigned to a company I admire so on the professional front I have to pretty happy with the progress made.  My personal goal for next year in sport is to complete an Ironman, but I am not sure given the injuries, and the current state of my knee how that will pan out. The amount of training is becoming daunting. But these fears need to met head on. Professionally I hope to be able to improve as well. For my it will be a year of things crystalising, of dreams being realised, of hopes clarified. There is so much I haven't written about and yet, 2012 is my year.
I wish anyone who ever reads me, the best year they can possibly have. I hope you are all well and content, and at least moving forward. Thank you for your time patience and interest. Ironman France, you are mine.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Slip sliding away

People here call me crazy. The call me fou to be more precise. They are people who are not used to my free spirit. They don't mean to insult me, it's an observation, maybe even touched with some envy. It's not new, my nieces and nephews all called my crazy too. I see human beings, I interact. I am not ashamed of myself. I am a living breathing member of the same planetary community that you are. So if you meet me, I will probably say hello.
The weather forecast today was bad. It was supposed to be a dry morning a wet afternoon and a dry evening. We are having car problems so I agreed to ride to work. I left the house at 640 am and about half way to my destination it started to rain. Oh well I thought. When I got to work, one of my colleagues asked me had I come in on the bike. When I answered yes, the reply was, " Mais t'est fou toi, il pleut", your are crazy, it's raining. I told her that when we have to wrestle with a wild bear, we don't stop when we get tired, we stop when the bear gets tired.
As I was coming home it rained a lot harder. The waves were pounding the coast road, it was dark and windy. I had been taking it a little easy to make sure I was safe. I got to the point of realising I was the only one on a normally busy bike path. That it was dark, I was well lit but my vision was bad with rain on my eye shields and lack of street lighting and as I saw the huge waves come half way up the beach I let out a huge woop of joy. I continued on my way, singing, laughing, imagining my Iron man. I was touched that lover had messaged me to see did she want me pick me up. But I refused, it's days like this that make Ironmen. The rain continued, and eventually I got closer to Nice seeing more and more people with no lights trying to make their way home on two wheels. I passed one guy on a bike with an umbrella, cycling with one hand. I thought to myself what an idiot , he is going to have an accident. My next thought was to break into song. I sang out loud at the top of my voice. "Cecilia, you're breaking my heart...." I didn't get any further, I let out a really loud wooah woop fuck...I had taken a slight chicane in the bike path around the bus stop, right, forward, left, forward. Not a turn just a lean on the bike one way then the other. However as I lent the other way left, the back wheel went right, my body went rigid, my brain worked quicker than I could cope with. My body went to the right to catch the bike and pull it back left, I caught it, it slipped again and then righted... I didn't fall. A double slip kept me quiet for a minute.. I giggled nervously... a pain started in my knee and another in my hip..I had remained locked in. I am sure it's due to the yoga and my fitness in general that I didn't end up hitting the deck.
I had spent yesterday cleaning up the bike...the Fragile Rocket is the name I have for it at the moment. It's alive beneath me, it bends and twists and bucks like a living being. It was an utter waste as it was completely coated in fresh dirt. As I made my way homeward and stopped at a red light, some guy on a electric bicycle started to talk to me. In a few minutes making our way up the hill, him going easy, me busting up my last reserves peddling like a mad man, I gleaned an interesting story. He was born in Nice, American father, Argentinian Wife. He gleaned my Irish French Italian connnections. We talked bikes and cost... I finally let him ride away...another crazy dude, just like me.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Week 2 of the challenge

Things have settled in for the new job. I am getting the hang of it. Money is very tight, and lover had a small accident with the car yesterday. It's a stress on our relationship. I try to keep positive. In fact since my vision quest, my life approach has changed a lot. I am much more forward looking, more free and happier in myself. I am wondering if lover is really okay. I am anxious for us. I want us to be happy and we manage but we could have more fun together and I try to work on it.

My ironman training schedule is .....I haven't got a word for it. I am not running, I am swimming only half the time recommended and I am cycling twice the time recommended. However swim ways, my stroke has improved immensely.
I have to drop in the forms this week to the new club or I won't have a club this year. If I have no club, I have no swim training, and my motivation goes out the window. However we are not there yet.
Yesterday I rode 95km which was fun but I got up a bit high and it was cold. I noticed coming down guys going up in winter gear. I was smiling to myself in my Irish kit that they must think I was on holidays and not feel the cold. I was actually shivering at one point. It was a ride that wasn't planned. I just went out and decided to try and find the Iroman course, I found it but ended up doing it backwards as I missed a turn somewhere.

The All blacks are the world rugby champions. It was an intriguing game. It touches me to see the haka. I wonder what the Irish people would be like if we hadn't lost touch with our warrior past. It's wonderful to see the New Zealanders still a modern nation and still an old nation. They not going around waging war, they just seem to get on with it. Their rugby stars seem down to earth decent sports people, who define for me, what it means to be a modern warrior. The French gave a great account of themselves, pity they didn't go right up to the haka though. I would love to be in a situation where I do a haka with a bunch of blokes....It's just so powerful.

