Outlaw 2013

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11/07/2013 at 11:31

Oh, and after walking most of a marathon, my legs were pretty fresh

Cake    pirate
11/07/2013 at 12:17
Flat Foo..ted wrote (see)

Borobhoy, your crew were brilliant and so easy to spot in their T's, I've got some good photos of you crossing the line I think if your over on facebook they are there.

Seconded they I did wunder if they had had a lot of sugar and a right laugh.

Nurse Ratched    pirate
11/07/2013 at 12:40

Wine - check

Crisps - check

Dip - check

Chocolate - check


Here goes




Anna (training buddy and fellow competitor) and I were chauffeured down to Nottingham by our tireless and faithful supporter, Rosi.  

Arrived at HPP and went to register.  Off to the campsite, sorted out the bags and Anna and I went to rack and hear the briefing, while Rosi put up the smallest tent ever seen.  Seren’s huge erection next door gave me quite a complex. 

Sherpa extraordinaire, Fraggle, popped in to introduce herself and took me to meet the pirate posse and Meldy mentor.

Off to the pub for tea and then an early night.




Alarm went off at 4am and I managed to force down some porridge. Feeling sick and shaky and questioning my sanity.  Fraggle arrived to make sure I was awake and to wish me luck before she headed to the Pirate feedstation, then it was off to the bike racks.  Several minutes were spent standing staring at my bike thinking, “Everyone else is dong stuff with their bikes.  Should I be doing stuff with my bike? If so, then what exactly?” Eventually decided it might be a good idea to put some food and drinks on the bike, and it was at that moment that I realised I didn’t have them with me.  Oh crap. I’d left them in a bag I’d given to Rosi, so I spent a couple of very anxious minutes scanning the crowd and walking up and down the fence searching for her.  As if by magic, she appeared and I grabbed my grub and loaded up the bike.

Headed into the change tent to get ready for the swim.  Now, I am not a fan of communal changing but I must have been possessed by the spirit of the event because clothes were whipped off and wettie donned without a moment’s hesitation. Earplugs in, cap on, goggles on.........rumble, rumble - I need the loo.  No I don’t.  Yes I do.  No I don’t.  No time to queue now, just have to get into the water and hope it settles.

Swim: The water felt lovely and warm, and I could see the bottom, so all good so far.  Had a bit of a splash about and waited for the point of no return.  A very wise lady had told me that although my swim target was 90 minutes, I should start at the back of pen 1 as all the speedy people would take off like rockets and I’d be left with clear water between them and the people swimming across from the other pens.  Being a good girl and always doing as I’m told, I found a space at the back of pen 1.  Then we were off!  It took a bit of time to find a space free from hands and feet and there were a few affectionate taps and nudges, but nothing too serious.  Sighting turned out to be fun.  I couldn’t see a bloody thing looking into the sun, so I thought I’d use the bank to keep me in a straight line.  I turned my head to find that my goggles had fogged up and I could hardly see the bank. Oh well, just have to keep swimming and hope for the best.

My swimming felt fairly smooth, no panicking and breathing was calm.  For some reason, everyone else was swimming squint and kept bumping into me, but I continued to set a good example and ploughed on in a perfectly straight line.  The turn buoy seemed to take a looooooong time to appear, and I didn’t see it until I was right next to it.  A welcome sight and I crossed the lake and headed back.  The inward half of the swim seemed to go much more quickly and passed off without incident. Well, apart from someone giving me a firm slap on the arse, but that just spurred me on to the finish.


Nurse Ratched    pirate
11/07/2013 at 12:41

Swim target, 90 minutes. Swim time, 1:32:01.  Happy with that

T1: Now I understand why a tri suit is such a good idea.  I was doing a full change of kit between disciplines but I couldn’t seem to get myself dry enough to get my bike gear on.  Thank god Seren was changing next to me and helped to unfankle my sports bra or I‘d still be there with my elbows strapped to my ears.

T1 target, as quick as possible without stressing. T1 time, 17:36.  Which, I think, was the longest of the day.

