Monday, 29 December 2014

Sacrifices, or how everyone's reality is different!

Hi all,

I hope and trust you are all keeping well and making loads of plans for the New Year and for some of you shedding the lbs gained over the festive season. I am back from a week off work. I took it to celebrate my 20 years in Ireland with a trip to Killarney but also to spend some time with relatives in Dublin.

While in Dublin I was reminded of the challenges life throws at you when my niece's daughter suffered a burst appendicitis on Christmas morning. She was rushed to Crumlin and operated on the same day. Later on in the week she got a bad reaction to morphine but is still keeping strong. Her mother and partner haven't left her side and sacrificed everything we took for granted on Christmas Day; family, food, drink, cakes, sleep, TV. The lot.

And that got me thinking about what I am doing, running my 12 marathons in 12 months in 2015 for Gorta Self Help Africa! My sacrifices compared to those of the women that will be supported with the money I will raise.

My sacrifices are time (training, fundraising, races etc...), food (cutting refined and added sugars, bread, restaurants etc...), alcohol (no more until I have reached my target 12 Marathons then a bottle of bubbly) and weekends (training Friday, Saturday and Sunday or racing).

The sacrifice of  these women in Africa is to get up every day (365/year) and to do whatever they need to do to keep themselves and their families ALIVE!

If I don't succeed, I will feel horrible. If they don't succeed, there may be death.

That's all the motivation I need, trying to make a difference and make some other people's lives better. That is my purpose in life and through my running we might be able to set up some smallholder farms for these women to become self sufficient.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: -You can support me by following this Blog every Monday and Friday for the whole year and by sharing it with your friends.
-You can donate €12 (€1/Marathon) or a multiple if possible at
-Helping me find companies or organisations that would like to sponsor me for the year and whose names will be on newsletters, t-shirts, social media etc...

My training programme this week is 1 x 4.6 miles, 2 x 6.21 miles, 1 x 7.2 miles and 1 x some distance over 10 Miles. The other 2 days will be covered with some Core work.

Have a wonderful day.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Maybe strong is what you have left, when you have used up all your weak!

The title line is from an ad for Saucony; a company that makes amongst other things, running shoes. It always resonated with me and I figured out the reason for that recently. I was using all my weak in my running efforts. I am a better runner than I have been. I did the minimum of what I had to do to finish marathons.

So I needed a bigger challenge, one that would frighten me into action. I decided that 12 Marathons in 12 months was scary as I did an average of 2.5 marathons for the last 7 years. Today, Monday the 15th of December the start of that challenge is a mere 2 weeks away. 12 in 12 for Gorta Self Help Africa.

Funny how setting challenges that seem impossible focus you into action. I ran PB's for both the Half and Full Marathon this year at the age of 48! I just ran 29 miles over 3 days this weekend a week after my Half Marathon PB. I'm feeling better, stronger and fitter than 20 years ago when I was into sports but also into cigarettes, junk food and alcohol. The cigarettes have long gone, the vast majority of what is left of the junk food and alcohol are going January 2nd. This year is about breaking through to the other side of running; one that finds peace in pain, one that finds meditation in distance.

And one that will see me raise €12,000 for Gorta Self Help Africa. And that's the bit I need your help with. I'll let you know next Friday what you can do to assist right now.

Have a wonderful week and remember; run with a smile!

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Progress, mindsets, why's and urgency.

Waterford, 06/12/2014
This is shaping up to be a great weekend. I just ran a Personal Best (PB) for the Half Marathon at the Waterford AC Half at age 48! 1Hr47min33sec.
 To put it into context my PB is from 5 years ago at 1H48 and my other 2 Half Marathons this year were 1H54 and 1H53. That's half a minute per mile off.
As a Life and Motivational Coach I am curious as to the Why of everything so what made me go to sub 8 minute miles for the last 5 today and 7.25 for the last 1.1 mile?

I stayed in the room of the wonderful Athenaeum Hotel in the afternoon to figure it out. It is a combination of things mostly centred around mind-set.

1. The 12 Marathons in 12 months challenge is starting next Month in January 2015 and I feel nervous anticipation towards it so I wanted to prove myself today (just to me) :)
2. I have made running one of 2 things (together with my coaching business) I want to do to the best of my ability, the highest standard possible. I have to thank Gerry Duffy for that phrase, I learned it at one of his seminars on an April Sunday this year in the Irish Management Institute in Dublin.
3. I have an integrated plan inclusive of running training, Paleo based nutrition, core exercises, planned marathons etc...
4. I have a brilliant cause and charity for the 2015 challenge in Gorta Self Help Africa and I have promised them stuff and I like keeping my word.

