About the Unironedman

This section was getting very bloated, so it’s time to trim the fat. Truth be told, nobody ever seems to read the ‘about’ section of blogs anyway. But on the basis that I am wrong at least 50% of the time, here goes…

I was born in 1967, which was ‘the year of Sergeant Pepper, and Are You Experienced’. That’s a direct lift from Porcupine Tree’s excellent song called Time Flies, so go have a listen, then pop back here to finish off. Though I bet you’ll get distracted by other songs you haven’t heard for a few years, and before you know it…. oh look! A squirrel!

I live in Leixlip, in north Kildare, not far from Dublin. I was fairly ‘sporty’ at school, and enjoyed team games and athletics. (Community Games, anyone?). Once I left the comfort of school and hit college, then the wider world, I seemed to find beer and fags more interesting, and fitness took a back seat and stared out the window, while the rest of me drove off in search of fame and glory in the music business. It’s safe to say that, as you are reading this now and have never heard of me, I successfully avoided the pitfalls of fame and fortune that a lifetime of excessive sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll are guaranteed to bring, and so, I fell back on my other skill, which is graphic design.

In 2006, I joined my local fire brigade. I am married with two kids (who are too old to be such), and that’s more or less us up to date, you and I.

As regards running and other sporty stuff (seeing as that’s the topic of the blog) I have been doing a bit. After my extended hiatus from team sports, I went back to my local rugby club around the same time as I joined the fire service, and played a few fun seasons before a smashed collar bone put a stop to my gallop. I had also begun to jog again on a more regular basis, for overall fitness. And to stop embarrassing myself in marathons.

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My short-lived career as a winger, and then full-back for Barnhall RFC. Getting dropped from 11 to 15 is just one of the many signs that you are losing yards of pace 🙂

Speaking of which, my first disastrous foray into the world of marathon running was back in 1998. There is a story to tell about this great adventure, but we will save that for later. Suffice to say I mangled the attempt and will do likewise to the following metaphors by saying ‘once bitten, twice stupid’, because there was no fear of me learning any valuable lessons from this experience. On the contrary, my stubborn streak refused to budge, even on a hot wash.

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This is me, running Dublin in 1998. Note the excellent running attire…

I returned several times after, with each attempt to reduce the amount of time between me starting and finishing said race. That is, after all, pretty much the main aim of any race. It would ruin the surprise* to detail the various times, but I have made my peace with this distance, and in particular, the Dublin Marathon.

All that running, as any of you know, is both good and bad. The positives for your mental health are well-documented. Your cardio fitness is legendary. You fly through your work medical. The downsides can be time away from home, and some inevitable injuries, not least if you are on a serious programme. Having said that, my last decent marathon programme (2017 and 2018) had me running six times a week with a mix of interval speed work, tempo and long distance, and I felt good throughout, yet one hour of five-a-side footie would leave me all but crippled…

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That’s me, finishing my first triathlon – the Athy Sprint Triathlon on Saturday, 31st May, 2014. At least the weather was good!

I did my first triathlon in 2014; the TriAthy Sprint. I did another similar distance in Lough Key later that year, and the following month, a 2k open water swim in Killary Fjord on the west coast. The following year, I stepped up to the Olympic. The next rung on the ladder was the Half Ironman (Ireman) the following year, at Carlingford Lough, and there was only one place to go after that, and that was a full iron distance, which I managed in 2016, at the aptly-named Hardman event in Kerry. Not for me the delights of sunny Barcelona. Oh no. I’m too stupid for that. In case you were wondering, I was dropped on my head as a child…

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In the room the day before Hardman. Just getting a feel for Killarney!

Marathons have also been tackled recently, and half-marathons, 10k and 5k distances. Plus who doesn’t love an aul’ parkrun? With the relatively serious levels of training undertaken in 2017 and 2018 for the Dublin Marathon, I have been able to nibble away at PBs. None of the times are particularly impressive. In a field of 20,000 runners (such as Dublin), you are really only racing against yourself. And probably that big, yellow shiny thing over your head. No, not the sun. The digital clock. That tends to be your master on these occasions. I also managed a decent swim in 2018 when I took on the full 3.9k open water swim at Killary.

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“The water’s behind you!” Me, at the Great Fjord Swim, just before the off, in 2018.

