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Carlmadasafish's Enduroman Deca Iron Report
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Joined: 11 Oct 2005
Posts: 6152
Location: Out of retirement...

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:57 pm    Post subject: Carlmadasafish's Enduroman Deca Iron Report Reply with quote

Originally posted on another thread - fully deserves its own

Decaman 2012, from inside my head
by Carl Atkinson on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at 10:27am

Decaman 2012 by Carl Atkinson

Tigers in the woods, tigers in the woods??, you can't be scared of them, I listened intently to my dad,

at what I assumed was advice, unless I said, what if there are?? of course he said if there are, then run like bugger!!

this has never left me, though sadly on the 25th May 2012 he did, 5 days before this race.

All I'm going to say on this is my number one fan was with me every step of every mile for the whole race,

To live your life your own way, to stand up when others sit,

to sing terribly but sing all the same and above all be able to laugh at yourself,

I think it's not a bad life, I'll always miss you,

and I'll try to be more like you every day,

you were one of a kind,

love Carl,

R.I.P Dad (George Alan Atkinson)

18/8/1937 - 25/5/2012

"sound bites" of advice in both senses, well wishers, positive thinkers and friendly smiles it all helps in the end,

in the end, what a funny thing to say, you need it to get anywhere near the end, and let me be the first to say you can't do these events with out a lot of help.

It goes like this on the run up to a race, well Carl, you know Confucius said

"How do you eat an elephant" yada yada, or better still "every journey starts with one step..."

or my favourite, tho It's actually with certanty not true, "It's always darkest before the dawn" hum, it really isn't...

For weeks now I've been kindly issued with well meaning sentiments, designed to fill the void where normal advice seems pale,

as it is when your eventually "out there" in a race, the words themselves amount to zip, on face value that is, of course as with all well meaning sentiment,

its the fact that someone somewhere cared enough to issue them forth in the first place and that really counts,

and that matters, that matters when its dark, and you feel lonely, it matters when early in the morning you cant get up,

and even more so when late into the night and you can't give up!!

It's those people I want to thank... among others but thank you,

I had little to no plans about how to do this race, knowing whatever I decided would inevitably have to change,

so I took everything and hoped it'd be enough, I spent a small fortune at wiggle on everything from shakes to bars to gels,

I had very little of any, choosing to mainly have cheese and bacon with eggs ohh and lasagne and fish n chips!!

It's like no other race or experience I can associate it with, It's so long nothing you could imagine matters,

but weirdly other things do,

1. vibration thru your cycle shoes can be fixed with cork coasters.

2. wet suit rubs? easy use plumbers silicone paste.

3. running blisters?? nothing helps, nothing!, but tape those bad boys up and keep trucking.

4. do not sit down ever, your feet swell = tight trainers = more blisters.

5. what ever you do, do Not take off your trainers until you finish see above.

The race timetable is important to note, everything else is down to you once you register for the day (each day)

05:55 registration like clocking on for the day, lake side turning up is mandatory, you are out if you are not their...

people generally don't quit, tho they resign thru missing this,

Swim 2.4miles (13 laps of the lake)

06:00 swim start, after the hand shakes and good wishes there's none of the normal thrash, bash and splash but a more sedate amble

building up a pace after the first 1km, a classic case of the tortoises and the hare, and a duck or two.

Bike 116miles (10 laps of the course)

07:30 was my approx time to be on the bike for, after the swim a short 400m walk to t1, some drying, swearing, dressing, undressing and re-dressing,

pedal pedal pedal, 5x2, or 3x3 with 1 to finish, or 2,2+3,3.

It never really made a difference it's 10, it's always 10, pedal pedal pedal.

lots of people came to visit, FTC members, family, friends, other peoples family and friends like a commune,

I'm not going to write a list in case I forget to add people but a I remember at the time everybody their had the effect of lifting me,

people I knew had travelled a long way made me think wow I gotta keep going now,

A single lap went like this:

Bye guys, hill, potholes, cattle grid, left, main road with pinch points (play chicken with cars), horses, hill, Burley (old people), brakes, hill, pinch points,

lots of wind, horses, cattle grid, hill, Down hill!, hump back bridge, left, wind, woods, left, hill, potholes, Downhill, T1, hi guys, aaand repeat

the weather varied, as did my mood but the laps remained a constant at least that was reliable,

unlike my, bike wheels, chain, tri bars and eventually and inevitably my backside.

