Sonia O’Sullivan: There is no better time than the present to just go for it

Limerick knew to take their chance when it came. You can’t think a better one will come

The Limerick team with the Liam McCarhty Cup. Photograph: Sena Curtin/True Media

The Limerick team with the Liam McCarhty Cup. Photograph: Sena Curtin/True Media

 

Waking up to life back Down Under. No matter how many times I make the trip, it’s never an easy transition, and always takes me a while to get back into some sort of routine. 

It would probably be different if I had to turn up at an office at a specific time or place. But when you set your own parameters each day, it can be tricky to get back into the seamless daily routine I crave. 

School drop-offs and dog walks can be the closest thing to pull me back into line. This latest trip back to Melbourne, after one of the warmest summers on record in Ireland, was particularly challenging. I thought after being away for nearly two months that the mercury might have moved up the thermometer. No such luck there, so a bit of acclimatising to the weather was the first requirement. 

Touching down in the dark cold, crisp morning air, the only benefit arriving at 5am is that I’m slightly ahead of the morning traffic and manage to get home within an hour of landing. That includes a bus, train and car and a great big slobbery welcome from our dog, Snowy, at the front door.

The little routines I had before I left in June are long forgotten: the school runs, the walks, the bike rides all need to be reset and fit in around family life and what’s been going on while I’ve been away. 

After 24 hours of travel, you feel a bit upside-down and tossed around. It can take some time to reset and find your feet. 

This time I had a weekend to help ease me back in to Melbourne life, but where to start? A park run seems like a good option – a time and a deadline to be somewhere, no procrastinating, just out the door at 7.30am to get to the park before the 8am start. There is nothing simpler than a run to wake you up and warm you up, to help reset the body clock. 

Between seasons

All the excitement of the European Championships left behind, it’s in between seasons here in Australia. The cross-country season will have its climax in Queensland this weekend, at the national championships. The track season is just beginning. Athletics is a year-round sport, especially for the junior athletes who seem to go non-stop throughout the year.

I was at the track on Friday night, the first of the new season for the Brighton Grammar Boys, the school where I coach. Everyone is trying to regain some form and make a mark to get picked for the school team for the upcoming state relays and the APS finals in just two months’ time. 

Meanwhile, the Diamond League continued in Europe with the final event before the finals in Birmingham last weekend. I was able to catch up on Saturday afternoon, one of my favourite guilty pleasures, lying around watching athletics on TV. The European athletes looked tired after the recent championships in Berlin, while the rest of the world couldn’t wait to get back on the track and race after a brief hiatus mid-season.

 When trying to get back on schedule after such long travel, I need some distractions to fill the weird waking hours and ease back into the normal busy lifestyle. A good book is essential. I’m currently locked into a recent gift, Not the Same Sky, and some light entertainment – that’s where I’ve re-engaged with the three Ingebrigtsen brothers, via a YouTube documentary made for Norwegian TV, Team Ingebrigtsen.

It’s like a mini soap opera and compulsive viewing now that we’ve worked out how to get English subtitles for the next four episodes.

The other place where I need to get all my ducks in a row is in the kitchen. This is my happy place, but like everything else the reset button is on to help find my way. The summer salads are tucked away for another few weeks, big pots of soup the quick solution and inner heater each day.

Like everything in life and in sport, so often the challenges we faced, which appear overwhelming, become so much more achievable when broken down to small pieces. A pen and paper to make a list while flicking through the recipe books, so much easier to go to the shop with a purpose and a list.

Limerick joy

Once settled back in to normal life, it was also about rekindling with my sporting activities, beginning a world away with the joyous scenes at Croke Park last Sunday, when Limerick surprised many by raising the Liam MacCarthy cup. 

I didn’t get to see the game live, but was very pleased to wake up and see green shirts all over the Twitter feed, then catch all the colourful articles in the papers.

I used to spend quite a bit of time in Limerick, in the physio rooms of Ger Hartmann on Patrick Street in the city centre, so definitely they were my favoured team.

I met someone I knew in the lounge in Abu Dhabi on the opposite flight path to me, heading back for the game. It showed how much it meant, with people flying all the way back from Australia to be there for the All-Ireland final, no doubt a memorable trip of a lifetime.

There was this fearlessness about the Limerick team, which in ways reminded me of the Ingebrigtsen brothers and how they compete. In the documentary, their father and coach is often perplexed by injuries and how there is no real template to follow when breaking boundaries.

You just have to take risks and see how far you can push things. There are no rules for the outliers; just going for it with no fear of failure for a chance of success beyond what seems possible.

Opportunities and chances come along and you just have to take them and not think chances will be greater when you are older, fitter, faster or more mature. There is no better time than the present to just go for it, take the rewards that come your way, and worry about the future when you get to it. 

Many people out there are operating on the long-term plan or the gradual progression – neither a guaranteed plan of success. As close as it was in the end, Limerick took their chance when it came, and the rest is history.

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