Bike: Headed off, sipping High5, and the first couple of miles were uneventful.  Then it all went a bit wonky.  I very suddenly felt very, very sick. No idea if it was adrenaline overload or lake water but, whatever the reason, it was not good. I was struggling not to vomit and had to put all my effort into controlled breathing and keeping hold of my porridge.  All I wanted was a drink of water but I only had High5 on the bike at that point and that just seemed to be making the nausea worse. I had planned not to eat for the first hour and then to start on half-hourly nibbles, alternating malt loaf and savoury flapjack, but by the time the hour mark came around I was still feeling seriously pukey.  I forced a malt loaf down my throat, gagging all the way but telling myself that if I didn’t eat I wouldn’t finish and that was not going to happen.  Then the sign for the first feed station appeared and the glorious sight of the yeller and black in full sail appeared over the horizon.  Boy oh boy, do the Pirates know how to do supporting. I can’t tell you what a boost all the smiles and yells were.  At last I had water and started sipping that, which slowly but surely settled my tum.  

My recollection of the bike course is a bit hazy but the things I do remember are - amazing support from the feedstations, the marshals, the family and friends, Joe Public, lots of “aaaaaaaargh” and “go Pirate”, and one car driver in particular who obviously isn’t familiar with the Pirates and roared, “Go on toxic”!  Seeing Rosi and Anna’s family at Car Carlston; how flaaaaaaaat it was; having a Pirate I barely knew squirting me all over; cycling along Oxton Bank and seeing a Pirate stopped at the side of the road and shouting,”you ok?”, only to discover that it was Cake, not having technical issues or feeling ill, just stopping for a...........a..............a.............rest.  Yes, that’s what it was. Definitely just a rest.  

I had a few wobbly times on the bike.  Had to stop fairly early on and take some painkillers to ward off a headache (due, I think, to the sun).  60 miles was a bad, bad, dark point, I don’t know exactly why, but I was really struggling.  Cue a bloody good talking to (from myself) which included reminding myself that I was taking that medal home to show my boys, no matter what; lots of mental arithmetic around speed/time/cutoff; repeating my two race day mantras, “Keep the heid an dinnae fash yersel”, and, “Don’t stop when you’re tired, stop when you’re done”.  The black cloud lifted and all was well again until around 80 miles when I developed an excruciating pain in the ball of my left foot.  I tried to keep pedalling, but I just couldn’t and it was so bad that the tears were streaming down my face. So I stopped at the side of the road, had a good cry, and took more drugs (I had put paracetamol and ibuprofen in my bento).  Two guys cycled past and asked if I was ok and I replied,”Yes (sniff, sniff) thanks (sob, sob)”, H’dTFU, got back on and did the next 10 miles or so with that foot unclipped and it

Nurse Ratched    pirate
11/07/2013 at 12:42

eventually settled down.

The 100 mile mark was a huge boost.  By this point my Garmin battery had died so I was relying on the Cateye.  Moving ever nearer HPP, cycling through the grounds of Poshington Hall saw my one and only potential collision of the day.  There was a lady chatting to one of the marshals and she had a black lab with her.  The bloody dog was standing right in the middle of the bike track.  What I was thinking was,”Get that f***ing mutt out of my way”, what I actually said was,”Move doggy”. Should have gone with the first option, because it didn’t budge, so I cycled into it and bumped it out of the way.  

Back to transition (those speed bumps are not kind to a bum that’s just spent 112 miles on a road bike saddle), handed the bike to a lovely man while muttering,”You can keep it”, and headed for the change tent once more.

Bike target, 8 hours. Bike time 7:41:27, happy days

T2: Another full change.  Got my feet strapped and padded up, run shoes on, realised I hadn’t taken off my bike kit, run shoes off again, change clothes, run shoes on again, slathered in Factor Tracksuit by the lovely crew and set off running.

T2 time 15:04

Run: Jeeeeeeeeezus it was hot.  It was so wonderful to see a bunch of Pirates at the bottom corner of the lake, particularly the amazing Fraggle who was waiting with a hug and a smile, and Rosi and Anna’s family again. I had planned to run between aid stations and walk through them.  However, I got halfway round the lake and my back had other ideas.  I didn’t fight it, I stopped to walk and let things settle down.  Once my back eased off and my legs had come back to life, I broke into a gentle trot again and thought I’d see how 5 minutes running felt - ok, as it turned out.  So my strategy from that point on was 5 min run / 5 min walk.  It worked well and I managed to (more or less) keep that going for the rest of the marathon.  

