Monday, November 11, 2013

Hell & Back, Titan. It's all over.


We came, we saw, we kicked its ass!  Well, there were Afew dodgy moments, but we powered on!  I am thrilled to report that all nine Mudslingers crossed that finish line together! hurrah!  

Now, not that any of us are particularly sadistic or anything- but it is fairly obvious that we look much much happier in the after photo, don't we! LOL. 
Perhaps it was the fact that we were about to head into the longest Hell & Back course yet.  Though we had the group variety of it being the first, second and third time to do this crazy race, it didn't really matter.  Each race is painfully unique so the anticipation will loom even for a Hell & Back veteran. 

SO!  Titan!  What did it bring?  Pain? Torture? Agony? Fun? Bruises? Yes- yes to all of the above and just a touch of hypothermia.  LOL.  So here we go, the breakdown! 

1: The Pond. 
Bbbbrrrrr, but a fine chilly enjoyable splash about with strangers.  A great icebreaker. (Boom boom) ;) look at those smiles!

2:  Hell on Earth.
Still in high spirits, these muddy mounds of mankyness got us all sufficiently warmed up and thickly caked in the finest mud Kilruddery had to offer.  

3:  Hurdles of Hell.
No picture here.  (Luke, our honorary 10th mudslinging member who was snapping all he could for us could only get so far in his toasty warm dry clothes. ;) )
Some nasty obstacles to dip under and climb over to really ensure an even spread of mud over complete body. 

4.  Forest Mud Trail.
(A lovely pleasant clearing luring us all into a false sense of security...) 
Getting a bit tougher, lots of up and downhill running through forest tracks.  Quite pleasant actually- though it did have the looming threat of snipers but thankfully there was no sign of them this time around. :)

5.  Screwball Scramble.
Legs warmed up nicely, some steep scrambling and back down again... Wheeeeee!

6.  Little Sugar loaf.
Damn that little mountain seems to go on forever and ever.  Just when you think you've gone as high as the course is going to take you, there's another uphill climb. 

7.  Descent to Doom.
'Cannonballing' I believe it's best described as- basically let your arms and legs go with the flow and launch yourself downhill.  Definately the most effective way down in a hurry.  LOL.  And a lovely little water station at the bottom for a well earned reward. :) 

8.  Bitter and Twisted.
Bitter and twisted, indeed.  This was te evil log carry much talked about after.  We did have a bit of a wait here which ticked that 'bitter' box and the 'twisted' bit, well, that was so very nasty!  That circle back to the log collection point was truly nasty.  Uber steep uphill section.  Gah! 

9.  Burn Baby Burn.
Sandbag carries, net crawls... And all uphill and downhill... Damn you Hell & Back organisers.  I do hope that they actually run these courses themselves so they can share in the delicious torture. :) 

10.  The Quarry.
A killer wall to navigate over, icy cold rocky waters to wade through and a great big like of shite to 'army shuffle' over.  Yes, you heard me right. Shite. My best guess is horse manure, but I hear it has amazing rejuvenating properties for the skin. (That's what I'm telling myself anyway... LOL) 

11.  Satan's Pit.
The wall before the tyre scramble.  Nicely scented too. :) 

12.  The Abyss.
A lot more downhill running. Cannonball away for the faster you descend, the faster it's all over... Um, yeah... Almost there now.  *insane laughter*.

13.  The Swamp.

My favourite!  FINALLY, on my third hell & back, I finally made it through the swamp without getting up to chin stuck!  (Though if I'm honest, I'm a bit disappointed that our first timer team mates didn't get the full impact of the Swamp.  Next time! ;) ) 

14.  The Forest.
Some nice forest runs if one weren't head to toe caked in mud.  All the same, bit of banter had with fellow hellraisers along the way.  I even got to meet Karen, one of my first Hell & back blog followers way back then.  One of those total fluke moments.  "OMG- Karen... *girly squeal* *hugs*. So lovely though. 

15.  Thru Hell & High Water.
LOL- the expressions say it ALL!  Check them out- 
at the start; 'ahh, that's cool. Refreshing.'  
Right about mid way; 'Nnnnghhh, ooh, this is getting fairly uncomfortable.'
Just past half way; 'OH HOLY CRAP, GET ME OUT OF HERE'.  

