Monika The Brave.

New challenges await us all, if we’re just open to them. Rower Monika has a few great achievements under her belt, not least of which is tackling this blog post, along with just a few other challenges 🙂



It has beHalf Ironen on my mind to contribute to this blog for a good few months now. Since November 2016 to be exact. How do I remember? Easy. I ran my first full marathon in Dublin on 30th October. I would have done something sooner, but I think low-self esteem held me back (believe it or not, that’s why I exercise), and I lack confidence to write in English, as it’s not my first language. But now, I’m ready!


It only took 42.126km. That’s 42,136 metres of of pure determination, willpower and self belief. If I can do that, I can blog, right? But now, how to write about marathon training, and for it to be interesting, and funny… There are bucket load of articles out there. Everybody is having a different experience. Also, half of my friends have completed a marathon. What else is there to say?


To be perfectly honest, I think training sucks big time. Pounding footpaths for hours on end, energy gels tucked behind my belt, asking random strangers for sips of water ( thanks Sean), checking pace, cadence, heart rate. One week I counted a total of 140km, and then the weekends were around 100k mark. I was panicking the milage wouldn’t be enough. Was it necessary? For me, absolutely. I just wanted to finish with my head held high.


But then, after all those distances, disaster. A torn ankle tendon three weeks prior was massive set back, physically and psychologically. Calm, rest, focus. It was the hardest thing. But just in time, it came right. The day dawned bright and clear. The training kicked in, the lungs did their job. I made it through the finish line  and it was awesome! The best feeling ever. Now I am aiming to do one again this year in sub four hours. A new challenge!


Mon and BFTwo things I’ve learned. My body is awesome, it allows me to do crazy things like this one. Also, based on my experience, I believe that my body is made for endurance rather than speed. I want to add that I’m a 36 year old mum and that now I’m fitter than I ever was in my 20’s. This experience has also been under the watchful eye of my fit bf, he was full of encouragement and confidence.  We ran it together. Well, actually I ran way waaay behind him, but it was an amazing experience to share with each other. I still remember the walk back, I always laugh out loud when I think of it. Holding onto rails along Merrion square. Our legs were totally fucked for days afterwards.


But now that I’ve started writing, I realise that this story is not about running a a marathon. And it’s not about rowing  – a sport which is in my heart forever and still identify myself as a rower (I miss you girlies already). This story is actually about trying something new. I tried marathons. And for me, my next new thing is triathlon. Because two sports are not enough obviously. Three sports which are combined, that I think I do like very much. And excuse my pun, but life’s too short not to try a tri!


It actually all started with the half Ironman event in Dublin last August. I completed one as part of a relay with my dad, with me running. (That’s us in the very first picture)  he’s a 63 year old MACHINE on the bike. Oh my, how proud was I? What an honour to share this experience with him. Since then I’ve had this conflicting ideas in my head. Will i do more, will i not? Will I leave rowing for a while? I was afraid to loose the idea of belonging to my club, the support of training, the gatherings of friends. But thanks to 70.3, i found my tri boyfriend and gained even more amazing friends, like-minded swim, bike and run enthusiasts.


So here I am, beginning of February 2017, full of beans, can’t wait for the next adventure to begin. Tri-ireland licence renewed, first race in May paid for.

image1 (3)I have started to run again when-ever possible (though I really didn’t feel like it for a while). I’m now swimming three times a week and I began cycling last December. A good few lessons in the pool were necessary to be honest. They still are and I have a personal coaching lesson booked for next week, so i don’t go backwards or sink when I make it to the open water. I bike every sunday morning here in Killaloe with great bunch of people. Sure, my life isn’t busy enough as it is 🙂 #rolls eyeballs.


I’ll be taking it nice and handy this season. Some sprint distances (750/20/5) and Olympic distances (1.5/40/10) #read swim /bike/ run, they will do me nicely. With some duathlons ( run/bike/run)  lined up in next three months. Cold water is my enemy, (Emily do you remember? A few splashes of cold water in the boat and I nearly ended up in A&E with pneumonia) Some triathlete, what?


I intend to keep in touch with #PBM over the training and race period, and report back on how it’s going, with it all being new to me. For now, there’s more excitement than fear, and I’m happy to be able to share it with you!


Wish me luck!