So many wonderful memories of that run - the incredible support from the feedstation crews; all the family and friends supporting; what a boost it was to have my name on the race number and get really personal support; the people of Nottingham; high-fives to all the Pirates; approaching the finish chute, hearing “X X, you are an Outlaw” and thinking,”that’ll be me soon”; the Pirate support roaring every time I went past; meeting Anna and hugging every time we passed; hearing that Andy had won; flashing my arse ink to some complete strangers at one of the feedstations (I blame the heat); Fraggle waiting at the bottom of the lake for the start of my last loop, telling me I was going to make it and giving me an enormous hug (I confess I am welling up typing that bit); the guys running out to get Brit and making me feel so proud to be a Pirate; heading back to HPP for the final time with 4 bands on and realising I was actually going to make it; Rosi waiting for me with the kilt; enormous hugs from Anna’s kids.

And there it was - the finish chute. Until the day I die, I will never forget the experience of running down there. That noise will stay with me forever, but most especially the noise of the Pirates roaring and screaming right at the finish for lil’ ole me as I heard,”Gail Watson, you.....are.....an.....Outlaaaaaaaaaw!” (Confession time again - I’m crying now).

Run target, to finish. Final time 16:19:36.


Met Brit in the finish tent, gave her a hug. Up the f***ing steps, massive hugs for Anna, and a fair few tears.  Food, massage, the wonderful Frag again with my post race special request. The best shower ever and

Nurse Ratched    pirate
11/07/2013 at 12:43

off to the bar.  


Time for a few thank-yous: hubby and kids for tolerating me and being so supportive for many months; Anna and Rosi for keeping me going when the training was a bloody chore and the doubts crept in; Fraggle for being the best sherpa ever; Meldy for being such an awesome mentor and keeping me on the right track, and also doing a fair amount of doubt-busting; OSB / The Outlaw Crew for an amazing day; Cake for the whisky (apologies for being a big jessie and being too beat to stay up and have more than a couple); and finally to the Pirates - I now understand why it is so special to race in the yellow and black. I feel incredibly proud to have worn those colours on Sunday.  Your welcome home at the finish was an experience I just don’t have words to describe. You ROCK.


Until next year.....................


Tired Badger    pirate
11/07/2013 at 13:29

Sorry for the lenght of my report, I intend to send it to the non pirates awell.

Outlaw Triathlon 1st July 2013 – My First Iron Distance Triathlon

I started this journey about 18 months ago in around April 2012 when the Badgers running club coach mentioned that it would do running strength good to cross train with cycling or swimming. I was preparing for my third marathon at the time so I took the advice and bought a cheap second hand road bike, this was going well but soon enough I though Hmmm I reckon I could swim too, roll on first attempts at swimming proper front crawl instead of my holiday swimming stroke. I don’t think I managed 400 meters in that first session, but the bug had hit. I’d started to read an online forum that was full of friendly athlete’s that were involved in this triathlon sport and in particular Ironman which just seemed like the ultimate challenge, I wanted in. (And you get a big shiny medal)

With this in mind I signed up to the Outlaw Iron distance triathlon the following year, I had three main reasons for choosing the Outlaw.

1.)    Cost Outlaw is 50% cheaper than a branded Ironman event

2.)    Lake swim – Sea swims can be a bit daunting if the weather is not great – and this is the UK

3.)    Flat bike – Only having a bike at the time for a few months I was hoping not having a lot of hills would be a benefit.

There were a few months between signing up and the training programme starting, I filled this time with completing my third marathon and gradually building on the bike and swim. The swimming was coming along and I was capable of swimming constantly for the hour session at this point. The bike was still an average of 15mph on an hour run.

 I’d got an online mentor from the forum that I’d agreed with to follow a 30 week intermediate plan with extra bike due to my lack of bike legs.

