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KP nut's Outlaw Race Report
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KP nut

Joined: 18 Sep 2008
Posts: 1221
Location: Buxton, Derbyshire

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:22 pm    Post subject: KP nut's Outlaw Race Report Reply with quote

I posted these on my blog in 2 parts. Part 1 was written before the race charting the route to the start line. Part 2 is the race...

Outlaw Race Report Part One

Yes I know I haven’t actually done it yet! But I reckon the ironman challenge is in fact 2 separate challenges. 1 is crossing the line at the end of an ironman. The other is training for one. The training, for me, has been a huge challenge in its own right, beset with twists and turns, setbacks and dramas, triumphs and (almost) tragedy. And I’ve done it. I’ve stayed focused and committed, and I’m now tapering. Whatever happens on race day, I have already achieved something special, that I can be proud of. One way of avoiding taper-insanity is for me to chart my journey to the ironman start-line. Hopefully seeing where I have come from will give me confidence and inspiration to help me make the final push to the finish line. And that, hopefully (!), will be part 2....

The Journey Begins....

...way back in 2009. MrKPnut entered IMUK. I had no interest in triathlon anymore. I had ‘retired’ in 2001 and then had 3 children. Spare time became a precious commodity not to be wasted on pool rage and getting a sore ar$e on a bicycle! I still loved running but single discipline sport was quite enough for me. All year I congratulated myself on my good sense in just being a runner, as I watched MrKP get up early for a swim/bike/run/all 3 and then rolled over for another bit of shut eye. Even on race morning I was mightily glad that he was the one getting into a chilly lake in the pre-dawn mist while I was the one swaddled in a duvet coat with the flask of coffee and packet of hobnobs. This complacency lasted for the next 12-something hours. Then MrKP crossed the line to the immortal words: MrKP you are an ironmaaaaaaaaaan and instantly I knew I wanted to do one. The desire was so strong & so clear that despite being utterly unexpected I never really questioned it. I was doing an ironman! I started training 2 days later in August 2009 for the 2010 Outlaw.

Training went really well. I was amazed that I was able to stick rigidly (some might say obsessively) to my plans. I over-trained a few times. I stressed and panicked a few times, But the experience in general was overwhelmingly positive. I never, ever missed a session - or even a couple of minutes of a session (does the plan say 3 hr 57 minutes? No it does not. Go round the block for another 2 minutes and 53 seconds!!!!) My diet changed. My social life disappeared. My children never had clean school uniform anymore. On one rather shaming occasion they had cereal for tea. But I was completely dedicated to the cause.

I should explain here that I am a totally rubbish athlete! I have no natural ability whatsoever. I run like a duck. I am hopelessly weak on the bike. Only my swim is respectably mid-pack. I hadn’t pedalled further than 10 miles in 10 years. And hadn’t sat on a bike at ALL for 2 years. I had a long, long way to go, and my view was that only total focus to the plan would get me round. So totally focused I was. And I was getting fitter and fitter. I was soon hitting new bike distance PBs – having only cycled over 50 miles twice in my life before, both times a decade previously.

However, one day I was at work and felt totally overwhelmed with tiredness. Assuming it was a reaction to training, I started questioning the ethics of ironman training if it meant I was so knackered I couldn’t really do my job properly. I struggled through 2 meetings, then put my head on my desk and started thinking about going home. I never skive off work, but I somehow found myself telling my secretary to cancel my afternoon appointments. I fell asleep on the train. Got home and fell asleep immediately again – to be found in bed a few hours later by MrKP.

That night, I became ill. Fever, chills, swollen glands, severe joint pain. 2 weeks later I was diagnosed with mumps. It was now March. My plan had been hotting up. I was into the build phase and I had lots of early season cyclo-sportives and races planned. One by one they fell by the wayside as my illness persisted and then turned into post viral fatigue. Frustration at missing training gradually turned into panic that the whole race might be under threat. I tried to train every 2-3 days and crashed & burned every time. Finally as May approached with no significant training since early March I had a discussion with my doctor (himself an endurance athlete) who advised me that if I kept trying to train I risked triggering Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I withdrew from the race. It was heart breaking, but I had absolutely no doubt that I would come back for 2011, and go for it again. I took May off, and with proper rest finally recovered fully. In June I started training again – targeting the High Peak 40 Ultra and the Outlaw marathon as a relay. So in the end I had a great season.

