Fuelled by a rather fine glass of red....
From 16 until 30 I was reasonably sedentary. Exercise was for fatties who needed to lose weight. Not me.
I was forced by a friend to join a gym, and then do the Great North Run.
I was hooked, and the running became my passion.
As with everything in my life, I did probably a little to much too soon and got injured.
The first injury led to the second, and led to the third etc.
I took to the pool and learned to swim from you-tube
it was OK but not enough so I got a bike.
I was rubbish at cycling but built it up and decided I would like to do a tri.
Took a while to pluck up the courage to actually do one, but decided an olympic tri in the lake district where no one knew me was a reasonable place to start. I hated it. Panic attack in the swim. Slow bike. Horribly hard run. Everyone seemed to know what they were doing and belong to clubs. So much harder than I'd thought. Maybe I'll not do tris after all.
But the idea of an IM had crept in. That seemed an almost impossible task. So huge it was surely ridiculous. Would I be able to do it? My head would do it, but would my body?
On a whim I entered IMDE....disaster struck soon after with a knee problem that refused to settle....no run training = no IM.
Next year, still hopeful, entered IM Regensburg. Knee better but not enough to build up the running....so no IM.
Next year (why do we have to enter these races so darned early?) entered Outlaw. Knee getting better....but then a crazy hip injury that turned out to be hamstring tendonitis stepped in. This eventually took me out of all running and cycling for several months. By the summer I'd got back to decent enough cycling, but not enough running. Did an Oly and a half IM instead.
And then September came round again. Had to make a decision. Decided I would enter Outlaw or IMUK. Just one last entry. No more after that. I truly thought I'd not make it to the start line, but entered on the quiet. (apart from Bin Man, who was definitely part of the catalyst to enter the darned thing).
Almost as soon as I'd entered, I'd done the Wild Boar HIM and flared up all my old injuries which stopped me running for about 3 months. A dreadful start, but normal in my world by now. I kept the cycling going as best as I could as I was off to NZ for a reasonably hard core cycle holiday in November - 800 hilly miles over 10 days or so.
I got home in early December - exactly 30 weeks out from Outlaw
Awesome reports guys - loving reading them! Keep them coming.
And so I made a start.
I did really intend to do the Fink training plan - or at leat modify it around work and stuff. But my cycling and swimming were already ahead of Fink, and my running non existent.
And so I kind of muddled along - knowing full well I'd not get very far anyway.
And then I could stop and move on to other things...
So I just did my usual swimming - most days, up to an hour before work. No big deal. It's just therapy to me.
Cycling - aim for 3 times a week. Get a long one in and make it longer with time. Aim for a couple over 100 maybe. Turbo twice in the week.
Running - from complete scratch again. 2-3 runs a week. starting from just 2 miles? could I build it up without injury? in my head I needed to get to 20 miles before I was satisfied my legs could take it. No chance...but I'll crack on as long as possible.
And so it went on. A stuttering attempt to cycle in terrible weather and run with constant niggles. I've lost count of the number of times I held off running or cycling because of either ice or imminent injury.
Somehow though, even though the 'training' wasn't going to any plan, it wasn't ever halted enough in its tracks to allow me to completely give up. I pressed on, and suddenly had had a few reasonable weeks with several long rides and a run that had somehow cranked itself up to the magic 20.
But all incredibly slow. Definitely all at a pace that made the bike cut off a worry...
And the slowness made me resentful and very demoralised. I didnt feel especially tired, but in hindsight I clearly was..
A 6 week taper - initially made no difference, but my recent quick trip to the Alps certainly did - totally rejuvenated me and reminded what it was I used to enjoy - the outside, the challenge, the banter, the sociable side. Virtually all my Outlaw training had been solo..
Soory this is pretty dull...
it's great k9. as are the others.
I love reading about how people trained. cant wait to hear how it turns out
It's not dull at all!
Just lost the next bit.
Need to start again
Fab reports, keep 'em coming
Will do mine at some point, still, sorting out all the camping stuff!
For me, the Outlaw was more of an experience of being a new pirate than it was for doing my first ironman distance triathlon. Training had its ups and downs mostly due to achilles grumbles, chafing in creative places and a collision with a Range Rover, but in the end as everyone says, 'I Fink, therefore IM'.
I had a great time at the IM, mostly down to the friendly support and banter of the pirates both in and off the field.
One big thing I learned is how important nutrition and hydration are, especially in the searing heat. I consumed 1300 calories 3 hours prior to the event (I know, 3 am sounds stupid but it works) and I consumed 16 electrolyte tabs (2 in each bottle) and 6 litres of water on the bike (3 pees), and another 3 litres of water on the run (3 pees). I was still sweating at the end, so it was just the right amount. I also learned how to discreetly pee on a towel in T1 (blame Seren) to save time and effort. Nutrition on the bike was 4 muesli bars, 3 Power bars and 7 dried whole bananas (they are great, chewy things, so easy to store and eat). Nutrition on the run was a gel every half hour, even though my teeth were zinging from all the sugar. It sounds like a lot, but it seemed just right, and I realised that this was the hardest thing to adjust to in training but well worth the effort.
