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All about Badger

Joined: 24 Aug 2005
Location: St Leonards, East Sussex
Occupation: Teaching assistant. Have been a PA/administrator/gadfly
Interests: Cooking, crosswords, curiosity

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Non-TT links I like
John Ibbotson Fund
Cardiac Risk in the Young
Justin Daerr: 12:55 to 9:20
Where would I be without Gordon Pirie?
Phil Wilson, dominating the dojo
2013 sport goals
Be a good dad and husband first
Consistent training
More sleep
Identity Parade - about me, me, me
Name: Dan
Born: 1971
Nationality: American and British
Resident of: Croydon (pop. 330,587)
Native of: Kandiyohi, MN (pop. 555)
Family: 'Wife' (married '00); two daughters ('Bambina' born '04 and 'La Nina' in '07); two cats; outdoor and indoor fish
Favourite song: "Bravado" by Rush
Tattoos: Watch this space
Epitaph: You had to be there.
Last Blog Posts
Looking up
The one about running very little
A week with Minnesota bookends
Vikings and victuals
War on Terrier
Sundays are for long runs and lollygagging
August in a nutshell
At this moment
Thinking about blogging

Total topics: 443
Total posts: 1621
 Tranquility Base 
Ironman UK report
Tue Aug 29, 2006 10:46 am Badger
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Thursday 17 August
Hustled up to near Paddington for a temp interview and then hurried back.

Wasn’t home long before Hanna texted me from West Croydon station, so it was off to pick up the hire van from up the road. Drove back to the house, quickly threw all but the kitchen sink (and my drink mix and bidons) into numerous rucksacks and carrier bags, and chucked it all in the back of the van. Over to Hanna’s, and repeat! this time with a little more structure and Jacob’s chocy bikkies. Drool In mint or orange. Drool Drool A quick diversion to hit Asda and pick up a Fit-For t-shirt and we were off to find the M25, the M3, and the South West. Wa-hey!

No difficulties getting to Sherborne, though in calling ahead Duncan warned us that it was tipping it down – a harbinger of the weekend, really. Sure enough, as we approached the town, a downpour hit. We made the campsite and it had stopped but it was threatening. With tent master Duncan, Oscar and Hanna’s mate Marcella (who had cycled from Wimbledon!) helping we had the tent up in no time. Bex dropped by too, as our little corner by the lake slowly began filling up.

Luxury accommodation awaited. I had a ‘pod’ to myself, while Marcella and Hanna shared the other. I also had a battery-powered, self-inflating mattress. Sorted! We had nervous moments trying to light the Trangia stove and cook some beans, giving us fits of giggles. More laughs as we tried to put the meths out! To bed and a very noisy night – several more showers, some with lightning and thunder, left little room for fitful sleep.

Friday, 18 August
Woke up to crows and ducks.

After brekkie I took the wetsuit down to the lake and did a recce of the swim. While I was in the middle of the lake there was a rain shower; I could hear a “shhh” sound and when I looked up to sight ahead all I could see was the white spray of plashes all around me. That was so cool! Had a star sighting: Clas Bjorling and his girlfriend Kirsty were at the swim entry.

I came back from swimming to a message that I had a two-month assignment wrapped up, but I asked them to hold out in case I got a nine-month maternity cover, with excellent money. I waited at the top of the hill, among sheep pats, under a brolly, in the sheeting rain, waiting for the call to confirm where I’d be working. Finally as I headed to the tent for a nap, word that I’d missed out on the long-term gig.

Went to the pasta party and found that the food was all right, not as bad as it had been rumoured last year’s was.

More TTers arrived in our area: Andy (Redbiker), Mark (Mash 180) and his kids. Scott (ScottG) and Colm (Swimmingdunce) stopped by later for a good chat.

Saturday, 19 August
Had a slap-up breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon over the Trangia. Doesn’t half put out a bit of heat!

