Meet the member – Dáire McNulty
Well, Dáire, how’s the form? How’s everything going for you?
Ah sure no bother on me. Double vaccine got so hoping to get back to some sort of normality soon. Has been a long 18 months. Work has been busy. Work for a payroll company and Revenue had their schemes we had to work out. I am on support for customers, so they ring when they mess up. Why they think shouting will make me help them is beyond me. They get the minimum help. Working from home is great, don’t miss the office at all. Back home in Cavan a year since last June. Honestly don’t miss Dublin much at all. Only thing I miss is UCD pool and the Wicklow mountains for cycling. Being home has been great, not saving as much as I thought I would as get click happy on online shopping at times. Huge health benefit not being in Dublin either as have asthma and the air in Dublin is poison, chest so much better here.
Tell us about how you got interested in Triathlon and how you came to join Pulse?
Had played GAA until minor until I got a knee injury. Played wing half back, thankfully before the Carol Lacey’s and Philly McMahon’s of this world decided wing half backs ran all day. I was the get the ball and kick it type of player.
Knee injury was bad, to this day I don’t know what happened. Just seized walking up town at lunchtime in school during 4th year. MRI scan and physio and sorta helped. In college during my final year it was bad, there was days walking downstairs was agony. Back on the crutches and got a key for the lifts. Got MRIs done again and another consultant. Steroid injection, 3 weeks later, pain back.
Roll onto January 2011, knee surgery, didn’t really help. Then found a physio in Belfast who sorted it after 9 months going up and down, twice a week at the start. Turns out was vertebrae T11 in my back, catching the nerve going to the knee and causing the pain. Body is a complicated machine. Have to go up a couple of times a year still to keep it good. Thankfully was in Dundalk for college so about an hour drive. Have since got her to sort migraines and pain in my arm going into my hand.
Anyway, started running to lose weight, college diet wasn’t the best. Started using the football pitch, run a length walk a width. Built up and they had a gravel loop round the GAA, Rugby and soccer pitches I used. The next summer lad at home had got me cycling and doing duathlons and adventure races. I then moved over to triathlon in 2014 and done a couple of sprints and an Olympic in Monaghan.
When I moved to Dublin in November 2015 decided I would join a tri club. Done a bit of Googling and sent an email to both Pulse and Belpark. Pulse replied first so I joined for 2016, I also look better in red so the Pulse colours suit. Would have seen Pulse members at races and at the end the always seemed to be having good crack together.
Tell us about your first race?
My first race, TriAthy 2014. Went for my first open water swim a week or 2 before. Disaster couldn’t get it at all. Not a swimmer. It was as if I didn’t know how to swim at all. There were two others with me – Ronan in a kayak and Bernice swimming. She convinced me to try triathlon. Ronan is a guard and can’t swim so kayaked to keep us, well me, safe. Bernice was a savage swimmer being one of the first out in triathlon races a lot of times. After that disaster they ordered me into a lake again, this one went better, I could at least swim. Sighting, that’s still work in progress.
Headed down to Athy the Saturday morning as race wasn’t until later in the day. Ronan cycled down from Cavan to support us and drive home, he missed a turn and had to run across a motorway.
Into the water and away we went. A battering match for a bit then settled down. Bernice had said starts were vicious, she was right. I survived, can’t go to off course in a river thankfully. Wasn’t dizzy getting out as she also warned. Where did I put that bike????
Found the bike and away I went. Out and back, flat. Go like hell. Had a wee picnic on the bike, 2 bottles of water. I think I was planning a road trip. Found I loved going fast and was passing people. Great feeling going by people on TT bikes. Stone mad for speed.
Now to running. Had done the bike to run in duathlons so knew what to expect. Tipped past a few more on the run, was happy.
After the race tried and failed to get a restaurant for food. Hit the road and stopped at a filling station. A great day out
What’s your favourite race/distance to race?
I don’t think I have a favourite distance. Full distance would be my least favourite. It’s just the training and it’s a long day out. Will probably do them again saying that.
Of the other 3 distances, I like different aspects of them all. I love the madness and pure all or nothing in the Sprints, just on the limit and hanging on. Olympic just dial it back a bit or you will explode. Can push the half ironman a bit but still learning on it. As with the full ironman it demands respect or will be a painful day out.
My favourite race is not a triathlon funny enough. It goes back to my adventure racing days. Sea2Summit in Westport. I just love this race. Starts off in Westport and you run on the greenway to the harbour. Onto the bike for 8 km and head up Croagh Patrick. At the bottom, back onto your bike and head for the cycle. It’s the cycle which is the hard bit. It has a hill, which is cruel. It is long but levels off 3 times. The last bit is the steepest. Back to Westport and run the greenway back to town. Have done it 4 times now. It does help that Westport is a great town to go out in, always good crack and full of people.
