Migraines, Frankenstein’s Monster and back to square 1

My name is Linda…and I’m a cyclist.

Once you have this addiction its all uphill and downhill from here!
I discovered cycling 6 years ago, (thanks to a good friend for getting me hooked on the bike!) and am now broke from my addiction for things ”bike”. Purely egged on by the feel-good factor from cycling, I built up my road time cycling solo from zero to regularly cycling 250k a week over about 6 months. I found it helped me de-stress and lose the cadbury’s ass and a half, and I know every bump and pothole in every road for miles.

For the record, if you want leaner legs and backside – cycling has to be one of the best ways to do it – it lifts and separates like no other exercise and its low impact.
Running is great for fat burning and the legs if you can take the impact, but if you want really shapely legs its got to be explosive work (sprints/bounding/jumping) or strength work! If you are not up to that then cycling is the business. Hills will always be your best friend (unfortunately UP not DOWN  – I treat the DOWN as the reward for having dragged my sorry A** UP).
Either way there is always another way to lose one of your spare asses.

I would often drop kids to school when I was not working and then tear off around Lough Derg on the bike, just making it back in time to collect at home time. Many is the time that my daughter found me, sweaty and swaying at the school gates, crossed eyed from low blood sugar (“any chance of an aul’ plate of chips there Ted”), hair standing on end and covered in dust/bugs or mud – but happy out.

My trusty first road bike - cycled 8000km on this bike in 3 yrs

My trusty first road bike – cycled 8000km on this bike in 3 yrs, best looked after bike in Co. Clare

Unfortunately disaster struck –  2 stone up in 2 months aaaaargh! These things are sent to test us
As a chronic migraine sufferer of many years, I was prescribed medication to help prevent them starting. Unfortunately this had side effects of weight gain no matter how much I cycled and this added the equivalent to 2 shopping bags to my backside.
Eventually I figured that one out and medication had to be changed or someone was going to die.


Then my leg had a freckle that had legs of its own. I got it checked thanks to being prodded into it by my osteopath Breffni Freyne, and just as well, as it turned out to be Melanoma.  Over 2 attempts, they carved a lump of leg out along with the melanoma that felt like I was 5lbs lighter on my right thigh and left me with an interesting 6″ scar that looks that I’ve had a fight with a shark. I said to the surgeon he could feel free to even me up or even  reach up and do a tummy tuck and eye bag removal at the same time while he had the scalpel in his hand but he didn’t go for it.  Happily the melanoma was gone, so huge sigh of relief and I take a bath in Factor 50 every time I go training.
After having one malignant melanoma they checked several more moles and took about 8 more which thankfully turned out to be benign, but I was full of scars and stitches like Frankenstein’s Monster for the next 6 months.  I then did what I do SO well in the absence of exercise – with the 2 stone in 2 months plus 6 months of no cycling – gained a total of 3.5stone and back up to a cursed 14.5 stone. Still fit but carrying a shopping bag on each ass.

2012 - approx. 50lbs heavier due to migraine medication and treatment of an evil melanoma - unable to exercise...frustration!

2012 – approx. 50lbs heavier due to migraine medication and for an evil melanoma – unable to exercise…frustration!



Starting back at ground Zero again, size 16 but thankfully back in the saddle again. I was encouraged down to watch the Aquathon at ULAC and met Boru tri club  – utterly intimidated by all these superhuman types running around in skin tight wetsuits and running like lunatics! Under persistent persuasion I was coaxed by good friend Rosie Foley to join Boru Tri Club purely for the cycling – I had never cycled in a herd before, always solo – I found this clump of friendly smelly lycra-clad people swarming along the road shouting their heads off was great craic. By the way – we think we are just chatting to each other – we don’t realise we can be heard 3 fields away. Disregard anything you hear.

Sunday morning was, and still is, the best day of my week – cycling, chat and coffee in the Soggy Bottom Corner at the Wooden Spoon. Sitting around talking about bikes, looking at bikes, bike porn on the internet with a bunch of nutters who don’t see anything wrong with it….pure heaven. (Before you get offended this can be sexy carbon wheels, TT bikes, cycling gear, helmets…)
People who will put up with me in all my glory of sweaty head, spattered face and the soggy backside. As it should be.
At this point, I returned to teaching pilates classes to “real” people again (as opposed to students on courses)  – a combination of a few sessions a week, full body exercises using mat, ball, resistance ring and of course my lovely curvier-ass-body-weight to lift, combined with increased cardio on the bike, I lost 3.5 stone from August to May and went to back to a strong toned size 12. In May of  that year I also discovered TRX suspension training

First day up on borrowed TRX straps - 48th birthday :)

First day up on the TRX straps – 48th birthday 🙂

This created further overload and ramped up the strength work, increasing lean muscle which helped the fat burn off. I dropped another clothes size by August that year – no change in weight at all on the scales, but shrank again to a size 10. I have not been size 10 since I was 13!

Proof that weight training doesn’t make you big – (unless you lift very VERY heavy!)

Cupcakes, bread, bad food choices and lack of exercise will make you big.

Another excuse busted!

plank with arm raise

3months of TRX later


Simple fact is – we all have something or some obstacle between us and feeling better and healthier. No change is easy.
Depends how bad you want it.