Down to the lake again and actually talked to Mr Bjorling calmly while suavely zipping up my wetsuit – which is darn near impossible under perfect conditions! Had a 10-minute warmup and out again, where I met Hywel Davies and Coxy. Hywel was a bit nervous about the open water, and, I imagine, about his hopes to qualify for Kona. While Mr Davies talked to the wetsuit people, Coxy picked up the slack as she loved to talk tri – very good company.

I got back to find the bike being used as a guinea pig to teach Marcella how to clean a bike – which it desperately needed. The cabling had been repaired, the mechs had been adjusted, and half the bar tape replaced, leaving me to put the other half on, which I did, very badly. Test drove the bike and found I couldn’t shift with the big ring properly. I had to leave it and took off for the race briefing.

At the briefing I sat with Oscar and Andy Myers (Ginger Ninja), who, like me, was racing under the Fit-For banner. Good to chat with him after a lot of e-mailing and forum chatter.

Back to find the bike repaired again, and cycled down to check it and my bike and run transition bags into transition. I went to the TT photo by the lake in my now-omnipresent wellies. Back to shower late while everybody was out chalking the roads Very Happy and made a hash of shaving my legs. A late pasta feed over the camp stove and straight to bed for a completely sleepless night.

Race Day
‘Woke up’ at just past 3:30. (I’d set two alarms just in case, but Hanna’s alerted me, as had the church bell in town ringing 3:00.) Slipped on my kit and went out to the kitchen for coffee, cereal, bananas, water and Oscar & Bex’s porridge with honey. A quick inventory of the white bag and we were off for transition at 5:00.

Everything went to plan. Into transition, got numbered, one last bottle of PowerAde, dry bag handed in, wetsuited and before I knew it we were walking to the lake. Not a stitch of mist, perfect conditions.

The swim
I’m pretty confident in my swimming so I was up near the front, and a little to the left. I could see my tree and sat ready to go. But one thing was missing to the atmosphere – and I could hear, barely, the loudhailer saying something about “30 seconds” – so I started the “Oggy, oggy, oggy” chant. Very Happy That was cool!

Then the klaxon and we’re off. No problems with space or kicks or punches, one graze to the face was all. I got into a groove and felt strong, good pulls. It didn’t feel as long or as tedious as my 4000m time trial back in June, I felt really efficient and the buoyancy of the suit meant sighting was a snap. Out of the water, grabbed my glasses and … I was out in just over an hour! I bounced through my transition.

Swim 1:01:09 (223rd)
T1 3:52 (144th)

The bike

I ran out of transition with my bike to the mount line and awkwardly stopped, swung my leg over, and clipped in. Before I knew it I was out on the roads, slowly climbing out of town.

The first problem with my front derailleur came at the first big downhill. I shifted up and off it came, dangling on my crank. My thoughts: Here we go again!/can I thread it back on while rolling/need to stop. So I did and quickly threaded it on while singing “Hakuna Matata”. Rolling Eyes

I didn’t have a speedometer on board, as I was going by heart rate. But in the big ring I was picking up speed. Then came the hill at Lyons Gate, and I was surprised to find that right after the beginning of incline was the aid station – they weren’t making any mistakes this year! – so I had to shift down quickly and grab my drinks.

Climbed steadily up the moderate grade to find that Paul L had plopped himself right at the top of the climb, making a racket. Smile Thumbs up to him and I began the descent towards Dorchester. It wasn’t far before shipped chain number two. Mad Stop, off, thread, on & rolling.

(About here I needed a wee. I had heard about urinating on the bike and I was ready to give it a try. At first it’s uncomfortable, with it dripping off your legs and into your shoes, but after a couple of times I was used to it and could even stay aero while doing it. I even managed one wee while running! I have to say that afterwards, though, I couldn’t stand the smell, and after rinsing out both bike and running shoes, they still honk a little.)

I wended my way down to the bottom of the course, negotiated the cycle path, fuelled up again, tight turn and away we go – and I could see the long climb beginning ahead. Shift down, wouldn’t budge: uh oh.