Something I need to learn for future events is not to be such a stressed a-hole the day before.
As always, best bit was meeting the Pirates on the way, in the feedstations and the stands. Brilliant day oot
So anyway - fast forward to the final week.
I was not quite injured enough to ever totally stop training and withdraw. I obviously desperately still wanted to have completed the distance. But I had several niggles...back pain, sciatica, foot pain, knee pain.
I had adjusted my bike seat more times than I could count, had so many physio appointments they were like honorary members of my family, pestered colleagues for a variety of MRI scans...
But I was going to give it a go.
The nervous energy had kicked in on the Monday. By Thursday this had turned into blind panic. I packed and repacked repeatedly on Thursday eveneing. Checked and rechecked, and worried a lot, and added things just incase.
A test ride of the bike on Friday morning before driving down revealed a slightly buskled back wheel. Catastrophe. A 30 detour to the bike shop was tagged onto the 170 mile drive to Nottingham. Im sure the bike shop wondered if they should alert a psychiatrist...
The car air con had broken and so I sweated my way to Nottingham. Drove into Pierpoint via the Green over the most pot holed road I have ever seen (the bit we avoided by detouring past the Hall). Bashed the bumper on a speed bump, and finally found the car park.
Dripping with sweat and like a rabbit in headlights, I found my way to registration. Not too many people about. Was asked if I had come to register by a lady who took a double-take and decided I hadn't and must be lost....registered and then sat staring at the enormous lake wondering what on earth made me think I could do this.
Felt very lonely, and headed off to the hotel. Got lost but finally made it, hot and bothered. Smuggled bike and massive amounts of kit into the room. Ate some food. Glass of wine. Worried about food poisoning and went to bed.
Woken by a fire alarm and hotel evacuation at 01:30.
I was quite clearly the only guest who had gone to bed. The others were all part of hen parties/ stag dos and just starting their nights
Staurday - more panic. Bought a sunhat for the run. Another bike check. Some extra sun tan lotion. Race briefing.
Starting to calm down a bit.
Met a couple of friends, mum arrived and drove me round the bike course. Seemed seriously flat to me. All good. Nothing to worry about. As long as the bike held up I'd get round surely.
(bike is more broken than me)
Bags checked in. Bike racked. Tyres let down.
Last minute panic about 2 holes in back tyre that tured out to be the moulding (?!)..
and back to hotel for some unpleasant pasta and water. Splitting headache and back ache and sciatica.
brufen and bed.
Sunday. AWAKE at 02:30.
Revolting porridge with honey and banana. Immodium. Panic.
Watched telly. Something about a plane crash.
Could stand it no more and got into the car and drove to the site.
Car parks locked.
Seriously - I am the first person here.
A 4 wheel drive finally scoots past - someone leaps out and unlockes the gate. I drive in and park randomly (unknowingly upsetting the car park attendant who had not yet arrived).
I am the FIRST into the transition.
I am embarrassed about being me.
Lots of checking, faffing, tyre pumping, portalooing, agonising over bike nutrition, walks around looking unsuccessfully for mother, and donning wetsuit...
Stand on start line. Mixture of excitement, impatience, and tears.
Finally we get in. It is warm. It is fine. It is the one bit I'm not worried about. Just a bridge to the terrifying bike and survival run.
And then we are off. The anticipated biff fest wastn't anywhere near what I expected. Started in pen 1 and just swam. Followed the arms on the horizon. Eyesight not good enough for anything else. got kicked in the eye which created a suction cup effect on my eye in my goggles. My immediate panic about losing my eye was unfounded. One more kick in the hip and we were at the orange turning point. Slowed for a couple of bike-time saving wees on the return leg, but just went steady - and was out in a pleasing anough 1:05:59.
Hobbled on heavy legs into transition. Panicked trying to get gloves, shorts, sun cream on. gels in pockets.
Bike was good. Cold to start and then just pleasant for the first loop. 18.9 mph after first loop which seemed to breeze by quickly and flatly. And the roads were pretty nice too. Especially compared to the pot-holed fest where I live.
Had finally decided on a mixture of cliff bars then cereal bars. Cliff bars sound nice but are not. White chocolate and macadamia etc. Anyway. stuck to a bar an hour - or a bike every 10 minutes, and a bottle of energy drink at leat every 2 hours..it gave me something other than the miles to concentrate on and the miles flew by. I can barelly remember them.
The 'hill' on the second loop was nothing. Barely noticed it. Pee stop at the top and moved onto High five and just kept going. Had slowed a bit but not much. The support was amazing. The feed stations gave me a boost of enthusiasm and the Marshalls were truly fantastic...
