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Curry's 2015 Enduroman Continuous Double Report

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Joined: 08 Nov 2009
Posts: 974
Location: Watford

PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:31 pm    Post subject: Curry's 2015 Enduroman Continuous Double Report Reply with quote

Several years ago I was found lurking on the Enduroman thread of the TriTalk Forum by TC who goaded me to give a double a try. A ridiculous thought at the time: I had only just attempted my first off road ultra – the JCC. But I got that funny feeling in the pit of my stomach. I knew that one day I would be on the start line. It would be a long journey with many lessons to learn (through a number of painful DNFs).

Fast forward to 2015: somewhere out on the Jurassic coast, 21 hours into my revenge attempt at The Oner, I start to lose energy fast. Intermittent spells of shuffle jogging were broken with 5 minute walk breaks. Gradually the walk breaks became longer. Ten hours earlier I was running strongly, feeding regularly: I was in control. But now I was calculating the time left until the next CP, to the finish, from the last CP to here: doubt ate away at my inner belief.

Within minutes I was no longer able to muster a jog. Walking was even difficult: I lent more heavily on the poles which were still in my hands; the very poles which had so greatly helped me overcome the endless rolling coastal hills on this unforgiving course; poles which had now become my Zimmer frame; poles which should have been folded away in my back pack - next to those uneaten snacks I had diligently packed at the mid-way CP; snacks which, along with the many treats at subsequent CPs, had been ignored. I was running on empty with no Plan B and subconsciously I ended my race prematurely.

How do you prepare for a double ironman distance race? In truth I was not sure so I got myself a coach. In reality I had set myself quite a demanding schedule of A Races for 2015 so preparation was always going to be tough. But my target was to complete not compete.

The Winter had plenty of good running and some decent miles on the bike, albeit nothing over 80 miles but there were quite a few over 50 and some good brick weekends. My swimming is a weak discipline and was the first session to be dropped from a busy schedule when work or domestic demands got in the way, but here too I had a number of quality distance swims and some open water sessions.

Mental preparation was much more difficult. I was sure that I could cope with the distances. In 2014 I had completed the swim and the bike only to fall apart on the run, which I had put down to the total lack of cycle training. But the monkey on my back was the feeding problems that had plagued my previous three endurance races. I simply cannot face food once I reach the later stages of a long race.

An unwanted distraction hit me 2-3 weeks before Race Day. After a routine investigation my GP had referred me for a chest x-Ray then an ultra-scan and then a referral to a cardiologist followed. The problem was an apparent left branch blockage in my heart. I finally got the all clear from the cardio about a week before Race Day. It was a false alarm – phew!

In the days leading up to Race Day I fretted over the Race Plan and feeding strategy. My coach advised me to force myself to eat; apparently late into an ultra the mind tells the body it’s not hungry but the body needs food. Advice was to ignore the mind and keep feeding. Second piece of good advice was that a break of say half hour could fool the mind into thinking the race is over and the body wants to feed again.

Arrival in AT
Both my sons had originally agreed to crew for me. But Uni exams at end of Year 1 clashed for my youngest Harry. My wife Carol volunteered to step in. On the face of it this could have been a challenge in itself – for both of us. Carol had attended a number of my races over the years but to be honest the long distance stuff is not a great spectator sport and after 25 years of marriage …!!

Ben came down with me to set up our tent the night before the race and Carol would join later, probably after the swim. This worked well. I was able to organise everything as I wanted it and share the Race Plan with Ben. Novice Ben took to it like a duck to water and he soon took command. My feeding plan was written down with a variety of drink and food combinations attributed to each lap of the bike and every second run lap. The food was appropriately divided between two boxes with a third box containing extra kit and bags with additional clothing options.

AT had misjudged the catering and we had no meal vouchers for the weekend. So we popped down to the local Fish and Chip shop. Ben also contacted Carol to order additional food supplies for meal times. The team was gelling well.
Familiar faces were present at the Race Brief. Pre-race anticipation was heightened by anecdotes of the week’s Quin racing already well into full steam.

Our tent was pitched in the top field by the lodges so I missed out on seeing the 3x1 plus 5x1 start their swim as I had my breakfast at 6am. Jjust as well because what happened to Lee (LoR) would have probably freaked me out a bit. (He had a panic attack on the first lap of his swim to DNF the 3x1 and switch to a marathon later in the day.)

Gathering by the lake the Continuous Double contenders all looked quite relaxed as we posed for photos and listened to Dan’s legendary swim brief. In the water I shook a number of competitors by the hand and before you could pee in your wetsuit the race was on. I kid you not, but I was already half a lap of the lake behind the whole field by the time the lead athlete completed her first circuit. I am often one of the last to exit the swim but on this occasion all competitors were much faster than me.

This did not faze me. I settled into a steady (read slow) pace. I was determined to enjoy this. I was buoyed on in the knowledge that Ben would be on the lakeshore. No member of my family had ever witnessed me in a Tri swim. I had planned to stop after laps 15 (just over half way) and 20 of 26 for energy drink. By the time I stopped for lap 20 most had already exited. I was castigated by Dan here for idle chat (even though I was instructing Ben to arrange food with Carol).