Then in November 2010, I dusted off the Outlaw training plans and launched my new campaign. This time nothing would go drastically wrong. Would it?

Well some of you know what happened next. On December 27th Mat went to bed complaining of a headache. At midnight he started throwing up. By 5 he was throwing up every 20-30 minutes. Between 5 & 8 I irritated him up big time by waking him up every hour to check his consciousness levels. Not sure why really, there was just something about how he was that didn’t seem right. At 8 I felt he was less alert and I phoned the out of hours docs asking for a home visit.
“We don’t do home visits for young men”
“I don’t care, he needs one”.
“It’s the busiest day of the year” [after a 4 day break]
“Not my problem”.
They sent a practice nurse who said ‘maybe swine flu’ and arranged for an ambulance to come and get him some time later on as she agreed he was too unwell to be looked after at home. An hour later I decided his consciousness levels were deteriorating and insisted on an emergency ambulance. That saved his life. He had bacterial meningitis. By the time he reached hospital he was unconscious and fading fast. I was initially told that he might die. Gradually that changed to he might live. Then they stopped really even predicting that – just said ‘he’s not looking good’ and ‘he really needs to start responding to treatment’ and other such euphemisms for ‘he’s on his way out.’
After a long and horrible day he began to respond to the high levels of antibiotics he was given and to stabilise. And he has made a remarkable recovery. In the end he was only in hospital 2 weeks, despite initial prediction of months – and there have been no long-term problems though those were also predicted. Nails!

So Mat came home. Huge sigh of relief? Put it all behind us?? Well not quite. I’ve had PTSD for 15 years from a climbing accident with MrKP many years ago. Basically we were climbing above water when he was knocked off by a huge boulder that came away from the cliff face. I jumped in after him. He was face down in the water, and when I turned him over I saw that his head had been smashed up. I assumed he was dead and it was all a bit grim. Anyway the scenes in A&E when he had meningitis were unnervingly similar to his agitated behaviour when head injured and it brought it all back. I held myself together while he was in hospital but fell apart somewhat when he came home with a relapse of PTSD.

What was clear though is that despite everything, I still wanted to do the Outlaw. I really REALLY wanted to do the Outlaw. Trouble was that I was such a wreck physically and emotionally that any decent training was just impossible. I remember turbo-ing with a heart rate of 140 while putting out 60 watts!! I wanted to train. And I was willing to put myself out there and try. But my body just wouldn’t let me which was disheartening and de-motivating to say the least.
I vividly recall a miserable 2 hour turbo when the distance between where I was and where I needed to be was just so wide that the enterprise seemed entirely pointless. The ‘I can’t do this so what’s the point’ conversation became so draining and depressing that I resloved to flatly refuse to think anymore about what I was trying to achieve. I decided that Outlaw was probably out of reach but that I would always regret not trying. So I binned the training plans and just did what I could, finally accepting that I had no way of knowing whether I would get back to a decent level of fitness but that I was willing to do my best. And gradually everything did settle and fitness started returning.

Me, MrKP and the kids had a training & family holiday booked in Fuerte Ventura. Literally the day before we flew he had his follow up with the consultant who gave him the go ahead to travel abroad. Hooray!! We set off, and I put in 28 hours of training over 10 days. In retrospect a stupid amount (for me) at the best of times. And these were NOT the best of times....... Doh. Cue another 3 weeks of rubbishness.......

Howver, finally I spotted that throughout both Outlaw attempts my training was boom and bust. Stress, fatigue, illness or life would scupper me for a bit. Once I felt ok again I’d go a bit crazy trying to catch up.... After Fuerte Ventura I decided to aim above all for consistency: 3 key sessions a week with all the rest being optional fillers. I started hitting new bike PBs. 70 miles, then 80, 90 and finally the full 112. And that took me up to the taper.

So I’ve achieved part 1. I’ve trained for an ironman. Like all other ironman wannabes I have put up with freezing and sweltering, hypothermia and dehydration, pain, fatigue, boredom, doubts and fears. I’ve stroked, pedalled and run the length and breadth of the Peak District week in week out, month after month, for nearly 2 years. And I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. Whatever happens on July 24th, I’ve got myself to a position where there is a realistic possibility of getting that medal around my neck. So medal or no medal, I’m happy.

See you on the start line.....

Outlaw Race Report Part Two...

