Tribaby steps

…and swims…and swims a little more!

Last time I wrote here I was contemplating beating my monthly total from last month. Being in competition with yourself is the best kind of competition in my opinion🙃 not to mention that I am doing all sorts of things to help me maintain my triathlon sanity while I recover. You don’t realise how much you love something until it’s gone….true story in many respects.

One week to swim 11km to catch up with feb – bring it!!

I hit a new record! 😄

..and I hit target. This made me so happy. It’s the little things. 😉

Six weeks review…

I had my six weeks review at the hospital and I’m delighted to report that all is going well. I saw the x–Ray of my DHS and I thought it was pretty cool if I’m honest. Seeing this piece of metal squeezing my bone together to make it heal mad me think of the person who created it and the first time they tried it out on some poor person. The fitting of a DHS is not for the faint hearted😳

Thankfully everything is looking well and I am free to get rid of the crutches. Well, they said wean off the crutches. That’s the same thing as throw it in the boot of the car and DRIVE (finally) like you were never injured isn’t it?🤪 although I have to admit I am partly missing being chauffeured. I’ve had some great chats and moments with my drivers lately and I will miss that. My kiddos are glad to have me back driving and collecting them from school though.

No more crutching it into the pool 🙌🏻
No more black and blue tummy🙌🏻

Stepping forward is progress

Progress on many fronts. Lots and lots of physio. I can’t speak highly enough of my physio. He really believes in where I want to go and is super enthusiastic about getting me there. He understands my personality & is super patient with my gazillion questions. We know the outcome we want to achieve and we are taking steps toward that goal consistently. I’m not under any illusion but I know it will be a long road, for now I’m going to focus on being happy with every achievement no matter how minor it may seem on the outside.

Ten whole minutes on the turbo. Heaven!👌🏻

All these little steps are making my heart sing right now. If I could ask you, dear reader, to do one thing for me this week it’s to remind yourself that you are great. We compare ourselves too much to others achievements (especially with social media) and often don’t stop to acknowledge our own. If you swam two lengths in a row of a pool for the first time, acknowledge that and say well done. It’s two more than you could do before. If you walked/ran a 5k, pat yourself on the back. Well done. If you went out for a walk after debating with yourself about whether or not you could go a walk, then super well done to you. If you took part in any of the events over the weekend,well done on getting out there (Kilkenny duathlon peeps, super well done👍🏻). If you PB’d on a run this weekend YAY!! (Those of you logging the miles marathon training, I’m your biggest cheerleader right now, especially a lovely lady up north 😉 I’m so inspired living vicariously through your stories!) If you stayed at home minding and spending quality time with your family, huge well done, that’s some very important time right there. No matter what it is, big or small. Acknowledge it to yourself and tell yourself you’re great. If you come across anyone who has achieved something, no matter how small, take the time to tell them well done😊

Them bones them bones need calcium

An update on my son who was in competition with me for best broken bone award, he is having a superb recovery. He has already been back out running, can’t go back training yet (his beloved boxing) but I’m beyond impressed with how quickly he is healing. In an effort to heal as a fast as possible he is even drinking green smoothies every morning and actually taking on my nutrition advice. Anything to get back training 😂

Rare photo op with my favorites

Daydream believer

Everytime I go to physio I take time to absorb the view. It’s where I hope to be swimming this summer. Well, half of the event. The full swim is 4Km and I’m hoping to do the 2km. I’m going to be working hard on my open water fear to accomplish this one. It’s a huge challenge for me, but I’m so grateful to have something training wise to focus on. Open water swimming is just a tad different to the pool 😂 even though I’ve done it (swimming in the sea) the fear when it’s quite big doesn’t just disappear, so I’m preparing myself to get comfy with just doing it afraid. I have a fab friend who is an incredible swimmer who is going to do it with me. She isn’t too in love with the sea either but an excellent swimmer. I’m still not sure how I managed to convince her 😂

The swim starts at that little dot right into the pier.
Wise words by Dr Angelou

A few random things from the last few weeks

If you have a few hours spare over Easter, go see this…Heartwarming & it won’t ruin your childhood memories of the movie. It’s really good.

I watched this Courtney Dauwalter documentary as recommended on another blog. If you’re interested in ultra running it’s a great watch. I could never in a million years imagine running that distance (200 miles) but it was inspiring to watch.

Any of you watch the live of Ironman Africa? I did and was thrilled to see Lucy Charles win again. What an athlete!! The swim was cut short due to very choppy seas and sadly two amateur athletes passed away during the swim😢…it was quite incredible to see these athletes swim. Especially Lucy Charles. I don’t think I even fully realized the danger of the open water swim until I saw the reports that the athletes had passed. May they RIP🙏🏻

Just crossed the finish line

I’m currently reading David Goggin’s book “Can’t hurt me” any of you read it? I’m convinced that man cannot feel pain! He certainly doesn’t believe in giving up that’s for sure.

Here she goes with the questions 🙃

What have you done these last few weeks that made your heart sing?

Have you achieved something but failed to acknowledge it to yourself because you saw others do it “better”?

Tell me your baby step toward a goal. No matter how small, I’d love to hear it 😊

Wishing you all a lovely week 😁

Breaking bad and learning from snails

Sooooo, here I am another blog, another catch up week. A lot has happened over here in Casa Caroline over the last few weeks. As I was just getting used to life with crutches and calling on my wonderful son for help, he decides to copy me and break a bone, I think he wanted to see how hard I really was and check the pain out for himself! Except he went for full on breaking bad, snap that mofo in half, I only fractured, (for his trauma he got the magic inhaler pain relief in the ambulance that made him high as a kite, I got me some video evidence, maaannn I so want to you tube that😂) So Rock Paper Scissors he wins. Although…for full metal jacket, I win. So enough with the TV analogies (can you tell it’s all tv and Netflix over here?)