I think there is a different atmosphere in adventure races, triathlon is kinda serious. In adventure races there is generally a mountain to climb, so normally can chat to others and have the crack when doing that part. Killarney Adventure Race or Quest Killarney as it is called now would be another favourite. There used to be one on Achill Island, Achill Roar that was great to. No closing times in pubs over there. I think Quest took it over.
What’s your favourite Pulse memory so far?
My favourite memory, this is a tossup between two but for different reasons.
- The Club Trips; Was lucky and the year I joined the club went to Seafield for a weekend. This was great for me as I met so many others in the club. There was a cycle on the Saturday. I went with Kevin Doyle, Mick Patterson, and Clare Dillon. Kevin had found Mojitos on the Friday night as did Mick, who may have introduced them to Kevin. They got round anyway, and Mick said he knew a shortcut back to the hotel. Mick does not know shortcuts, can’t stress this enough. Was a great weekend.
Majorca trip in 2018. Started off with a 3-hour delay sitting on the tarmac, French were striking again. Got to the hotel at about 3 in the morning. A fantastic week was had. Lovely cycles, the scenery is stunning and the climbs even better. Shout out to the Sa Calobra crew. If you can I would go on these trips, both the weekend training or the week ones when we are allowed again.
- Barcelona Ironman; This is a strange favourite memory as it went horribly wrong for me. 7-hour marathon walk getting sick, rushed to hospital after words, you get the picture. But that is not the story. It was on the run where I fell apart, Nutrition went wrong, anyway. The run was 3 loops. Starting my last loop, I was broken, mam and dad were there watching, god help them and mam says forget about time. That was long gone in my head. I couldn’t look at them as would have broken down and stopped. Went past and onto the lap and I stopped. I was leaning over the railings in bits, tears and questioning could I go on. It was here that 4 Pulse members rushed over to me, picked me up and got me going again. The support on that day was unreal from them and there were messages from other clubs saying this. As I was heading back in towards the finish, 5 km to go, with the medic bike following me, he must have been blind to let me keep going, for the last 2 km, Miriam and Eithne ran along-side me to ensure I got home. They told my parents to head into the finish line we will bring me home. Without the club I wouldn’t have finished that day. The club has always got your back and at every race there are waves and encouraging words.
What’s the best thing about being in a Triathlon club?
As I said above the support. They always got your back. We may race each other and want to be ahead but the encouraging wave or comment is always there.
Meeting like-minded people, its why when I moved to Dublin, I went looking for a club. Training with others does bring you on a lot to and makes it more enjoyable.
When you’re not swimming or pedalling or running, what keeps you busy?
What keeps me busy. Have a very demanding dog who insists on walks 3 times a day. He has learned with working from home I have a tea break at 11 and 3 so starts barking and whining for me to go out to him. He generally gets his wish.
Have started doing a bit of hiking to with Orla. Does be good. Started it over the last year. Have a few ticked off but more to do. Next on the list is Lugnaquilla, that will be the highest climb in each province done. Only an hour from the Mourne mountains so will explore those a bit more as well as the Wicklow mountains. Garmin connect is handy as can download routes onto the watch and follow them. It’s easier than a map. Guided hikes are very good to. Got them for Carrauntoohil and Mweelrea. Sometimes I do have to reign back as can add a couple of peaks into the day.
Also helping on our farm during silage season and other big jobs. Doing a bit of gardening to. Have grown cabbage, lettuce, peas, and scallion from seeds, yummy. Mam getting a greenhouse later in year so will be helping there to.
Outside of Triathlon, what’s your favourite sporting memory or achievement? (Doesn’t have to be your own!)
Being from Cavan there aren’t many GAA highlights to be had. Beating Monaghan, the last couple of years was good as Orla is from Monaghan so have that over her and her family.
Completing Coast2Coast in 2014 was huge. 2 days going from Enniscrone beach, Co Sligo across to Newcastle, Co Down. Torture but great achievement. Ran, Kayaked, and cycled. Last run 26 km and we had to get up Slieve Donard after cycling from Fermanagh. Was my first long distance event. The worst bit I found was 26 km kayak, I haven’t done much Kayaking since for some reason.
Getting under the 3-hour mark in Dublin marathon in 2019 was a highlight. Rounded off a great year for me with a few podiums and my first triathlon overall win.
Had not entered the marathon but trained for it as there is normally entries available closer to the event. I managed to get Cait’s entry and even better it was wave 1. My training went great, running around UCD was great training as was quiet and using the carpark for drink stops. Surface is lovely as the paths are gravel. Ran the three quarters marathon in Longwood as a test of nutrition and pacing. Talking to a lad from home he convinced me to try with the 3-hour marathon pacer, see how it goes. Able to keep with him and even kicked for home. And then I changed my Dublin marathon plan, 5 weeks out. Dáire you are a genius. Next couple of weekends on my long runs upped the pace to see how the legs would like it. During marathon training always kept 1 session for intervals, hard and above planned pace. Would be anything from 1 km to 4 km sets depending on the week.