That.  Three times over.  Ouch. :)

16.  Hard labour.
Honestly- I can't remember.  My brain must have been frozen from the river crossings. 

17-24.  Nightmare on Hell Street
Ouch.  Ouch.  Ouch.  Ouch.  Ouch.  
(10 foot tessie)
Electrical shocks, barbed wire crawls, inverted wall, ice skips, ice skips, ice skips, (did I mention ice skips?) LOL.  Ten foot tessie... Seriously- it feels like 20... Nice spongy landing this time!  ;) All deliciously leading up to the piece de resistance...
(Expression... LOL)
(The honeymooner- the previous week she was also Photographed, though a teeny bit cleaner. LOL) 

Mount Olympus.  I hate it, but I love it.  I went or the short rope so I got 4 attempts (& spectaculour fails) before making it up.  Our team got split up here but we reconvened before going through the finish line. We start together, we finish together!  Hell Yeah! 

A huge thank you to all of my Mudslinger team mates, My better half, Dave, the honeymooners, Kerri & Alan, newbies to hell & back, Emma, Kate, Kara, Christine & Aidan.  A great big thank you to honorary mudslinger, Luke, for running around the course to photograph us.  

More thank you's: 
To Kieran of Hell & Back- cheers for the banter and help and letting me be one of your bloggers.  Great motivation. 

A massive thank you to the dude that gave me one of his hot crepes as he couldn't find his mates.  Not sure this message will ever find it's way to you, but just putting it out there anyway- you were a lifesaver as our money was stuck in the valuables and we were ravenous and chilly.  Hats off to you, kind sir.  May the universe send the bestest of karma your way. :)

Thanks to my 1 & 2 year old sons for increasing resistance by sitting on me as I attempted to do push-ups or sit ups and also for sharpening my reflexes by avoiding them while attempting to skip during training.  Nice one, lads.  :)

To my Mammy for looking after said sons so we could vacate the county and take part in Hell & Back.  *high five* 

And to you guys and gals for reading my blog.  I hope I gave you some help/motivation/entertainment for training for Hell & Back.  

Maybe see you at the next one... Who knows... 



Friday, November 1, 2013

Hell & Back, Titan! D-Day!!!

Where on earth did the last 7 weeks go, eh?  I am feeling about as confidant one legged jockey.  *bites nails*
October has to be THE most energy sucking month of the year.  I am EXHAUSTED and everyone that I talk to is aswell.  Maybe it's that extra hour (though one would assume we would mine more rested seeing as we gained an hour...) or perhaps the dark mornings and dark evening, I don't know- but the ole' energy levels are low. 

I had better snap out of it! *mentally slaps face with wet fish* the hours are fast approaching to that VERY early morning rise for our long drive to Kilruddery.  The excitement did however begin to sneak in yesterday.  What better occasion than Halloween to collect the race packs.  :). 

The dusky weather gives an ominous atmosphere in Cork City.  Smoke hangs in the air, like apparitions of townsfolk doomed to wander the streets for eternity, and are eerily dispersed as a gaggle of girls pass me with 53 degrees north shopping bags.  I must be close.  
My evil angel zogabong halo thingy bobs manically as I ascend the stone steps.  'This indeed would be hell with my double buggy'.  (I titter inwardly at my silly 'Hell & back' joke, happy that my brain is in top form for Titan.)  'Pity about my fitness...' (Titter again)
Bursting through the doors (unfortunately, a little breathless after the steps. *crap*) I announce that I am there to collect my Hell & Back team race packs. 

(Now, to give you a little mental image here- I am in full fancy dress, top to toe in black with white/grey face paintable looking quite like death walking, and the staff and customers of 53 degrees north are strolling around like its a Thursday of any given week.)

After a bit of chat with the lovely folk of 53 degrees north, I gather together my bag load of race packs, admire the fabulous purple of the Titan t-shirts again and rob a lovely staff member for a piccie.  (I do love my piccies, I do. ;) )

So there you have it.  A lovely clean Titan T-shirt (and a load more in the bag) ready to be trashed by the mudslingers. Together, We WILL make it through Hell and Back! *whimpers*

Good luck to everyone on Sunday!  Enjoy every minute of it and remember to prepare to bottle a bit of the feeling you get when you cross that finish line so you can open it up every now and again to remind yourself of the exhilaration, pain, tears, joy, torture and achievement. 