None of these have started but are imminent, yet the anticipation, urgency, nearness and desire were strong enough to make me feel like I could fly today.

All you need in life to succeed is a strong Reason, an Action Plan, Value congruency, Love and Hard Work. The rest is all in the mind and easy!

I said recently I had been winging this running lark in the last 6 years and 17 Marathons and I know now that is true. Boundaries will be smashed, thanks in advance for all your support for my 12 in 12 months challenge in 2015!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

How many loops did you do? Sixmilebridge Eddie Murphy Memorial.

After the inspirational night on Friday at the Galway Gorta Self Help Africa Gala Dinner it was fitting that I had a race within 48 hours. Still buzzing from the words by the amazing people from the charity all roads led to the village of Sixmilebridge in the Banner County for the next race in my preparation for the 12 Marathons in 12 months challenge in 2015!

BMOH AC, the local club were holding their annual Eddie Murphy Memorial race. Due to the tragic passing of Eddie Murphy in April 2011 , BMOH AC hold a multi marathon event each November in Sixmilebridge in Honor of him which takes place on a unique one mile loop. Eddie had completed45 Marathons himself.

Words of thanks first. The organisation was amazing, the Stewards brilliant, the MC with the mike very witty, the weather condusive to running. These women and men live and breathe running and it shows, I'll be back in 2015, hopefully for the 30 Mile. BMOH, be proud!

The 1 mile loop has a challenging enough hill that covers about a third of it. The distances available on Sunday were 52.4 Miles (Double Marathon), 30 Miles, 26.2 Miles (Marathon) or 13.1 Miles (Half Marathon). That means 52, 30, 26 or 13 times that hill :) Due to a continuing recovery from a calf injury I opted for the 13.1 mile distance. I started as usual slower than most and came through lap 1 (1.1 mile) in 10:30 and 23rd position. As you can see from my lap times I started to enjoy the race more and more and managed an excellent negative split with a final mile in 7:57, the injury seems history. Here' my lap times, I finished 13th in 1Hr54!

Lap 1 (1.1 Mile) 10:29
Lap 2 (2.1 Mile) 09:00
Lap 3 (3.1 Mile) 08:58
Lap 4 (4.1 Mile) 08:47
Lap 5 (5.1 Mile) 08:47
Lap 6 (6.1 Mile) 08:42
Lap 7 (7.1 Mile) 08:43
Lap 8 (8.1 Mile) 08:44
Lap 9 (9.1 Mile) 08:41
Lap 10 (10.1 Mile) 08:41
Lap 11 (11.1 Mile) 08:36
Lap 12 (12.1 Mile) 08:30
Lap 13 (13.1 Mile) 07:57

It's back to training this week with a 10K tonight and I've started bit by bit making nutritional improvements and have contacted the Yoga instructor with a view of strengthening my core, breathing and mental game. Next race on December 6th at the Waterford AC Half Marathon in The Déise County.

Happy running and remember to smile every mile!!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

A motivating experience at the Gorta/Self Help Africa Dinner!

I'm just back in the office on a Saturday morning after a visit to the Galway Gorta/Self Help Africa Gala Dinner in the Meyrick Hotel on Eyre Square last night.

There were 250 generous guests; amongst them TD's, a Senator and the Galway Mayor (who has some mean moves on the dance floor, respect). There was some really nice food and lovely wine and loads of spot prizes. There was a real good will feeling in the room.

What struck me most though was the people behind the organisation. If ever I needed motivation to do this 12 Marathons in 12 Months challenge in 2015 I got it in spades from CEO Ray Jordan's speech on the analogy between him being at the Ireland v Springboks game and the 'matches' he sees African women farmers play with the opportunities they are given with the farming projects that are set up with the help of Gorta/Self Help Africa.

I got it from the genuine passion, empathy, energy and professionalism of Ronan Scully and Ciara Tallon whom I thank sincerely for their enthusiasm about my challenge. I know it will be an emotional and tough road yet I walk away from this event with even more energy than normal (scary, right??), an iron determination to make this work and help make a difference, a plan and a fantastic back up team.

There is no doubt in my mind this was the best place for me to be in the world last night, thanks for the invite and Let's just 'Keep on Running with a smile' and create more opportunities for African farmers.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

My 12 in 12 challenge! That's 12 marathons in 12 months.