That’s one impressive collarbone break…

All jokes aside, that was one terrible fright to get, for both of us. He was only nipping to the shop to pick up milk and took a tumble, no helmet, so in return for no skull protection he got a nasty concussion into the bargain. Helmets or walk is the new rule in our house. How things can change in an instant🥺. We were so lucky that a kind passerby stopped right after he fell. I’m so grateful that she took a different route instead of her regular route that night, some strange intervening telepathy going on there or something, but we are so lucky she did. He is recovering very fast, much faster than his ancient mother is and that’s for sure! 😆 four more weeks until he is out of the sling and can get back to his beloved boxing. He is after missing out on some test fights and that is a huge life learning for him right now. How to cope with disappointment and also knowing that months of hard work can be wiped out in an instant and before you know it you can be right back at the beginning again. It’s a tough one but a necessary lesson to learn. That’s why it is important to enjoy the process too. No matter what it is, its not just about the destination (whilst the destination is the initial focus) the journey must be as important as the outcome. We cannot control outcomes, and if we spend our time trying to, then that can lead to some very unhappy times indeed.


Since the accident, and my operation, life here has been at a much slower pace. E.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Takes so long for a start, even cooking dinner or getting ready for work/school in the morning. Constantly trying to organize lifts (everyone has been so so good to me, a few friends in particular who really have my back, neighbors doing the school run, colleagues bringing me to work) thinking ahead (what do I need, when are various appointments so on and so forth) as I can’t just get up and go, as I’m used to. Everything I am doing is at a snails pace, I am so unaccustomed to this speed that I am trying to learn from it & getting up close and personal with acceptance. I am so tired, and that is not me either. I am normally full of energy and rearing to go with a full and busy life, even outside of triathlon training. This is a whole new way of life and I am also observing lessons in it. Resting a lot, and plenty of evenings in. Myself and the kids have watched a lot of Netflix! A lot. I rarely watch movies or TV so this has been quite enjoyable and to be honest I have really enjoyed the quality time with them. (I have watched a lot of boxing!!) As I type this middle child has just dropped me in a cup of tea. Blessed.

This is my mantra for now. Slow is still progress.

As for training I have started back with some swimming. I was realllllyyyy glad to get the all clear for that. Still not using my legs, only front crawl pulling, with pullbuoy in constantly. I was relieved that I can still get into the pool and swim a steady and relaxed 1,000 metres without any stress or strain. I was nervous at first as I hadn’t swam for weeks that my swimming would have taken a hit but I am relieved that it hasn’t. I guess all the swimming I did while my leg was fractured & while I couldn’t run has paid off. I remembered how much I love swimming. Just gently easing up and down the pool was so comforting, I felt so chill and relaxed and I thoroughly enjoyed my few swims. I have been trying to visualize that I am in the open water so that I can hopefully adopt some of my zen indoor heated pool vibes and transfer them into the vastness that is the sea and glide through it with the same ease! Here is hoping! 😂I’m grateful to triathlon as a sport now that running is currently gone for me that I have two other activities to fall back on. I have physio again tomorrow and he will make a decision on whether or not I can give the turbo a go and at least get my legs turning again. If not I’m ok with at least having the pool (and sweet friends to take me there and back) for another while.

I have a bit of catching up to do to catch up with Feb swimming totals. Not sure I’ll get to 15k in
7 days, buuuuttt….yes, you guessed right, hoppy hopperson over here wants to give it a try!!

All the feels

Some of you that read this blog, or who have followed me on Instagram over the years know that I have suffered with depression on on and off. As I type “on and off”, I should clarify that anyone who has suffered with depression, or a depressive period even if it was a once off, knows that there is no real off. The journey after a battle with depression means that one is generally aware that they have to take extra good care of themselves and their feelings once they have risen above that low point that is just indescribable in its bleakness. I am currently working on that. Exercise, running in particular, is a huge part of how I take care of my mental health and now that is gone for the moment (along with many other things I enjoy, even hillwalking😢) I run the risk of falling into that bleak place again. Mentally I am not on top of the world at the moment, but I am not completely low either. I have had to take extra steps in my self care routine in order to make sure I am looking after myself well during this time. Part of my current self care routine is eating buckets of caramel chew chew ice cream and I am good with that!! Eating as well as you can, getting enough rest and chatting to people who have a good understanding is all essential when your mood is low. There would be no point in me writing this blog without talking honestly about my feelings as I go through this journey, those who know me know I am all about the feelings and all about honoring the emotions. We cannot outrun/outexercise our mental health and that is just a fact, we can try, but it only really works for a little while, and those buried feelings will eventually rise again. If this is you, don’t be hard on yourself. We all stuff feelings down from time to time, but know that if they do rise, and start to take over or overwhelm you there are lots of resources out there to help (dm me and I will be happy to chat to you too) here in Ireland I would highly recommend Pieta House. While I am on that topic, for those of you interested in doing the Darkness Into Light walk this year, early bird registration is open for the next 7 days. It’s the biggest fundraiser for Pieta House so please consider it. I will be almost 12 weeks post op so I really hope it will be a symbolic darkness into light for me as I leave my crutches behind and tentatively walk the five km.

Lastly, when you were ten?

