How the CRYP Centre Helped Me by Fintan O’Mahony

Love___Heart_of_hearts_042863_It’s been a busy few months. I’m getting two weeks off from Wednesday, which is welcome I suppose. Where this all began is with an appointment at the CRYP centre in Tallaght hospital to get my three girls, and me, checked for any irregularities in our hearts. We were monitored, scanned, I ran farther on a treadmill than,  it is safe to say, I have run in quite sometime and were sent home with Holter monitors to wear over night.

Actually, it didn’t begin with that at all. It began in the summer of 2006 when, while on holiday in Killarney with my wife and then only one daughter we got a phone call nobody would wish on his worst enemy: my brother had been found dead in his apartment in Dublin. Conor had been treated for a heart problem for years before and now at 32 he was gone, it’s defined our family since.

So when the doctor called to say my Holter monitor showed a pause of five and a half seconds around five am (in other words my heart stopped) I was pretty calm. The kids were all fine and I knew Conor had had pauses of up to eight seconds so I didn’t panic. Then I asked the doctor what we should do about it and she said she’d like me to get a pacemaker.

A pacemaker is a small, battery-operated device into your chest, to help your heart beat regularly, you know that. The surgery is minor, I only get a local anesthetic and I’ll be awake while it’s done. It’s preventative, it’s to make sure I motor on, but it’s my heart and that’s crucial to understanding the nerves that go with this operation.

When I was a kid I was a pretty good athlete, a sprinter and middle distance runner for most of my teens, I think it’s safe to say that girls and school got in the way and I drifted away from it. I still feel my heart beating as I won my first All-Ireland medal, it was fine and regular when I came off the bend in a 200 metre sprint, but when I saw the line and no-one ahead of me, there was a quickening, when I saw my brothers and parents that’s when it almost burst out of my chest. Or when I saw my wife in Holycross Abbey on our wedding day, or when each of my three children was born, that’s when I remember my heartbeat. So the way I think of having a pacemaker fitted isn’t as the end of something, just a little bionic kick to make sure I can have more of those moments, though I’m not planning on running 200 metres, or getting married again (or having any more kids!).

At CRY they have a big family tree for us, on a huge spreadsheet. I imagine there’s a code for checked and clear, one for checked and operated on, one for the next world. A death in the family isn’t easy, a young death is a shadow hanging over you for ever. That’s what CRY is for, making sure the shadow doesn’t spread. My Dad has raised huge money for them over the years, they exist on donations which is criminal when there is such a need for the service they provide.

So. That’s it. I’m not allowed to drive, but I can, write and tweet. If you’re thinking of helping a charity cry.ie is a good choice.

If you would like to learn about CRY, find out more about our services or participate in a fundraising activity please contact lebbs@cry.ie or check our website.

New York City Triathalon by Ben Duffy

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I hadn’t heard of many people taking part in the NYC Triathlon but from what I read online there are 2 things about this race. The effort that is required in order to get to the start line alone is nearly a mini triathlon in itself and out of a lot of the triathlons out there this is a must do race. Having completed this race and joined the class of 2014 I can safely say that if you get a chance you have got to do it.

Very early on after signing up to the race I knew I wanted to run it for charity. I chose 2, both of which have had some impact on me so I wanted to give back, CRY Ireland and The Alzheimer Society of Ireland.

Something I didn’t appreciate before flying over to NYC from Ireland is the logistics of sourcing equipment 24hrs before the race and being punctual for the official sign in, NYC is a massive city so I managed to get a bike and make it to registration before it closed.

Pre-Race, Sunday Having gone to bed at 11pm and not really slept I was up at 3am and out of the room by 4am, so as you can imagine I wasn’t feeling too fresh and geared up for the race. We made it by taxi to the transition area and I laid out my gear that I would use to complete the other disciplines throughout the race. It was a bit of a walk from the transition area to the swim start, I overheard someone say it was 1.5miles.

Swim I was one the last groups in the water which meant I didn’t get going to until 8:00am. After the race started I made sure I worked my way to the front of the corral (group) so I didn’t have to swim over all of those first-timers. It worked out great. The current was really strong, and it was in our favour.  To my complete surprise, the Hudson River was absolutely pristine. The strong current made for an interesting swim.  I wanted to use it as much as I could, so I didn’t push too hard.  It was actually difficult to tell how much effort I was putting in because I was moving so quickly.  In hindsight, I probably could have gone a little harder.

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Bike I thought Manhattan was flat, I was wrong.  As I started at the back there were a lot of riders ahead of me which gave me great confidence passing them out. I managed to find a good path and stayed clear of most riders for the best part of the bike. The hills weren’t really steep they just kept coming, and some seemed to go on for a while. I rode at a steady effort, as I didn’t want to burn too many calories. Although it is nice to be in the front end of a race, you can easily lose your sense of your effort.
 

Run
The transition areas are located in Riverside Park, a place I got to know very well as I made that walk to and from quite a bit throughout the duration of the pre / post race. The one thing I completely forgot about was the 15% grade hill leading out of the park, running when you get off a bike is hard enough, add a crazy hill climb and you’ll most certainly have jelly for legs.

The majority of the run is based in Central Park but when you finally make it up that hill and you get onto 72nd street, it was a great feeling, nothing like I’d experienced before, running in the streets of NYC. When I finally made it to Central park the sun began to warm up and I really began to feel the effects of the course.

I finished with a time of 2:37:41, which I was very happy about. 2 people who I forgot to mention are my girlfriend Sarah and one of my good friends Brettzer, who lives in NYC, Brettzer for putting both myself and Sarah up for a few nights, and Sarah for generally putting up with me throughout the race.

I am happy to say I raised a total of €1500 for my selected charities and I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who donated, I know it means a lot to the charities and also to me.

NYC Tri

If you would like to learn about CRY, find out more about our services or participate in a fundraising activity please contact lebbs@cry.ie or check our website.