It was a grey, misty start to my first trip to Greystones – but I didn’t mind, I was buzzing with excitement. I was joining the six participants of Setanta TV and Athena Media’s new programme ‘Get Off The Couch’ for a Triathlon Training session with fitness guru Eamon Tilley, followed by swim-coaching with Channel Swimmer and ‘ICEMAN’, Fergal Somerville. This was the first day of a two-day ‘festival of fitness’ for us, with our first GOTC hill-walk together planned for the Wicklow mountains on Sunday with John and Frank at Wilderness Tours.
We’ve only been filming for a few weeks, but already there’s a huge bond forming among the six participants of the show which follows their journey from Couch to 5k – and perhaps a lot further. If you don’t believe in magic, watch ‘Get Off The Couch’ this Autumn and I’ll guarantee you’ll change your mind. The growing confidence, the physical achievements, the dedication and discipline, the healthy bodies and healthy minds, growing stronger every day before my eyes. I’m already stunned by the power of the great outdoors as a life-changer and worker of miracles.
On a cold, wet and misty Greystones morning, the group’s enthusiasm was warming my heart… and if any of us held any doubts about what we were doing, a true sparkle of gold lit up the morning when our stunning Olympic champion Katie Taylor put her own training session on hold to come over to us on the track and wish us well. That young woman inspires in so many ways and every one of us visibly glowed after meeting her, the rain disappeared and the sun shone in our hearts as our souls soared with a growing belief in ourselves and our team. As Katie says, to achieve your goal you’ve got to “plan for success and then do the work to get the job done”. Easy isn’t it. 😉
What an exciting week. Watching Katie storm to victory has inspired a nation – and a few ladies I’m sure, like me, have been moved to embrace their own, secret, inner Olympian; the suprise ‘you’ who occasionally pulls out all the stops to exceed expectations – your own and others! It could be running a mile, swimming that little bit faster, or achieving something unexpected at the office or with your kids. You don’t have to ‘climb a mountain, to climb a mountain’ – if you know what I mean!
It’s been a week of PB’s, or ‘personal bests’. I’m getting very familiar with the expression now after watching Team Ireland in the Olympics. I pulled my own PB, cycling home to Blanchardstown, to catch Katie’s fight on TV with my dad, who’s 87 and was watching the bout ‘home alone’. I got delayed at work, and dashed desperately for the bike with 15k to cycle and not enough minutes on the clock. My current best time for the ‘race’ home was 40″mins, and it just wasn’t enough, but I had to try; at least I’d catch the end… maybe.
As I huffed and puffed across the Phoenix Park and down the canal, the Irish summer arrived, and as the hour ran out of minutes, the sun beamed and I began to melt. I looked at the roads and the park emptying around me – and considered stopping off at a pub along the way – sure of a welcome and a cheering Irish crowd. Then I thought of dad and pushed a bit harder, putting the minutes out of my mind and licking the salty drops dripping from the end of my nose.
I swung up the path to the house with 5.03pm on my wrist, sure I was too late. Then I saw the big-screen TV flickering through the lounge window and realised they were still standing in the ring. I jumped from the pedals and dashed to the red-front door grappling with the key, and bursting into the room as the judge thrust Katie’s fist into the air – along with dad’s – and my own, as we all joined in jubilation…..together.
I’d made it home in 35 minutes – 5 minutes faster than expected. A town, a city and a nation cheered. Mna Na hEireann. It was Katie’s day….. and mine. 🙂