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Enduroman Double IM Race Report by Jammy

 
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Jammy




Joined: 24 Sep 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:25 am    Post subject: Enduroman Double IM Race Report by Jammy Reply with quote

This is going to be long – respect if you get to the end!

I’m not really sure how to write a race report for the Double, or even where to start, because it’s been such a massive part of my life for the past 9 months. It’s now a week since I did the Double and I’ve recovered quite favourably. I have no stiffness or sore feet / joints whatsoever which is awesome (I obviously didn’t put enough effort in). So that’s all good. Mentally / emotionally, however, it’s going to take a bit longer to recover.

Training:
I started training at the beginning of October, giving myself approximately 8 months to get in shape for the Double. I don’t come from a triathlon background. The first tri I ever did was Ironman UK in 2008, following by an Oly in 2009. I have done quite a few ultra runs and certainly favour running to cycling or swimming and was fairly confident that the 52 mile run shouldn’t cause me too many problems (how wrong I was).

“Swimming” is a foreign activity to me – it entails thrashing around as wildly as possible, drinking as much of the juice around me as possible and usually cutting the “session” short because “this is boll0cks”. It went this way until about 3 weeks before the race when I decided to have an hours swimming lesson – best thing I’ve ever done. 2 weeks before the DIM I turned up for a 10km open water swim at Dorney having never swum more than 4km - bricking it. The same day, I also had a wedding to be at at 3pm, so when the swim was delayed by 30 minutes, I was chuffed that I wasn’t going to have time to do the whole 10k. In the end I did 7km in about 2 hours 13 minutes and came out feeling fresh, hyper and really over-excited about how well it went, it was mental but brilliant. (I also beat the bride to the church by approximately 27 seconds).

Cycling was always going to be my hardest discipline. I’m not built for cycling (long arms, short legs) and have no natural talent for it whatsoever. It wasn’t until mid-March that I did my first century in training (second longest ride after the IMUK in 08 ). I did loads of 80 – 110 mile rides, all at above race pace around 18.5mph thinking that it would compensate for not going for longer rides. I finally managed to man up 4 weeks before the Double and cracked out a 155 mile ride (including a recce of the New Forest course), which was a huge confidence boost. Well, on one hand it was a big boost, but on the other it made me realise what was to come.

Running has always been quite strong. Again I have no natural talent and am not built for it but somehow I have the stupidity / stubbornness / bloody mindedness to keep going. I upped the distances quite quickly and was very confortable running 20 miles by February. I did a couple of 30 milers, both supported and unsupported, the quicker of which I did in 4 hours 25 minutes which was stonking.

I had 10 days off about a 5 weeks before the race which was great to nail some good sessions. Did some good swims (about 3 – 4km), back to back century rides, the 2nd 30 miler (2 days after which I woke up at 5am, cycled 50 miles to the start of the Sarsen Trail Cross Country marathon before running a 3:49 mara….cracking few days and felt great).

Had a good 10 days or so off after this and was knackered and frustrated about not being able to do anything. Even though this was scheduled time off to relax and recoup, I got stressed at not being able to do anything and felt behind schedule. A week or so later I did the 155 mile ride which was great. I went back down the New Forest and did 5 laps of the course which I originally recced with Martinp. Was great to do it again and familiarise myself and know what was coming – even if that was a fairly hilly, technical course. I liked it. Had a bit of a wobble at the end of the ride as I was utterly stuffed and couldn’t comprehend doing another 80 miles on top of that in 4 weeks’ time.

I also got a niggle in my knee which was agony and a week later I attempted another decent ride but couldn’t manage more than 60 miles – 3 weeks from the event and I couldn’t cycle more than 3 hours without excruciating pain - faaack. I’m not really one to believe in “medicine” and that, but if anyone ever has any injury ever, go to a chiropractor – 3 sessions and they completely sorted me out (turns out I had been cycling like a spaz).

Race
Race day came around very quick. Popped down to register on Friday and met a load of TTers and others….everyone was so chilled and friendly which helped the nerves massively. I have to say however friendly everyone was, it’s easy to feel out of place / out of depth when everyone else (considerably?!) older and more experienced! I was pleased I live only 45 minutes away so could spend the night in my own bed. Got down to AT at 6am on Saturday morning in time for bike racking before race start at 9am.