So week 2 of the Ironman training program starts tomorrow. It's still the orientation period... Swim 2:30 - Bike 3:20 - Run 2:15 -- Total: 8:05   of training. I will probably end up swimming 1:10 biking about 8 hours...if there is not too much rain... and doing no run at all. I am curious how all this is going to work out. If there are any experienced people out there.... give me some feed back please... Catch you soon. We are really looking forward to going home for Christmas.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ironman Training began today

I got out of bed late, my hip muscle has been locked up since yesterday. I tried going for a ride to get rid of it, I got about 10k, it was too painful I came back . I woke late this morning, heavy headed. I was late to the pool I got in a Kilometer of the supposed 1.5 k before I had to get out and go to work and I was still sore. I saw the Doctor Dalloz at midday. He is convinced I need surgery. I can go on the bike and swim but no running till the grade 3 tear on my meniscus is fixed. I hadn't planned to walk the Ironman, but generally meniscus surgery takes a month to heal. So I might be undertrained for the run or I might be the stronger for it. Who knows? I have an appointement Friday 28 October with the surgeon.
I am getting paid less than those around me in my new job, and working more. Looks like I will be changing jobs again soon. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

The battle of my wounded knee

First of all sorry to all the first nation Americans.  I hope my stealing of the name of the famous battle is not offensive.
My knee, which for years has been giving me problems, and lately had been fine, has finally show up a problem on an MRI. I have a minimum grade 3 lesion on my meniscus, and a thickening of the " croisé du ligament latéral interne en regard.". I  have no idea what this means for my Ironman.But hopefully it will pull through. I have received the papers to change clubs and now I just need to focus. I need to get well, I need to heal. 2012 is my year. I will have a bigger salary and my goals will realised. :-) Onwards.. and upwards.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

No time to write!

I have changed missions with the agency I work for. I asked for a raise as money is tight , the new company would be harder, and because I am a Loreal type of guy,  I am worth it. Long story short it didn't come through. I checked out in the new company the salaries of people doing the same job with less experience. Needless to say I felt pretty bad when I found out so action has to be taken.
I am changing triathlon clubs. I need to get to a doctor, to get forms signed, I need forms signed by the old club, forms signed by the new club and eventually I will sign a form and have my licence renewed.
Work is busy there is a lot to learn, but it's a good healthy team. I am cycling a lot more now, and I am swimming still twice a week.
It's nearly time to start officially training for the Ironman. I have done 116km in two days, on the bike , tomorrow I swim, and then another 58 km on Thursday, swim again on Friday and then it's Saturday.

Saturday I will be in front of the TV at 7am watching Ireland beat Wales, hopefully in the 2011 Rugby world cup. After that it will up on my bike in my new Ireland racing gear and off for 100k cycle :-)...
I am getting faster stronger and can go longer.. I have the technology and it's true, sometimes I feel barely alive, but I have rebuilt myself. Now to make myself a million dollar man.
Thanks for reading , leave a comment!

Monday, September 19, 2011

New things

My knee still being sore, I invested in a tens machine that is supposed to do a lot of things. Making me look like superman is right up there. I have no idea if it works. Information on how it must be applied is difficult to come by, but I finally found the right program out of 14 to help with my knee. This morning was the first time I have woken up without any pain, but driving to work soon put a fix to that.
My son continues to call in everyday after school and it's a gift from the gods. It's just beautiful to be able to see my own child everyday.
It gives me some insight into how my parents must feel with their offspring scattered around the globe. I feel bad about that in ways. Perhaps I could have been a better son and got home more and just never got involved in the sport. Our decisions in our lives we make and we live the effects till we decide to think differently.
I am trying to remain superpositive , but I am not forcing it either. My vision quest continues in my being. I have changed projects with my service company and I am now contracted to another big company in the travel industry. I knew coming down from the mountain that this was going to happen. I wanted it. I decided it would happen and it happened.
I wish I could be so sure about my Ironman. I have only swam in the last two weeks, trying to give my knee a chance to heal.
Now I am in a new company I need to find the showers so I know where to change and washup when I ride in next week.
I have already been given my birthday present, a camel back and the rest of the Ireland bike outfit. I might post a pic soon.
I am excited about the Rugby world cup. The lads at the weekend were massive, but I am annoyed at the ongoing politics in Irish rugby. Two flags at the start of the match and no national anthem as Rugby Ireland tries to figure out what it is politically. Apparently it knows it's not English, but doesn't know that if you have two flags, then you have two anthems. It's not peculiar, it's the way the island of Ireland is. I fear that the further they go in the tournament the bigger this issue will become.
For  the moment it was great to see them play so well and win so well.
My folks have bought us tickets to get home at Christmas. It's been so long. It's been too long. Money is tight. Apart from the injuries , I have no idea if I can actually pay to join a new club this year and finance the Ironman. I just have to decide it's going to happen I guess :-).
Thank you all for reading.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

First Run

So it's nearly the Rentrée. Tuesday Boy goes to second level school and the emotions have been a bit high. Yesterday we headed off Father and son to a sports shop that was closing down to see were there any deals. I picked up a much need compression sleeve for my still sore knee. We got him a cool keyring and two keys cut so he can come and go as he pleases after school. Living with his mother, he passes our home on his way there. So he can come in a wait till his mam is finished work.

I had my first run. I went up hill. I still have that twinge in my knee. I wore the compression sleeve, when the pain got more than a twinge I turned back. I am guessing it's ligaments, but to be honest I haven't a clue. I am now anxious to meet the podolog and get my feet and shoes fitted.

I had been feeling ropey all week. I had some stomach bug that made the world drop away from me every morning and my stomach feel upset all day unless I had food in it. It seems to be fine now, but I was belching a lot and feeling like I wanted to puke. It was either something I caught from the bike bottles or the swim last Sunday..

Today was the Tristar 1 100 10, another race I had considered this year and another one not completed. It matters little, my goal now is Ironman 2012. If I have to do it on one leg, I will.  I still might make the olympic distance in Cassis in October, it depends on the finances. But lets hope I have the swim and run up to speed. It's not about competing just completing. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Out and back, Back out.

I have a couple of difficult weeks sports ways, but life is good because my outlook is good. I have not run as the chiropractor suggested but I did cycle after about 4 days. I seem to have some tendinitis in my left knee. My tendinitis in my ankles has disappeared and my plantar fascia is almost gone. So instead of running I have been swimming. It's all good. Yesterday I had an 80km ride almost as far as Cannes. It was in the 30 C area and the wind around Golfe de Juan was incredible. What was just as incredible was that the wind was absent after Antibes on my way back.