Now that my routine has drastically changed, I was surprised to discover one of the things that I miss most is something that I wouldn’t normally consider a rather substantial part of my routine if I was asked, and that’s dancing. When I come home and after I have made dinner (or sometimes while I make dinner) and I go to get ready for running/spinning/swimming/cycling or whatever we have going on that evening, I love nothing more than to blast some tunes and dance around the place while I get ready. It is the worlds best de-stresser (if you don’t already, just try it, and dance like no one is watching while you do), I was thinking about this and a question that I was asked before “what did you want to be when you were ten years old?’ Apparently it is the age at which you have found your passion and what you wanted to be at this age is what you should be doing. At ten I wanted to be a dancer/choreographer (you can thank Paula Abdul for that!!) and I wanted to be a song writer. I used to write a lot of poems/songs back then and have a vivid memory of me in fifth class being asked by the principle to go sing my song for the school and I went from class to class that day singing my song. I really thought I destined for stage! Thankfully my hobby now represents my passion as a ten year old and my yearly contribution to the local theatre satisfies that inner Paula Abdul😂 Wishing you a happy week ahead and thanks for all the lovely messages asking how we are.

What did you want to be when you were ten years old?

What is your favorite self care treat?

Isn’t caramel chew chew ice cream the best?🙃

Let’s catch you up

Hey 👋 Today’s blog could be a long one, so, pop the kettle on if you’re going to have a read. It has been an eventful few weeks (to say the least) and I have plenty to fill you in on. It’s been a journey of getting to grips with some painful realities and accepting that some of my goals are a bit further away than I had initially envisaged.

I posted that I have a hip stress fracture in my last blog. This, I figured, would heal in time and I thought it would be conservative treatment, ie, crutches and rest for a few weeks and hey ho on you go about your business. Alas, that is not the case. My GP referred me to A&E for an x ray and to see an Orthopedic consultant, who decided I needed dynamic fixation. For the uninitiated, this is where they insert a metal plate and screws to hold the fracture together to allow it to heal. My fracture is on my femoral neck and is one that is a bit tricky to heal so therefore the consultant’s worry was that it was unstable therefore could lead to a complete break and then I could be in real trouble. To give you a quick idea of what Dynamic Fixation is, I’ve pencilled in red roughly (and resembling a childlike scrawl) where my fracture is on the diagram.

The surgery all came as a complete shock. I was not expecting it at all and it all unfolded really quickly. I had left the hospital after being told to stay on the crutches and not to weightbear on the injured leg more than 50% for six weeks then within an hour I got a call to say come back. When I returned the consultant told me that I shouldn’t have been left go home, that I was going to have surgery in the morning.

The tears just ran down my face as I ask a few questions (very simple ones such as “will I run again” “will I be asleep or awake for surgery?” I opted for awake) he advised that I will be on crutches and non weight bearing on the injured leg for at east 6 weeks. (Devastated) Also, that running is a good bit down the road but I will run again. It’s swimming first, bike next, running (if at all) last. It’s taken me this past week (I am almost two weeks post surgery) to acclimate to and accept that news.

Keeping calm & remembering to breathe

Surgery was relatively drama free, which was a big relief to me. I had two previous cesarean sections 17 years and 14 years ago and after the first one I had a DVT (a blood clot) so was on anti clotting medication for 6 months. What that means now is that for the next 6 weeks I will have to inject daily into my tummy – not big deal on the grand scheme of things, but certainly a reminder of the other battles I have faced in my past. We move on so quickly, that we have a tendency to forget how vulnerable as well as strong the human body can be. I had a spinal tap, which means I was awake for the procedure. I felt ever so calm – funny you might think, for a lady who panics like a baby in the sea, I was completely chill just focusing on my breathing as they wheeled me into theatre. I had advised the surgeon that I may cry as I do that A LOT, he laughed (I was perplexed as I was completely serious, should have asked him to read my blog to prove I’m a cry baby 😉), thankfully I didn’t cry during the procedure or afterwards when my temperature dropped so low I thought they’d never let me out from recovery. I was given a sedative in theatre and told that I may nap. I did for a bit but woke for a while during the surgery. I wont go into detail about that bit for those of you might have to have something like this done, but I placed my trust in their hands and was grateful for a medical system whereby I don’t have private healthcare but I am still lucky enough to have my health taken care of. When the surgery was done I was wheeled into recovery and held there for a time because my temperature was dropping low so they had to keep pumping hot air in under the foils they had me wrapped in to try to get my temperature up. I have hypertension for the last 4 years but thankfully by blood pressure remained stable the entire time. Another thing I was grateful for. I think my keeping calm and focusing on my breath helped with that.

The importance of gratitude

During this experience and for the last two weeks I’ve come to realise the importance of gratitude. At the risk of sounding all hippy dippy (pun totally intended) during this hip fracture drama I have come more reliant on my sense of gratitude than ever before. I’ve always tried my best to be grateful in life, but this time it became even more important and I felt much more positively affected by it. Yes, I was in the middle of a health shit storm, but no it wasn’t the worst thing in the world ever. Yes it was without a doubt the worst running injury a person could get, but no it wasn’t THE worst injury a person could get. Yes I was alone in this and wondering how on earth I was going to sort my kids and work etc out, but I would be able to do it one step at a time. Understanding colleagues and a supportive boss has removed the stress over work part. There were some people in my life that badly let me down but they weren’t ALL the people in my life. I had some amazing people who all jumped to to my aid as soon as this shit storm hit the fan & I don’t think my words will ever cover the gratitude I actually feel for those people. It’s truly when you’re at your lowest ebb that you see who’s really there and who really cares. I’ve learned that you can’t have a feeling of fear when you’re feeling grateful (try it, it works for me).

