Outlaw 2013

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15/07/2013 at 13:11

Morphsuit, my Garmin, gloves, glasses, bandana, helmet and cycle jacket on only to realise I'd forgotten my skin. Whipped it all off again, got skin on, everything back on and ready to go. 20 mins transition so overall I think I was getting on the bike at exactly the same time as last year.

I got a huge cheer as I walked to my bike and a mention from the commentator and there I was on my Merida, composed, in a good gear and zooming down the lake. I was Hi fived by a few spectators and I was now ready to face my nemesis.

  Last year the bike section broke me. 8 hrs 30 mins of hell. This year was going to be different. I was riding better and faster from the off. More focused more determined and more controlled. My Morphsuit adjustment fears came to nothing with the eye and mouth holes being spot on. The only problem, other than the clautraphobia, irritation, heat and general discomfort I am used to in a suit was my nose being covered. I just had to work a bit harder on my breathing and eating. As i approached the first double island point to go right to the Southern loop for the first time i caught a Pirate called Razor (and I think, with hindsight, Razor is Dave Wilkinson Snr but I didn't know this at the time). He was just getting going again after sorting his bike out. I asked if he was alright and he said he was. We wished each other luck and I continued. Shortly after he caught up and past me. He was very fast on the flat but I seemed to make ground on him on any hills. We swapped places a few times and it was so nice to be riding with other cyclists in sight whereas last year I was on my own for most of the ride. First feed station was welcome and excellent (as they all were). 750ml of water gone already so i took a bottle and on i went. I was sticking with water and cobs to avoid the shits at each feed station i endured last year. I did have a bottle with me of water with gels in it for the last 90 mins of bike.

  The Southern loop was clockwise as opposed to anti clockwise last year. There was, thankfully, no wind. Last time I saw Razor he was in the distance on a long straight stretch of slight uphill and I was going steady when the motorbike camera crew pulled alongside. I gave them a thumbs up and gave it a bit more than I wanted to. I was glad when they finally moved on so i could take it steady again. I stayed strong around the Southern loop and drank as much as possible. I swapped encouragement with other riders as they past me and visa versa. I saw Tim who was still having a bad day and had gone from a time target for the event of 12 hours to 'just finishing'. I chased a Pirate down a few times who had a nifty right leg tattoo and before long hit station 2. Christina Sandberg gave me a hug and it was great to see a Poppyfielder out on the course. I picked up Hi 5 drink instead of water though and my paranoia after last years stomach problems meant I couldn't drink it. The next feed station is the start of the Northern loop and it was just too hot to chance going that far without a drink. As I passed a few houses there was an Outlaw 12 finisher and his family supporting outside a house. I asked if they would mind filling my bot
15/07/2013 at 13:12

bottle with water and they kindly obliged. I know its 'outside asistance' but......