You know what? Ironman is HARD! Very, very hard. That might seem like a contender for obvious statement of the year award. But I’ve spend too long in the rarefied atmosphere of Tritalk where people say ‘I entered ironman for a bet and posted 10:47 so next year I’m going for the triple”. I also kept reading ‘ironman is the new marathon’. If that means increasing numbers of people are recognising they can achieve previously undreamed of limits, then amen to that. However it does not mean ironman is now LIKE running a marathon. Because last time I looked (which was very recently as it happens) ironman involves swimming 2.4 miles, cycling 112 miles and THEN running the marathon. Which is very, very, VERY hard for athletically challenged, ordinary mortals like me!

So part 1 of the report saw me to the taper. And I finished with the words ‘medal or no medal, I’m happy’. Which was, of course, total bull. If I hadn’t got that medal I would have been absolutely heartbroken. But I did. So that’s ok Cool Cool Cool Here’s how it panned out:


Saturday was mainly about forcing pasta down my unwilling gullet. Lunch at HPP was a plate of macaroni cheese with the texture of play-doh and the taste of wall paper glue. Mmmmmm. Luckily a delicious evening meal of pumpkin ravioli and chocolate-brownie-vanilla-icecream-almond sauce-sundae rescued the situation and I managed to eat a reasonable amount which is good for me as I get very nervous before events. Saturday also involved lots of staring at too many bags going Confused Confused and about persuading a brain that had lost all power of rational thought that the task of putting the right things in the right bags was not beyond it Rolling Eyes . Got there in the end...

Race Day

Walking down to the start was magical. I have seen footage of ironman starts so often, it was hard to believe that this was IT. I was part of an ironman start.

But where to start? I knew I could swim around 1 hr 20 if I had a great swim, but that meant getting stuck into the washing machine, rather than staying to the back or side and out of trouble.... Play safe, or go for it? I decided to take my chances with a bit of rough and tumble. The start was mayhem for a while and I kept my head down just following the seething mass around me. No need to sight as I could sight off the bank and I was in such a busy throng that I figured we were probably going in the right direction! A great feature of this swim is that you can see spectators on the bank who can walk round most of the swim with you.

So I focussed on my stroke and on waving at MrKP who was walking alongside and I didn’t glance up to sight the first buoy at 550m for quite a while. I was surprised it still looked so far away, but all day my mantra was ‘it takes as long as it takes, just keep swimming (biking/running) till you’re done. So I didn’t waste too much time worrying about how long it was taking. When I finally got to the ‘550m’ buoy I discovered it was the turn around! How happy was I Laughing I then found some feet which were very useful but a bit freaky because they didn’t kick at ALL. Not even a slow balancing kick. It was like following some disembodied legs being dragged behind a boat or something. Anyway, they gave me a nice tow without any risk of a kick in the nose. Unfortunately someone else wanted them too and cut across me. For a short while I came over all Cavendish and fiercely defended my line to keep ‘my’ feet, till realised that I was wasting energy and let them go.

Exited the swim at 1:20ish. Great start!

Out onto the bike...... This has always been my achilles heel. I can’t ride a bike. (Why can’t I ride a bike, eh? Doesn’t look that hard...) 2 problems. I’m very weak, so any hills or any wind and I just grind to a halt. And it got windier and windier as the ride went on Crying or Very sad And I have no bike handling skills so I kept dropping bottles when I tried to have a drink. Mindful of the ‘no littering’ rules that meant stopping and going back for them. Oh well. And 112 miles is a very long way.

I had my usual GI issues too. All the way through im training I have followed conventional wisdom of using energy drinks (Infinit) and getting most of my calories from fluids. However I’ve never been able to tolerate such large volumes of carb drink, and had GI problems in long training rides and pre-im warm up races. Finally, 2-3 weeks out from the race it occurred to me that when I’ve done ultras I have not used energy products but just had normal food - basically treating the events like a strolling picnic! I did think maybe I should use food but I was aIso worried that switching to food on the bike was bit dodgy though: Rule number one being ‘Never Try Anything New On Race Day.’ So Infinit it was and true to form – stomach rebelled and refused to take any more of it after about 50 miles. Oh dear. Couldn’t even drink water..... With rather a long way to go! Luckily MrKP was out on the course supporting at every opportunity so I got off and nicked his lunch! (This is technically ‘outside assistance’, I realise. However Iain Hamilton was asked about that at the race briefing. He said ‘well if someone spectating happens to drop an energy bar or something in front of you, and you pick it up, no-one is going to mind. So Mr KP dropped his lunch. Lucky, that. Very Happy )

1 marmite bagel later and I was on my way again. Stomach settled. Switched the carb drinks for water at the next aid station and felt 1000X better for it. Hurray. 8 painful hours later I rolled into T2.