Hi all,

I am just an ordinary bloke who somewhere along the line got lazy. Lazy living life, lazy physically and lazy mentally. And I could find all kinds of circumstances and people to blame for my laziness. And you would believe me and sympathise with me. Because some parts of my story would make you say 'Awww that must not have been easy to deal with, I understand he bailed out there!'

But I'm not going to because I have since found out that to let things go you need to move on. You need to live in the Now, you need to forgive the past and create the future one day at a time. So I'm letting go of my laziness by getting active. You see 7 years ago in 2008 I decided to run Dublin Marathon for charity. My first run was 3/4 mile and I had to walk back home after that. That's how lazy I got. But I stuck to it and finished Dublin 2008. Since then I have ran 17 marathons or an average of 2.5 per year.

And that's where the danger of getting lazy crept in again. I am getting stronger and can do these Marathons with less training. So it's time to move on again.

This was my post on FB last night after watching an episode of a Flemish TV program called Tomtesterom where the presenter Tom Waes went from scartch to finishing the Marathon des Sables, one of the toughest foot races in the World:

'Just watched something about running online I needed to watch and it came to me by 'accident'. I know my limits are self imposed. I know I can do stuff in running 99.5% of the population find unthinkable. I made a decision this year that my 17 marathons in 7 years (that's just under 2.5 a year) were only a beginners attempt at running long distance. So my ex 30 cigs a day smoker/ex 35 pints a week drinker attitude from a mere 7 years ago simply needs to be transformed into a 'real' long distance runner. First challenge Minimum 12 Marathons in 12 months for Gorta/ Self Help Africa in 2015. I'm going to need your support for that. Can I count on you?'

So there goes, it's Public now. I am running a Minimum of 12 Marathons in 12 months starting January 2015, just 47 days from now as my first running challenge at the tender age of 48 (I know I don't look and feel that age ;) And I am going to need your help. This Blog will be kept going as a Challenge blog. I will keep you updated on my progress and on How you can Help. You can also find more info as the Challenge progresses on my Facebook page.

I am of to a Gorta/Self Help Africa charity event in Galway tomorrow evening to talk to them about the event in more detail. Mean time feel free to check out the charity on their website

One more mention goes to Marathon Club Ireland. These women and men are the most inspirational bunch of runners I have had the pleasure to meet and run with. Without them this would have been so much harder to plan. You'll here them mentioned loads of times!!

Run Proud! Run Happy! Run Smiling!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The Anger is gone from me now. How about you?

To understand the finer details of how we function as humans requires a lifetime’s work of research and a deep sense of collective awareness. I have mastered neither so far yet I have gained some serious insights on several aspects of what makes us tick and I’ll continue studying it as I find it thoroughly fascinating.

One thing that I have become aware and conscious of is how anger is of no distinguishable benefit to us at any stage. Not even when we need adrenaline cause we can get that elsewhere, through fear and success to name but two.

I grew up angry. That anger was fed to me by everyone around me. Angry with people who had more than us, angry with perceived injustices, angry with countries for what they did to other countries, angry with the Christian Brothers who beat me for talking in class, angry because I got my growth spurt to late and got bullied, angry for not being picked on the team.

All that anger was actually fed by fear. A fear of incompetence, not fitting in, not being good enough, never amounting to anything much. As a result there was a serious lack of self-esteem and self-belief and I sauntered through school, underachieving spectacularly but passing classes by doing just enough. Underachieving in sport.

And then the escape came, drink and cigarettes. Enough people my age died doing drugs for me not to get into that, there was no immediate sense of self destruction. I failed at Uni, failed at jobs, failed at living a fulfilling life.

Fast forward, I’m 48 now and the anger just left me. I am grateful for that, though the journey has been tough and full of pitfalls. It was a journey of awareness, acceptance and step by step action.

The rewards are huge though. Just by getting rid of anger I have buckets of energy, discovered my passions and live them, have returned to social activism without it sucking energy, got rid of most of my fears and am on the cusp of turning a self-employed coaching company into a business centred on helping people achieve more fulfilling lives; personally and in business.

It reminds me of the famous quote, attributed allegedly to Buddha: 'Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.'

Here’s some really good news. I’m just another human being with the same desires you have to be happy and life fully. So, IF I CAN, YOU CAN.

All you need is a first step. If you don’t know what that step is for you and your life or business is struggling as a result, ask an accredited Life Coach for help. You’ll thank me for it.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

What we scream about!