I whizzed back through the village with the cricket pitch and the crowds were immense and then down to the double island onto the long straight to the Northern loop. The leaders flew by going the other way and whilst most were on tri bars focusing on nothing but their front wheel a few took a second to shout such encouragement as "what the f......" or "you must be m....." and a huge " Go on Si......." from Ian Dickens. I never caught the end of their comments as they were flying by so fast. I caught up for the last time with Pirate Leg Tattoo lady as we turned onto the Northern loop. We turned left towards Oxton Hill (the only real hill on the course) and I was a bit gutted the feed station wasn't on the bend where it was last year. Then remembered they said it was at the top as a reward! My first real sign of weakness kicked in here as my right knee began to feel bruised and painful. I ignored it but couldn't do Oxton on the bike. As i dropped the gears I could hear the spokes clipping the chain (or something) so going back up a gear to avoid that was just too much. As I walked up so did a couple of others. I got going again as soon as I could and then stopped at the next feed station. I ate a cob and a banana, took on more water while two other Outlaws sorted mechanical problems. One was stuck in one gear and couldn't change it and the other fixing a puncture. Gear man said he had never not finished an event. I hope he got going again. I don't really remember much about the Northern loop from then on other than how shockingly brutally hot it was. I was always in sight of cyclists - loved chatting to Marshals at feed stations and explaining why i am in a Morphsuit. One Marshal pointing out that I hadn't really followed my own advice written on my arm to not be a c u next tuesday! I told one of them about my BMX Ironman idea and he and his Marshal mate then suggested they would have a go dressed as the Honey Monster (I don't think he will). I also started suffering cramps in my left calf and right hamstring. I can stretch them out on the bike but the nagging feeling that's left afterwards was worrying me for the run! I do remember being relieved when finishing on the downhill of the Northern loop and heading back across to the Islands. I was still cracking on. The pain in my knee was getting worse and I now had a nagging post cramp ache in my ribs from cramping up when trying to reach back to get food out of the back of my top. Also my kidneys were starting to ache. I was still wellying water down and still reluctant to go to gel/water. I was pushing hard though and generally feeling good. I had feared the final hill approach to the two islands but I flew up it so well I didn't realise I'd done it until at the islands. Just the Southern loop to do then plus 12 miles home stretch. I had plenty of time. there was big support from the Pirate feed station at the start of the loop. I passed a few riders who I feared wouldn't make it. I think one was Bigdaveackers who was fiddling with his seat and another was possibly Tony Wilson being collected from the side of the road so close to making it back. It was heart breaking to see. I passed Steve who I would see lots of later and he said he was 'destroyed'. The heat was phenominal. When water was poured on me I think it just evaporated. I got to the last feed station. Got another hug from Christina and set off with 12 miles to go.I whizzed through the cricket village and my humerous shout of 'Howzat' was met with the same stunned silence as last year! I was so much happier than last year. No motorbike rider guiding me in. Still on the big cog - still pumping and safe in the knowledge the cut off was not an issue. My only concern was whether I was going to be able to get round the run. As I got
15/07/2013 at 13:14

to HPP I had still not touched the gel/water I just couldn't risk it. I had not been to the loo once but had drunk at least 8/9 litres of water. My kidneys ached and this worried me. True to form there was Mrs Brightside and the Rugs and my brother and his family giving it loads on the wall. Last year I was rooted to the bike unable to move. This year I coasted in no handed giving a bicep curl salute.The last 40 miles had seen me lose control of my emotions on and off - nothing as bad as last year. Most of the time I had control. One thing I cant do is control them when I speak to Mrs Brightside. She asked if I was OK. I think I said yes but may have looked like I wasn't. Either way i couldn't say anymore and I walked into T2. I sat down and broke down. Its weird why it happens and I cant really explain it but the emotions just pour out and I have no control. I gathered myself just as Stu and Michael came into the tent to gee me on. They had just run their first loop. This picked me up and I got my trainers on - grabbed a pack of jelly babies - changed bandanas and headed out on the run. I did consider trying to have a slash but changed my mind after opening the door of the 3 loos at the bottom of the lake. Mrs Brightside had moved round to the side of the lake and i got a welcome hug and kiss. You could see the belief in her face - I wasn't so sure but she was convinced I had this! I saw the kids up the side of the lake and my bro. Lots of Hi fives and cheers and I ran up to get my first wristband.

The pictures you will see do look like I have wet myself. I can assure you I hadn't it is just the case that I produce a lot of groinal area sweat when on a bike for 7 hrs 38 mins and 2 secs (nearly an hour faster than last year!!) in temps up to 34 degrees!

  I collected my first wristband and ran up to the first toilet. I think that this was where I had my only wee of the day! It took an age to get the suit half off so I could pee and just as long to find my my necessaries which had shrunk from their 'not entirely blessed' normal state to a 'strap us in a Morphsuit and sit on us for half a day' disappeared state. After sorting myself out I got running again and tried to run feed station to feed station and walk while I ate crisps and drank water. I came down passed the finish and the support was outstanding. I got a shout from the commentator and the crowd gave it loads.There was a group of Pirates towards the end being particularly noisy. They had seen me down the finish chute last year hence the nod to them on my arms. I ran back round and saw my family again and got wristband number two but that was effectively the end of any real running that for the day. The heat was brutal - the cups of water weren't enough and i needed a bottle, I couldn't get enough oxygen in because i could only breathe through my mouth. If I lifted the suit off my nose it made a huge difference but it was awkward to plod/walk with one hand in the air. I did run a bit more up the lake which proved to be well timed as the camera motorbike came past and we did a quick interview. As soon as he moved off I walked! Runners were passing me constantly either to finish or to begin their final out and back. Many were walking. Each time I tried to run I knew that if I pushed it I would  not finish. This meant more walking than running which in turn meant it would come down to the wire. One lady past me and she, like so many others, said something like 'fair play for trying to do it in that'. I asked if she
15/07/2013 at 13:15