*crosses fingers that I can make it*

Toodles for now! 

Jen :) 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Hell & Back, Titan training. The Final Week!

Six days left!!! I repeat, six days left!  Argh!

Am I ready?  Um, hard to say but right this moment, I will say no. LOL

The wedding of fellow Musdlingers, Kerri & Alan went absolutely fabulously.  What an amazing day of photos, fun, dancing, a bit more dancing, and juuuust a little bit more dancing. 
(Pic is myself and the newly wed Mudslingers, Kerri & Alan- aren't they stunning!  I think we just MIGHT look a little different on Sunday.  Har har har) 

*note to self- don't spend the day in high heels, then dance most of the night in high heels when planning to do a Hell & Back the following week.*

I have, quite possibly, made the gruelishly  torturous Titan, even more painful for myself.  My calves are so very stiff and cramped up and I have burst blisters on the backs of my heels. OOPS!  It's completely my own fault though, so I had better suck it up and power on!  

Training these final days will consist of Afew gentle walks to stretch out my cheesy 90's dance moved muscles and ALOT of denial. 

I do hope the rest of our mudslinging team are finely tuned and ready to kick some butt as I just might be slowing is down on Sunday. LOL

Go, go power rangers.. I hope your training is paying off as we are into the final approach to Titan. I'll be back for a quick post before then.  

Toodles for now, fabulous people. ;)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

'THE' wedding of the year!

Hi folks!

Well, the batteries are charging, the lenses are cleaned, the kit bag is check, check, double and triple checked.  

No doubt the guests have arrived or are in transit to Ireland and definitely no doubt that West Cork know what's about to hit them.  

It will be celebration central in just Afew short hours away.  

The months and months of planning & crafts & lists & planning & research &, did I mention planning? 
Well, they are all paying off now as the hourglass is emptying and everything is smoothly coming together. 

I would like to wish the Bride and Groom the very best of luck on Saturday.  You are both very special people and it gives me great honour to be photographing your very special day.  

Did I ever mention that the very talented and amazing friend that is the bride to be actually played my 'walk down the aisle' music? No? 
Well, this fabulous lass plays the Clarinet and played 'Gabriels Oboe' (from the movie 'The Mission') as I walked down the aisle for my own wedding many a moon ago, so I owe them a good show.  ;) 

Break a leg, you fabulous couple (or rather, don't. Please. ;) )

Toodles for now. X

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Hell & Back, Titan; training. Week 6.

Let me start by a small release...
*cough cough* Pardon me. 

SO!  How are you all getting on with your training?  I am working more on strength training as I felt the last time this is where I faltered most.  I do fear that I am neglecting my cardio training and the weather really hasn't been doing much to encourage me to get out for runs, so I do hope that I don't falter during Titan. 

We were thinking about staying up in the Martello Tower for the night before or the night of Titan.  I am thinking the night of would be glorious as I am not sure my legs will handle the 3.5hr drive back to Kinsale after the 14km of torture in, who knows what type of weather.

Have any of you ever stayed there before?  It looks absolutely gorgeous. 
(Photo from the Martello Tower website)
They have a special offer rate to all Titan competitors of €60 and judging by the photos of their rooms, bar, restaurant & nightclub on their website, this is an absolute bargain.  Included in your €60 is Bed & Breakfast, two course dinner, free wifi, live entertainment and free entry into the nightclub (if your legs actually still work by then... har har har.  Sitting down shoes, methinks!)
Here is link to book directly in case you fancy it. :)

Like the sheer opposites- Fire and Ice, this seems like the perfect reward to completing the torture's of Titan. 

So, my plan this week... (I have recently buckled to my anti gym ethos, and joined my local gym so I can bring my kids swimming and lets face it, burn out their energy on these cold dark days...)  I am still doing my usual pull ups, sit ups etc, however my husband is helping me with structuring things while I am in there and actually use the equipment.  (I know, right... madness!  LOL)  SO- here we go:

Twice this week, I will add this to my daily training:

1000m row
As many pull ups as I can (about 5)
15 reps leg press
15 reps shoulder press
500m row
As many push ups as I can (about 13)
15 lunges
15 sit ups
500m row
15 lat pull downs
15 reps leg press
15 reps shoulder press
500m row
15 inclined pushups
15 lunges
15 sit ups



Jen :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hell and Back, Titan; Training, week 5.