Bring on thirty weeks of two, one hour sessions a day and a long one at the weekend that ranged between 3 – 6 hours that I was trying to rotate 3:1 bikes to run. In the middle of this plan I completed the pirate DIY half Iron man which introduced me to some of the club members and gave me the chance to see how the training was going to date, this was one of the things that I benefited most from in the training, it gave me a massive confidence boost for the next 15 weeks training. Then by beginning of July I’d completed nearly all the sessions in the plan and hit the key sessions of two 100 mile rides and a couple of 3 hour runs with the open water swim building up to 5k. I was as trained as I was going to be.

A two week taper then commenced which was to rest the body in preparation for the big day, this gave me the opportunity to stress about everything, what if I trip when running, crash on my bike, haven’t got this can’t do it, haven’t trained enough. Over the 30 weeks my targets had gone from, ooh I just want to finish in the allowed 17 hours, to I reckon I can do this in 14 hours, hmm is under 13 possible. I settled on an under 14 hours being a target. With a prediction of the following;

Swim 2.4m – 1:30
T1 – 0:15
Bike – 112m – 07:00
T2 – 0:15
Run – 05:00

Race Weekend

Packed up Friday and travelled to Nottingham, arrived and met a few of fellow pirates that had arrived already and headed off to the local pub for food, more advise to be listened to which was mainly driven by don’t kill yourself on the bike, enjoy it, follow your race plan. 

Went to register, collect my numbers and transitions bags, little walk around the expo and then attended the race briefing that was mainly it’s going to be hot re

Tired Badger    pirate
11/07/2013 at 13:30

remember your hydration, bike safety, course routes e.t.c. Very friendly atmosphere and well organised. Then packed my bags dropped them at transition and said goodbye to my bike till the morning,  nervous as anything sat round with some of the other guys talking bikes, eating pasta till we all tried get some kip, I think I eventually got to sleep about 1am.

Race Day
03:30 – Wake quick shower to wake me up then porridge coffee and a walk to the bike to pump the tyres up, Sarah called to say she’d arrived at the campsite so I jogged off to meet her; I was so pleased she’d got to the venue in time to meet before the start. We got back to the tent and I started to get ready, sun cream, wetsuit on calamity number one, bent over to stretch the wetsuit into the shoulders and the suit ripped just under the zip. PANIC  I think Sarah could see the colour go from my face, I asked pirate RBM in the tent next to me for advise as he was a multiple finisher, and he said for me to try his suit on as he was not competing but had done a swim the previous day. It fitted great and I can’t thank RBM enough saved my day.

Swim 2.4 miles – Target 01:30

I was worried about the swim, I’d not competed in a mass open water swim start before and had been told horror stories about it being a bit of a slug fest at the start with the possibility of having your goggles knocked off by a stray foot or hand, or even being swam over. I started towards the back of pen two which was for the swimmers that had a predicted time of 1:15 and seemed to have nice swim start only receiving one knock to the head, which was followed by an apology which I laughed at as stopping to apologise was probably not a good idea. Other than that felt like quite a nice swim, with only the turnaround points feeling compacted rest of the swim I was managing to draft and sight no problems.

Swim – Actual – 01:14:12 – Going good, pleased with that on teach yourself front crawl swimming

T1 – Target - 00:15:00

Walk / Jog round to T1, wetsuit stripped then full change into cycling gear, nothing missed

T1 – Actual – 00:06:59 – Not bad – could be better without full change, must harden up to use tri shorts.

Cycle 112 miles– Target - 07:00:00

Found my bike in transition and headed out on the lap of the lake, seeing Sarah and giving a wave was great. Out onto the roads and time to settle into pace, all was seeming to go well until Calamity number 2 I’d decided to put my gel bottle and high five bottle on the bike on the Sat afternoon rather  than the Sunday morning, I was worried about forgetting it. Due to the heat it had turned all manky and tasted a bit like sour milk. In hind sight I should have sipped it and spat it out, but I drank the lot thinking I would top it up ASAP at the first feed station.  Bad move my stomach was churning but I carried on with the strategy and found the bike quite good. Before I knew it I was on the third loop and at the pirate feed station again which was full of cheers and aaaarggggs.  Then it was back to the Water Sports Centre to start the run, spotted Sarah’s mum with Lewis at the entrance which was great.  Average Speed just over 19Mph which I’m really pleased with.

