Friday, 9 October 2015

Of Being on Top of the World

We did our annual pilgrimage up Slieve Donard on Wednesday of this week to see the place where Papa proposed to Mama on the top of a mountain almost three years ago in a howling gale and in the dead of night.
It was a beautiful autumnal day. The flowers and fauna on the walk up to the summit added even more colour to a day exploding with beauty and vitality.
Alicia was wonderful. She seemed to enjoy her transport to the top on a rucksack strapped to Papa's back. She never cried once but burst into song on a good number of occasions and happily popped into her mouth the wild blackberries that Papa passed up to her en route.
On days like this its easy to feel on top of the world in a life that is difficult to top too..

Legal-Island Full Out Flat Out

It’s all about everything at the moment at Legal-Island. We’re just flat out wherever you look. Our portal people are furiously at it. Our email service team have barely time to look away from their screens and our events team well it’s their busiest time of the year; “The silly season” as it is sometime referred to when we attempt to do five of our biggest events in as many weeks when hundreds of our customers come through the conference doors for what we think is the best HR show in town.

Our E-learning team is chomping at the bit too. We were much cheered this morning by surveying findings that indicate compliance training online is up this year and by a considerable percentage too. This should not come as a surprise for there are many advantages to e-learning over conventional classroom based training. These include ease of administration, cost and user convenience to name but a few.

Our own modules cover child protection or safeguarding for Northern Ireland and equality and diversity in the work place. We’ve modules for other disciplines due out soon.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Of One Extraordinary day in the life of a retired Ironman

 An occasion rarely comes that big that the day before you just know you’ll always remember it. Into my bank of memories along with births, weddings, landmark birthdays, graduations and funerals I’ve had to add my first (and last) Ironman.

Ironman day started for me at 4.30a.m. for I had to eat at least two hours before the start of the race which was a good hour’s drive from where we were staying in France.
The race didn’t start well for me. I found myself just where I didn’t want to be for the swim : at the front and in the middle. I spent the first 30 minutes or so avoiding slaps, kicks and generally trying not to drown. But the swim achieved its objective which was to beat the disqualification time and make it to the bike. This was waiting for me in transition meticulously prepped to get me around the next 112 miles. It had to carry me and enough gear for me to eat and drink over the next 7 hours and cope with any Plan Bs I might need to activate in the event of something going wrong.

But nothing did go wrong. There were no crashes, no punctures just an awful lot of pedaling and sweat in the midday heat that hit and stayed at 35 degrees for far too long.

The 26.2 miles run was tough. But I knew it would be. What was uppermost in my mind was just how much risk I should take. I felt good in the run but I was passing people who were collapsing and getting carted off to hospital. My wife and 1 year old daughter were waiting nervously at the finish line for me. Why take unnecessary risk by running further than you have to when you don’t know exactly how much you have left in the tank? In the event I ran a bit and walked a bit and approached the finish at about 10.30p.m.

An Ironman finish is an extraordinary thing. You enter the purpose build stadium which belongs to you and no-one else. There you see hundreds of people all cheering for you, trying to high five you or just enjoying making you feel special.

As I crossed the finish the finish the commentator said “Congratulations! Barry Phillips you are an Ironman!

I thought to myself “Thanks I’m a retired one to” and went to collect my medal and a long cool drink.