I had found it difficult to motivate myself to get out of bed and leave the house. My mood had been dark for a while. My ex is being ....I have not got a word I can use here really. Long story short she gets council aid to buy all the books and clothes for our son to return to school and she gets an allowance from me as well, even when he is with me for the month. She hadn't bothered to do the school shopping. She had tried to get us to cut short our time together as usual which resulted in my returning to the lawyer. Once my lawyer had sorted things out she became aggressive again. So we organised through SMS messaging, because she doesn't answer her phone, and through her insults and aggression that we would take it on to buy the stuff. I told her it would be taken out of next months pension if she wasn't going to give me the money to buy it. The truth of it is with one salary here in this house and no aid, we can't afford to spend like that. She lives in 4 bedroom house rent free and always wants more. It's sad isn't it. Two adults being petty childish and immature. I tried to keep calm but it upset me greatly. If she was in the least bit fair ever, I would be much more accommodating. However each time I have given an inch I have suffered the mile she has taken and the usual attempts at belittling.

So once again we tried to rise above it as a family but basically I woke in a dark place. I lay there in bed feeling alone, sad and lonely. I thought about Ironman. That was really all I needed. There is no way I am going to let someone else's bad behaviour ruin my life, my day, and certainly not my ironman. Out of bed. Dressed. Protein and bananas a fried egg and cheeky slice of wholemeal bread.
I am riding my bike and I see these two Japanese guys. One has a flat tire. I stop to help. They had fixed the tire but air kept coming out. I tried my CO2 cartridge as I took it off the wheel the valve came away with it. I was mortified, but at the same time thought that perhaps this was why the air was coming out all the time. We tried my spare tube. I watched as the guy pulled the tire away with his hands again I was surprised. This was a new tire, it seemed to be actually slightly too big for the wheel from which it came. Now too many hands were trying to put in the replacement tube.. I was bent over awkwardly.  Now the tube seemed to be too big. I let the man decide that it was so and put it away. However as I stood up my middle back went into spasm. I could hardly breathe. I knew it was stress from the arguing of the night before. When my stress goes up my back goes out. It's a simple equation.
I had zero money and in the end I hopped up on my bike leaving both guys to there own devices. The airport was near enough for them to get a taxi from there. The bike shop was difficult to explain how to get there but wasn't too far either and certainly between Italian, English and French, spoken between these Japanese and this Irish guy, something was lost in translation.

As I rode away , finding it difficult to breathe and in some pain, I started feeling guilty. Maybe I should have asked for cash and rode to the nearest bike shop and got a tube. Maybe I could have stayed with one of them while the other rode off for help. Should I go back? Would the still be there? Would they be ok? I rode a good 20km trying to mull over the Karma of the situation. Was this a lesson they were supposed to learn? Was it an adventure for them? Had I missed the possibility of making a life long friend who is very rich and would ease my problems? All sorts of ideas running through my mind and every so often a sharp pain across my back as I breath in. I rode to Vallauris against the wind. It had been a while since I was out this way. Hills that had required effort the last time I was there I seemed to breeze up, even against the wind. I stopped in the port of Vallauris coming back from the route de Cannes. I had a coffee with the 3 euros I stole from Lovers handbag. My back eased out a little. I made sure to eat a little bar every 30 mins after an hour and half of riding. One time I took a gel instead. I thought a lot about how I would manage the nutrition on the Ironman.  As I rode home the wind picked up, the waves were whitecaps, I could hardly keep the bike straight depending on the twists and turns on the road. It was really difficult. By the time I got back to the cycle lane at Antibes the wind was gone completely, the sea was like glass. As I rode through Cagnes sur Mer, a line of cyclists passed me. Someone said hello, I didn't know was it to me, I didn't see who it was. A second later I fancied it was the Japanese guys. Maybe they got sorted out after all.

I got home for lunch time. We went shopping. We got the necessary equipment for Boy to start in second level education and it was costly. Lover had to pay. I will have to pay her back. She always digs me out of hole. She is patient, continuous and a genuinely decent soul. I am lucky man to have such good kids, to live in a place where I can cycle in 30 degree heat with a wind storm and feel not hot till I get home. I look like a marshmallow collection now. I have brown white and pink tan lines and patches all over me.

This morning I got in a good 1.5 km swim. The knee is holding up. The back is still knotted but it will go. I am awaiting a podolog to ring me back and make an appointment. I am training. Life is good. This is a longer post than I imagined, and my favourite football team just won 8:2. Congratulations Manchester United.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Injury Update

So I finally got to see my physio Cristina. She is an amazing woman full of joy who has been taking care of me since before I had my disc replaced in my neck some time back. She has watched me through groin strains, tendinitis, neck operations, back strains, more tendinitis, plantar fascia, and so on and so on. Her associate Pierre had a good examination of my knee. He has had years of experience with sports injuries, notably with rugby players. His diagnosis was that I had displaced my fibula which had then cause the meniscus nerve to be pinched, hence the ache and swelling. He put it back in place and I went to see the osteopath the following morning as arranged. He listened a bit, but I am not sure how much, he gave me the once over and cracked me from head to toe. Amazingly the Achilles tendinitis that had been bothering me disappeared completely from my left leg and almost completely from the right leg. I am on a course of painkillers anti inflamatories and more painkillers and already I am feeling better.
Cristina reckons my rapid weight loss plus inherent weakness in the legs is the cause of my latest condition. The weight loss was muscle mass. I had assumed it was just around my chest an upper arms but she reckons it's all over. So now I have to find a gym that is not too expensive and enrol and build up the legs.
Money is tight so I am not sure how it's going to happen but it is going to happen.
Just like my new contract is going to happen too work ways. Life is good. The kids have been sick , lover has been sick, I have been injured but I am strength building in upper body and continuing with the yoga. I am doing this.
The Doc has suggested I try a light run Monday and see what happens before we determine the next steps. From the advice of lot of people I think it's podologue time. The last time I tried a foot doctor I ended up injured for 6 months, the time before that, I was in extreme pain in my hips for months as they tried to convince me I had one leg shorter than the other. I do when my muscles are all bunched up but not because my bones are shorter. Onwards and upwards I say. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A break away

For the last 6 weeks I have training steadily and improving steadily. With the exception of a couple of days down with food poisoning all was going very well. I had eaten a chicken sandwich from a dispensing unit and in doing so, broke my paleo diet and caught something bad. Twelve hours later I was sweating shaking hot cold and feeling crap.