Bike actual – 05:56:36 – Wow – Yes maybe a tad too hard J

T2 – No dramas full change into run gear– 00:06:26

Run – Target 05:00

Hot and tough is all I can say, my plan was to run to and walk the feed stations, which went out the window on the first lap, I was plodding not my usual running style.  It was great seeing the family and friends on the course and it was a massive boost each time I went past them, this spu

Tired Badger    pirate
11/07/2013 at 13:30

this spurring me on to be able to run that little bit more, but I think they could tell I was suffering.  I’d done no training in this heat.  It just doesn’t happen in the UK, rain and minus degrees yes; hot and 30 degrees was just draining.  The cramp was terrible - both legs were cramping after what seemed 10 – 20 meters which meant walking till it went then trying to run again.  This continued for the next 26 miles not nice.  High fived lots of pirates on the way, some looking strong most competitors seemed to be doing a run walk so it made it easier trying to keep pace. Eventually the last lap of the lake came round and the finish line was in sight and there was Sarah with Lewis and Harriet ready to run down the finish chute which was just amazing the crowd at the finish line were amazing with the shouts of “You are an Outlaw” bellowing over the speakers.

Medal, T-Shirt and....

The stairs that you had to climb to get to the family at the end were just cruel.

Run Actual – 05:14:48

Total Time - 12:38:59

Pleased with that...but writing this I’m already thinking I could knock 10 mins here and there off my time.

Being the first iron distance I don’t think I was expecting how much my body would be aching afterwards, as soon as Id finished everything seemed to tighten up.  It was amazing to be able to share this moment with my family. It was also amazing competing in the pirate colours.  They really do give and receive a massive support.  A massive thank you to my family, friends and colleagues that both supported me on the day and put up with me and my endless rambling on the journey to ironman, without this support I definitely would not have made it to the start line. Also to all the kind messages before and following and the support given to my chosen charity http://www.suttoncancersupport.org/

I cannot say thank you enough. I’ve rambled on enough now till the next challenge that is to be confirmed.

My just giving page is: www.justgiving.com/Mark-Stokes6 for any one who would still like to offer their support.

Ironman Mark J (AKA a very Tired Badger)

M...eldy    pirate
11/07/2013 at 13:45

Nursey - awesome report !!!   

FECKING T1 in 17 mins and T2 in 15mins .. you are definitely my mentee, what the feck were you doing in there woman!!    

M...eldy    pirate
11/07/2013 at 13:45

Badger .. did you by any chance hammer the bike and die on the run just like what the two ladies told you not too ??   

Bouncing Barlist    pirate
11/07/2013 at 13:49

Fantastic reports Nurse Ratched & Tired Badger

Nurse Ratched    pirate
11/07/2013 at 13:50

It was Sunday morning Melds. Brewed up a pot of coffee, warmed a couple of croissants, read the Sunday papers. Y' know - just the usual stuff 

M...eldy    pirate
11/07/2013 at 13:51

Yeah yeah ... thought I told you not to give away the secrets  

11/07/2013 at 13:52
Darkness wrote (see)

SA, Stu works with me and I have told him you have replied. 

Stu also kindly found his and my finishing videos which are both rather hilarious, mine because, as I keep banging on about, I couldn't find my family and was less than enthusiastic at the end and his because, well, you will see why!:




I think mine was pretty bad - I just completely ignored my family!

11/07/2013 at 13:53
M...eldy wrote (see)

Nursey - awesome report !!!   

FECKING T1 in 17 mins and T2 in 15mins .. you are definitely my mentee, what the feck were you doing in there woman!!    

 think I took about 15 mins in T1, just chatting and offering jelly babies :P

11/07/2013 at 13:54
M...eldy wrote (see)

Badger .. did you by any chance hammer the bike and die on the run just like what the two ladies told you not too ??   


Yoo hoo!

11/07/2013 at 13:54

Nursey and Badger, both lovely reports.  Thank you for sharing.  

Nurse Ratched    pirate
11/07/2013 at 13:56

Oops, forgot to put my run time in - 6:33:27. My first mara, so a PB 

11/07/2013 at 14:01

Everyones day was just so amazing. Such a fantastic experience to have been a part of it. Whilst I will take 2014 off from Ironman I will definitely Ironman again in the future. Sadly Ironmorph was definitely a one off. He is now gracefully retired!



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