Swim 7,600m 2 hours 23 minutes
Wetsuit on, onto the bank for a 10 min safety brief before getting into the water 5 minutes before start. Enough time to acclimatise, loosen up and get ready. Felt so calm and chilled it was great. As the race start drew nearer, the vast majority (apart from the real keen beans “racing”) moved back – clearly everyone was expecting a rapid mass start like normal Ironman events. I was left worryingly near the front with a few serious looking chaps who were clearly in a different league to me. Didn’t last long – after the start I was back in the pack. I was never aware of pushing myself, after all the whole point was to finish the swim feeling fresh – that’s it. 26 laps of a 295m loop meant I lost count pretty quick, but the Marshalls were great. Rev stuffed a tasty muffin in my mouth (no innuendo) which I didn’t manage to eat before I keenly set off again meaning is soaked the lake up like a sponge, but after some solid choking I was back in the game. I settled into a steady rhythm very quickly and actually began enjoying it when I noticed I was holding a fair position somewhere in the middle. I came out of the water better than I thought in 11th position after a 2 hour 23 min swim time – that’s 2 x Iron PB’s! Out of the lake, I spent 5 minutes trying to control my jelly legs before walking and stumbling about 300 meters to the timing mat before heading to the tent to get out of the wetsuit and into cycling gear.

Cycle 232 miles 17 hours 20 minutes
I was pleased to get on the bike and start stretching the legs. The weather was holding out and wind wasn’t too high so wanted to make the most of it while it lasted. I stuck religiously to the plan of 45 – 46 min laps with 2 – 3 min breaks every lap. Laps 5, 10 and 15 would be a longer break of 20 minutes to get off the bike, have a massage and eat some proper food. Cycling speed I held pretty consistently at about 16 mph for the first 116 miles before the average dropped to about 15.4 by the end of the 232 miles. At about 8pm the lights were put on and I enjoyed the sun going down – the roads were much quieter and although quite chilly, it was lovely and clear. It got dark quickly, but not until about 10:30 did you need lights on full beam and it started getting light by 4am, so all good. The support crew were cracking during the night – really lifted the spirits when it would have been really easy to get down. It was very strange leaving the busy race centre, heading out across the plains of the New Forest where for several laps I wouldn’t see another rider, just ticking it over to the sound of my own breathing. It got damn cold at about 2:30 so I put some leggings on and an extra layer on top. To be honest, the night section (what I was expecting to be the hardest part of the race) went by fairly uneventfully and relatively enjoyably. The last few laps were pretty hard and quite a slog – the neck and back were very sore - but there wasn’t the utter crotchal destruction I thought would have happened.

Psychologically, however, I think this was bad because after the night, I figured it’d all be downhill with just the run to go. All in all, I’m happy to say the bike went to plan nicely – I was really stoked with how smoothly and to plan it went. Nutrition went well, stomach was fine, legs were fine. Brilliant. The speedo did (like many others I spoke to) read certainly more than 232 miles - nearer 238 - 240 miles. Oh well, wouldn’t want to make it easy.

Run 52 miles 16ish hours
I was pleased to get off the bike and putting the trainers on felt great. I did ˝ a lap to the timing check point and went to the tent for a pot noodle and some nosh. I felt good so headed off to get a few laps under the belt. I knocked out 4 (each lap = 1 mile – apparently!) at a pretty good pace, but bloody hell did it take it out of me. The course was brutal. Literally no flat sections with some fairly sharp inclines up tricky technical terrain (with apparently 83m ascent and descent per lap – which makes about 4,200m of change - equivalent of running up and down Mont Blanc).

After the first 4 miles, I had to go back to the tent and didn’t want to but completely conked out for 20 minutes – lucky the crew woke me up, God knows how long I’d have been out for. I set off to walk a couple of laps and try to break into some resemblance of a jog. I wanted to stop. I couldn’t do it. It was absolutely p1ssing it down by this point with high winds driving the rain horizontal. Tents were being wrecked and it was all everyone could do to keep warm. As Repo put it brilliantly - “Meteorological Armageddon of biblical intensity”. I ended up wearing 2 pairs of socks, lycra shorts, compression leggings and waterproof trousers on the bottom half, with 2 x thermals, 2 x tech tops, 1 x fleece and 1 x waterproof and a fleece beanie on the top…not ideal running gear. So much for the bib shorts, vest and peak I had planned. Word kept spreading how a fair few had called it a day due to extreme cold / exhaustion etc. I have never been so close to quitting a race after those first few miles – trying to get my head around completing another 48 miles was just impossible. I simply could not do it. The support crew were absolutely phenomenal, however and really helped me through.