Not much to say this week... I am late with this blogpost... Training is, well, it's going but I'm not feeling quite ready to Titan just yet.

I shall keep this post brief.

Watch this, keeping in mind to:
Add 2km...
Minus about 15degrees...
Add, more than likely, lots of rain and slushy mud.
Add ice (to the plunge pools that Organisers recently informed us...) nice. ;)


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Exciting news!

After numerous requests, I am thrilled to announce that I can (finally!) offer mounted prints for sale.  Each print is displayed with a snow white textured board mount, named, signed and enclosed in its own plastic sleeve for protection.  The outer dimensions are 16x12 inches. 

Exciting stuff, yes?  Well hang on to your hats so... MORE exciting news! 

Hamish Hawkin in Kinsale, Co Cork now have a selection of my prints available!  I feel very honoured that my prints will be for sale here, sitting proudly among the 'big boy' names such as 'Hunter', 'The Bridge', 'Orla Kiely' and 'Ursula Celano' to name but afew. 

So, If you are considering treating yourself or looking for a gift/s...whether you like to browse from the comfort of your home, or have a wander around the shops, please consider having a look at my available prints. 
The cost of each print is €15 and postage & packing is €4 in Ireland and €5 for the rest of the world.  Each can be personalised as required.

You can view them by clicking here or to see some in real life, drop in to Hamish Hawkin and have a browse. 

To order, please contact me by your method of choice:
via email:
via twitter: Jen_conroy
Via Facebook: Jen Conroy Photography

You can easily do your gift shopping for ALL the family in Hamish Hawkin.  (don't believe me?  I challenge you to take a visit and see for yourself.  :) )

Thanks for reading, folks!  Talk to you soon, and don't forget... only 76 days till Christmas!  :)


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hell & Back Training. Week 4.

Well now, this week has just flown and when I think that this time just four measly weeks away, Titan will be all over- well, that kind of makes me sad (and a little nauseous of what we will be put through given Hell & Back’s recent posts about power hoses & whatnot.  LOL)

Training is going well- all on schedule, but my diet... Oh crap (literally).  My diet has been poor.  My meals have been good & healthy but the snacking in-between, Meh.  The darn early specials on goodies for Halloween!  *shakes fist at shops marketing ploy*.  Does anyone else share my dangerous chocoholic tendencies?

I was thinking about what gear to wear for Titan this week.  It’s a tough one really because it SHOULD be cold, but then there is nothing worse than being too warm when running. 
Trojan was fairly arctic in fairness, and I think I chose my attire wisely (by sheer luck looking back on it- I hadn’t a CLUE what I was getting myself into).  (Look at the state of me over there---> far right.  LOL)
Apollo was lovely and warm so was quite easy to choose clothes.  (---> me in the middle looking MUCH fresher at the finish than at Trojan's finish.  LOL)
 You could have done it in a bikini if you were that way inclined, guaranteed afew cuts and bruises, but you would have been fine. 
But Titan?  I dunno.  It could go any way really, couldn’t it?  I mean, look at it now.  It’s October and you easily could have barbequed yesterday in shorts and T-shirt. 

Taking all the possible weather factors into consideration (which don’t really matter at all when it comes to Hell & Back... LOL) I think I have picked out my ‘race day’ gear.  I have listed in order of importance. 

Socks:  Socks are SO important.  The wrong pair or ones that you are not well used to running in could be detrimental to you on the day, so get familiar with your favourite pair.  The last think you want is a blister and the resulting pain and agony as you drag yourself around Titan.  My socks of choice are Fusion ankle 1000 mile running socks.  They have a double layer with tactel lining (which whisks moisture away) and are guaranteed no blister.  I got mine in my trustee local store, Wild Side Sports in Bandon.  

Runners:  Again, so very important.  Have a pair that you have well worn in for race day.  I recommend trail runners as they have better grip and are still light.  My beauties are the ones that I got for Apollo earlier this year.  They are Salomon XR Mission Trail runners.  Again, I got them from Wild Side Sports in Bandon. 

Running pants- I have a pair of old ¾ length’s that I’ve had for years.  I’ve run the last two Hell & Back’s in them, so I might just finish off the year by wearing them again.  J  They are just basic running pants- I think I got them in Champion Sports but can’t be sure as the label has washed out.