Run 26.2miles (24laps -

It's safe to say if you weren't running up or down you were walking, because their was no flat rest-bite,

no grassy soft under foot salvation, rock or roots, mud or... more roots, 1136 tree roots per lap OK that's a guess but I bet it's not far off,

I know because I kicked most of them, at first it hurt, then it really hurt, then hang on it just bloody hurt make this No 6. "not kicking roots" to the list above.

some good runs some bad, but every day was a marathon and that is just it, everyday starting around 6-7pm a whole marathon.

this race has a notorious none completion rate, much improved from last year, but it's easy to see why, It's mental, really really mental...

This is just 1 day, you must finish all 10 days consecutively, in under 22hours, no exceptions...

Aggression is not enough, it really isn't, it just gets you hot and stressed which in turn causes you to make bad decisions,

It's also not about the bike or the kit, shoes, socks or helmet, it's about decisive self management, pain may not last forever but 10 days of it can feel close enough...

but with faint whispers from within, that grow each day, deca deca deca, like a war cry, like a mantra, guttural and with sted fast rigidity,

come on then what you really got, after the banta fades, and the cameras cease to click and the dark draws in again,

what are you really about, it's not the question that scares me, but the answers just might, staring once again into the abyss.. like a mirror.

Like staring down the barrel of a rifle only to notice like the revelation in a jilting dream your also holding the other end,

a sideways glance and a brief handshake at what seems like an agreement not to shoot yourself today.

To deca or not to deca, that is the question,

you can't do it like a race, you just race it the best you can do,

with a lot of help, tears and tantrums and so much sudacream you wish you'd bought shares in it, you just gotta keep moving forward.

There's a lot more I could say but firstly It'd bore you, and secondly/honestly I don't remember!!!

Thanks to Alex Mcewen, Rhiannon James and Paul Dunne who suffered the whole 10 days with me,

tended to my whims with agreement or otherwise just to keep me going including

ignoring my pleas to stop, and for doing things no one will ever talk about again...

again to Rhiannon for looking after me before and after, and still, this alone should deserve a medal.

Chris, Sam, Lynn and Eddie Ette and Gareth + Paul for sharing their cabin and lives (and sweeties),

pink Sal for calming words and reassurance when all else seemed lost,

to all the FTC members who came down and to those far and wide, for helping me over the last 10 years.

Steve Haywood for being helpful, not eating all my cheese cake and for being kind and consistent.

Gerry Duffy came to visit and helped more than he knows, Tony Raynor also turned up to issue advice thanks to you both,

It's also worth noting Mark Padley is the only person mad/tough enough to do this twice...

Totals: Swim 24miles, Bike 1170miles, Run 262miles = 181 hours

to date only 8 people have finished this race on this course.

Now this is the Law of the Jungle -- as old and as true as the sky;

And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.

As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back,

for the strength of the pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the pack.

Rudyard Kipling.

2011 - Finishers

1. Gerry Duffy (Winner, 160hrs 10mins)

2. Mark Padley (182hrs 25mins)

3. Tony Raynor (193hrs 52mins)

2012 - Finishers

1. Anthony (tc) Gerundini (Winner, 149hrs 19mins)

2. David Miles (159hrs 56mins)

3. Christopher Ette (164hrs 45mins)

4. Mark Padley (168hrs 24mins)

5. Carl Atkinson (181hrs 16mins)

6. Edward (big ted) Page (191hrs 36mins)

Together we stand, divided we hide under bushes...
...................._.-\ <,_.........</\_
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Carl - it was a real privilege to share that course with you and you had to dig really deep after all you went through.

I know I would have DNF'ed in the same circumstances.