This weekend is a holiday weekend in Europe. August the 15th is a national holiday in both France and Italy. The four of us headed south east towards Pisa to see Lovers parents. A weekend of wine pasta bread cheese beef, wine, beef, bread, pasta, fruit, wine, beef and some fish. Boy and I went fishing for about the 5th time and for the first time we really had a good catch. Yes there was one that got away, too heavy for me to lift onto the bank, the line broke and he was gone.

I had been looking forward to getting in some running along the long straight flat roads. Day one off I went, back I came, and as I hunkered down latered I noticed a twinge in my knee. I had had the same thing the previous week. I double checked my knee and was surprised to find it was twice the normal size. Ibuprofen, ice, resting, and trying not to walk. I did the lot to not much avail or difference.

Back in Nice I discovered my doc is on holidays. I am not sure how or where to get treated. Something is wrong in my knee and I am just hoping it's not serious, or that at least it will heal quickly. Time is running short now, and I should be training 5 days of 7. I am doing nothing for the moment till I know what is wrong, but I am anxious about losing fitness. I need to be at my peak for Ironman next year. I don't want to be the last one to cross the line and in pieces. So tonight, painkillers , more ice, elevation and taking it easy. My normal starch free diet will come back into line on Thursday or Friday I guess. 

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Iron Road

When I first heard of Ironman competitions, I was a smoker. I probably took my first drag on a cigarette at the age of eleven. Now at the age of forty four I have not had a smoke for about 6 years. I have asthma, I have a year long irritation of my sinus passages. In the last 3 years I have had 2 disc hernias, one which I live with in my hip region, one in my neck. The one in my neck was removed and a fake disc was put in place. I have full mobility of my neck. I have had tendinitis, a groin strain, torn muscles, more tendinitis, plantar fascia and many other aches and strains and pains. My body is learning all the time how to train. I have learned how to swim, how to handle a bike, how to run again. I have learned and I am learning how to get myself out the door even in the rain and run the time I need to run.
I have cut out starches almost completely from my diet, I have given up coffee and refined sugar. I have lost about 4 kilos or about 9 lbs. The difference between me now and me of 6 months ago is I believe I can do it.
Next summer I will be on the starting line of  Ironman Nice.  A once in a life time race. I will swim nearly 4km cycle 180km and then run a marathon all one after the other.
From now till then I will teach my body and my mind how to nourish themselves, how to train themselves and how to stay the course, so that a year from now when I get my kids names tatooed on each shoulder, I can get a little tat somewhere saying I am an Ironman.   I am pretty sure my blog will chart the rise and rise of Collie, Colliewarrior, Warrior, Colm, Honey, Dad, papa, on my journey to Iron. Stay tuned for updates. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Coming down from the mountain.

My vision quest was amazing. It was a beautifully tranquil experience. I lost 4 kilos. I had a wonderful time and it was worth all the stress leading up to it. The wind was incredible, the heat was incredible, the peace of mind and gentle joy and self love that filled me, were incredible too.
I have decided to train with a big goal in mind. No more excuses. So I have trained all this month but in a very forgiving way. I have been regular with my running and biking. However I have allowed myself a race day when I am really tired. Life is good. My attitude to myself and my goals has changed. I know exactly where I am going on so many levels. It feels really good. 

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The time is now, well nearly!

So then this is it. I am off on a quest. Tomorrow morning I head off into the mountains. I have ideas, desires, deep within me as to what it will bring me. My linear logic tells me I am being silly, that I shouldn't expect so much, that it's a waste of time and effort. My other self tells me this time out to reflect, pray, seek, is everything I need and more to realise my dreams. I have dreams. I have big dreams, but somehow I managed to limit myself all my life.
It's time to break the limiters definitively, to plough on, to seek the greatness inside, to bring it to fruition, to become myself. It's time to grow up and be, instead of wandering around aimlessly trying to make sense of it all.
I know what I need to know. I have the keys. It's time to open the door and step through it.
I am nervous. It's time to smash the inherited ways of behaviour and thought and to make my own way forward. To drop the excuses, the fear, and the doubts. It's time to be the missile instead of longing to be a firework.

I might not be back. Have fun y'all. 