Top- I CANT WAIT to collect my race pack and check out the purple Titan T-shirts.  We will, of course, be running it in these.  Good choice of colour folks of Hell & Back.  Tis’ my favourite. 

The rest is person specific really- contact lenses so I don’t run into a wall, a good sports bra etc.

It’s still four weeks away so perhaps the time has come to reward yourself for all of your hard work and training and buy yourself some new gear?   (ah go on... you deserve it!)

If you are in West Cork, I highly recommend Wild Side Sports in Bandon.  Phil and Laurie go above and beyond to make sure you are getting what is right for you. 

If you are in Cork City, the good folks and partners of Hell & Back, 53 degrees North can sort you out.  They also have a HUGE store up in Carrickmines and Blanchardstown in Dublin. 

If you are in Dublin City, the superb The Great Outdoors is just off Grafton Street. 

I’m afraid I am not hugely familiar with others, but I am sure you will sort yourselves out, wherever you are.

Anyway, back to work-
Week 3 training is as follows:
35 sit ups x 4
1 pull up followed by 6 chin ups (it’s pushing it, but get a chair if you’re struggling)
12 push ups x 3
65 seconds planking.
Over the week:
Swimming- 35 lengths of the pool x2
6km runs x 2 (I was flattened this week with the running so am leaving it the same)

So there you have it, folks.  Good luck with this week’s training!




Monday, September 30, 2013

Hell & Back, Titan; Training, Week 3.

Hi There!

What a hectic week last week was. Weekly scheduled training was, well, not very on schedule but its okay because we got some mammoth variety in exercise. As you know one of our Mudslinging team is getting married the week before Titan, and we were off in Kenmare celebrating this fact with all of her female friends. (AKA, the Epic Hen party of the century).

Fluffy zogabongs, hill walking boots, sweat, dancing, high leg kicks, champagne glasses, girly purses... you name it, we did it- and what I have just described was our trek up Irelands Highest mountain, Carrauntoohil. Yes, yes... I jest you not- All we were short of going straight to a nightclub were the high heels, a spot of makeup and better attire. It was super fun.

Our (only slightly hungover) 7.5hrs round trip took us up near the foot of the Devils Ladder where we turned off and made our ascent via the Zig Zags route. The Devils ladder is quite eroded from use and is potentially quite dangerous due to falling rocks etc, so we felt it better to take the safer route. It’s longer, but the views are spectacular, so well worth the effort. We had a brief lunch and a celebratory sparkling water (in champagne glasses of course- we’re very swish) before making our way back down. We met afew nice folk along the way and received many a curious glance.

Back to the hotel, we donned our best frocks, ate some fabulous food and boogyed the night away. All four of us can honestly say that, at 3am- the 3 minute walk back to the hotel in our heels was more difficult than anything else we achieved that day. LOL

Back to whets instore for this week. The sand is slipping through the hourglass waaaayyy to fast for my liking, so I had better put a bit more pressure on with the training.

WEEK 2 is as follows:
30 sit ups x 4
1 pull up followed by 5 chin ups
10 push ups x 3
65 second planking

Over the week:
Swimming- 30 lengths of the pool x 2
6 km runs x 2

How are you all getting on with your training? I hope well. Did you see fellow blogger, Sarah Kirk’s blog this week? It’s excellent and she is running Titan for an excellent cause. Click here to pop over to her blog, have a read and if you can, donate a euro or two to support her charity of choice.

Tick Tock!!! Get out there and get training!  RUNNNNNNNN! :)

Talk to you soon!


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hell & Back; Titan. Training, week 2.

Hi Everybody!

How are you all doing?  The training going well I hope? My training could have been a lot better to be honest.  I am definitely finding it tougher than when I trained for Apollo.  Maybe it's the time of the year or the weather, but whatever it is, it's time to get over it.  It's time power on through and push ahead with training.

I found myself feeling tired ALL the time last week, and it wasn't until Thursday or Friday that I realised that I wasn't drinking enough water.  So my tip this week, because it's so easy to forget... Drink more water.   Have a bottle on you and sip away throughout the day.  *Super bonus* You'd be surprised how the nibbling/snacking reduces because of it. :). Press play on this video for this posts motivational music... Har har har

So what's inshore for this week you ask?  WELL! After seeing the interactive course map that the fine folk of hell & back posted online afew days ago...(click here)  *nervous laughter*, I think it's time to ramp it up a notch.

