Enduroman Double Continuous Ironman
My last Iron distance race was 2015 when I did the Outlaw, which also included my last open water swim. I did manage to do a novice triathlon at Galashiels this year after Erin did the junior triathlon. This was to be another part of my journey, could I push myself to do the Enduroman Double Continuous?
The Distances consisted of
4.8 mile Swim
235 miles Cycle
And to finish off with a 52 mile run
Yes there was to be cut offs for each discipline and to be completed within 43 hours.
I had been thinking about doing this since after the Outlaw in 2015 but with moving house and other things I never entered. However after my holidays last year I decided that 2018 was to be the year I was going to attempt it. Training for the event was ad hoc, there is no such thing on the internet to plan for this kind of “challenge”. Basically I could not get any open water swimming in. The turbo was my best friend with countless hours including a couple of overnight sessions. Then the run was when I can what I could, yes there was brick sessions. At this point I started to question myself had I done enough; I tried not to worry but for those that know me that is impossible. Before I knew it the car was packed with what I hoped to be everything I could possibly need for this possible just under 2 day triathlon event.
Even though my event did not start till Saturday we headed off on the Thursday and stayed 15 minutes away. At least in my mind would give me a day of rest before starting on Saturday 9am. Got a good night sleep on the Thursday and then headed over to Avon on the Friday morning. Yvonne and I set up everything in the lodge. I registered and was going to wait until Saturday morning to rack the bikes. I decided to go down and watch the people attempting the triple……….yes you heard correct the triple. Basically the whole of Friday was laze about in the sun with a water bottle. No beer gardens of any sort for me in this wonderful weather. It was nearing the time of lets triple, quadruple check that I have everything for the morning. Check bike for day and bike for during the night was setup with all the lights. Headed back to the lodge as Yvonne had made me spaghetti for dinner. Then off to bed.
Morning of the race, The sun was out, we were all to meet at the lakeside for the swim brief at 8:30am, well I had been up since 6:30am in panic mode. Got down to the lakeside plastered on bodyglide put on a rash vest and then donned the wetsuit…………..ooh is that what it looks like. I had bought just incase booties and swim gloves which I did wear. Left my water bottles at the side of the lake as it was to be 26 loops of the lake (yes it was small). By the time I had faffed about it was time to get in and get accustomed to the water. Actually it was quite pleasant. They did a great countdown from 10 which all the support did aswell. Then it was GO GO GO.
I did try to get into a nice and easy rhythm as this was going to be a looooong time in the lake; this is by far my worst discipline. I decided I would try to keep it to swim for 6 laps (Half Ironman distance) take some fluids and go again. This kind of worked for so long and then my arms started to feel heavy and my back was starting to get sore. Now for a change I know the reason for the sore back. You see I used to never really kick in the swim so the extra “floatation” in the legs was great. However now with me getting properly coached in the art of what to do, I was kicking so in turn my position in the water was not exactly correct. I was getting lapped by others but this was to be expected each loop was about 300 metres. I started to flag near the end and my wrist and arms were by this point sore. I could not do a full stroke, felt like I was limping round the last couple of laps. Eventually I did get out the water only to get cramp…………..oooh the joys. Once I was out of the water I needed help off with the wetsuit, Yvonne helped with this.
Next up was going to be the bike, but before that I needed to get myself organised. I decided to get a shower and have some soup to warm me up. Got the cycling gear on and headed to the transition to start the 235 miles on the bike. This was to be 20 loops of about 11.5 miles.