I genuinely had to swim the final 3-5 laps on my own. Paranoid I lifted my stroke considerably (by my standards). This was quite invigorating. MartinP informed me from the shore that I had 15 minutes before the cut-off as I approached my last lap; I should have a few minutes to spare then, but I kept up my higher stroke rate. To my horror Dan turned me away from the exit platoon as I approached; I had miscalculated and another lap was required.
This meant I was five minutes beyond the cut-off. A lecture followed from Dan about my idling and worse still a rebuke against TriTalkers lambasted for not taking swimbling seriously. Shame on you TriTalkers for nearly getting me disqualified!

Swim: 3:37:27, 11th out of 11 finishers (2 DNFs)

Ben greeted me with a cup of tea and bacon sandwich in T1. Lee (Repoman) also came to help and encourage. He was impressed by the Race Plan scribbled on two slips of paper inside my phone cover.

The first couple of bike laps were taken without stop. It was time to get familiar with the course. By the end I would have intimate knowledge. Personal landmarks would become like beads on an abacus, counting down the lap markers. In reality the first 4-5 laps were nothing like the rest – weather-wise. The wind was so fierce you could not safely get down onto the tri-bars when exposed to stretches of the New Forest’s beautiful scenery. I even strained one of my thumbs through grasping my handle bars so tightly. The rain also came down in torrents at times forming streams across Braggers Lane.

Carol had arrived by the 3rd lap and quite a few TTers also gathered in the Turning Circle. A party atmosphere greeted my pit stops for a period. Time slipped into the evening as the sun came out and endless cycles of water bottle changes, food rotation between sweet and savoury and exchanges with my welcoming crew and extended team of supporters.

At dusk I climbed off the bike for twenty minutes rest and pasta. This enabled me to put on my lights and some arm warmers. My rear light was dislodged on the next lap and this needed to be strapped onto the bike. By now I also noticed that the cleat of my right shoe was so worn I kept slipping from the pedal. I adjusted my cadence to ensure there was more pronounced downward pressure. This would plague me later in the cycle but I was not going to let it eat away at me. I was building a positive only attitude in this race!

I enjoy night time rides, like the Midnightman; peaceful and of course without traffic etc. This race was no different. Carol was the first of my crew to get some sleep. I shared a chat with a number of other competitors from time to time, but mostly we were all “in the zone” clocking up the miles. I find about 3-4 am the worst time – just before dawn (aka Florence and the Machine). This was when Ben went to bed and Carol rose to greet me with a bowl of porridge – yum yum!

Towards the end the hills seem to rise up, so I drop to the granny gears and reduce the cadence. The bike is all about grinding out the laps. I have no qualms about my pace. It’s all about finishing and saving the legs for the run.
Unlike last year the last lap was not so emotional but it was a great relief when I set out; by this time the 5x1 were back out so I had a bit of company. So too were Sunday tourists and even some keen cyclists. You find yourself almost wanting to stop everyone and boast about how long you had been cycling. A real sense of pride and achievement overcomes you.

And then the bike leg was over. Free-wheeling down into the Turning Circle one last time I took the applause and a large grin swept across my face.

Bike: 21:37:09, av speed 10:73, 10th out of 11 finishers

I walked the first run lap to get my bearings then tackled the delicate operation of removing my cycling shorts and lubricating up my nether regions in my tent. This was not a good time for Ben to walk in on me!

Over the next laps I found a steady rhythm and a pattern consisting of running all the downward and flat sections and walking the uphill stretches. This is a 48 lap course of two halves: down then up. My psyche would be to stick to the precise run/walk strategy for the whole run. I was pacing at an average lap of 16-17 minutes. This could leave me with about 90 minutes leeway for the end of the race when I was expected to tire.

Continuing my rigid feeding plan I aimed to take on fuel every other lap, alternating energy drink, water and electrolytes plus a small portion of sweet or savoury food, either eaten or taken around with me.

On 12 laps I took a short break. Shortly after this the 50 miler runners set off and this included Pirates Julie and Terry who were determined to chase me down (they are both racing the Lakelands 100 with me later in the summer). I was keeping up my pace well and feeling quitely confident.

My next break, for dinner, was due at lap 24, but I had a couple of tough laps leading into this and was grateful to sit down, wrapped in spare layers I took a full 20 minute rest and was mentally worried about the restart. Digging deep inside of myself I eked out the next few laps, mentally ticking off each self-congratulatory lap with a positive countdown. This started to have a truly positive effect and I was able to sustain my original 17 minute pace.

Lap 27 and Ben met me at the boathouse with my toothbrush. A splash of water on my face and tooth clean and I was surprisingly reinvigorated. Guys: this really works – try it on your next ultra. I perked up significantly and for a while I became unbearable to my fellow competitors and supporters by my uplifted mood. One set of guys even jokingly accused me of taking a short cut because my pace had picked up so much.