WEEK 2 is as follows:
30 sit ups x 3
1 pull up followed by 5 chin ups
8 push ups x 3
60 second planking
Over the week:
5 km runs x 2 to get used to the little bit of running again (I think I've forgot how to do it. LOL)

Next weekend is Mudlsinger, Kerri's hen party- so diet and daily exercise is bound to go out the window.  As a challenge, we are planning on going up Carrauntoohil so all going well, we will make it to the top & I'll have some photos of that for next week.

Until then- Power on, my training buddies.

:) toodles.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hell & Back; Titan. Training, week 1.

So, here we are again- The panic is beginning to set in. 

You’re quite possibly sitting on your comfy couch with a glass of wine just about to watch the next episode of Breaking Bad (or whatever you are watching at the moment) and wondering ‘WHY, oh why did I sign up for this again?’  (I have not just described myself... I SWEAR... *cough cough*)

But alas, we are here.  The time is ticking (7 weeks tomorrow to be exact), and were not getting any fitter or thinner.  So let me put this suggestion out there.  Let tonight be our last lazy, after 8pm snack attack, slow evening.  Tonight, enjoy that glass of vino/beer/*insert naughty beverage of choice* and those nibbles, for tomorrow something miraculous is going to happen.  Tomorrow is the start of a beautiful 7 weeks of glorious sweat, pain, hunger, and pain.  Tomorrow is the start of the end of ‘Hell and Back, Titan’, and together, we CAN do this!  Whether you are a member of a gym or not, time restricted, or simply the world’s laziest sod- we WILL get up and get out and get moving.  For Titan, we have 8 brave warriors joining the Mudslingers team.  Say hello to:  Me (obviously... ) Dave, Kerri, Alan, Kara, John, Emma & Kate.  We are going to whoop some butt in November, oh yes we are... :)

As I mentioned in my previous post, two of our Mudslinging team are marrying each other the week before Titan, so we all have super motivation to train well, train clean and injury free (nothing more flattering than a bride limping down the aisle, methinks...)   
other Mudslinger members, John, Kara, Kate and Emma to be visually introduced shortly... :)

Personally, I can’t risk injury either as they have asked me to be their wedding photographer, so (no pressure folks...) I am training to, not only get in shape without injury, but loose a few (as many as I can!!!) pounds too so I can comfortably run around after the bride, groom & wedding party in heels (might have to rethink that though...)!
This week’s plan, let’s ease into it nice and gently, shall we?
WEEK 1, is as follows:
30 sit ups x 3
1 pull up followed by 5 chin ups
8 push ups x 3
60 second planking
Over the week:
5 km powerwalks x 3 (probably with the double buggy)
Meals: (I generally make more of everything at each meal so I can use it as a lunch or dinner for the next day to save myself time (or freeze where possible- VERY HANDY!) )  Please contact me if you would like any recipes as I have perfected the ‘cook in bulk, freeze portions’ meals. J
Porridge with apple/banana/raisins/strawberries & blueberries
Smoothie & wholegrain toast
Scrambled egg on wholegrain toast.
Chilli tomato veg soup & wholegrain toast.
Veg salad with lime & Coriander dressing.
Beans on wholegrain toast.
Tuna salad.
Scrambled eggs on wholegrain toast.
Ham sandwich (wholegrain bread, skim butter, no mayo)
Grilled salmon with sundried tomato Cous cous.
Homemade pizza (using spelt flour for bases)
Homemade burgers & roasted veg & sweet potato chips.
Homemade spaghetti Bolognese with whole-wheat pasta.
Homemade shepherd's pie.
Im going to do my best to not have snacks in there, but I am only human with two toddlers hanging off my trousers begging for chocolate.  If I falter, I am going to try firstly have a glass of water.  Failing that, I will have afew grapes or almonds.  Failing that... I might just buckle altogether and stuff my face with chocolate and toast- but hopefully not.  LOL.

So there we have it.  Not too offensive for a first week I think... Anyone has any suggestions/additions, I’d be glad to hear!  :)
Good luck, and remember... Just keep running, just keep running, just keep running...

Friday, September 13, 2013

Hell & Back, Titan. *drumroll*

Hell & Back, Titan.  November 3rd 2013.