My good lady wife Saoirse also joins me on some of these sojourns, and does her own thing here. And famously (well, in my head anyway), we both took on the Barrow Way in May of 2018. This is a 120k trail along the Grand Canal and River Barrow, Ireland’s second-longest river. We did it in two days. S on the bike, me jogging. Along with the Donadea 50k, these two days of running were the longest I have spent on my feet (moving in the general forwards direction).

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Somewhere along the Grand Canal on Day One of the Barrow Way, S found this fella. He was a tonic. I think he would have come all the way with us if we’d let him…

And so, in 2019, I took on my biggest challenge yet: the Connemara 100. Which is 100 miles of forward motion, in one day. Or 30 hours max., to be more precise. I had never tried anything like this before, and once again, I was relying on stubborn pig-headedness to triumph over logic and ligaments. You can read about it here

Yours,
Declan


* Surprise? Not really, but let’s have some mystique, shall we!

On the basis that ye are all lazy feckers who won’t take the time to trawl through all my excellent and hugely entertaining posts, I have prepared a primer, of sorts:

The Hardman Race Report. IN WHICH THERE WILL BE PAIN. THERE WILL BE CURSING. THERE WILL BE SNOT ROCKETS*. ALL OF THIS AND MORE AS A YEAR’S TRAINING AND A LONG-HELD AMBITION MEET HEAD-ON WITH THE WORST WEATHER THE WEST OF IRELAND HAS TO OFFER. AND THE WINNER IS…

Dublin Marathon 2017. IN WHICH WE THROW OURSELVES AT THE MERCY OF THE NATION’S GREAT CAPITAL, FEEL THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF LONG DISTANCE RUNNING, AND GET A LITTLE TOO CLOSE TO SOME OF PHOENIX PARK’S FAMOUS WILDLIFE… AS SHAKIRA, GODDESS OF MARATHONERS WOULD FAMOUSLY SAY, “MY HIPS DON’T LIE…”

The Great Barrow Run. We’re about 5k south of Carlow, and there is a diversion off the Barrow Way for essential maintenance. At first, being Irish, you assume the plastic barriers, warning tape and signs couldn’t possibly mean you. But as you begrudgingly leave the towpath that has become something of a lifeline over the previous day, you spy a digger up ahead, and see that the bank has suffered some sort of collapse and is indeed in need of repair. S is delighted. A smooth piece of road for at least 3km. No bumping, rattling and shaking. Brief respite…

And look, there are over 250 posts here on unironedman (the monicker stems from my penchant for wearing clothing straight out of the clothes basket; washed, maybe, but certainly not ironed). So there’s plenty to choose from. Though I would always recommend you went out for a run instead…

And just for the craic, I am burying these times at the end of the article, where nobody goes. Only runners will find them vaguely interesting, and decent runners won’t even find them vaguely good, either, more to the point.

5K 20:38 4:08 min/km 5k 14 Jul 2019
10K 43:57 4:24 min/km Clane 10k 10 Nov 2018
Half Marathon 1:38:10 4:39 min/km Waterford AC Half Marathon 1 Dec 2018
Marathon 3:55:56 5:35 min/km Dublin Marathon 2019 27 Oct 2019
Farthest 160.93 km Connemara 100 10 Aug 2019

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5 thoughts on “About the Unironedman

  1. I am so pleased to have found your blog! I’ve seen your Gravatar in the comment sections of some blogs I follow, and I’ve been meaning to click on it and give your blog a read for a while now. I’m glad I did! Congratulations on all that you have accomplished in moving from marathoner to triathlete!! I truly admire that. I’ve done 3 full marathons and 8 halves at this point (my 4th full will be Dublin this autumn, actually!), and I hear you on getting the urge to progress to tri’s. Thing is, I am a *horrible* swimmer, so I’ll need to start with a sprint tri training program.

    Anyway, happy blogging and happy tri-ing!

    Charlotte x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’d be amazed how many people say that about swimming. It’s the same thing with maths, i reckon; we all say we’re not really good at it, then we do it and realise we’re not half bad at all. Or in the case of swimming, at least we don’t sink! Give it a go. My wife did a couple of triathlons as well, and that required a fair bit of swimming, obviously. Just get out into the open water sooner rather than later. Best of luck with Dublin.

      Liked by 2 people

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