I’d like to welcome one of Ireland’s most exciting young triathletes, Cillian Tierney. Cillian is a fellow member of Tralee Triathlon Club, and he has decided to start a blog of his own. When he told me this, I invited him to kick it off with a post here – welcome to the blogging world Cillian! I’ll post a link to Cillian’s blog as soon as it’s up and running.
So this is my first (of many hopefully) blog posts that I am writing. I am lucky that Randall has let me use his very successful blog RandRuns as a platform to get mine out of the starting blocks.
For those who don’t me I’m an elite triathlete competing on both the national and international triathlon stage. My plan for this blog is to talk about the day to day elements of triathlon training at this level and attempt to give a somewhat clear insight into my thoughts (the sane ones anyway).
The topic of this post is something I have been playing around with for the last few days and I have decided that it would be a good idea to start at the start and try figure out what got me to where I am.
The whole triathlon malarchy kicked off in 2011 when I competed in Seven Frogs Triathlon in Castlegregory organised by Nuala Moore. I was very young at the time (16 according to the entry form but not quite….thanks Nuala). But I was old enough to have figured out that football, rugby or soccer were not my calling (when I say not my calling I mean I was stone cold useless). At this point I was swimming and running with clubs and a small bit of cycling under my belt. My goal was to beat my dad. Which I did. But it was tough.
I remember really suffering for most of the run. Despite this I was eagerly awaiting my next one. This came in the form of Sive triathlon in this time a little bit faster and little bit further ahead of my Dad. Which made me happy. But I also made the podium in the Seven Frogs that year which made me feel like the dogs bollocks.
The next year 2013 was when things started heating up a small bit. I managed to do some different events this time on the Triathlon Ireland calendar which complicated matters somewhat, because age requirements are more strict. I was keeping under the radar by doing small triathlons in the back arse of nowhere. These were mainly in Cork region where nobody knew me. There were some sticky moments where officials grilled me on my date of birth but I always managed to get in. One of the defining moments of not only this year but in general was the Dingle triathlon. It was to be my first Olympic distance race. My parents weren’t too keen on it and the officials on the day were even less so, but my enthusiasm made up for both. So I found myself floating in the water in Dingle harbour awaiting the start, on what was the foggiest Saturday morning ever. We set off into the sea mist and disappeared out into the bay. This was surreal I remember looking around to get my bearings at one stage and there was nothing only the small group of swimmers I was with. No buoys, No kayakers, No harbour. It may seem like an exaggeration but anyone there that year will remember. Anyway after a while of swimming in the rough direction of where the buoys should be reached one and then the other and then headed in to complete the 1500m swim. Then the bike started and the fog continued. It was virtually impossible to see where you were going but I got around. Feeling good I pushed on at the start of the run and was catching guys I knew. It felt good. It was soon after the half way point it hit me. I just blew the lights and hit empty. I slowed and even went to a walk for a bit. One by one runners came past as I barely kept moving. The fog was worse than ever, and it felt like I was going nowhere. Then I finally made it back to Dingle and crossed the line. I was shattered. I remember eating a few bars and getting back to the car and going straight to sleep. It was after I realised I should have eaten something during the race.
A year on in 2014 I met some of the other young guns. Guys who I train with today like Chris Mintern and Darren Dunne. These were the buckos that put me back in my box. They were a little bit older but they were also faster. I met Chris in Valentia where he won it outright and was in a very different league to me. I admired him a lot. At the time I was thinking this is the fastest guy ever. This was who I aspired to be. Later in the season I came across Darren who beat me to the Junior prize in Kilrush triathlon. This was when I figured out that things can’t always go my own way. Since then I have been racing and training a lot with these guys, and a few others picking up Aichlinn O Reilly and Kieran Jackson at different points. These guys are excellent, they have a state of mind and an ability that make them the best be with for getting better and training hard. It’s with the help of these guys and top class coaches like Stephan Teeling Lynch and Lynne Algar and sponsors like Verge that have stayed with me from the start that have got me to where I am. I have had a good season with third in Hell Of The West, third in Sligo and coming second in the Super Series overall.
I decided to start a blog now because I have been asked a few times and I think now is a good time to start. I plan on doing it in monthly instalments after getting a website set up. I’ll try keep it as interesting as possible. I hope this post gave a different perspective on sport. Realistically it’s probably not as hardcore as Randall’s ultra running but what can you do. Thanks again to Randall for giving me the opportunity to use his website for my first post and Ibike, Verge, Landers, and Surf and Sail for the continued support.