Monday, June 06, 2011

The Liberation of Man

Some where in the mists of time, legend, folklore, and cartoonists, would have us believe that man whacked woman over the head with a stick, dragged her back to his cave by the hair and humanity was born. History books, story books, and common knowledge has us believe that later, Men were the hunters, risking life and limb to take down a woolly mammoth,(when surely smaller game was easier and less threatening) and provide for the tribe while the women went out gathering berries and firewood. Speed forward a few centuries give or take,  where men were men, they were the bread winners and the little woman inside chained to the stove knew her place and didn't speak out of turn. In fact I am guessing it this moment that women decided to rebel, educated themselves, seized their power, burned their bras, and shook off many of the shackles that society as a whole had come to bind them up in. It's a work in progress. When a high ranking banker/politician can be accused of improper conduct of a sexual nature toward the person cleaning a hotel bedroom, we know instantly who the man was, and who the woman was, in the scenario. Women don't ever seem to be accused of this sort of thing and neither are they high powered bankers, normally.
Having watched and observed and asked questions of many women and men in my life I have come to a conclusion that there is an amazing magical trick happening that we all collude in. While society has largely accepted that women should have an equal role it has completely neglected the role of men. How often do I hear the men are the one with the power, the one who make decisions, the one who decides even? How often do I hear about sexism, about misogyny, about wife beaters, about child abusers and it's all men. We men are murderers , rapists, robbers, thieves, abusers of power and privilege, we are terrible fathers, we abandon our children and we are unfaithful, disloyal, and for the most part not up to much. Unless of course you are George Clooney or Brad Pitt. Note: Famous for doing nothing other than pretending, and having a set of facial features easy on the eye. This is what women aspire their men to be. Men on the other hand, may look at Pamela Anderson's breasts and go wow, but that's not they want in a life partner. Men for the most part, real men are either giving a great big two fingers to the expectations on them, intentionally, or are completely confused as to their true role in society. Somehow society needs to liberate the men. The writers, the single dads, the non single dads, the men who sit and listen, the men who stand by patiently, not understanding as a woman goes through childbirth and sometimes after depression, the men who watch their women struggle at work, the men who do the cooking, most of the cooking, the cleaning, the discipline teaching of the the children, the men who for want of a better word, have lost the role of the hunter, the warrior, the hero, and yet have that paradigm shoved down their throats from every advertisement, movie, game, and book. The men who sit on the sofa with their spouse and watch Desperate Housewives, wondering why the hell no one looks like that in their neighbourhood. I give a shout out to the men in sexless relationships, in loveless marriages, who don't understand themselves any more. Men who are abused by their children, men who have lost their way, lost their confidence and have no idea any more what it means to be a man. There are a lot of men out there, suffering and it's time to tell them they are seen. It's time to tell them they are worthy, they are heroes, even if only to their pet dog, and that they are worthwhile. I am firmly of the belief if our men, and I am talking of the 99 % who live real lives, not the presidents and bankers of the world which number a few hundred out of a few hundred millions.... I am talking about real people, if they realised their self worth, the prisons would not be overflowing, the porn and drug industries might not be so profitable, the streets would not have so many homeless and society and our planet would be a nicer place to be. If the women realised how wonderful these men are , then it would improve even more.   

Sunday, June 05, 2011

The journey continues.

After the hottest month of May since records began, June has started to torrential downpours, crazy thunderstorms and spectacular lightning effects. Nature is well and alive and vibrant.
I have been spending time making tobacco ties. Trying to remember every month of my life. One of the issues when you look at your life, is that it becomes a bit, let's say, disturbed in the present. When you really remember the choices you made, the lovers you had, the rejections you suffered, everything is crystallised into a small drug like dose of life. It makes you reflect. I run through all the emotions and finish up with my head so far up my ass I can't tell the difference between my navel and my nostril.
Will this change anything? Am I just wasting time?  With my injuries this year my sport has gone out the window and tiredness and all this confusion has been a extra slice of excuses as to why not go for a ride, or run. I am barely hanging on sport ways, I am in between contracts job wise and it's insecure. When you throw yourself into the great space, there is always a period of insecurity, and even fear, before you learn you can fly. I haven't learned yet that I can fly. I know life has more in store for me, or least I need more than the mundane. Perhaps there is a new adventure around the corner. I just have to be open to becoming myself and realising my dreams. Which shall always remain unspoken, yet, I imagine, are perfectly clear from my writings.
I imagined I was going to be questing in unbearable heat, and now it looks like it could be unbearable downpours.... who knows how the spirit will chose to answer the questions of a lifetime?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Still it grows

I am meeting native Americans on facebook, Medicine men are answering my questions. My job situation is in flux. Life is good but challenging...this is not easy. I am tired when I do my tobacco ties, I remember ex lovers, meeting current friends, University. I remember peoples weddings, funerals, births. I remember new years eve many times...has my life been moving forward, or spinning around on a loop?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A dream

Recently I have noticed my nails growing and getting dirty. I seem to have have to cut them more than usual this year. Maybe it's a slight change in diet or temperature. Last night I had a dream. There was a baby, there was a man, when I think of him now he reminds me of a guy I met outside Paris. We were on the bed, the day was bright, I turned and my finger nail grazed the baby's head. He told me I had done serious significant damage. I was sceptical. I looked a the baby's head. There was a huge livid bruise just beneath the skin. I was amazed. It was deep deep red, almost as if I gouged a hole in the skull and only the thin layer of skin was keeping the wound from  being exposed.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Vision quest.

I am continuing with the life cord I am making. Sometimes is exhausting. Lots of things come up for me as I remember each month of my life. Many things I had forgotten. I am finding guides every where. My life has been turned upside down, and yet nothing on the surface has changed.
Sometimes making little sacks of tobacco really gives the urge to skin up a ciggarette and have a smoke. With my addictive nature it's not a good idea. My asthma probably wouldn't enjoy it either.

I seem to be on the express train to somewhere. Every day is throwing up new doubts, and challenges, and I stay fixed on doing my vision quest. Maybe I won't be able to get the time off work. Maybe I will. Nothing is certain. It seems this is the way it's supposed to be. I will take a photo maybe of my life cord before I go and post it here... I don't know if I am doing it right, or if there is a right way even.

When you open yourself to change , change comes quickly.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Going inside

I have been on a journey. I put it out in public at the start of the year that I was lacking a spiritual practice in my life. I needed to find some form of expression. Pretty soon afterwards the person I said it to, invited me to come to a sweat lodge in  village about an hour from here. I had never done a sweat lodge before but I was familiar with the physical idea of people stitting in a hut in the dark with roasting hot stones in the centre. I had heard of this in many 'indigenous' cultures. So I jumped at the chance.