I was getting closer and needed to get into the small ring, or this was going to be one tedious climb! I shifted down as far as I dared with the rear derailleur, ‘til I was practically spinning, then tried again. Chunk! Yes!

While climbing for the next few miles and enjoying the sight of a train of single-file riders ahead of me on the hill, I assessed my shifting situation and was a bit worried. Over the top, gained speed, shifted up, off it came! Stop, off, thread, on & rolling. Then the drag up to where Hanna and Duncan were marshalling/cheerleading and … guess what? It wouldn’t shift down! So I ground up that hill, hating every minute of it, and when Hanna yelled “Go Badger!” I was thinking of going home!

Then the fabled 14% downhill – I’d been down it once, three years ago. It was fun, I took it full pelt each time and was probably over 50mph easy. A quick up and then the right onto the small loop.

My first time through the small loop I really questioned why I was here. My nutrition was going well, I was making progress, but the small loop took forever and I dreaded having to ride it three times. I shipped my chain again, hit the long drags – finally, finally I turned back onto the big loop, and there was quite a sizeable crowd there with banners and signs.

My second time through the Lyons Gate aid station I hit rock bottom. I couldn’t shift down and had to crawl through, picking up my bottles and bananas, before stopping on the other side and spinning the cranks by hand, which worked. Over the top, another shipped chain, this time with a very loud profane objection! I was hating every minute now but I had the beginnings of a strategy: I had to spin out while shifting down, and while shifting up I had to be very subtle. I tried it a couple of times on the way down to Dorchester and it worked – as it would happen, I had no problems after that, but it did occupy my full attention for the rest of the bike.

As I turned for my third lap I was extremely happy not to be lapped by the pros. Laughing I kept up the speed on the downs while staying steady on the ups. It had gone from sunny to overcast and there were a couple of ominous drips near Dorchester, but luckily that was all. Back to the top and at last I could turn for home! So happy to descend into Sherborne, I let my concentration drift a bit and promptly got blown into the opposite lane! I drifted perilously close to the ditch before pulling it back in for the turn onto the New Road and back to the castle. I was in good enough state to slip out of my shoes and dismount while rolling. With a parting crack of “Take that thing away from me!” (Well, it got a laugh … Rolling Eyes ) I was headed for transition again.

Bike 6:19:11 (478th)
T2 3:27 (305th)

The run

Looking at my pruned and pickled feet in the tent I wondered if I would make it through the marathon without some severe blistering. (As it turned out I had no problems.) I managed a shuffle out of the tent and into the “gyratory”, a series of interlocking loops that I suppose were there to make up some distance (one wag shouted to his friends, “I’m getting dizzy in here!”). After that it was out on the road back to camp, but I didn’t think about heading to the tent. I felt really good at this point and gradually got my running legs together for the climb up to the lodge. On the way down I kept it steady and easy, no need to blow doors. Still, I was through 4 miles in 34 minutes – 3:42 pace – and I had to think a bit about whether that was do-able, and decided to stick with what the heart-rate monitor told me.

Down the rough track back to the castle grounds: rocks and mud, a lot like running around the Common, but I worried for folks who only had roads to run on. I passed Andy, who had stationed himself near the flow lanes, taking photos.

Lap 2 was much like the first, only I noticed I was getting a bit slower and, after I grabbed some pretzels and coke (yes, the store-brand diet cola, which tasted dilute and put me off my food strategy) at the Lodge, my gut started feeling a bit odd. I stopped for 20 seconds or so on the rough track to readjust my sock, which had crept down my heel, but was otherwise fine when I ran out the gate, past the 10 mile mark, and through town.