In saying that, while I’ve tons to be grateful for, so too am I processing what’s happened and my feelings around it all & the shitty things that have happened in the last few weeks. I get that one can’t jump straight from “oh crickey this has happened, I must focus on gratitude”, it doesn’t quite work like that. There is a process, and honoring the feelings that arise around any health issue is incredibly important too. Our feelings are important and shouldn’t be shut out with “think positive” bullshit either. There is a time and a place for everything & a due process, so, if you have a loved one in your life who is going through some health issue or life issue please try to refrain from “think positive” or “it could be worse” or worse still the dreaded “so this could be the reason it happened” or “the universe is telling you” they don’t need to hear that right now. They just need you to listen, empathise with them & just show you’re there. No answers, solutions or problem solving is necessarily needed. Just an ear. If you’re not sure about how to empathise click on this link Brene Browne explaines it perfectly .

I speak to my sister a lot on the phone and with this hip drama she just really got it. She was listening to me without trying to make me feel better or change the color of the situation. She was in tune with my frustration and I felt heard. It was the first time I had really noticed what true empathy is like. Others texted me with Netflix recommendations & said how awful for you, I’m here if you need, can I do anything? I know I can’t make you feel any better but I’m here. I had those who called for tea and just listened and chatted kindly and with the utmost care. How wonderful. No silver lining it, no jump to positivity, just total empathy.

Relying on your tribe

As you can imagine I couldn’t wait to get out of hospital and home. I parent alone, so I don’t have the back up of anyone at home to help me other than my teens. My family don’t live near me either so I truly have to rely on friends to help me out in moments like this, and BOY did they come up trumps. I had an angel friend (you know one of those angel mates who are just there for everything. All of those superbly shitty moments in your life that, no matter what you did, you could never show them how just how deeply grateful you are for them – the ones who tell you to shut up when you try, those ones, the ones who have been there for the make-up free tears and snot fest moments in your life & never once judged you, or told you how you really looked, instead told you that you’re cool) who popped into hospital with all the necessities (pajamas and toothbrush and drinks and food and water and lucozade and lucozade and lucozade) AND best of all some late night contraband (chips and a burger 😆 ) the night after surgery!! I had so many other friends who ALL took time out of their lives to come help me. Two crazy angels who brought my son up to hospital to collect me (while my daughter was at home keeping the house running). One to drive my own car home. My two teens who have had to take over running the house, doing all the shopping and helping me up and down stairs, and the friends who are doing all the driving around of said teenagers. Friends who are helping with the food shopping. Family members who are on the phone everyday checking in. How could I be anything but grateful?

Any of you that know me well know how hard is is for independent-to-a-fault me to ask for help, this is a huge character building chapter for me right now.

Back to where I started

As for triathlon and running I guess I’m right back at the beginning & I’m going to have to learn to walk before I can run again and it will all be fairly slow going, but it’s all part of my journey. I hope you guys who have taken the time to read these blogs (and thank you to those of you who message me each time I post it means THE WORLD to me) will continue on this little journey with me. My marathon is a long long way off, if it’s ever going to happen. I may have to change the name of the page to tribabyswims instead? 🤔 maybe. We’ll see. But for now it’s one baby step at a time.

When was the last time you were in hospital?

What food drinks do you crave most when in there or unwell? (Especially during that horrible pre surgery fast)

What do you need most from those around you when you’re ill?

Adjusting my sails, grief & what’s next?

Hey 👋🏻 thanks for stopping by 😊 I’m super late with my post but sometimes life has a way of throwing us curveballs & reminding us that nothing is set in stone. I’ve been processing some stuff over the last few weeks too so I wasn’t really with “the words” enough for my blogging.

To catch you up….I’ve been nursing a running injury for the last nine weeks – well when I say “nursing” being more truthful I mean I’ve been fighting. I’ve been in fairly immense pain in my hip but trying everything in my power to get over it. No running & just cycling and swimming. I went to physio and have been working on a gait issue for the last month or two. This was discovered a few months back during gait analysis. My gait issue is that my right leg runs like Phoebe and my left leg runs like Rachel (if you’re a friends fan you’ll know what I mean, if not – check out this clip )

Basically my right leg is weaker and the knee dips in toward my body during launch phase in running. You can see in the photo the way my foot is turned in, then it’s not lined up correctly when it comes forward into the strike position, therefore, constantly loading the hip. My glute muscles are weak too, they needed work. So all of this combined with the physio work not done on time = Injury.

I knew I had this gait issue a while back but like any brave soldier I just ignored it and kept running through pain so I could get my half marathon done & then start my right leg strengthening programme properly afterwards in order to prepare for marathon training (I’m being totally facetious, please please please don’t ever ignore or run through pain, it’s not being a brave soldier, it’s being an idiot, I’m paying a fairly heavy price for leaving mine go so long!!)

So, to cut a long boring story short after working on my physio programme, avoiding running, and just sticking to swimming and cycling the pain wasn’t getting any better and I got a referral for an MRI. Results are that I have a stress fracture in my right hip. Joy! So now I’ve to be referred to an orthopaedic consultant to see what happens next. I’m preparing myself for a lonnnggg running break. Gutted.

So. What do you do when the wind changes direction?

You make the most of it, you adjust your sails & make the most of the wind coming from a different direction. Watch that it won’t blow you off course, but don’t take your eye off the destination. So, I can’t run. Boohoo, cry. Sit on the pity pot Caroline. Complain. Have cups of tea with friends. Complain more. Ring your sister and talk to her for hours complaining a little bit more. Tell your teenage kids you’re upset and can they help with the shopping and hoovering. Then, when you’re done….get up, dust yourself down, thank your friends and patient sister for listening & suck it up buttercup. There are much worse things in the world. Much worse. I could have been given much worse news. (As my Dad said “Great. It could have been a hip replacement so that’s great news it’s only a fracture 😂😂😂) So on to plan B.