was on her last lap and she was so i wished her good luck. A she went past I saw a huge deep blood oozing graze on her left shoulder. I asked her about it and she laughed it off by explaining she fancied a lie down while out on the bike! Phenominal determination.

Steve had caught me up having got to T2 just after me. He was going to walk the 26.2 miles at 15 mins per mile which would beat the cut off easily. As we rounded the top of the lake another lady was on her hands and knees being sick. We asked if she was OK and she said she was as she rejoined the path and set off slow jogging again. I let Steve walk on at the top feed station as I thought I best try and go to the loo again. Nothing was doing unfortunately. I think my body was beginning to shut down. I grabbed some crisps and water and walked on just as the Marshals there dealt with man that had collapsed from heat exhaustion having refused assistance just the other side of the lake. The paramedic passed me as i walked on. I had nearly done 5 miles of the run and I was exhausted. Most of me hurt both internally and externally and the Morphsuit was pissing me right off. The temptation to stop and the temptation to take the hood off were overwhelming. The sensible thing to do would have been to seek assistance and withdraw. There would be no shame in that as I had properly given it my all. To get through the bike in that heat (and in that bastard suit) was no mean feat alone! However if I could still walk and still breathe and not be out of control to have withdrawn would not have been 'giving it my all'. It would have been 'giving it slightly less than my all'. That would be unacceptable when you think of the generosity of people who had backed me with sponsorship for BCH! I passed my little bro here (about a mile from the finish line) as he had to get his kids home. We don't need to say what we're thinking at certain times and this was one of those times. He grabbed my hand and willed me on and his lads Hi fived me. Then Mrs Brightside came springing over all confident and tried to talk to me. Each time I tried to speak the tears welled up and my voice started to crack - I was so close to withdrawing - it was so hard - but to have done that would have let her down. Elle Belle and G Man walked a bit with me and then said their goodbyes as they were off too. I could see in them that they had no concept of me not finishing this either. Then I got a big hug off Leekey and Doddi who walked a bit with me and Mrs Brightside. They too were telling me I was looking strong. When I tried to protest they pointed out I could walk it and still be in for 16.30. I couldn't argue with them. I couldn't give up. I got another kiss off Mrs B who again told me how proud she was and the three of them left me to carry on towards the finish point. I actually ran, very very slowly past the crowd, I got a huge cheer again. The Pirate contingent was growing as Pirates finished and joined the supporters so i gave the crowd some return applause and ran on. I resolved to finish this even if I missed 17 hours! I ran to the feed station at the out and back start boosted by Mrs Marcus Smith (Marcus was the year below me at King Eds but we don't know each other) as she shouted a good luck message from Michael Hurd, a mutual friend. Then Louise Clements (a double Ironman in 45 hrs girl) ran alongside me wishing me luck and then Mrs Neil Wilkinson shouted good luck and explained how she knew me. As I got to the feed station it was very very apparent that word of my effort was no longer confined to the people I force to read my blog or down whose throat I ram the charity message on FB or Twitter. I had found an Outlaw Hi5 bottle on the floor so i filled that with water and kept it with meas I started my first out and back. John flew by the other way and was on for sub 12 hrs. He looked strong an
15/07/2013 at 13:17

and was on for sub 12 hrs. He looked strong and it was great to see him on the course, to wish him well and see that his training was going to pay off massively! @OutlawWidow gave me a hug as I tried to walk well. Steve soon caught me up and I resolved to walk with him at least on this out and back. I walked with him and bored him to death with Morph stories and charity stories only pausing to thank every person that said something to me whether a supporter or runner. One runner knelt down ad did a 'we're not worthy' for me. Most just said 'fair play' or 'hats off for the effort'. The attention was welcome and necessary. Steve was doing the maths as my Garmin battery finally gave up. We were still on for sub 16.30 even if we walked it all! We went out and back and saw one Pirate with an ice cream! The bottle plan was working better. Little and often but my throat felt sore and I was finding it harder to breathe fully. I chatted to quite a few others and definitely saw Keith and Julian and Mark and and loads more (please see earlier apology). I also got to see Lena with a much needed hug and she was looking strong. Billy had already or just about finished!