I had little or no idea what I was letting myself in for. I still don't. I asked questions but got no answers. I did get a message to contact a guy and do what they call a vision quest. When this was first suggested, I loved the idea. It was finacially impractical, logistically difficult and I let it drop.

I went 4 times and sweated . Each time I got this same talking to. The last time I thought I better really pay attention.  So I sent an email and was told I should go to Paris and be seen.

I was anxious about things like Personality Cults, and new age wackos and all sorts of things that could be wrong, but it seemed to open up before me once I decided to go.

To make a long story short. I found myself in Paris this weekend, on the outskirts in a village next to a forest. I knew no one. I arrived. I involved myself in the journey to cut young trees and collect stones. A hut was constructed. People introduced themselves one by one.
I am not really saying anything here. I have skimmed over all the details and only given a brief outline of the experience. Suffice to say I react to people on a feeling level. When I meet someone for the first time, I look in their eyes, but even before that, I feel. I have always been like this. I feel energy and I react accordingly, or I respond to that energy, with my own baggage I suppose, my own energy. So some people I was instantly in touch with, others required that I waited. So I did. Sometimes I don't.

For many people it was their first time. There was in total I guess about 20 of us. The shamin was a swiss guy who looked nothing like a shamin. But he had studied theology and then later studied with the Lakota people, and then also studied with shamins in I think Malaysia. The fire keeper was German, tatooed quiet, we communicated a bit.

I had the most fun I have had in a long time. I was taken by fits of laughter, bouts of tears, I was burned by the sun and the steam of the sweat lodge, I was touched by peoples stories.....not always expressed through words... I could feel things. Yeah I know some of it was in me, but for sure some of it was in them.

The shaman accepted me. I will now do a vision quest in June 9-16. I have long thought about this. I have to make a little sac of tobacco for every month of my life. and string them together, I have to clean up my act, get my house in order, say goodbye, and go have my vision.  I don't know what will happen. I don't know if this person writing will come back. But I will go inside, deeper than I have ever been before... it's scary but it is fun, but by god it's scary.

Think of me!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

OOPS I did it again. But don't call me Britney. Carros Triathlon.

No running since January, very little bike in the winter. The course was hot and sunny. The first really hot day of the year, in contrast to last year, where it rained for this race.
I was a lot calmer. I had trained a lot more during my first year as a triathlete than the previous year.
My tendonitis is still sore but on scale of 1-10 it's about a 2, so I figured I could go for it.
This year, I remembered my kit. This year I remembered Sharon, I wondered why such a good looking woman as her didn't post an abdo pic on Trifuel.
I got off to a good start and went hell for leather on the bike to climb to the pool. This time only one guy passed me and that was at the entrance to the complex. Off the bike I was already exhausted, feeling pushed to my limit. Breathing hard, wondering about the medicine again. In the pool I was better than last year, I had the goggles this time, I pushed my chest down pull my hips up and swam 100meters and I was fading, I couldn't get the breathing right, one guy passed me. Just stay calm, you are never going to win so stop hammering.......
Out of the pool, I want to be sick's not a strong feeling but it's there. On the bike fiddling with a zip, damn it should have left the jacket behind, I am off.
down hill I see a competitor not far in front maybe I will catch him, down hill around the bend across the village, and uphill and no I am not going to catch him. My legs are burning. We climb for about 5 km up and around to the left, up and around to the right, and up and up and up......and feck it it's hard. I call on Garen and IronMom, I don't know why they just pop into my head. I will save the spirit of Anton for the run......
I don't remember this part of the road, and my breath is laboured, I can't even get out of the saddle and then I see the next village, there is a huge turn and it will level out.  I remember that from last year. I relax a little, find a rythm and there is gang of ladies by the side of the road, it's cool to get cheered on, it fills up my tank a little and I set off. I don't have a high cadence maybe 75 -80 I have to leave something for the run don't I? But in truth I was pushing as hard as I could. The descent was just great. Now I was out of the saddle, looking up into each bend to see if the marshall was giving me the 'take it easy sign', I didn't quite master all the turns, and there was a moment, when it seemed like the bike left the ground for a split second........ I managed to get my feet out of my shoes and make a perfect dismount. A guy on the door said open your helmet, I opened it, he said, NO don't open it, I couldn't get it closed again. I ran with one hand on the clasp, set my bike down, the hall ref had a good speaking to me, I got my shoes on, grabbed my bottle and off I went. I realised the goggles were still around my neck. I wrapped them around my wrist and forgot about them...
1KM into the run, I am calling on Anton to wonder what the heck you do with a stitch in your back, I am slow as a fat pregnant ox. I can't get any speed up... at this point last year, I was the last person on the course. I am now happy as there more than a few, the people I saw on the way home loop last year I didn't see till I was on it, and that was good. 2km no more stitch, some easy of running coming, 3kms I am struggling slow. Daniel comes up alongside, come on Collie, don't stop, someone else calls out on the other shoulder, come on collie the warrior, you can do it... I am hurting...I am running, I am digging... Daniel mentions the rugby matches from yesterday, I remember the faces of the Irish guys fired up in the scrum, I remember the English, it's all I need, it's like a refuel. I take off , I am still digging, I am still swearing, there is the line, come on to f**K I can do it, ......arrgh yeah we stuffed them in the rugby.......sharons, abs, the line........a sprint... Daniel laughing , dear God I did it

