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Quality v Quantity
25m Kick board 30s (03/10/12)
50m Kick board 1:04 (03/10/12)
50m 37 (01/03/13)
100m 1:20.5 (01/03/13)
200m 3:02 (04/04/12)
400m 6:18 (22/01/13)
500m 8:10 (27/03/13) (first 500 in 1500)
750m 12:22 (27/03/13) (first 750 in 1500)
1000m 16:23 (12/02/14) (first 1k of 1500)
1500m 24:51.8 (27/03/13) OW - 23:43 - 2010
1900m 33:58 (09/09/10)
3800m 1:11:20 (24/05/11) (1:06ish @ FM but time inc. T1 1:14)
Golf - 70 (39s / 31st) (**/08/15)
CSS test 6:20 / 3:06 = 1:37 (02/05/14)
CSS fastest splits - 6:18 / 3:03 = 1:38 (22/01/13)

IM and other stuff

100IM 1:50
50 fly 48

20km 38:12
40km 1:02:35 (22/06/14)
90km 2:46:20 (18/08/12)

5km 22:38 (07/05/12) (Tonbridge Tri)
10km 45:41
Half mara 1:46:44 (24/02/13) (Tunbridge Wells)
Marathon 4:09:11 (13/04/14) (VMLM)
30min TM - 6120m
5km TM 22:50 (25/04/12)

(400/20/5) 1:11:33(Eton SS 2009)
Sprint 1:34:55(Blenheim 2008, only standard distance sprint!)
7oaks 1:48:14 (27/04/14)
Tonbridge 1:23:28 (May 2012)
Oly 2:18:31 (Dartford 2014)
70.3 5:34:55 (Midnightman 2012)
Iron 14:21:58 (Forestman 2011)
In 2002 i ruptured my ACL and MCL playing football and was told i would not be having an op on the NHS and could never play again (along with many other things!)... After doing some freeride / downhill MTB'ing for a couple of years, I starting to swim again in August 07 and thought, i cycle, i swim...all i need to do is run a about earning a little money for charity and sign up for the London Oly! I went on to enjoy my first season in tri so much I have done a 2nd, gone sub 2:30 for an Olympic distance got round an ironman and am still going!
When not training I can be seen at the Boleyn Ground being a long suffering season ticket holder at the 1966 World cup winners West Ham Rolling Eyes
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All about hammerer

Joined: 19 Nov 2007
Location: Right Next Door To Hell

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The Bastion - 13/07/2014
Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:23 am hammerer
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3am, Itís dark, damp and Iím struggling to get any food inside me. Unusually Iím a little nervous and not really relishing whatís in front of me. Was it a mistake to recce 1 lap of the 3 lap bike course, or is it actually better to know that I have over 9000ft of climbing in 112 miles. That is near 2800m and one of the toughest Iron distance races in the country. At least I know how long it will take and how tough it is.

I arrived at Hever Castle in plenty of time, a stunning backdrop for a brutal day ahead. We entered the water from the Italian loggia and it was pretty cold and very dirty. It also wasnít much deeper than my waste! This could be messy. The gun went and we started the first of two laps. A beautiful venue involved a swim of around 700m up the lake before a double back and a turn into the river section. A very narrow river swim followed before turning off and back onto the lake. It was uneventful but the first lap took me 34minutes. Very slow for me on an accurate course, but I had my suspicions. The second lap I felt quite sick for and didnít enjoy at all. I even contemplated not starting the bike I felt so rough. The river was surprisingly congested this second time around and a lot of water was ingested. NOT GOOD! Still my relief came soon as I exited the lake in 1:11:28 ... a PW Ironman swim, but after chatting with 2 others it was nearer 4200m! Still the lead swimmer went 50 so no excuses, I swam badly.
After an eternity in T1....about 10 minutes, I headed out onto the bike course. It was raining, but quite warm and we were immediately met by the first hill. Then the second, then the third. See the pattern forming? The course was stunning but involved either going up or down. No middle ground. The miles ticked off slowly and after Hartfield, the home of Whinny the Pooh, the long slog up to Ashdown Forest started. This is around a 4mile climb. The views at the top were worth it. Stunning! We then had the long descent down to Maresfield, a short dual carriageway section and back up the 5miles to the top. Yep, back the way we came. ouch! Now the rest of the lap was up and down, including ďle col de GroombridgeĒ Wink its about a mile and half long topping out at 20%. It hurts, even with a 27 on the back! After that another descent a couple more climbs after Penhsurst and 2hrs 30minutes after setting off Im back at the start.....yep 2hrs 30mins and only one lap down. A quick calculation and the day is starting to look like a long one! The trip through Hartfield just before the second climb up to Ashdown was where i started getting my first low. Not only did I know what was coming but there is an adventure playground there and I started thinking, what a lovely day I could have been there with El NiŮo. Made me feel a bit selfish if Iím honest, but its all part of the mental battle. Small things become big things! The climb to Ashdown seemed to take forever and was beginning to hurt and now I was getting tired of hills. I just wanted some respite from it all. Well the low lasted quite some time as my back was starting to get pretty sore also. Not the usual being on a bike too long soreness but my lower back, which has given me minor problems on and off this year, was becoming unbearable.
I was eventually lapped by Fraser Cartmell towards the end of the second lap, which took me close to 2hrs 40mins...yep 10mins slower, and as I started the third I knew I was struggling and would be in pain when getting off the bike. I also knew that Id never had problems with running before and that any time Ive had any pain in the lower back, running has eased it within seconds of moving. ďIíll be fineĒ i thought. Lets get this bike over with first. Well the third lap was a battle of will. I was pretty low passing the playground this time as I thought about my motivation all again and actually thought then, Im not wasting a day off just to quit. It fired me up and I was soon over the bad spell, which had lasted a lot longer than any race previously. Still I rode slowly up and down hills and rolled into transition after 8hrs of cycling... a very slow time, showing not only my issues but how tough the course was!