I then collected my third wristband meaning I had to go around the lake then out and back and then around the lake to the finish. I don't really remember this lap of the lake other than Mrs Brightside again seeing me down the back straight of it. She had just been speaking to Mrs Marcus Smith which was nice. I don't remember what was said but I remember I didn't want to let go of her hand! She sent me on my way. Panic was beginning to set in as I tried, without my Garmin, to calculate how far was left and how much time I had! I managed a brief, slower than walk, run as I passed the stands and gave a footballesque point to the Pirates point to Pirate badge point to Pirates point to Pirate badge and then Hi fived a few Marshals as I set off on the last out and back. I caught Steve somewhere here again and there was a Colt triathlete, a triathlete in team greenish colours and a poor fella who looked wiped out carrying a coke and a water. Sadly I couldn't match Steve's pace and dropped back. Green triathlete got another wind and ran on, Colt I think kept with Steve and Coke carrier was in between us. Now I thought I was last again!

  The gap was getting bigger and walking straight was becoming harder. My concentration and focus were all over the place. My maths was all wrong and despite checking times and distances at every feed station I was convinced I was going to miss 17 hours. I crossed the suspension bridge and got a hug off Zoe. She was easily going to do it and i was so pleased for her. She had worked so hard and is only half way through her Ultra Crazy Year! I did the zig zaggy soul sapping opposite embankment and realised there were two people behind me. A woman and a man. The woman was running and I knew she would pass me. The man seemed way behind and i was sure he wouldn't make it as I was sure I wouldn't by this point. i crossed the suspension bridge for the last time and shortly after the woman ran past me looking quite strong. Coke carrier was now out of sight as was Steve. At the feed station on the bank a young girl probably about 10 offered me a coke and a water and looked so pleased to see me. She said she loved my outfit. I took the coke and hoped it would give me something, anything to pick it up. The Marshals were confident I would make it. After a pic i was on my way. Probably 4 miles to go with an hou
15/07/2013 at 13:18

hour to do it ( I was guessing). I knew I wasn't walking that fast so i ditched the bottle of water and started to run. It was incredibly difficult because the extra effort made everywhere hurt more and it particularly screwed up my breathing. As it fell dark a Pirate came running up the path, I was plodding and very ready to walk again. "Right Sid I am going to run you in. Stay on my shoulder don't push it too hard but don't slow down either and when we get to the boathouse you can walk 100 metres. I'll get you back on time. We dont leave a pirate on the course! I'm Matt by the way, MattandKerryLaffan" (FB name). He is also @Flatfooted591 who I follow on Twitter and who last year in the build up to Outlaw '12 calmed my lack of brick training nerves by pointing out that Ironman is just 3 different disciplines that happen to follow each other and training them separately was fine. i think he had also gone straight to Ironman distance as I had! He allowed me my walk as promised and then we started running again. In the distance I could see the lights of HPP and the finish and you could hear the shouts of 'you are an Outlaw' as the final few runners were finishing.

We caught Steve who wasn't for running and so i ran on with Matt staying with Steve. I collected my last wristband and set off round the lake. I ran nearly to the top and then started to walk. Another Pirate came over to see me home. His name was Slag! As Mrs Brightside appeared out of the dark I introduced her to Slag and between them I ran/walked the last mile during which time the man i thought wouldn't make it ran past me. Another Pirate appeared to go and find Cake and Claire I think who were behind Steve. They wanted everyone back on time for sure. As we neared the finish I thanked Slag who ran ahead and asked Mrs Brightside to run the finish chute with me. It started hand in hand but the crowd on the finish made it single file only. As I Hi fived my way through, Mrs B did well to dodge the oncoming Hi five bombs. As I got to the tape I turned and applauded the supporters and walked through the tape backwards. I turned back to the photographers having clocked another, but very different, 16hours 45mins finish. I was the Outlaw Ironmorph!