It really was a matter of taking one lap at a time. In hindsight, it would be easy to exaggerate and mis-clarify how appalling the weather was, but the rain was genuinely unlike any I’ve seen before in the UK – just constantly lashing down – not even heavy showers, just an utter constant downpour. A combination of the conditions, the brutal course and the fact that I was seriously struggling on my strongest discipline really took me to some seriously low points. Places I have either never been to, or have been to but my brain has managed to eliminate. The worst part of the whole thing is that there was no way out. I did not want to go on (even more so when the reality struck that I wasn’t going to be able to complete it in anywhere near the time I wanted), but I also could not go home having not done it. Although I only do these things for myself and don’t do it for any recognition or praise from anyone, I did not want to have to repeatedly explain how I wasn’t capable of doing it. I thought through so many people who knew I was doing it, and wondered how I would tell them that I couldn’t do it. It was horrific. Other races I’ve done abroad have been easier in that there’s no option to quit and go home. Lesson learned: enter races where it’s logistically or geographically impossible to get home.

The laps ticked away gradually when I started breaking the seemingly insurmountable task into smaller chunks. “5 more laps and I’ll have done the first half of the first marathon”. I eventually started ticking the laps off 5 at a time, and found myself at lap 30 with 22 miles to go. Just short of a marathon. It was within reach. The terrain by this time was horrific – in the forest, the uphill’s had ankle deep mud with rivers flowing down them. The downhill’s were hard on the joints, slippery and poor terrain with large tree roots everywhere. Finally I broke into “10 to go” and hit another big wall. Although I was 9 tenths of the way there, I once again broke down and could not comprehend how I was going to get myself 10 more miles (a distance usually taking well under 90 minutes) – it just seemed impossible. With the biggest desire in the world to just get it over, I hit them as hard as I could, forcing the empty legs to move faster. Finally came to the last lap which is run in reverse so you can ‘High 5’ all the remaining competitors. The backwards loop was even more savage so thanks Steve for not running it that way.

Coming to the finish was a real mixed bag. I was more filled with relief and thanks than anything. Quick shake of the hand and hug from Steve and Eddie, medal and t-shirt presented and after a quick couple of photos it was quickly off to the car as the body started shutting down real quick once it knew nothing more was required of it.

Total time was just under 37 hours. A time which I really am not happy with. I could not have gone ANY faster on that course, but I know I have it within me to go sub 30 hours and it’s already getting to me.

Post Race
The last week has been very strange. There’s been no real celebrating (yet), no sense of great accomplishment and no particular sense of achievement. I want to clarify at this point that I don’t mean any disrespect whatsoever to anyone who was unable to complete for whatever reason – anyone who had big enough balls to get to the start line is a hero of mine – I just somehow don’t feel deserving of it. I think as much as I didn’t want to, I had set my heart on going sub 30 hours, but that simply wasn’t even a near realistic time on this course. I know I’m a moaning tw@t but I can’t help it. I will MTFU soon and in a week or so will be in happy with my efforts I’m sure (hope) – I know I couldn’t have gone any harder on the day and it came so close to breaking me that I am thankful for finishing. It’s just a bit tarnished.

God what a miserable b@stard! It now feels like unfinished business…which it shouldn’t – it’s done. Or is it?!

I have now spent about 5 days adding / updating this report and the longer I leave it, the more a smile slightly creeps across my face at the thought of having completed the Double at Avon Tyrell – a lot of chat is saying have savage it was and that it’s possibly the hardest Double out there at the moment (God knows how you lot did / got so far in the Triple, Quin and Deca, I simply don’t understand it) and this was reflected in the attrition rate. Enough moping, time to be happy with it.

Anyway, it was cracking to meet so many awesome people and you are all absolute heroes of mine. Many I didn’t get to meet but admired from afar include Mon, Gerry and T_C and most of the rest I was lucky to have a chinwag to at some point:

Huw – you’re a legend and even though you didn’t finish, you have a philosophy and mentality that I will always be envious of
Martin - it was awesome seeing you continue to nut it out, even though I wasn’t there in the wee hours I’m sure you were grinning the whole way
Davem – chatted only briefly and occasionally passed you (well, technically you passed me) but you were always in apparently high spirits and just everyone else who are such hard nuts but genuinely cracking people.

Big up to everyone else on TriTalk – I haven't used it for long / very much, but it’s inspiring seeing what you guys do, how much guts you have etc and often that got me through a session I otherwise would have probably sacked off. So cheers to you all.

Big thanks must go to the support crew. Lucy was phenomenal staying up throughout and not letting me quit, will always be grateful. Mum, Dad and Matt brought some family love and Adam was amazing too. Extra support from Shaznay, Karly and Clare was incredible - I didn’t think I’d be so lifted just from having someone’s presence.

Looking forward to the next one!
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martinp....ink




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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cracking report jammy

sub 30 you must be bonkers, OH to be young again Wink

Pleasure doing the reccie with you, great to catch up with you again on the day, great idea with the waterproof leggings and jacket.