Hell yeah!  My first two Hell & Backs were all about just crossing that finish line and this time around is no different!  That's the hellish beauty of Hell & back.  Each time they have something new, more challenging, more devilishly tantalising making it so very hard to not want to do the next.   So here I am.  My third time as a Mudslinger ready to give it wellie.  Who's with me?

 *loud 'BooYah's and applauds*

For me, Training for Apollo was all about getting my fitness up and muscles strong.  A huge bonus for me as it turned out, was the discovery of muscles that I never knew I had and the change in body shape that came with it.  Not just 'weightloss', but toning up, flabby bits getting less flabby and the seriously cool, epic, mind blowing moment when I did my first perfect pull up (not chin up, people... *Insert motivational Rocky music here*  A PULL UP! )

Two of our Mudslinging team are getting married the week before, so they will technically be on their honeymoon for Titan.  (What a beautiful way to start a married life together... To go to 'Hell & Back'. LOL.).
So, with that wedding and necessity to go dress shopping in mind, my Hell & Back training journey for Titan is going to include some serious loosing weight & toning up plans.  With just 7 weeks from Sunday to do it (& a hen weekend thrown in) it's going to be tough task... Who's with me? *enter more motivational music, HERE* ;)

As Arnie says- "Ill be back", So COME ON, People!  I'm thinking, 1 stone sounds like a tough, but doable task?  Thats 2lbs a week.  I think that is a healthy doable challenge... (Well, ill aim high & hope for the  best)

My next post will have my Training and meal plans for the week, starting this Sunday.  *bits nails*
Please feel free to join me on my journey, but do so at your own peril.  Listen to your body and only do what you are happy to do.  :)

Monday, August 26, 2013

IrishBizParty invite! :)

More exciting news!  (I know, right?  This seems to be my week. *makes mental note to do the lotto* ;) )
I am hugely excited to have been chosen to be this weeks #starbiz on #IrishBizParty! 


For those of you who aren't familiar- #IrishBizParty is a Twitter chat/meeting/meeting of businesses on Wednesday nights.  It is a super way to network, meet like minded people and chat.  It's creator and entrepreneur Samantha Kelly, (‘Dragons Den’, ‘Shes The Business’ (tomorrow night at 10.45pm- WATCH IT! J ) describes it as 'networking in your PJ's', but none of us would ever admit to that.  ;)  Click here for more on Samantha and what she does. 

Each  week, someone is chosen to be the #starbiz for the week, so they host the #irishbizparty and give their hints and tips during the evening.   It's a really great way to get ideas/tips/advice from all different businesses and people from all walks of life.  Please do join us on Wednesday between 9-11pm so you can see what it is all about. 

As you know, I am exhibiting one of my pieces, ‘Late in the Day’, in Janey Mac's, Kinsale so, to celebrate this and my being chosen for #starbiz this week, I am going to give away its little sister, a framed smaller print (30x40cm).  

To enter, all you have to do is follow me on twitter (click here) and send a tweet this Wednesday night (28th) preferably between 9pm & 11pm using  the hash tags #irishbizparty and #janeymackinsale

Thursday, August 22, 2013

In the wild!

Exciting news!  
You may recall me mentioning that I was getting one of my favourite shots printed out on a unique style metallic paper and framed by the lovely folk of my local framing store, Studio1 in Kinsale?  Well, they have finished and I have collected and my, oh my am I impressed.  
Owner's of 'Studio1 Kinsale', Niamh and Stefan, are hugely qualified, experienced & helpful and its very evident that they have a huge passion for what they do.  Before making the final decision, we carefully discussed the choices of paper, colours, mounts and frame styles that would best showcase my image and I am absolutely thrilled with the finished piece.  Here it is- "Ta Daaaaaa"!
Without waffling too much about the details (but they get me all excited...), The paper is Iridium silver gloss- its a silver metallized special paper with a high density that create an enhanced projection of colour and grayscale.   It's hard to explain, but if you can see it in this close up?
You really have to see it in real life to get a full appreciation for it.  :)  Sooooo....
So, if you would like to see it in real life (you know you want to!), Janeymac Kinsale have offered me a lovely wall space to exhibit it.  Exciting, yes? YES! :) 
And here it is, hanging in its new home for the next 10 weeks or so (unless someone buys it for a permanent home in the meantime. ;))
Owners, Ruth and Cyril have nurtured Janeymac's into a very unique and gorgeous establishment with coffee to die for and delicious homemade cakes scones and jam.  They have a fantastic gluten free range and also have light bites and sandwiches made using delicious breads by the artisan baker, Arbutus Bread.  
Here's a little ditty about them from their website:
"We wanted a place that appealed to everyone. With a door wide enough to take the biggest pram in town and comfortable seats, a relaxed atmosphere serving good quality food that we prepare in our own kitchen every day in small batches to ensure freshness and at prices that reflect a new Ireland we hope that's what we have delivered. "
And delivered they have! 
So, if you are in Kinsale, be sure to drop in to Janey Mac's for a coffee, chat and oodle of my pic.  I'd be thrilled if you did!
I have a teeny bit more exciting news so watch this space...
Until then, Toodles!
P.s: If you do make it to Janey Mac's, be sure to try their pear and almond scones... to die for.  :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Crowleys Music Centre, The end of an era.