Over the now infamous footbridge I took two steps at a time and hoofed it out to the Sherborne Hotel and turned onto the A30. I met a lot of folks coming the other way. It was confusing whether or not some runners were on their first or last laps. But by that time it was starting to become moot. My gut was feeling more and more unsteady, and the coke that I was planning to lean on for a boost was absolutely revolting. I reached mile 13 at 2 hours dead, and thought, with a bit of luck, I had a chance at sub-11:30, but that 12 hours was a more realistic goal. Uh-huh. Rolling Eyes

But I was getting ground down by the hills. I hadn’t really paid attention to where the turnarounds were on the second lap and as a result I thought I was nearing the turnaround, only to find another hill in the distance, and an oogier stomach. By the time I found the actual turn at the layby at mile 15, I was mentally fried and slowed to a slow walk through the Army aid station (who actually had fat Pepsi, a bit late now).

I walked, criminally slowly, for the next two or three miles, defeated. It took me 15 minutes to sip a small cup of water. I was starting to get cold in the sun and wind. My calves and knees were aching. But eventually I regained my senses and decided to get moving, somehow. So I ran 50 steps and walked 50 steps. That didn’t feel so bad, so I kept it up, eventually running more and walking less, 60-40, 70-30, 80-20, 100-20, …. Back to the turnaround and I revived mentally. The thought of the hills wasn’t so bad anymore, as long as I focused on one small bit at a time.

I got up to 150 steps running, 50 walking, then I thought, “Let’s go to that sign, and from there, 50 steps.” It got longer and longer, and all of a sudden I was back at the Army layby. Revived once more, and with the mile 21 marker at the end of the layby, I kept up the big intervals until mile 22, where I had enough physical and mental energy back to run it in. (In fact, my pace from 4 miles out was faster than when I began!)

Two steps at a time again on the footbridge (with the help of the handrails) and blitzed through town. I passed the TT massive just outside the gates (Paul L again leading the cheers, with Rob and Wil) and turned for home.

I hit the blue carpet and ran through in 12:23:08 (510th of 1038 finishers). No “You are an Ironman” but I got my medal and Andy was there to take my finisher photo; that was my first congratulations.

Run 4:55:24 (686th)

I got my foil blanket and n the hospitality area I loaded up on food (sausage rolls and croissants particularly) and got a long-overdue coffee. Halfway through lunch, I slowly folded in half and attracted the attention of a volunteer, who called the St John Ambulance people over. A little bit later I got wheeled to the med tent, where St John’s workers Yvonne and Alison alternately questioned me and teased me back to health. The hot coffee did the trick, as well as the real food (warmed and blood sugar back to normal). I hobbled around for a while, trying to find my way out to transition, where I found my bike and my swim and bike bags, and headed down the road.

Mark and his kids were cycling along and met me out there. Mark asked if he could carry some bags, and when I demurred, he just up and grabbed them off me, for which I am much obliged. Smile

Got sorted back at the tent and, somewhat revived, I walked back to the finish for the finale. I had a death burger and chips (which I’d been craving early on in the run) and joined Colm in the seats for a while, watching the last finishers come in.

For the last couple of finishers we joined the throng on the barriers with whistles. Duncan and Hanna arrived from escorting Tri Girl in, ScottG and Paul L were there too, and we made quite a deafening racket with the whistles and other paraphernalia. The last woman came in and we had formed a human tunnel for her - but she was fed up and just wanted to finish, can't blame her for it, it can be really upsetting when things go wrong.

We made the long walk back and I was still buzzing from the whole experience. Until I got back to the tent - I managed a little chat, but then it was definitely bedtime!

Monday, 21 August
Woke up sore, but no sorer than I had been after the marathon. The two hot spots (which are still with me a week later, but hurting much less) were my right knee, sore to the touch, and the back of my left knee, which felt slightly hyperextended.

We had brekkie, then we quickly struck camp. It was sad to leave our little corner but I've got great memories. I dropped Marcella off at the train station and picked up my photos and Hanna at the expo. Outside of town we found a pub open and had a full English - both of us were a little grease-deficient after a long weekend! It really hit the spot.