Before I knew it I was on the third loop and home straight. Bike had held up and I was starting to know I had heaps of time to finish. Took another just-in-case immodium and a couple of salt capsules. I was well ahead of expected schedule, and finally arrived back in T2 after 6:20.
Second pee stop. Mum there to cheer me on. More transition faffing. Lots of sunscreen but for the second time forgot my shoulders and back...
and out onto the run...
It was seriously hot by then
I had mentally decided to get around the first 2 lake laps without walking and then reassess. Legs were protesting a little but not bad. tv camera crew drove past at 6 miles and I was feeling good enough to give a huge smile and wave.
Before the crash at 8 miles.
Oh dear. Felt rubbish and so hot. Slowed to a shuffle. Could hear high 5 sloshing in my stomach. Felt queasy. Should I stop drinking? Carry on drinking and find myself puking? Try a gel? I hate gels but opted for one. Yuck. So gross. But after 10 mins I definitely felt better...so gels thereafter
Shuffled around the suspension bridge killer loop. Felt pretty terrible. Back to the lake and round once more. Third arm band.
Still shuffling. Not walking.
It may have looked like walking to the uneducated eye but it wasn't
2nd out and back loop. Starting to feel a little cooler at last. The Marshalls and support were fabulous and helped SO much. I was particularly grateful to the marshall at the far side of the suspension bridge for explaining to on lookers exactly why we all looked so carp...
and deeply deeply grateful to the guy with the water and sponge who drenched me at the point when I was starting to shiver in the heat (never a good sign).
In fact - I would like to propose to him.
And -so - back to the lake. Ouchy ouchy legs. Keep shuffling. Get to that shute.
And finally it was there.
Red carpet, shuffle to the line, mum cheering, agony over. I am released....
Medic tent. Medal. I was expecting something dinner plate sized and jewel encursted but what we got did the job (I'm still wearing it)
Salty, sweaty hugs, food tent (no thanks), massage, fainting competitors, hotel, shower, brufen, 2nd attempt at food. Bed.
Queasy most of yesterday and falling alseep everywhere....
But today - surprisingly good.
And Oh so SMUG
K9 - brilliant report, loved reading every word of it.
Lovign all the reports, keep them coming
These reports are great making excellent reading
K9 - Brilliant report, loved reading it. Well done you. I have taken inspiration from the fact that you you-tubed swim technique since that is to be my strategy too. Seriously well done on a cracking result.
Iron Ripley - Again, massive well done to you too. In particular, I love the tips re pissing into a towel and eating whole dried bananas (not at the same time, obviously). I shall definitely remember those!
Fantastic guys, be proud of yourselves.
I’d had to look over my shoulder before Saturday’s swim practice when one of the organisers said “Athletes this way” surely they couldn’t mean me? I still think of myself as the fat bloke who returned to running 2 years ago when my doctor told me I was obese. Maybe I now need to find a slimmer pig for my avatar.
I had been feeling confident leading into the race as training had gone well apart from some knee trouble which had reduced but not stopped my running, I had learned to do front crawl only just over a year ago but have completed the swim distance many times in training. Road cycling I was even newer to, but I’d built up to do 3 century rides. The nerves only really hit me during the briefing, it was hot in that hall and the heat was what I was worried about.
Surprisingly I had a great night’s sleep, woken up by my alarm, rather than the night of clockwatching I had been expecting. Relieved to find my tyres hadn’t exploded in Saturday’s heat and still felt hard, so I left them as was, minimal faffing for me. Said good bye to my family, dropped off my glasses then staggered / felt my way round to the swim start. I wear prescription goggles but I still don’t see too well in them.
I started at back of pen 1 with the fast guys the idea being that they would be off leaving me clear water, I could use the left bank for sighting and would also get to draft off the people from pen 2. Others must have had the same idea though as there were a lot of slower swimmers in front of me. I was getting clobbered a lot and didn’t really find clear water until past the 750m mark. I was relieved to keep my breakfast down as the duck shit soup in the lake didn’t really agree with me . I picked up some good drafts after that and had an enjoyable and relaxed swim, conserving my energy for later. Swim time 1:18:42, fantastic!
Coming out of T2 I spotted my family perched up on the boatshed, above where my bike was racked, quick wave and I was off on the longest bike ride of my life. I had read some advice about treating the start of the bike ride as if you were cycling to the event so that is what I tried to do, again conserving energy for the rest of the day. Despite that, the roads were fast and I was going at a decent speed, much faster than I ever managed in training, food and drinks were going down well and I had a great time Aaaarghing back at all the supporters who cheered me on. Was glad to get to the finish but hadn’t really experienced any bad patches and arrived back in transition after a 6:43:36 cycle ride. Excellent for me!
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