Everything around me is screaming. And the screams get louder every day. Some things and people scream out of lack, some out of want and others out of greed. The funny thing is that they scream in symbols. Their screams are hollow sounds filled with symbols. And we all know the symbols they use, because we all scream them too.

€, $, £, ¥, etc….

On a daily basis in our own lives or in our media these symbols represent need, want, desire, possession, greed, emptiness, obsession, deception, murder, war and general discomfort.

My reasoning is that if money was the main purpose of life we would be able to eat it, drink it, build shelters with it and its mere existence in our lives would make us happy. Yet most people tell me it doesn’t. It only allows us to buy the ingredients to do all the above. And the amount of it we need or want varies to where we live and who sets the prices.

Think of this, if I gave you all the money you want to provide you with all the things you need but prohibited you from using any of it, what would its worth be to you? None, I hear you say.

Currently, we all use money to buy the things we need and want. Or do we? Do we really need all the things we buy? Are we happy with the money we make? Does it allow us to buy everything we need? Do we want more all the time? Would we do more if we had more?

On a worldwide note, has money made the world a better place? Is our wealth equally distributed? Are we all living similar lifestyles due to the abundance of money around us? No, I hear you say.

Or has it made our world a scarier, greedier, possession driven place to live in? Yes, I hear you say.

Here’s one to ponder:

Money is useless without purpose for it. Our purpose in life is different for each person. We all have different things we want to achieve and different dreams. Some want a beautiful car. Some want to eradicate poverty. Some want to write books on a beach in Brazil while watching football. Some want a quiet life in a beautiful home. Some want the happy sounds of children around them. And these are just a few examples, I’m sure you have your own.

What we have lost track of is that all those wants have 1 thing in common. They make us feel a certain way. When we achieve what we want there is strong emotions and feelings attached to that. What if we captured those feelings and emotions for ourselves? What if we found out individually what makes us tick? What makes us feel in the flow of things?

All we needed then is to chase those feelings instead of money. If having stuff for the sake of having it would become less popular, money would become less important.

This is my journey, assisting people to help discover their WHY!! I needed a megaphone to shout above the screams so I am writing a book to stand on as if a soapbox to get this message delivered widely. Look out for updates on this space as the Structure has been nailed down and the writing is beginning!
Mean time you can contact me with questions and/or feedback or ideas on 083-3008963 or   
 Just because life’s  why is bigger than it’s what!!

Thursday, 9 January 2014

‘It’s like putting Diesel into a Petrol Engine!’

I’m trying to put it behind me. But it’s not that easy this time around. There is a payback involved. In instalments and with interest. But I’m getting there and I’m learning from it. To hopefully be aware and smart enough to avoid a repeat.
What’s the ‘it’ I’m talking about? The festive season. Or more precisely me overindulging during the festive season. And at the same time underperforming. And I’m paying for it. With a chest infection and low energy. Low energy, me? How did that happen?
I try and look after myself best I can during the year because my Coaching & Training business takes a lot of energy and so does my sport. I run Marathons and other long distance races from 10K upwards. So bit by bit I have been improving my Health, Nutrition and Fitness. Gradually.
I have been doing the same with my business; I’m adapting and changing in order to grow it. Because growth means I can facilitate and assist more people to a significantly higher quality of life.
Then I made a mistake. I did too much by myself and didn’t ask for help. So I got tired, emotionally and physically. So I decided to take a few days of over Christmas. Cue comfort food and alcohol. I never ate too much or got drunk but I overindulged and slept less.
After gradually improving my health and fitness in 2013 my body revolted and I have been struck with a chest infection and head cold at the same time. I’m still working away (not a Man Flu sufferer J ) but at a slower pace and I’m not training. Instead of moaning about it I learn from it. As someone put it eloquently to me in the last few days: ‘You were putting Diesel into a Petrol Engine.’ So ‘No More Diesel’ then.
That means asking the right people for help with my business, training smartly to avoid ‘needing a break’, more races to keep it interesting, learning new skills to keep growing and having fun, more social involvement in the community and no more alcohol or processed foods apart from the odd celebratory drink or meal at birthdays or special occasions.
This will increase my energy, increase my productivity, make me feel better and more fulfilled, will be more fun and get me to meet more fun people.
You see when you discover the real reason behind ‘normal’ events (because everyone gets colds in January right?) then you can learn from it and improve. And learning I do from my mistakes and therefore I hope I will make many often!
What mistakes did you make in the last few weeks? What caused them? What can you learn from them? What can you do to avoid them in future?
Have a great day, because today is the only day that matters.

Patrick X