I struggled to get off the bike such was the pain, and passed my bike to a helper and was bent double. In the tent I just sat down and contemplated my race. Do I want to risk long term health potentially, for a medal and tshirt? Hell yes Wink Itíll be fine I convinced myself and off I set. Yes I was in pain but surprising felt good apart from that. I ran out of the grounds and was ok. First hill i started to walk up it and thatís when I realised this wasnít going to be fine. Far from it, it was getting worse. Without the back I know I was in good shape to run a fairly decent marathon, but the back was there, and it wasnít a niggle that could be ignored. It was almost seized solid. I walked down the hill. I then jogged some flat ...felt not too bad but the next hill bang it got worse again. With the hills and the very muddy trail in places,this was going to take a toll on me. After about 7km and an hours ďrunningĒ I started to realise this was just pointless. Yes I could walk the marathon in 6.5hrs, yes I knew Iíd get round and get a medal, but really, at what price? at what sacrifice? Iíve proven myself before, I had nothing to prove by finishing and I had nothing more to say to myself. how do you convince yourself that it will all be ok when it clearly isn't. this was no normal, my legs hurt and I need to stop battle, but proper pain. In fact my sensible head was winning over the competitive one that would have me finish at all costs.
I came into the grounds of the castle. In agony I come around the finishing straight towards the end of my first lap of the run, 10.5k. I check the watch 1:29minutes. I know my day is over. I know I will not finish the Bastion this year and almost in tears I walk straight into the tent and sit down and just stay there thinking. You know if it had eased just 5% Id have got back up and walked out for another lap, but it wasnít going to happen and thankfully I didn't get that opportunity. Who knows what could have happened had I continued.

After the event I know there was nothing sensible I could have done differently on the day but I should have heeded the warning signs months ago and seen someone! The only bad DNF is one you donít learn from and I am learning from it. I immediately went to the gym and done some testing on my strength and conditioning to reveal a very weak lower back. I have bought some stretch cords and will do a load of body weight exercises to condition myself better. I will seek professional help and I will go back and beat this race in the future. I have the midnightman in August to look forward to also, and being a flat race I'm hoping it will not lead to any more problems, problems that disappeared the day after the race and havent returned I might add!. At least I can use it as a training day to swim and bike a bit and stop if thereís any reoccurrence!

As an aside if anyone wants to do a proper race in beautiful surroundings, this is the one. A scenic swim, stunning but brutal bike and a hard trail marathon. Early bird discount for next year makes it £224, a relative bargain also. I would recommend this to everyone. Just be prepared!

Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:44 pm BackMarker
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Good effort carl, tough cycling country.
2018 schedule
4th March - The Big Half Report
2015 Schedule
15/16th Aug Midnightman Report
2014 Schedule
2nd Mar - Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon Report

13th Apr - VMLM Report

27th Apr - 7oaks tri Report

22nd Jun - Bridge Tri Report

13th July - The Bastion Report

Championship XC

25th Jan - Southern XC Champs Report
2013 Schedule
24th Feb - Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon Report
21st Apr - VLM
28th Apr - 7oaks Tri
23rd Jun - Bridge Tri Report
14th Jul - Cowman
21st Jul - National Lottery Run Report
27/28th Jul - Midnightman Report
22nd Sep - Tonbridge Half Mara Report

Championship XC

5th Jan - KCAA XC Champs Report
2012 Schedule
7th May - Tonbridge sprint
17th Aug - Half Midnightman Report
23rd Sep - Tonbridge Half Marathon Report

Kent XC League

8th Oct - Race 1 - New Barn Park - Report

27th Oct - Race 2 - Tonbridge - Report

1st Dec - Race 4 - Danson Park -

Championship XC

7th Jan KCAA XC Champs - Report

17th Nov London XC Champs - Parliament hill Report
2011 Schedule
29th Jan - SEAA XC Champs (15km) - Report
20th Feb Kentish Killer sportive 73miles - DNS
27th Feb Tunbridge wells half mara - DNS
10th Apr 7oaks tri - Report
17th Apr VLM Report
2nd May Tonbridge Sprint Report
26th Jun Forestman Report
7th Aug Hyde Park Oly Report
25th Sep Tonbridge Half Mara report

Kent XC league

8th October Race 1 - New Barn Park -report
29th October Race 2 - Tonbridge -report
2010 Schedule
21st Mar - Reading 1/2 mara - DNS
18th Apr - 7oaks sprint - Report
30th May - Austria 70.3 - Report
13th Jun - Windsor Oly - Report
27th Jun - Dartford Bridge Oly - Report
8th Aug - London Oly - DNS
26th Sep - Run to the beat 1/2 mara Report

Kent XC league

9th Oct - Round 1 West Wickham Report

23rd Oct - Round 2 Tonbridge Report
2009 Schedule
19 Apr - 7oaks - Report
17 May - Eton - Report
7 Jun - Blenheim - DNS
14 Jun - Windsor - Report
2 Aug - London - Report
16 Aug - Dextro Energy Tri -Report
20 Sep - 7Oaks - Report
2008 Schedule
18th May - Eton Sprint

8th June - Blenheim Sprint

20th July - Bananaman 3/4

10th August - London Olympic

14th September - Orca Classic Tri

5th October - London HM
21km run - DNS Mad

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