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ireland in 2011

The General Election has happened in Ireland. The ruling parties have been decimated. The largest party in the state lost roughly three quarters of it's seats. The junior party lost all their seats. Ireland has elected a minority, right of centre European focused government. This government will for the most part be implementing the huge loans, implementing European policy which is to hijack the Irish and force them to pay for German bank foolishness. The State and it's people are being forced to pay bankers debts, while the bankers give themselves huge bonuses.
It's historic in that the largest party in the state for 80 years or more has been decimated. Finna Fail need to restructure, and perhaps get rid of the rich developers that have blighted Irish political life for the last years.
It's historic in that the oldest party in the state, Sinn Fein has doubled it's tally. I don't know if they will ever run the country.
Labour has increased it's vote, but I don't see many working class people in it's list of TDs.
In other news, my lecturer face book professor friend, finally got home from Tripoli, I haven't been able make contact. It was easier when she was in Libya.
Ireland beat Scotland in the Rugby just and it's not looking good for the world cup in the Summer time.
I am exploring Sweat lodges as done by native Americans. I can't say a lot about it as I don't know too much other than what I dream when I am in there. There is no doubt its an amazing experience and it's helping my thought process.
I have strange ideas of what it is to be Irish as I live in the south of France. What is it that makes a person define themselves they way they are? What is it that makes us define others? What is the need to belong to a collective that is not easily identifiable if you scratch beneath the surface?
Irish, celtic culture? Is it any different deep down that that of Australian Aboriginal culture? 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Calls from the Blue and the revolutionary wave

As the Middle East continues to erupt in revolution and violence, I am left to reflect that maybe even 5 years ago, certainly ten years ago, my day couldn't have happened like it has. I have been reading a lot about energies on the planet lately. A lot of new age stuff and some interesting stuff and some clearly nonsense stuff. There are people out there willing to believe anything to the point where they shut everything else out. I am reading conflicting reports on websites about what is happening in Tripoli. News stations report X, twitterers report Y and people on the ground report Z.
Today I had a phone call from a friend of a friend. A musician, who has played with anyone and everyone. He was in the area and looking for a physio. Given my recent health issues, I have no problems referring a physio, so we had a chat, I made a few calls, organised an appointment and got back in touch. I checked out the map on Google maps, I sent him an email with the numbers and address and time of rendezvous, and we had a little chat after by email.
As I watching on Facebook a lecturer from my old University was being evacuated from her Hotel in Tripoli. She had gone over to give a conference and was hoping to be back for the election in Ireland this week. She posted up the name of the new location. When I got home I looked it up on the internet and rang her to see if I could just maybe reassure, a friendly voice, have a natter, take her mind off things. She was scared. She told me she could see smoke, but didn't talk about any craziness that is being reported else where. I can assure you if there were gunships in the sky, she would have said it or at least I assume she would have. She thought about going for a swim.
I had to do stuff around the house, cook a dinner put a child to bed, I promised I would ring back later.
Now here I am blogging, I can't get through on the phone anymore. I don't actually know her. She was surprised to get my call and pleased, just as I was to get a call from the musican. I had heard of both of these people before in my life. The lecturer was around when I was at Uni, but we never had direct contact. The musician has been around on the airwaves, and I have doubt is part of my musical influences.
It's been an odd day. I am aware of magnetic Solar flares hitting earth of revolutions and mass uprisings, connectedness, oneness and spirit. I am wondering is there a new world order coming. Europeans realising that Libya provides 70% of it's oil, and is a dodgy regime at best, well I wonder will the wave of uprising continue up into Europe, where will it end?
One thing for sure, without phones, mobile phones, email twitter, facebook, my day wouldn't have panned out the way it did. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Change a foot

Change is afoot. There are revolutions in the middle east. Americans are now watching films on YouTube that show the Afghanistan and Iraq wars were started on false pretences. It's not something I could have imagined 3 years ago. Ireland is having a election, and our national rugby team lost to France at the weekend.

There is a definite air of change everywhere I look. On the net, on facebook, on TV, it's something I feel. I am getting more and more drawn to re-explore the spiritual side of life again. Emails arrive and posts and notifications are all teasing me to explore, nature , shamanic pathways, and Buddhism, meditation..... Perhaps there really is something new happening. Perhaps there really is a great awakening.
All I know is I have tendonitis so once again I can't run... that is the one thing not changing......actually there are others. The tendon down my calf into my foot is rock solid. I need to stretch out more than I have been doing.
But I like to focus on change. I like to keep my mind open, and my heart, for even if things are good, and we are open, and they get better, then how happy we become in this life, this journey, this hard challenge with many rewards.
I helped someone move today. Their song is me me me me me me ...everything about how the other does nothing for them how the other is wrong because meme me memememmememe. I asked them to hurry as I was late for work, I got hang ons, and hold ons and wait a minutes, and that song me me me me me me me me with the odd chorus of money thrown in, and how much had been spent, and how precious and expensive the few items we moved were. I thought how much different the world might be if all us, just naturally sang about the beauty of you you you you..........or of the other and how wonderful they are. How do we get so messed up we can only see ourselves as individuals on a planet of 6 000,000,000,000. How does anybody see themselves as 000,000,000,001? Change is a coming I tell you, it's a coming!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Before and After, or is it After and Before

With the pool having being closed over Christmas, and the weather, for here, being pretty cold, I had let go of training consistently. Then I got flu, which didn't really help at all.
In short I lost a month in the pool, and more than a month on the bike. This results in the fact that swimming a good hard swim before Christmas, in about an hour and 10 mins I covered 2.4km, and on Thursday night last in the same time frame, for the same effort, I covered 1.7km.
I was not a happy bunny.
Now let's look at the bike.
The last meaningful ride I had was December 12th, 107km. I felt okay after it, proud, tired, but good.
Today I cycled 60km and had to go to bed afterwards. I was very disappointed, but at the same time I know there is no point in crying over spilt milk and I just have to put it down as a lesson. Between now and the end of Autumn I have to get an indoor trainer to ensure I don't lose what I gain this year. In fact between the 12th of December and January 23rd I hadn't cycled at all. I so feel like I have gone back to the start. I have that ache in my muscles as if they are trying to break out of my skin.
I am dreading my next run. My penultimate run was one where I ran futher, longer, easier, than ever before, a real joy, while the last one, I struggled, I huffed and puffed, and barely broke 50 mins before I had to stop. That resulted in a visit to the doc the next day.......and the aforementioned flu, corticoides,(steroids), antibiotics( for flu?) cough medicine( sugar syrup), throat medicine( more syrup), nose medicine( more steroids for allergies), and an agreement to follow my asthma...change of drug regime and now I can breathe properly , woohoo!
Yesterday, Saturday, I took a decision not to let the hair grow. I was getting browned off with either wearing  a hat and taking it off and looking like a scarecrow, or being obliged to wash the threads at every opportunity....
so..........I went from this...........

to this................