I cheekily suggested to my crew that I would delay my next break from L36 to L40 as I was feeling strong. Here’s the thing; no sooner had I mentioned this than I suddenly started to fade and actually struggled to hit the L36. I am convinced this was a direct consequence of my lapse of concentration. The mental side of ultras seriously impacts performance.

Coming off this break I was overheating big time, dry throat and losing energy fast. I was dehydrating and checked in with Richard the King of Medics. He told me what I already knew, but at this stage of a race you need reassurance; take a bottle of electrolytes and walk a lap then a bottle of water walk another lap and check the colour of my pee. This cured me sure enough.

There were seven laps left and three hours. No problem. I could easily walk the remainder. In fact, once you have stopped running at this level restarting a run was too difficult. I walked. Then I lifted it to a power walk. After several laps I was 20-minute lapping which was not much slower than my earlier run/walk strategy. I was actually beginning to float towards the finish. For the first time in my life I approached the end of an ultra in a really positive, no-way-am-I-going-to-fail mood.

Ben joined me for a lap. A couple of laps later Carol walked a lap with me too. She even slowed me down! I was passed by the Pirates (fault of my dehydration issue) and was also within a lap of two other double finishers. But finally it was my turn … I hit the Turning Circle for the 47th time and was sent back for my reverse victory lap.

Run: 16:56:34 av speed 19:15 8th out of 10 finishers

Overall time: 42:11:11 8th out of 13 starters

Continuous Double Enduroman Finisher

Sitting in the AT bar on Sunday evening I was chatting to a few Continuous Quin and 5x1 guys. A lady from beside the bar joined our conversation and at one point asked me “So did you do the Quin then?”, “No,” I replied “I only did the double”. Only at Enduroman could you hear such banter.

There are so many people I need to thank for this momentous achievement; TC for enticing me to enter all those years ago, MartinP with Dawn and the girls (for looking after me in 2014 and supporting again this year), Lee, Julie and Terry, all the other competitors, my coach Dan Carter, of course Eddie, Dan, Chris, medic Rich and all the Enduroman crew, but most of all my fantastic crew, Ben and Carol, who actually enjoyed the experience.

If at first u don't succeed - tri again

2016: Enduroman Continuous Triple DNF (61:30 after 2x maras); JOGLE in 12 days

2017: The Oner (DNF); Deca UK ironman (10x1) DNS

2018: IM Lanzarote (DNS)

Last edited by curry on Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:50 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done Curry,TCs got a lot to answer for hasn't he Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done mate
2016: 7 marathons in 7 days Enigma running.....BRING IT ON.
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Location: Wearing Hokas/Altras/Sketchers and Ashmei - looking good is more important than running fast

PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done Clive

Everything comes to those who wait (as long as they prepare properly, manage their pacing and keep a close eye on hydration and nutrition)

Did the pink wig get an outing?
I am the Completely Fearless Overlord

But I'm still not going to swim
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Big Foot

Joined: 25 Jun 2007
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Location: Hertfordshire

PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good to see you gave it another go and nailed it this time, well done.
2013 Lands End, London, Dover (1st)
2014 C to C, Enduroman 100, Ridgeway Challenge (86m)
2015 C to C, St Peters Way Ultra, Immortal Full, St Albans Stampede (12hr).
2016 C to C, ONER, Enduroman 100, ????
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bike: 21:37:09

ouch--i'm guessing that, like wiggins, you'll be celebrating your ace achievement 'standing up' Smile
brilliantly awesome stuff--and great report Thumbs Up
'the sea was angry that day, my friends - like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli ...'
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done Clive - great effort Smile
...................._.-\ <,_.........</\_
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That was a good read, thanks and well done.
meandering towards the end of pi
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seren nos

Joined: 07 Jun 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well really surprised me with your pace on that run...we took ages to lap you

A well deserved medal....and sounds llike you have sorted out the nutrition in time for the Lalelands
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TRO Saracen

Joined: 18 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent account of a great achievement, thanks.

Got me through a boring audio call as well Razz

Everytime I read one of these I feel the day I'll be stood there wondering why the %^&k I had entered one of these things as well....
2019. IM Wales no 5.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well played sir, well played indeed
Gin Pit Double Marathons, Manchester Marathon, Thames Path 100, South Downs Way 100, North Downs Way 100, Berlin Marathon, Autumn 100
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic - well done . See you at Lakeland 100!!
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great to see you out on that reverse lap, what a great weekend. Very Happy
2018 Enduroman Triple, The X, Lakesman, The Brutal Double
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the comments

veggieboy wrote:
Well done Clive

Everything comes to those who wait (as long as they prepare properly, manage their pacing and keep a close eye on hydration and nutrition)

Did the pink wig get an outing?

I did have the pink wig in my kit bag but forgot to ask my crew. Doubt that anyone still out there and in the dark would have noticed anyhow.

Looking forward to seeing Pookey and Seren up in the Lakes
If at first u don't succeed - tri again

2016: Enduroman Continuous Triple DNF (61:30 after 2x maras); JOGLE in 12 days

2017: The Oner (DNF); Deca UK ironman (10x1) DNS

2018: IM Lanzarote (DNS)
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