As any of you that know me & know about my Tribaby journey you’ll know my swimming & cycling drama. This new trajectory has now gifted me more time for swimming and cycling. I’ve been swimming a lot, I’ve been swimming so much that someone noticed recently “your shoulders are getting very square” (I’m not lying😂 don’t you just love people’s blurted out honesty?!!) and now with the injury I’ll be doing even more swimming, using a pull buoy for the time being so as not to use my legs, therefore utilising all the power of my upper body. I have visions of me looking like Johnny Bravo with my skinny malinky legs at the end of summer 😂

I could totally carry off that hair, you think🤔
This is a pull buoy in case you didn’t know. You keep it between your legs to keep lower body up in the water & don’t use your legs to kick.

So now that it looks like my birthday marathon will be out of the question this year I have to bring my focus to other things I CAN do. I’m still panicky about deep open water swimming but this injury has now given me a new fresh motivation to get back out there and get sea swimming soon. I’ve decided to aim for a charity sea swim in July. One I’ve attended & watched every year wishing I could do it, so this year I’m going to go for it…

There is another reason why…

This guy ❤️

This photo is from one of our dress rehearsals. Myself and Michael “mad hatter’ Wright. As you know I suffer with anxiety & during this show (I’ve been in a few with Michael) my anxiety was dreadful. I had a lot going on & my anxiety was just terrible. He was so understanding and kind to me during this time….he made me get out there and not give in to anxiety and fear. “Don’t mind what other people think & say no to anxiety – you’re doing this for the kids, the little children who believe in magic and believe in us” Michael was a gentleman. A funny man, and a true performer. He really loved entertaining people. Michael passed away on the 20th Jan. Suddenly. He was knocked down on the main road near my home. Devastated isn’t enough of a word to cover it. It made our town come to a standstill such was the shock. This is another reason for my delayed return to blogging. I found it very difficult to process. Michael believed in giving people time, he was unbelievably popular. He always had the good word to say about people. He was always cracking jokes & he cracked me up. Going out on to stage with him ANYTHING could happen. You can be guaranteed that he wouldn’t stick to the lines – instead throwing you in the ad lib deep end live on stage with his one liners 😂😂😂 we had amazingly funny moments on stage.

Michael was the DJ that welcomed all the swimmers back to shore on the Helvic swim – the one I’m planning on doing. Michael is the real reason that I’ve decided I’m doing it this year. Apart from my leg injury, he reminded me not to let fear and anxiety take over and ruin things for me. He will be terribly missed this year but I’m doing it both for the lifeboats charity and with Michael in my heart.

This new challenge of mine has instead turned into an opportunity to go deeper into my fear of water, challenging it even more until I’m no longer afraid. Or maybe just doing it afraid & accepting the fear mightn’t go away but doing it anyway because I WANT to do it. I’ve watched this swim every year wishing I could be one of those swimmers & I now couldn’t have a better opportunity to do it. A lovely (very accomplished sea swimmer) lady spontaneously offered to take me out sea swimming from March (she’s giving me a bit of wallowing time). Looks like I’ve no excuse now. Wish me luck 😄

So now that I have caught you up on the last few weeks events I’m left with a question or two. How have you adjusted your sails when the wind changed direction in your own life? What new unexpected gifts did it bring? Was the change a blessing in disguise or something you found very difficult to accept?

Have a lovely week ahead 💕

Don’t forget your shovel if you want to go to work

Happy Sunday 😃

Today’s planned cycle was a route that I have been dreading all week. Steep incline + Me and clips + Me, falling of bike repeatedly because of clips = I’m sure you understand why I was dreading this. I blame the Lovely Linda for it all. Route planning. Falls. Everything. I just blame her. Well I need to blame someone & she won’t mind, she just laughs 😂 We were heading up Mahon falls cycling. Us two newbies up a mountain locked into bikes 😂
So I turn up at designated meeting spot in my car, shoving on bike shoes and getting bike out of car to realise I had forgotten my helmet. 🙄. I told the guys to head off and I’d meet them somewhere along the path. I had a feeling it was my subconscious saying “don’t do this Caroline you’re not able” someone had suggested this week that I was insane to contemplate cycling up there for various reasons including “sure no one would have the fitness for that this time of year” cue Caroline hastily repacking car, ignoring inside voice (saying, you forgot your helmet for a reason, just go home & cycle another day) & heading back home to get a helmet, because, god forbid I would listen to someone with those “you can’t & you’re crazy to try” views. Oh no. I would have to prove them wrong 😂- thankfully a friend closer than my house had a helmet I could borrow so I wasn’t all day fetching mine. 
Finally I meet up with the guys who are smiling, despite the horrible cold drizzly morning, having warmed up the ol’ legs. I hurriedly get out and get clipped in and go. Our Sherpa experienced cyclist informs us that “round this bend the climb starts” and OH.MY.GAWD. did that climb start. Ouchiemama. My thighs were on FIYA. My thighs were screaming more than doing the spin squat I torture my spin class with. This is what I learned…..(in case you ever want to do the same jaunt as me & this is a whole new world to you too)
1) don’t stop on a hill. Do. Not. (Unless absolutely essential) Stop on a hill. Do not stop on a hill ESPECIALLY if you are new to clipping in and out of your bike. 
2) do not stop on a hill in the rain on a slippery wet surface unless absolutely essential. 
3) Do not stop on a hill 
4) As rule number 5 states. Harden the f*ck up. Keep going & stop being a sissy pants. Do not stop on that hill. No matter how loudly screaming your thighs are. Do not stop…because it will go a little something like this…..
I stopped. I caught my breath. Then went to go again. One foot still clipped in ,the other not, so I was scootering my bike along (you know the drill. One foot scooting along the ground to get the momentum going) except it ain’t that easy to get momentum going UP A HILL. I’m actually eyerolling at myself right now 🙄
(I hate the caption of this video but it sure does remind me of many a blonde moment I’ve had, insert eye roll emoji here yet again)
First attempt to clip in, foot slips, gash to shin.  Stop again for a second. Second attempt. Slip again. Third attempt. Is that a car behind me? 😳 omg. Omg. Please please please don’t be recording this for YouTube #cyclistfails #irishmountainbikefool #fail #funniesteejitever