The day was starting to get quite nice and I wanted to make the most of the daylight. So off I went planning to take it easy and get used the route. Now this was going to be a new experience for me as the cycle was in the New Forest. For those that do not know and yes that included me until I arrived. That the area is full of wild horses and cows. Being that they can travel anywhere including the roads paths, gardens, houses. Well you get the picture. This was a new obstacle to look out for oooh great. First lap I took it easy and let’s say it is a very undulating course. The next 9 laps were great if I was every so quicker I might have made another before switching bikes but alas I faffed about refuelling a couple of times during the day. Switched the race bike for the road bike, switched on the lights and off I went again. Woah it gets dark very quick. I would say about 90% of the course had no street lights at all. At this point I was thinking it is only a matter of time before I hit one of these horses in the dark…………I could just see the headlines. After one lap on the road bike, I had realised that I had made a HUGE mistake. I had not set the bike up properly and I knew the next 100 or so miles were not going to be fun . I slowed my pace down and by 3am the temperature had dropped dramatically to the extent I could not change gears and it was starting to hurt pulling the brakes. To add to my problems my chain fell off and with my fingers so cold a 10 second job turned into just over 5 minutes (overall my chain fell off during the night 7 times) I eventually made it back to the “turning circle” which is the start/finish. I had to get off my bike and get warmed up. Yvonne had been great as my support crew and had made me soup and coffee, which I wolfed down. Then I went inside and tried to warm up the hands this took over 20 minutes. Put on warmer gloves and clothing and went back out again. By this time my back was sore and backside was numb. I usually enjoy cycles but I just wanted this to be over and done with. The cycle was a very lonely place you end up seeing things that are not there. During the entire cycle I only saw perhaps 7 or 8 other people out racing. At last I was on my last lap, I suppose at this point I could have changed over to the race bike but hey I could not be bothered to get off the bike for just one lap. It is a strange feeling riding from daylight, through the dark and back to daylight again. Eventually the bike ride was over and done with.
Back to the lodge where Yvonne made me breakfast and I then got changed for the final part of the race. The 52 mile run/walk/crawl to the finish. It was to be 48 laps of 1.1 miles on a very hilly course. I started off wearing a the wrong clothing as by the second lap I had to change into a t-shirt as the weather was starting to get warmer. I will say that at no point did I break into a run, it was more of the “Ultra Shuffle”. I had walked the course the day, I mean 2 days before to see what it was like. I had figured out to walk the hills and jog hopefully the rest. Now after the first 5 laps I am not sure if it was exhaustion but I was sure I could see a 2ft midget trying to run past me, only to take a closer look and see it was actually a bit of fern that looked like someone running……………….yes mind playing tricks on me. The run was simply brutal and it was all trail. The day was getting warmer and warmer, Yvonne was handing me water bottles near enough every second lap so I had something cold. By lap 35 I was knackered, physically and mentally drained. Every part of me hurt, calves, hamstrings, quads, back and neck. I was changing my t-shirts every so often aswell as my shorts. I then had to go to the medic tent. Even though I had been using a lot of anti-chaffing cream etc. It did not work everywhere. I had to get to big adhesive pads so as to stop it getting worse (on a good note I caught it before it actually went to blisters) The run even though hard was not to bad there was loads of people to talk to and the support was unbelievable it kept at least my spirits up. With 7 laps to go I got a phone call from my parents and kids which at that point fantastic and something I needed. I was no into single numbers and the countdown was on. Yeah I lost track of where I was so I had to keep asking what lap I was on. After finishing lap 47 they spin you around to do the last lap in reverse, man was that disorienting I had to actually think yes think in what way to go (It should not be that hard). The reverse lap is to let others know that you are now finishing and they can high 5 you and congratulate you in your race.
As I came down towards the finish all the emotions got the better of me, I did keep myself together as I crossed the finish line to all the cheers of everyone. I was given my finishers t-shirt and medal for all my endeavours.
After talking to everyone, It was time to head back to the lodge get showered changed and have my dinner. I did make it back down to get my bikes and no I did not pack them away just put them in the lodge till the next morning.
Some of you may think that was the weekend over but no, they had an awards ceremony the next day for everyone that was racing. I got a trophy………well everyone doing the double got a trophy, it was amazing to get the recognition from others to what we had endured.
36 hours 16 mins 16 seconds
posted by Andrew Chapman on