Huge respect.
...................._.-\ <,_.........</\_
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Carl - TOTAL RESPECT on a job well done.
Great effort, great outcome and sounds like you had a great time.

If you're considering a coach....

2014 Blog

"The difficulties of life are intended to make us better, not bitter."
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good call Dave. Report with a difference Cool like Carl Laughing TOP BLOKE! Can someone post a pic of Carl in his racing attire. I think EnduroMan have found their new poster boy Very Happy best dressed competitor at the Deca by far. Beats me how you kept going on Day 5, till the emergency bottom surgery saved the day (hedgehog amputation Wink )

Star performance, your dad is WELL PROUD Worship
EnduroManChamp:Euro2010-12,Deca12, Quin11,D10
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This report is amazing - it captures the event perfectly I cannot believe how you turned it around after the low point on Day 5. Digging deep to a level most will never go. Brilliant.

And as TC says, best racing attire of anyone. Well done.

Your description of the bike course is spot on.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome report Carl

Watching you each day going through so much pain and how you could push through it was awe inspiring as it was with all the deca nutters, you more than most i think.

I never see you flap or get cheesed off with people/crew etc and you knew each time you came round what you wanted/needed.
Plus when your crew told you what lap times you needed to do to get done by 12/1am you were just able to thrash them out and get the job done.

We spoke after and you said how the medics were amazed at how your feet seemed to repair themselves and get better during the last few days.

Amazing feat, Take a bow
"If you risk nothing, You gain nothing"
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Carl, that was an amazing effort, when looking at your times alone, how you kept going is something I will probably always wonder
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was a pleasure to share the course with you. Your shorts and vest will be a lasting memory Smile

To you and your dad, congratulations
2013-Gin Pit Maras|Lightning12Hr|FM|Outlaw|Steelman|ROF131Mi
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Location: Wearing Hokas/Altras/Sketchers and Ashmei - looking good is more important than running fast

PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very well played sir

That is a brilliant report

And you are one of the chosen few
I am the Completely Fearless Overlord

But I'm still not going to swim
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report.
2016 - KnackerCracker - Leith Hill Half - Weald Challenge 50k - Marlow Half.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Superb report - loved it.
Totally unbelievable mental and physical performance, I truly don't know how you did what you did from day 5 onwards ... an achievement that is so totally off the scale within an event, company and context that themselves are only barely imaginable.
When in future the going gets tough I will think of what you did out there and the way you did it with a smile in your eyes... words fail me.
Awesome, just awesome.
'12 DI Lanza; YkPPP; AT Deca; Big Cheese; MidnightMan; RingOFire; Vitn
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report - love the writing style.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We at Farnham Tri have been privileged to enjoy Carl's race reportage for a good few years now.
Worth a look at following the Results>Race Reports tabs.
Carl's 2004 UK HIM extract wrote:
making it look easy-peasy was the pro/s rollin' up after cosy nights in hotels and even running late was Spencer Smith who I helped over a barrier not knowing he was any one important till everyone wowed him through. He looked the same to me I'd of beat him if he didn't go so fast in the swim and on the bike and if he just ran a bit slower I'd of 'ad him.....
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Internal Cake Engine

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good report, enjoyed that.
Where you have muscle, I have some cake.
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Big Ted

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


What a unique style of report. Loved it!! Absolutley loved it.

There is lot of talk about mental strength around these events. When you hit your low mid way thorugh there would be no coming back for most people. I know my own race was about managing the gradual decline of the body and mind.

Yet you managed to pull it back. After having recorded that terrible day, you seemed to come back stronger. Each night youd be on that run course, and holding some strong running together. I simply couldnt get my head round it.

By the end of the event, I don't know if you remember, as you finished your last lap I said to you "Well done, Strong Man". You just looked so Strong.

Your physical strength, your ability to hold it togther that deep into the event, having suffered like you had earlier in the event, I was, quite honestly, in awe.

I dont know how you did it. I really dont. But I'm pretty sure of one thing.

You did him proud mate. Smile
"Cycle on your bicycle,

Leave all this misery behind"
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