Ok, maybe “gash” was a strong word

Finally I had enough of “attempting” to get back on my bike. I was getting back on my bike and that was it. I took a deep intake of breathe (because that gives your thighs magical power for climbing hills) and as if it were a piebald pony I was mounting, involuntarily I say out loud “Gwan Caroline, Gwan, yup yup, you can do this” and low and behold I’m cycling uphill again. Shaking my head thinking, Seriously, why can’t I internally talk to myself like other people. 
We finally made it to the top where a beauty in a black car brought us coffee and scones & I was beyond grateful of them.
Linda is ever so proud of those scones 👌🏻👍🏻
Going back down was fast….I had the brakes on the whole time because I’m 40 now & heading down hills in the rain at record breaking speed doesn’t hold the same appeal as it did when I was 12 😂 Sherpa experienced cyclist reminded us to keep our weight toward the back on the bike and that helped on the downhill. 
All in all a great morning, and being honest, it was worth all the arse making of myself. If I took this “learning how to tri” business too seriously I definitely would have given up ages ago. Laugher, in my opinion, is definitely the best medicine. We take ourselves & life too seriously sometimes. 

So cold, but if I don’t take a pic it didn’t happen 😉

Have you ever made a complete fool out of yourself learning something new? When was the last time you did? I mean, those moments where you think “holy crap I hope there isn’t a hidden camera around here that caught that” but laughed at yourself sort of way?

Posh desserts, recounting and climbing hills

Hey, how’re you? thanks for stopping by 😊 I’m here sipping some lavender tea FINALLY chilling after a pretty busy weekend. I hadn’t intended it on being as busy but it just worked out that way and to be fair I’m grateful for all of it. My son had his first boxing match this weekend (super nervous can’t-bring-myself-to-watch-mother didn’t attend, as he requested, but I’m extremely proud of him. He is new to the sport and it takes a hell of a lot of guts to get in to the ring with someone so, hats off to him, he is doing something that I know I could never ever do, and most importantly he is following his passion)

While youngest child was off boxing, middle child was out having her birthday dinner with her friends, I was over at the lovely Linda’s for dinner. A fellow triathlete (we get to call ourselves that now I guess, seeing as we have at least one under our belts? Don’t we? 😆) Lovely Linda was totally coaxed along on this tri journey with me, I met her at a spinning class I teach and seeing her lovely smiling innocent face each week obediently following my shouted instruction – I figured she would be naive enough to jump into the cold sea with me in September, followed by hopping on to a bike cycling until you dry off to then break into a run😂

Your spinning instructor needs you!!! (Check out that long witchy finger though 😂)

We were recounting our tri-escapades to Linda’s friend during dinner last night and boy did we have a laugh. Two total newbies without a clue. I started recounting my first time going cycling with the club. If I’m honest It was practically my first time cycling full stop. I only owned a hybrid and, at that, I was petrified of the thing. I went along to one of the local triathlon clubs Sunday Cycles, on my own, with Henny the hybrid. I didn’t even own a helmet so I borrowed one from Mr Patient (he will feature in more parts of this blog I’m sure, he has helped me quite a bit, and mostly to stop crying every time I cycle more than 3 km) Mr Patient was a postman in a previous career and had a cycling helmet from when he was out delivering post. It was snot green with “An Post” emblazoned on the side. “Ah that’ll do me grand” says I, scratching the emblem off. So there I am, Henny the hybrid, snot green helmet, fifty six thousand seven hundred and twenty one layers of clothes, and a backpack for all the food and drinks I was going to have on my adventure, and off I go. I got to the meet spot and oh how I wish I could just show you the look on some of the super kitted out looking-like-proper-cyclists-jerseys-and-all faces. You know that way when someone smiles at you in a trying to be polite but contain their shock sort of look? The look that says “hello, do you speak English are you lost?” Assuming you are a tourist on your rental bike trying to find your way back to the coast road…That was the look… just there. And I cannot blame them at all 😂 but they were so kind. Me and my little backpack all ready for my adventure. Sh*tting myself. But ready nonetheless. I had said some prayers on the way from my house, mostly as I navigated the roundabouts – praying that there would be no traffic on said roundabouts as I couldn’t signal what direction I was going due to my not being able to take one hand off the bike and control it at the same time. THAT is how new to this I was. “Ah but Caroline surely you cycled as a child? Teen?” Nope I didn’t. Myself and cycling had a bit of a checkered history. First instance, tearing down a hill full speed standing on a tricycle (I was about nine at the time on a tricycle that was given to me when I was four) only to take the legs out from underneath my little cousin standing at the bottom of the hill, her landing on a concrete block and having to get stitches on her face (I’m still so sorry Jess). Instance number two, tearing down a hill in Irish college, falling off flat on my face in front of the boy I fancied, and that was the end of my cycling career. UNTIL….back pack adventure day!!!