If you are any way musically inclined, you will have heard that the amazing Crowleys Music Centre closed its doors for the last time last Saturday. 

Personally, I am absolutely gutted.  The owner and good friend of mine, Sheena Crowley, was the third generation to run the shop.  The store, known for selling Rory Gallagher his Sunburst Fender Stratocaster guitar, was recently producing handmade Irish instruments, made instore by hugely talented musicians and tradesman.  She is one of the most vibrant and caring people out there who loves to deal with people and loves all things musical.  She is unbelievably talented and goes above and beyond to support local musicians and businesses.  The closing of her store is a huge loss- not only because of what it was, but for what it stood for.  It makes me so, so very sad to think that, after almost 90 years of trading, the doors to her shop are simply closed forever.

This closing has honestly taken me by surprise.  I mean, is nothing safe anymore?  I had assumed Crowley's would be there forever- it was a part of what made up the city of Cork. 
For me, any visit into the city always included popping into the shop to say hi to Sheena and her friendly staff.  I had imagined going in to buy my two boys guitars when they were old enough (or god forbid the 'drum kit' request for Santa) but now that that option has been taken away, and now, well... now I kind of feel empty.   And angry.  And tired.

I love my country, but I hate what is happening to it. 
I hate that big companies and online stores are swooping in with low prices and wiping out local businesses who just cant compete. 
I hate that so many of us are struggling with mortgages that are double the value of our home and yet still getting taxed more and more. 
I hate that we have no option but to struggle on with very little opportunity to progress in sight.
I REALLY hate that I have to constantly watch to clock to make sure that I don't miss that tiny window of time that I have to talk to my family and friends around the world who have managed to find a better life for themselves outside Ireland.  I love that Skype and Facetime enable us to see each other, but I hate that I cant reach out and touch them.  As I read on an article somewhere on RTE before, 'you cant smell someone on Skype'.  Its so true.   

Life seems to be racing on too fast for us all to keep up.  Online shopping, Same day delivery, Bargain this, bargain that, buy one get two free, 50% off.  I mean... when does it stop?  Sometimes I feel like Sylvester Stallone in the film 'Demolition Man', waking up in a whole different century.  Gone are the local stores, friendly faces, knowledge and generosity.  In their place, are the cut price giant store that won in the franchise war.  Something like this for example: 

Its a vicious circle.  We have been taxed to our eyeballs (and they are still going), so we have to do the best with what we have left.  Of course, we will try get the best value we can to feed the mouths around the table, etc., but does that mean by-passing our local friendly market to go to the- not naming names here, but lets just say a four lettered store that has German influences?  
I know we are all guilty of it at one stage or another, but lets make the effort to support local as much as we can, can we? 

I always assumed that someone with their own business was 'loaded' and 'rolling in it'.  It is only in recent years that I have come to appreciate that most local businesses are there mainly for their love of their business.  They chose to open a shop (or whatever) because they love what they are doing and they will honestly do you the best deal that they can.  For them, one good day in business is outnumbered hugely by the bad days, so I can only imagine what their struggle to balance the year is like. 

I am so tired.  I really hope things turn around for our lovely little country. 

In saying all of this, I do know one thing.  For Sheena Crowley, the world as she knows is has taken a severe 180% turn, but she will power on and amaze us, as only someone like her can. 

Its the end of an era, but perhaps the beginning of something new and exciting.

Until next time, 

Jen :)

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