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IMUK and my trip to Yeovil General

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Tin man

Joined: 03 May 2006
Posts: 86
Location: Putney

PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:29 pm    Post subject: IMUK and my trip to Yeovil General Reply with quote

First a big thank you for all the support I received from the TT massive and the other TT competitors - names escape me now (put it down to age), but I do remember Rich O on the bike and Scott G on the run. I also had a good chat with T C just after the race briefing.

This was my third attempt at IMUK and after clocking 12:21 last year (a huge improvement over 13:58 in 2006), I was keen to break the 12 hour barrier.

Race day started well, compared to last year when I had to leave the queue for the car park to collect my timing chip that I had left on my bedside table…This year I arrived in plenty of time (with my timing chip and everything else I needed) and had a relatively uneventful swim, apart from a few problems with cramp in my right calf – a sure sign for me that the water was a tad cold. I was a bit annoyed to be significantly slower than last year 1.27 against 1.19 (I don’t think I can blame the traffic jam at the first turn buoy for the difference – was the course a bit longer?), but felt good as I went through T1. Swim position was 1047.

On to the bike and a good ride, apart from going too fast on the first lap (when will I learn) and realising during the second that I needed to back off if I was going to get round the third in any sort of shape for the run. Spectator support on the bike was much better than last year and the usual crowd at Lyons Gate as supportive and welcome as ever. Clocked 46.6mph off the back of the Giant, but came away wondering exactly how you hit a genuine 60mph down there, as claimed in the race briefing (big bloke on very aero bike?). Final bike position was 341 in 6:22:27. Again, slower than last year (208 in 6:00:30), but it was colder, windier and certainly a bit longer.

T2 went off without a hitch and I was out in about 5 minutes, feeling ok in my legs, but not 100% in my stomach, which had been cramping a bit towards the end of the ride. Some gastric discomfort has always affected me in previous long distance events, but it has never got out of hand, so I wasn’t expecting any serious problems. The pretzels went down a treat after the sugar fest of the ride and the “not exactly bubble free coke” was also a welcome change, but the cramps were coming more frequently and I was starting to feel a little uneasy.

The first lap went by in 1:04:52 (position 732) and my legs were holding up fine. I tried to stay as relaxed as possible and really enjoyed the crowd support through the town and the TT support around the course. The second lap took 1:32:09 and I was up to position 642, but it didn’t feel like I was doing so well. After running through the second lap timing mat, I had to walk, as I was feeling really rough and knew that I was going to have to visit the loos at the next aid station. But I was still in a relatively positive frame of mind, as I had needed a 10 minute stop at half distance last year and afterwards I had gone on to run the second half 20 minutes faster than the first.

My game plan had changed by now as I knew I wasn’t going to beat last year’s time, but for most of the first two laps I had been clinging to the thought that if I gave it my best shot, I might be able to PB the run; particularly after the amount of distance running that I had put in during training. But in the end I spent nearly 15 minutes in the loo and when I came out I wasn’t sure how much better I felt. And then when I tried to run again it felt like all drive had gone from my legs. I dragged myself up the hill to the Crackmore Lodge feed station and dived into the loos again. Another 10 minutes and out again feeling not much better than when I went in, but I was maybe 6 miles from the finish so I just had to hang on.

I was feeling a bit sick, but I started to run back down to Pinford Lane. I got maybe 20 yards and my stomach cramped really badly and I knew I had to go back to the loo. The nausea was coming in waves and suddenly I knew that for the first time since starting triathlon seven years ago, I wasn’t going to finish. Having seen so many people in tears after retiring, it was curiously unemotional and I think I was probably a bit shocked that it was actually happening to me. I remembered listening to the St John’s ambulance briefing and thinking – probably like 99% of the people in the tent – that it wouldn’t happen to me. I told one of the helpers that I was feeling really rough and would have to withdraw. They were really kind. A chair and blankets were found. Someone gave me some hot chocolate and before long the St John’s ambulance arrived. I was helped in and given a space blanket. Then I had to ask for a bowl and gave the hot chocolate back…

It was all a bit of a blur after that. I can remember getting to the St John’s tent, but once I was lying down I was in and out of sleep, either to answer questions, be sick again (quite a few times) and eventually have a drip inserted. They took my blood pressure (frequently) tested my blood sugar and gave me something to stop me being sick. It didn’t really work. It was obvious I wasn’t going back to my lodgings. Arrangements were made with my fantastically understanding homestay hosts to collect my bike and transition bags and off I went to Yeovil General – in an ambulance – a first for me, but not the excitement I had been after when I lined up for the swim start several hours earlier that day.

Hospital - more tests and more questions, I seem to have given my name, address and medical history to half the population of Dorset. There was some overheard discussion about whether I really needed to be admitted. I managed to throw up loudly and evidently they gave in. I stayed the night and woke in the morning to find myself in a ward with two other iron folk – both of whom had actually finished, but then conked out afterwards. To my great relief I was pronounced fit enough to be discharged and emerged blinking into the daylight, wondering just how everything could have gone quite so pear shaped, quite so quickly.