Backpack adventures 😆

Things have improved a little bit since that first day cycling with the club. I don’t cry so much when I’m out cycling or climbing hills (they were the main reason I cried – it went a little like “I can’t do this, why is this so forking hard, I do spinning for fork sake how can it be so forking hard, I forking quit, I’m going back home”) Myself and the lovely Linda got a pair of road bikes and we both got shoes and clips. (I have to admit she is way better with those too. My first time out with her and my clips I clipped out with my left leg and went to put the right leg on the ground….splat, I landed on my right side, to howls of laughter from her!!) I enjoy it now. Even when I can’t keep up with Linda. Or anyone else, I’m quite slow, but I’m working on it.

Linda and I out today climbing some hills and getting a good spin done. We did 60ish Km with 1,700ft elevation gain & I really really loved it.

Recounting the stories last night really got me thinking about how much it can hold you back when you care what others think. We all do care to a point, that’s completely natural I think, but if you have something in your mind that you really want to do, some burning desire or some passion that you are holding yourself back from because of the fear of what others think I am asking you to please let that go. Let that bullshirt go. My son wouldn’t have stepped into that ring last night if he let the thought of what others think hold him back. I wouldn’t have relearned how to cycle or learned how to swim if I cared or let it hold me back. Of course some words will hurt a bit, some people can be very forthright with their brusque comments (they are not your tribe remember!!) but you have to let that go. Do what you really want to do, if you want to go out on your bike, dust the thing off and get out there. I promise it’s worth it.

One question though…If you could do something that you did as a child again (like freewheeling down a hill at speed) what would it be?

OH and one last thing…check out this posh dessert I was treated to at Linda’s… It has ALL the goodness. Chocolate mousse with espresso coffee. This woman knows how to cook and knows how to make good chocolatey desserts. And no she can’t be your new tri buddy, sorry, she’s already spoken for 😆

Find your tribe…and look after them

This weeks blog is going to be a bit shorter. I hadn’t intended on talking about anxiety so much. Obviously for me it is a big part of my training as I had the whole fear of water thing to get over. That and the fact that it is a big part of my life full stop. There are plenty of other ways that anxiety can manifest and affect our daily lives – lots and lots and lots of people suffer from it. Some people are suffering and don’t even realize that it’s anxiety that they suffer from. I was one of those people for many years.

The single most important piece of advice I can give to anyone embarking on a new chapter in your journey – whether that is deciding to try triathlon, write a book, learn how to knit, deciding to lose weight, deciding to get a new job, deciding to go to therapy, deciding to train for a marathon, deciding to quit smoking, deciding to learn how to sing – anything – is to find your tribe. Know who your tribe are. Your tribe consist of people who have your back. They don’t necessarily have to be family, they can be friends or co workers or team mates, but find your tribe. These people are the ones who just get you. Who don’t judge you, but who will say it as it is and not beat around the bush when you need that too. They are the people who will show up to support you, no questions asked. They are the people who will listen to you endlessly as you bang on and on and on about triathlon even though they have no more interest in it than the man on the moon & fully support you as you exhaust yourself trying to fulfill your dream. They will remind you to take your time. To be gentle with yourself. They will give you the kick up the ass when you need that too. They will inspire you. They will wipe your tears. They will listen to your self loathing rants and remind you that you are worthy JUST AS YOU ARE.

My triathlon story is threaded with moments where my tribe showed up. A sister chatting on the phone regularly and accompanying me to my first triathlon, keeping me in the moment and soothing my nerves. Welling up with emotion when she saw me finally make it out of the water (very very last) and the look of relief on her face causing me to nearly burst into tears before getting to transition to get my bike (I’m pretty sure she was praying for that entire 29 minutes). A friend shouting support as I ran past nauseated 🤢 after a sea swim on my second triathlon – me stopping in my tracks, almost as if to pop over to the barrier to her for the chats, only to hear shouts and roars from men behind me barging through with their bikes (like, really, who stops in the middle of a triathlon for the chats 😂) Nights where the girls understand you can’t stay out late because you have a long run in the morning. The friends who leave bottles of water outside their front door for you to replenish, marking the half way point of your long run on a Sunday morning.

While it is very important to know who your tribe are and to lean on them it is also imperative that you show them that your there for them too. It doesn’t have to be mighty gestures, the small things will do. Offer to babysit for that friend who rarely gets out. Offer to do the ironing or help to clean for the friend who is overwhelmed just looking at the state of the house. You can drink tea and have great chats while cleaning, and I find it easier to tidy someone else’s house than my own. Call for tea. Make time for friends. Invite someone over for a meal. We are all guilty of being too busy, the best gift we can give is that of our time. Send that text. Make that call. Give that spontaneous gift for no reason. Buy flowers for a friend just to make them smile. Tell those that you love you appreciate them. This is one I don’t do often enough. I have the best teens who have helped me more than they could know and I know I don’t tell them often enough. They support me endlessly. Whether it’s hanging around waiting for me to cross the finish line of a half marathon or manning one of the water stops on the triathlon route. I am blessed.

Middle child waiting for me to finish my half marathon

Also know that whilst it is imperative to have your tribe to nourish your soul, know also that you are not everyone’s cup of tea. And be ok with that. Someone doesn’t like what you’re doing on your journey and they feel the need to keep telling you that? Someone overly critical about everything you do? Putting you down or maybe even stunting your growth? Let them go and be ok with that. They are not your tribe. Maybe they are just not your tribe for right now. That is ok too. Also know that not everyone will share the same enthusiasm for your new found hobby/obsession/job, no matter what that is. So save those chats for those who do want to listen. If you don’t have someone to listen or to share the ups and downs with, then make it your priority to find them. Join a club. Find an online forum. I went to my first open night of the triathlon club knowing absolutely no one, and absolutely nothing about triathlon apart from the fact that I would need to learn to swim and cycle and start running. I made lots of new friends and gained lots of support. I almost didn’t go in at first and circled around in the car a few times before going in, thinking it was just for those coming from other sporting backgrounds and I was glad to find I was wrong.