Got to race day and it went a dream. Was the same pacer I had in longwood; he is very good. Ticking through the kms. There was a clown doing a mile-by-mile diary on his go-pro, what a dose!! Took 2 bottles at each water station, 3 gels for 1st hour and 2 thereafter. Also had caffeine sweets to keep going. Took a Motilium to keep the stomach right. It worked. Dropped back as we went past UCD as water was in cups and not a bottle. Caught back up and on the home straight opened the legs up while constantly looking at watch. 2 hrs 58 mins 11 seconds, delighted. Took 32 mins off my last PB and smashed through 3 hours for the first time. Normal runners to not the fancy carbon ones. I have since bought the fancy carbon ones.
Also have met step goal, 10,000 steps, for 540 days now.
Obviously Kona is the dream for a lot of members, but are there any other buck-et list, once-in-a-lifetime type races you’d love to experience?
Would like to cycle Mizen to Malin head. Was up at Malin head on holidays earlier this year and saw a fridge magnet saying I have cycled the route. Norseman could be cool but it’s a lottery, have entered it but no luck yet.
Would like to do a foreign race. Was looking at Dubai 70.3 but, yano, Covid. London or New York marathon would be something.
What’s the next Triathlon goal you’d like to tick off?
I would love to get under the hour for a sprint tri. Have 4 minutes to shave off which is a lot over such a short race.
Doing an Ironman without walking would be nice and get under the 10-hour mark. Barcelona, well we know how that went for me, walked a bit in the marathon and in Cork walked a bit due to being frozen. Some day will get it right.
For the moment am happy to be back racing. The year off swimming with pools being shut has taken the small bit of speed I had but will hopefully get back.
What’s your favourite book/movie/tv show? What do you like about them?
I do enjoy reading; Orla might say different as takes a while to read a book. I like biography’s mainly of sports people. Roy Keane’s books were great reads, Paul O’Connell likewise. Two Johnnies and Bernard O’Shea were light funny books. Would have read more before I moved to Dublin. Worked in a milk processing plant drying milk to be used in baby food. This was shift work and on evening and night shift, when bosses were gone, would have read newspaper and books to stay awake.
Not a big TV watcher. I still amaze Orla by what I have not watched. Think big shows, Harry Potter movies, Scrubs, Friends, have not seen them. Mainly I only watch TV when am eating so Home and Away would be it.
Can’t beat a good movie. Have watched all the Marvel movies. Before I moved to Dublin would have been at the cinema most weeks depending on what shift I was on. Went with a friend and his brother. The friend was a disaster, and we would always be late, missing the trailers, did have popcorn for the movie which was good. We were always guaranteed good seats as his brother was in a wheelchair. Would watch most things, horror is a no go.
What are the go-to tunes/podcasts for a training session?
Don’t listen to anything when out training. Cycling with headphones and music, I think, is just stupid as need to be able to hear for cars coming behind you. A lot of my runs at home would be on roads so need to hear cars there to. Not a fan of things in my ears so ear buds aren’t for me, and the over ear earphones would be to sweaty. Use training to clear the head so quietness helps.
When am on Zwift would either watch something or put on a Spotify playlist. My mu-sic taste would be varied. Would have stuff from when I was younger going around with dad and then newer stuff. Have a couple of Spotify mixes, one for driving and one for training. There is everything on it, something for every mood. Training would be mainly dance and a bit of rock. Haven’t got into the podcasts either. Bit like box-sets, a lot of commitment.
Who inspires you, be it in sports or in regular life?
I did struggle with this one. I don’t pay much attention to pro athletes, it’s their job to be where they are. Celebs, ye, anyway.
It would be the people who get up smash a great performance and head back into work that inspires. The classic underdog story is hard to beat. The regular people.
Obviously, watching the Olympics last week was inspiring.
What one nugget of advice would you give to a new member starting out on their Triathlon journey?
It has been said before but ask questions. Someone has had your issue before. Don’t forget about nutrition, especially in longer distances. It can break you when it goes wrong.
Mainly, enjoy it. It’s a hobby at the end of the day. We do it because we enjoy it, don’t take it too seriously. Don’t let it consume everything, I have been guilty of this. Miss-ing a run is not the end of the world. In races, always looking at someone’s back wheel or ass.
Finally, can you tell us an interesting fact or story we don’t know about you?
I am an All-Ireland draughts champion. Played a bit in school and went to a competition basically for the day off school. Ended up on the winning team.