  Mrs Brightside held me up and got me out of the Morphsuit. She gave me a hug, which couldn't have been pleasant for her and took me to the massage tables and food hall. Whilst being massaged she helped an Outlaw who was being sick and she later told me that she had given first aid to a lady injured in the carpark and eventually got her treated by paramedics! Her day started on arrival with the system showing me as withdrawn! Bless her I put her through it! Anyway, after the massage we met Leekey and Louise in the bar for hugs and thank yous before heading home.
My aim was always to raise as much money and awareness as possible for kids battling Brain Tumours at BCH. On Sunday i did that with interest and sponsorship going crazy. I returned to 132 tweets, 98 FB notifications and having read the Live commentary on Onestepbeyond it is clear how much the interest built up during the day.  A bye product of this endeavour is the selfish lifestyle necessary to achieve it. A very selfless Mrs Brightside has had to put up with that for nearly 2 years. Her support has been immense, unwavering, unconditional and her confidence and pride has been without boundary. For that I am entirely grateful and more than happy to retire the Ironmorph for good and keep things sensible for 2014! I have
15/07/2013 at 13:19

 a couple of years to make up for.


  I must say a huge thank you to Ian Hamilton for firstly letting me do this challenge but more importantly making me adjust the suit.I wouldn't have got off the bike otherwise. Thanks to Outlaw, the Marshals, Feed Stations, medics for looking after us so so well. To everyone that was in the lake at 6am Sunday morning you have my utmost respect however your day went and thanks for each and every shout out, good luck and 'you're fucking mad' that I received throughout the day. To everyone that sponsored me, read my blog, shared a tweet, shared a FB message, followed the race online or was there supporting I am sorry I kept you up so late but I am humbly grateful for your support and generosity. Mrs Brightside you are entirely my pride my confidence my heart and my happiness - thank you.

15/07/2013 at 13:20

Soz & Thanks!

15/07/2013 at 14:14

Brilliant report Sid. It was a pleasure to chat with you a bit on the course. I think you're absolutely amazing!


15/07/2013 at 14:15

And an excellent race report too Razor. Brings all of the emotions back!

The Evil Pixie    pirate
15/07/2013 at 20:03

Some great reports here. I'm still trying to figure out some "what went wrongs"

OK so I didn't have the best of training but I did the best I could and compared to where I came from I did awesome.

Some stats-

Run - 2011 just 66m, 186 in 2012 and 146 in the 1st 6mths of 2013
Bike - 165 ('11) 409 ('12) and 896 this year
Swim - 2011 just 4.5m, 32.2m in 2012 and 37.4 this year

Yes I come from a running background with marathons under my belt but I also pretty much stopped in June 2010 to train as a teacher, my bike miles in 2011 is higher as I did a summer job and biked there to save money.
I respected the distance but still thought if I survived a HIM in Sept 12 with bollox all training that with some training I could still do Outlaw.

I got to the stage at one point where I was scared to train. Scared of going out for hours alone on the bike, scared that running too much would impact on recovery and that the stress fracture I had in 2005 would return or the plantar fasciitis I've had before would return. No logical reason for this I guess it was the unknown that scared me.

On the day I was so worried about having a panic attack in the water that I throw away the main secure event I had. I should have done 1:40 max but no I focused so much on breathing and being calm that I forgot I had to swim hard and almost missed the cut off.

In T1 I ended up in a panic grief ridden stressed out tearful mess. I had my wedding rings and late grandma's ring on my necklace so that A) I had them and B) they wouldn't get stuck on swollen fingers. Problem being that I pulled on my wetsuit neck a few times to let water in to cool down and broke my necklace. In T1 I thought I had lost them. The lady marshal found them by sticking her hand up my bra!  Never have I been so glad to have a stranger stick their hand up my bra

On the bike I didn't want to screw up. I focused on staying calm and didn't want to go out hell for leather (for me!) and then crash and burn so I paced myself. I needed 14mh so that's what I aimed for 14-15mph.

I felt good, the only minor issue was in my stress at T1 I hadn't adjusted my shorts properly and can now say that the new skin has grown nicely but at the time there was some tenderness  but I was determined to man up and HTFU and get on with it.