No I didn't cut the shirt off and the red marks are due to my body still being over heated after the climb home on the bike...
Hmmm February and holidays coming up soon. I am sure there are adventures to write about. By the way I am not stoned in the first pic, it's just anticipation of the flash. :-)

I just found out the great artist Gary Moore has passed away........... I am always when I hear his talent, and now of his passing . He played with Ireland's greatest rock band Thin Lizzy, and was perhaps one of the most , if not the most influential guitarist of his age....a tribute is here..Gary Moore just let it play, there is piece after piece of this brilliant musician.....May I meet you on the Parisien walkway of the after life, and maybe you will grace me by strumming a chord or two together!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Back in the saddle again

I got out of bed feeling like I had been kick by the rear end of a horse. Yesterday the house was full of crazy 2 year olds celebrating my daughters birthday. This is how she reacted when Nail tried to get at one of her presents. I was fortunate photographically speaking to click at the right time . This is as close to a right hook as any two year old throws.

I am guessing I won't have to worry too much about her when she grows up.
Since my flu, my body has not been able to do what I wanted. I rode last Sunday for 50k. I was the first ride in a month and I felt as if I had gone back to square one.

Today was a huge battle to get out. Slightly hung over, extremely stressed out by too many people and too much of the above photo, they day previously had taken a lot out of all of us. I fought with boy by the end of the evening both of us going to bed, too tired, too hyper, too upset and neither of us able to make the other understand. So I felt shitty all day. I apologised at one point but he is really not comfortable with either the dispute nor the making up after ... My bad. There is no point in forcing the issue, but my heart is breaking that we have these difficulties with each other. I don't know how to handle an 11 year old boy who wants to be carried in Daddies arms at 11pm at night and he is jumping all over me and not taking no for an answer. He is too quick for me.

So the bad mood persisted all day. I organised dinner for this evening, I nice beef and red wine stew. It's cooking now. The smell is are my kids. They went out. I was beating myself up for being useless at being a dad, and useless at training. I was supposed to have gone for a ride, this morning but really didn't want to face the day. Finally when they were gone, I had some head space. I got my bike clothes on. That in itself can be an endurance task. Three or 4 layers on top, two or three on the bottom,  two on the hands, three on the feet, two on the head. One bottle of water with an electrolyte tab, two small lamps in case it's dark, a bar, the keys and I am off. Uphill for 10kms, I can see the snow line on the distant hills, the air is fresh, lighter. Winter air is different than summer air. Winter air is missing something, it's like going into a room where everyone stands around the walls ignoring you, summer air, they press around you and touch you. Winter air is empty......dead, summer air thick with life. It was hard. It was faster than it was the last time I had been on that short ride, a lot faster than a year ago when I first did it. It wasn't fun climbing, but it was a relief to get there. I didn't hang around, night was falling, I turned around and sped down hill.
I crossed another cyclist and we played all the way down, passing and re passing each other. It was easy to catch him up and over take and put some distance between us, but he cornered more confidently than I and each time I was happy to let him back and over take. It was fun. It was great, I smiled for the first time, the happiness building up the bad feelings left behind dead on the road in the cold winter air.

A lot of my energy is directed towards home. I wish I had the vote. I am hoping the Irish people will vote in a government that will actually stand up for the Irish people. But the more I see going on in the world the more I am convinced there is some club where the politicians are in and everyone else is out. We are the everybody else. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

2011 is the way forward.

I feel like using the line from the exorcist, or at least using it to suit my own needs. I'm baaaaahhhack.
Well if I am back or not remains to be seen. However 2011 has some interesting challenges. I have actually started to write my book 'In Praise of Women' a working title. It's my story of the women who have educated me through my life. I don't mean my school teachers, my sister or my mother and aunts, I mean the people that most men see as women before they see them in another role. The women in my life, were first and foremost women, then after there was roles, however the women in my family, had roles before I ever knew they were women in that role. I wonder did I think of men the same way? There are a few challenges, one of which is trying to track down this small band of blessed beings. Another challenge is trying to work out permissions in what story gets told. I can't really go off naming names and getting people into trouble with their current relationships now can I? The last sort of challenge is really for myself. To actually write the damn thing. Once it's done, I might look for a publisher, but I am not sure if there are any publishing houses that would be interested in the story of  copious amounts of blood when I lost my virginity , or how when I had my first blow job, I thought my brain was going to pop through my head, ( the one on my shoulders), but hey, as they say in the Costner baseball movie, If you build it they will come, mine is more likely to be If you write it they will come, all puns intended.

Sporting wise, apart from recovering from the Man flu, I am doing well. Could be better yes, but is a lot better than this time last year. So I missed my road race last week, but I have plans. A 10k, a semi marathon, a Half Iron man, and a Marathon, with a few tri races at least one Olympic distance, thrown in for fun. So that is what 2011 has in store. To round off 2010, I changed companies, but do the same job, I am more calm and content in myself. I know I am going forward, I found some spiritual contacts here and got interested in Sweat lodges which just stay with me for a long time...
I have plans...lets go make them happen.

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