Hanna then witnessed me descending into PIB (post-Ironman blues) when I set foot in the house to ... no welcome whatsoever. Wife watching West Wing DVDs gave me an "oh, you're back" when I walked in. I really found that upsetting, and the fact that Hanna was leaving too, my last contact with a more vivid world.

Muchas gracias to everybody I met that weekend. The TT Massive really is all about family and I got that first hand, with so much sharing and support, it's really been hard to get back into "real" life again.

One thing about Ironman that really struck me out there is, you are running an individual race in a sea of competitors, each with their own story of how they trained, why they signed up, how their race went, how they felt afterwards. I'm just happy to have come out the other side - going in I knew it was do-able. Now I'm seeing that other things are do-able too.

I'll talk more soon, I've got a long-term temp job to get stuck in on!

Thanks for reading,

Focus on easy, because if that's all you get, that ain't so bad. - Caballo Blanco
We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. - Native American proverb

~   Last edited by Badger on Tue Aug 29, 2006 12:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
Tue Aug 29, 2006 11:11 am duncan74
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Was great to meet you Badger.

Well done, superb result especially given the difficulties in training and on race day.

It will be a rollercoaster of emotions and that's all part of it.

See you back there next year?
19/08/07 - One day, one goal, only one outcome allowed. - santa's little helper.

Tue Aug 29, 2006 11:59 am dr dre
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well done mate - and we are proud of you.
Racing triathlons with both direction and magnitude

Tue Aug 29, 2006 12:15 pm Paul L
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Congratulations Dan, you are an Ironman! Cool Great report and clearly your ability to type to a professional standard helps. Wink Look forward to seeing you again for a full beer next time me meet. Take care, Paul. Very Happy
Tue Aug 29, 2006 12:37 pm scottg
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Well done Dan excellent report and excellent race

see you there next year.

Pain is to be embraced, not feared

blog here

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My Personal Bests - to date
400m 1:03 (1989)
800m 2:16 (1989)
1500m 4:32.92 (1994)
1600m 5:06 (1989)
3200m 10:42 (1989)
5000m 16:59.6 (1994)
8K 28:24 (1994)
10K 36:36 (1993)
15K 56:42 (1994)
12mi 1:15:15 (1994)
Half 1:32:37 (2005)
Full 3:55:23 (2005)

10mi 29:33 (2002)

50yd free 0:25.8 (1989)
100yd free 0:56.4 (1989)
200yd free 2:06 (1989)
500yd free 6:04 (1989)

Olympic 2:26 (2003)
Half 6:44 (2009)
Ironman 12:23 (2006)
A short history of fitness
1983: joined swim team 'cause my brother was on it. Thrashed 25 yards in a speedy 52 seconds.
1984: ran x-country. At midseason race I was 6th in the girls' race (who started 5 mins after us).
1985: training more seriously. My 1st race win, a local 3-mile, in 19:03.
1987: 1st triathlon, Fun In The Sun (Spicer, MN). Oly, swim was short if memory serves. 2:50-ish.
1988-9: ran Varsity in x-country. Broke 1:00 for 100yd free.
1989-93: years in wilderness (university). Topped out at 13 stone 2.
1993-94: joined uni running teams. Ran over 500 days in a row at one point, longest week 91 miles. Then plantar fasciitis and back into the wilderness (life).
1995-2001: fits and starts. Left the farm, eventually the US. Married Wife, moved to England. Started commuting on mtn bike.
2002: joined cycling club. London Tri sprint (1:19?). Bought a Trek.
2003: Windsor 2:28; London 2:26. DNF at HIMUK.
2004: Bambina born! Changed footstrike. Got heavier.
2005: London Marathon on sprained ankle.
2006: Ironman UK (Sherborne) in 12:23:08.
2007-8: La Nina born! Work upheaval, found permanent job. Heavier again.
2009-12: rediscovered running. Took low-paying teaching assistant job: inspiring but incredibly tough.

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