Train strong mate and i`m sure you`ll achieve your goals.

If i dont see you before i`ll see you at AT next year Cool


P.S. you coming to do the Outlaw, think there is a few of us doing it?
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Davem




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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cracking report Jammie - was good to see you conquer all that the weather and AT could throw at you.

I'm the same as you - it's just not sunk in yet what everyone who made the startline went through

See you next year.......... Cool
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Toyota_Crown




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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:29 am    Post subject: Re: Enduroman Double IM Race Report by Jammy Reply with quote

lovin your training jammy. even tho the run was horrid due to the weather, look at the fun youve been having in the run up to the event: Cool
Jammy wrote:
back to back century rides, the 2nd 30 miler (2 days after which I woke up at 5am, cycled 50 miles to the start of the Sarsen Trail Cross Country marathon before running a 3:49 mara….cracking few days and felt great


well done m8, huge achievement. great report. for a right tri numpT, your prep was brilliant and sensible, and enjoyable, and dont knock your time. very envious of your swim and bike times for a novice - wow, you will really improve - wots next Question
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Badger
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would love to've earned that smile. Great stuff, well done to persevere. Cool
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RiRi




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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report there Jammy. Incredibly honest, too.
You don't need me to tell you how fantastic everyone else thinks you did, I just hope you start to feel happier about it yourself.
You had the mental strength to keep going when a lot of us didn't.
Awesome! Worship
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Big Ted




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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Enduroman Double IM Race Report by Jammy Reply with quote

Jammy wrote:
A combination of the conditions, the brutal course and the fact that I was seriously struggling on my strongest discipline really took me to some seriously low points. Places I have either never been to, or have been to but my brain has managed to eliminate.


Visiting these places is one of the main reasons i do these things - to see what happens, to see if i can cope. To try to get thru something you didnt know was coming and couldn't have planned for.

An amazing achievement Jammy.
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putt putt




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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

not a natural at swimming

not built for cycling

not built for running

what are you built for!!?? ha ha. Well you did a fine job for someone with those disadvantages! Well done. I can see a Triple looming for you.
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BDAbio




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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic!! Sub 30??? Crazy!!
So in essence if you did the triple next year, you'd be finished quicker than I'm likely to do the double.. that's just not right Cool

Seems I have an awful lot to learn from your race preparation. Respect!
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Jammy




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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Matrin – Yeh I may be being unrealistic thinking I could do sub-30…it’s something I think I’m going to have to find out though. Never in a million years would it happen on that course though! I’m considering Outlaw seeing as there’ll be a strong contingent, it could be a laugh…will keep you updated.

Dave – will certainly see you next year. Not sure in what capacity, but I’ll be there for sure! What are you plans for it?

T_C – cheers yeah I had a cracking time leading up to it! Not sure what’s next, am trying not to make any rash decisions until the end of this week! Deca for you surely?!

Badger – thanks mate, appreciate it.

Riri – you were another, like that mental husband of yours, who I watched from afar – you’re one damn tough nut and to already say you’re going back next year is amazing – I wouldn’t! I am indeed starting to feel happier about it which is cracking 

B_T – cheers buddy, hope you’ve also found yourself smiling about what you achieved that week.

Putt putt – to be honest, I’m not sure what I’m built for…jack of all trades! Don’t even mention the Triple, it scares me too much.

BDabio – again, this sub-30 chat may be totally unrealistic, but now I’ve said it, I’m buggered and am going to have to give it a go at some point aren’t it!! Really enjoyed reading your report too, incredible balls to keep nutting it out mate. Hope you’ll be back for another!
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Davem




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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jammy wrote:


Dave – will certainly see you next year. Not sure in what capacity, but I’ll be there for sure! What are you plans for it?

T_C – cheers yeah I had a cracking time leading up to it! Not sure what’s next, am trying not to make any rash decisions until the end of this week! Deca for you surely?!



Not sure yet. Will see how I feel when this Quin thing finally hits me round the head. Still not sunk in yet.

As for T_C. Deca. For sure Wink
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent report James. It was great meeting you and weird that we didn't bump into each other more, but I do remember being very jealous of your waterproofs when we did meet up on the run course. I hadn't realised you were battling demons at the time, so mucho respect for toughing it out. Hope to see you next year, LoR
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Sue




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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

great report
and great youve recovered, it means your training went well for the event Wink you just gotta be pleased, on that course in those conditions, time does not matter, you crossed the finish line
--be proud, be very proud Wink
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willo46




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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice report, great result. quicker next time maybe?
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