So here I am at home again a few days later. I have two sore toe nails to remind me of the run, but I don’t really hurt much and I’m trying to get some perspective on what happened. The medics thought there was a good chance I had caught a bug and that seems quite likely, as it turns out both my daughters felt rough over the weekend and complained of feeling sick after eating. For my part, my digestion still hasn’t completely settled down and I felt quite rough for a couple of days, but not in a way that I associate with previous post ironman recovery days.

So if I am being positive, I was probably unlucky and next year should be different!

If I had managed to maintain my run pace up to the end of lap 2, it looks like I would have finished in about 12:30, only 10 minutes off last year. According to the main IMUK thread, this year’s race was supposed to be 32 minutes slower than last year’s measured according to the relative performance of the middle 80% of those taking part. So on that basis, I was on course for a relative improvement over last year. And 12:30 or thereabouts would also have put me comfortably in the first 500/1600 and into the top 25% of my age group (M44-49).

Will I do it again? Ask me when pre-registration for next year opens!

Most important of all though – a huge thank you to all those aid station helpers, race-crew, St John’s ambulance folk and the staff and doctors at Yeovil Hospital for looking after me so well – you were all amazing and I am very grateful.
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Joined: 19 May 2005
Posts: 394
Location: London

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gosh. I can vouch for the fact that Tinman is as methodical and dedicated in his training as anyone I've come accross so if this can happen to him then it can happen to anyone! I think we can easily fall into the trap of thinkin IM is just a matter of getting a good time and forget how much of an endurance effort it is. After all, listen to marathon runners go on about the atrophy of their bodies........

Glad to hear you're back home safely, mate, and who knows, I may even enter IMUK next year myself just to give you the motivation to go back......
Use your training and get paid too!
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Joined: 30 Apr 2008
Posts: 250
Location: Up chocolate creek without a popsicle stick

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report Tin man, sorry to hear of your troubles but at least you're on the mend now. Sounds like you gave it everything and you can't do more than that. See you there next year? Wink
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Location: Southport, Merseyside

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tinman, great report, sorry to hear that you didnt make it to the end this time; sounds like you're well on the way to recovery and go for it next year Shocked
My Training - 2014 - Yet to come....
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Nicholas Van Holman

Joined: 15 Apr 2008
Posts: 738
Location: Surrey

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bad luck Tin Man. I was watching the run from the vantage point of the Tiown and remember seeing you on the first two laps. You were certainly one of the stronger looking runners, but as you say, it wasn't going to be your day for reasons outside your control. But hey, there's clearly a PB there waiting for the right day!

Nicholas Van Holman
Tried steel. Tried aluminium. Tried carbon. Now bring on the titanium!
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Joined: 05 Apr 2007
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Location: Not London

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

C, I was so suprised to see that you DNFd as, again, I know how dedicated you are to training. I hope that you make a swift recovery and I expect great things from you next year as a super oldie Wink
Always with the negative waves Moriarty, always with the negative waves.
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Location: Lincoln / Scarborough (Algerino-Land) / Fircombe-on-Sea. sandbagging for daveM

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

you were on for a good time m8 (i.e.within 32 mins of last yrs) - such a shame about getting bugged out, wot can you do, except c u again next yr!!

great to meet u, sorry it wasnt post race like last yr, your bike time and rank was good, despite , like me, backing off a lot on lap 3. i thought the swim was 'long' too.

you've certainly had one heck of a memorable race!!

i had a post race visit to Yeovil hosp misel, at Himuk 04 when i scraped all me skin off due to bike smash, as captured on tha telly. still finished tho of course.

eat strong!
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Last edited by Toyota_Crown on Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:58 am; edited 1 time in total
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putt putt

Joined: 23 Apr 2005
Posts: 1712

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

that's terrible luck and sounds an awful experience. See you there next year!
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Joined: 15 Aug 2006
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Location: at the top of a hill shaking my pom poms

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What awful luck! I hope you're feeling much better now.
See you out there next year (I'm sure I'll be supporting again!)
It *is* about the bike.
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Joined: 24 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tough luck TM. I'm sure you'll be on your way again soon and IMUK is still waiting for you.

B Cool
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
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Location: at the top of a hill shaking my pom poms

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just for the record, putt putt and I did NOT consult and agree on key words before posting!

(How weird was that!?!)
It *is* about the bike.
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Joined: 18 Jun 2006
Posts: 1278
Location: Newark

PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sad That's rotten luck Tinman but your health is most important. There will be more IMs for you - and a PB in store I'm sure.
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Joined: 15 May 2003
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Location: North Wales

PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I often wonder about if/when to dnf, but reading your report guess you know in your heart when its for real and when its an excuse.
Only 6 miles from the end, must have been gutted but think health n survival kicked in. You did the right thing, you were already an IM and there will be plenty of opertunities, if you want them Wink to get a pb
thanks for sharing
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