With all that said, I would like to finish today’s blog with a question. Who would you be or what would you be doing if you didn’t care about what other people think? From a recent conversation it’s one thing that can stop people exploring new hobbies or aspects of themselves or giving something new a try. I hope that’s not the case for you dear reader. 💕

New Year Reflections & swimming in the deep end.

So here I am. New year. New blog. The first post of the new year on the new blog. I don’t know about you but I get very reflective at this time of year. It brings up all sorts of emotions for me. I have spent today with a mix of feeling reflective & emotional along with a sense of gratitude for friends & sisters who understand me & listen whilst sharing their battles too, reminding me that the emotional part of us needs to be honoured just as much as the physical part of us. Well, that’s my belief anyway. Some of my friends are making resolutions today. One person triggered in me a reflection of how far I have come on my own tri journey. I decided to do a triathlon for my 40th birthday last October. I decided to do a triathlon with zero experience in biking running or swimming (I only owned a hybrid that I was afraid of actually cycling so it spent a lot of time in the shed) AND I was petrified of deep water. I mean petrified to the point of crying even at the thought of being in the deep end of the pool, let alone the thought of being in deep OPEN water. (I cry a lot….hence the blog name tribaby perfectly rhyming with cry baby). I remembered my battle with the swimming aspect of triathlon. As you can see from this pic whilst I look all sorts of hands-on-the-hips ready to swim in the river I’m nervously peering in to – I’m not ready at all. A picture can be very deceptive.

Youngest encouraging me and offering words of advice. Oh to be young and fearless 😊

My insides are churning and I’ve a lump in my throat with anxiety. My son standing behind me feeling very emotional at watching his normally strong mother feeling so weak & vulnerable asking his advice 😳At this point for the river swim (July ‘18) I couldn’t swim 500 meters continuously….As you can see in the pics from Feb 2018 when I started learning how to swim. Nearly ten minutes to swim 100 metres 🙊. As insane as that sounds that was a super achievement for me. Prior to that I wouldn’t even get in to the pool, making up excuses to a friend (who knew I was taking on this challenge & was going to teach me how to swim) saying it was too busy, when really I was too anxious and scared.

We started slow with the lessons. Trying to get over my fear of the deep end she held my hands as she gently guided me away from the wall. Tears streaming down my face trying to control & fight the panic attacks. It took over an hour for me to let go of the steps at the deep end. My tears causing her to well up too as I don’t think she expected me to be as distraught as I was. The sheer joy we experienced when I managed to tread water without holding on to her or the wall. What a sight we were to the children running and jumping in no fear at all😂😂

Like. Who in their right minds would even post a ten min/100m swim. 😂

Next up was my open water swim. I signed up for a 500 metre river swim in a town not too far away. To say I was nervous is definitely the understatement of the century. Whilst this may sound like a whole heap of drama over a teeny weeny tiny river swim, when you’re in the midst of anxiety and about to face your fears, it’s anything but drama. My anxiety was so high that I kept feeling faint whilst driving over there (I have been known to faint in my panic attacks) and hopping into a river to swim when you’re prone to fainting during panic isn’t exactly the best combo 😂

So I did it. I stopped a gazzillion times & begged to get out of the water but the patient saint of a lady in the boat encouraged me to keep going. My children were on the bank shouting encouragement to me. I’m beyond blessed with them. Any other kid would probably have ran away embarrassed (I know if it was me as a teenager and my Mother, rest her soul, was in the water flapping about and being as dramatic as I was that day I’d have pretended I was there to support someone else😂 sounds awful but I really think that’s what I would have done 😂) but they walked along guiding me and supporting me making sure I didn’t give up. As you can see I was the only person left in the water – everyone else was finished longggg before me, the best part of it being, while I was there swim panicking and drinking manky river water, some people WALKED past me 😂😂😂the sides of the river were so shallow in places you could actually walk. Of course that’s a secret so please don’t tell anyone 🤫 this video is so like me that day it’s uncanny😂

Next pic is yesterday’s swim, I went to clear my head a bit & what a difference in times. I wasn’t swimming for time yesterday, I was only swimming because I can’t run at the moment (injury) and to clear my head. Reflecting today that I have come to a point where I can get into the pool swim my 1,000 metres straight and get back out with no drama is huge. That with all the trials and tribulations that I’ve surmounted in the last year that I’ve come a long way. Also, that fear can be overcome if you want something bad enough. The biggest mountain that I had to climb was the fear itself. Finding ways to not listen to the negative mental chatter and to replace the “I can’t” with “I can”

I love the garmin badge I earned yesterday “finish strong” that even though I’m feeling blue and feeling anxious at the moment, it’s a reminder that I am still strong. It means, of course, doing an activity on the last day of the year – but for me it was rather symbolic. It takes a certain kind of strength to keep going and face the day whilst full of anxiety and it takes a certain kind of strength to tackle new challenges whilst still, full of anxiety. Know that if that sounds like you I’m sending you a huge high five for even getting through the day. I’m blessed with supportive people around me that know I suffer and that understand anxiety, because having those that understand is super important & helps me to stop living in my head & helps me to articulate it, giving it less power. Wishing you a wonderful new year and thanks for reading my musings, hopefully plenty more adventures to post about in the coming year😊