I was looking for feed 3 wanting a wee before I hit the bank - I was sure it was before the bank but I was wrong. So I had to find a bush just before the bank. This was my 3rd stop, twice my "kit bottle" had fallen out leaving me without any means of puncture repair so I had stopped to pick this up. One all my training runs this had never happened so I was really miffed it happened on the day. In hindsight I should have left it as I wouldn't have time to fix a puncture anyway.

I had played cat and mouse all morning with another competitor and had seen the back of her as I heading up Oxton Bank and that was when the bike appeared. I was told to turn round so did so crying the whole of the way back down.

At the corner I found I wasn't alone as the other lady was there. We were told we could bike back (and join in with the other Outlaws? Be cheered on for failing? No thanks) or wait for the bus that would be 10mins. We waited. The bike came back round telling of others he had stopped before they completed the Northern Loop. We had no water, it was hot and we waited 90mins. We then had to pick up someone else before getting back to HPP. I was stopped at 12 and got back to HPP at 2:30.

I showered and sulked. Called mum and hubby to stop them worrying that I had come to grief and decided to support rather than

The Evil Pixie    pirate
15/07/2013 at 20:06

I put on some running gear and headed off. I was gutted that I could still run I shouldn't be able to do that. If I had had to stop I should be broken.

I saw cake and gave him water, ran half way round the lake then stopped with some others fighting back tears.

I then started walking back, again thinking of leaving whilst collecting empty cups and gel wrappers. I stopped with giraffe and we made lots of noise. Singing, dancing, running up and down and hopefully encouraging others to dig deep and carry on.

I ran walked in with Lea and then Cake.

Then went to my tent at 11 to cry myself to sleep. This was not how it was supposed to have ended.

Up at 4, faffed and in Derby before 6. Shame the office wasn't open. I had a huge blister on my foot from supporting and was hardly achy or stiff.

I've spent all week (and even today) explaining to others what happened.


I will be back.

I will become an IM/Outlaw

I will finish what I started.

I had vowed that I would be back in 2014 and now I am not so sure. Maybe I will, maybe as a slow relay maybe I will continue licking my wounds and working on my now so obvious failings and weaknesses.

I need to lose some weight (thanks M&S for your almost 360 mirrors) and also learn to train hard and stop being comfortable in all my training. so HTFU.

If I can get faster I can do more in my limited time.

I need to become more organised, less guilty (my problem as much as the family) and work for my dreams.

It may not be 2014 but I will happen.

Thanks for all your support guys I've really appreciated it.

Edited: 15/07/2013 at 20:08
15/07/2013 at 20:13

Good luck EP

15/07/2013 at 22:20

EP - it is really tough for you so you need to give it a bit of time, do Wild Boar, where you will probably do much better than last year and you will see that you have made progress and feel better about yourself for it.

Then you need to take a good honest look at where you are and what will be achievable for next year - if not the whole thing then I am sure you can rustle up others to relay with you, or aim at really going for the middle distance nexy year to build up speed as well as distance before stepping up to IM again

Nurse Ratched    pirate
16/07/2013 at 08:45

Just done the Outlaw survey

Well - was it you?

Bouncing Barlist    pirate
16/07/2013 at 09:11

EP youve had a tough time at the outlaw and I see in the other threads some tough love from others.

Its good thats youre looking to recognise where things could be improved, and I hope you find it in you to have another go.  Youll have learnt a lot from your experience this year and im sure will have the support from us all on here.

I dont have time to commit to mentoring people as my work/life if pretty manic but if you want a sounding board to ask questions off-line please pm me any time.

BluePeter    pirate
16/07/2013 at 09:28


Nurse Ratched wrote (see)

Just done the Outlaw survey

Well - was it you?

No, I did not expect that as one of the questions...

Nurse Ratched    pirate
16/07/2013 at 09:29

Brilliant reports guys

Sid, you made me cry  

The Silent Assassin    pirate
16/07/2013 at 09:30

Do you have the link to the survey?


BluePeter    pirate
16/07/2013 at 09:32

It was emailed out, you will get one or should do shortly, its entry to a prize draw as well for a place in next years

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