Thank-you lovely pink bike for not puncturing and for getting me round safely. Thank-you jts for the fluffy pink dice. They made me smile. And I got loads of ‘nice dice’ comments. All helpful in taking my mind off the soreness or my rear end.....

Out onto the run.

Now here is where the real work started. It all felt fine for a while and I was trotting along at 12 minute miles. I knew that it was now going to be a war of attrition till the end. Would my body/legs/back/stomach hold up? Or would I join the ranks of the walking/hobbling wounded? Only time would tell. The wheels can come off very quickly, so I just hoped that I would be near enough to the finish if/when that happened to get there. And I was actually really comfortable till 15 miles or so. Then my back and hips seized up, and running became increasingly painful. My pace abruptly dropped from 12 to 14+ minute miles. Fortunately it never really got any worse than that so I could maintain 14-15 min miles via a combination of brisk walking and shuffly jogging till the end. The run is set out in laps round the lake and out and back sections along the river Trent.

You ran past the finish 3 times and the commentators gave me great support when I headed out for the last lap. They were chanting ”OUT-LAW OUT-LAW. Megaphone This is for you Kristina see you again soon!” I was completely overwhelmed and the tears started. So had a bit of a struggle to hold it together as there were still about 8 miles to go at that point.

But the end did come eventually and it was amazing. The marshalls and commentators were dancing on the finish line. There were still lots of people in the Grandstand. My friends from the High Peak Tri Club who had done the relay were yelling. I didn’t see the though as by that stage I was bawling my eyes out and could barely see! I crossed the line. I am an Outlaw. I’ve done an ironman. And I’m getting all teary again just writing that down.....

The aftermath

Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch.....
Had a massage which was a mistake because I very quickly got cold and started shaking. I stopped it halfway through to get clothes and hot soup. Jts (who was part f the relay team) came into the food tent brandishing champagne and spare glasses. Nice idea but sadly an unthinkable prospect considering how I felt! A race marshall let MrKP get my bike out and he drove me home. I could literally hardly climb the stairs and in bed I needed to use my arms to move my legs. I am physically a total wreck. Truth is, I wasn’t really fit enough to do this. Not for want of trying, but just too much preparation was interrupted by various spanners of various sizes. But I did it anyway. Cool


"It always seems impossible, until it's done" (Nelson Mandela)

My Outlaw Race Report:
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a journey, hey??? So pleased for you and a cracking report. Sounds like this race just gets better and better Cool
Swim smart, Bike strong, Run tough
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats! I saw you on your second lap and shouted at you! Well done! What's next then Smile??
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great work KP. I never saw you all day either racing or marshalling but glad the story had a happy ending - well done you

NT Very Happy Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome report KP of a great effort! I looked out for you on the run as we must have been out there at similar times but I didn't see you - I guess we were never on the out/back bit at the same time. Put your feet up now and let Mr KP look after you Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done KP!
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cant believe i never spotted that pink bike. Party
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool Well done, we were the TTer's just near Oxton roundabout and only realised it was you after you shouted . Glad you enjoyed yourself and finished in a cracking time Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Top bombing KP!

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AAwesome report KP, great to see you both again. Ace times too!
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome report and well done you! Really something to be proud of, especially given all hurdles thrown in your path on the way, and you overcame them all! Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done KP.
"when your life flashes before your eyes, make sure you've got plenty to watch"
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Carl J

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 4:17 pm    Post subject: Re: KP nut's Outlaw Race Report Reply with quote

KP nut wrote:
You know what? Ironman is HARD! Very, very hard.

Yep. It is. But u flippin well did it. So pleased for you Cool

I spotted the dice but didn't know it was you, would have whooped even more had we done so Laughing
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report KP, great effort. Although i was half expecting a pink top on the run??
Well done. You deserve this one, dine out on it for a while.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very very good (race and training and report). Well done for getting to the start. Well done for getting to the finish.
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