Deca – Enduroman 1st – 10th June 2012

Pre – Amble

After competing in the Triple Enduroman last year, I pretty much made the decision that I would like to take part in the Deca – Enduroman immediately.
I took three weeks off from training then began the long process of re-building and thinking about the type of training I would need to be doing to complete this mammoth event. Basically for me the key component was consistency, I believed it didn’t matter what I was doing as long as I was doing something and enjoying my training whilst also spending quality time with my very understanding wife, something which I neglected to do training for the Triple. I lost the balance between training and family life. This year I would try and make it different. I’m not quite sure if I succeeded; only Sam could answer that for you!
The process began, I knew that nearer the time key sessions would involve big blocks of training to simulate race conditions however until early next year I didn’t need to be thinking about that.
In about August I decided that I was going to enter Caesars Camp 100 mile run, this was billed as an extremely tough event and the success rate was very low, still it was another challenge and I set about training to give myself the best opportunity to complete. I completed my biggest run week of 5 consecutive 20 milers 2 weeks prior to the event and felt ready. I finished Caesars in 26 hrs, really pleased with myself and carried no injuries.
The winter months came and went, into the new year I competed in several local cross country runs, a half marathon and just continued to train consistently, this was by no means massive mileage but involved something most days with minimal rest in between sessions.
I travelled to Avon Tyrell on 5 separate occasions during the months of Jan – June to ride the bike route. I rode the bike at various intensities to determine the fastest and slowest times I could do the course. I knew where to work, when to rest, what gear to be in at pretty much every stage of the course.
Before I knew it I was counting down the weeks then days until race day. In my mind, I was the best I could be prepared, I truly believed I had done the most I could with my training, I was mentally ready and deep down I knew I was in the best shape I could be.

Pre – Race

My crew for the Deca would consist of Gareth Wheeler (Double Enduroman 2011), who had spent all winter training alongside me getting ready for the Quin however circumstances would dictate that he couldn’t race, unfortunate for him, but when he told me he would crew I was over the moon! My wife Sam, who has fully supported me in all that I do, Sam was unable to be there for the duration of the Triple due to having exams so having her around for the Deca was going to be an added bonus, as always my Mum would be there for the party, she has been through everything with my Dad and also crewed for me during the Triple, I knew I would be in capable hands when the going got tough. Paul McCombe (Triple Enduroman 2011) and his Fiancé Sarah were to arrive on the Wednesday as well. Obviously Dad would be around and I knew he would offer his support, advice and encouragement whenever possible. With this team supporting me I had the best opportunity I could to finish.

The car was loaded up and I travelled down to Avon Tyrell on Thursday afternoon.

It was probably a good thing that Gareth wasn’t racing because originally I was going to take some of his kit down with me, this would not have happened!! Every single item of kit that I owned had been put in my car, plus extras that had to go in Sam’s car for her to bring down on Friday.

A Little treat on the way down

I arrived at Avon Tyrell and met up with Mum and Dad, saw Steve and also met several of the other Deca athletes, Dave M, Guy W, Big Ted and Carl A. This was starting to become very real!!
Registration complete, race brief done, time to settle into the room for the evening before the start of a very long ten days!!
I had an outline plan of where I wanted to be each day; timings were roughly worked out for each discipline which culminated in a finish time of 15 – 17 hrs a day. I wanted to be in bed by midnight each day at the latest. The cabin was booked for Friday afternoon, so Gareth and Mum’s job for the first day was not only to look after me but to unload the car and get everything organised.

Day One – Finish Time 14hrs 7mins – Swim 1.04 Bike 7.37 Run 5.24.

After a restless night the alarm went off at 4.30, I actually think I was awake and had turned the alarm off already! Gareth and I walked up to Dad and Steve’s cabin, Mum had prepared my breakfast which was waiting for me when I walked in. The kit I needed for the day was in a single box ready to take down to the transition area. I had a brief chat with Gareth and Mum about the plan, swim would take roughly 1hr 10 – 1hr 15. Get changed having a small bite to eat whilst doing so, straight out on the bike for two laps then breakfast was to be broken down into two or three sandwiches to be eaten on the move. (Sausage and Egg, Sausage and Hash Brown with Tomato Ketchup!) I told them I didn’t want to get off the bike to eat at any stage.
The swim went well, I planned and did stop every 3 laps to feed, a mouthful of water, a mouthful of High5 and then a mouthful of hot drink. This was the same strategy I employed for the Triple and I was comfortable and confident that this was the best thing for me to do.
Swimming’s my least favourite of all the three disciplines so using this plan I was trying to make it as less painful and give me something to look forward to throughout the swim. I was pleased to exit the swim in 1hr 4mins, well chuffed an Ironman PB, only because I’ve never done an Ironman swim before in a competition!

My crew and I executed the transition as planned;
I necked some runny porridge and had a peanut butter crumpet for the first bike loop, I believe I was out on the bike at 7.22am, this would be my marker, the transition wasn’t rushed just methodical. I even managed to set the Stava App on my phone to record the bike route, when my dad asked what it was, I said for my fans!!

I was confident about the bike, like I have mentioned I had ridden it several times, spin the legs on the hills and flats and cruise on the down hills, all I had to do was maintain consistency, not to get caught up in the Day 1 Testosterone and hopefully the bike would pass with minimum fuss. I used my wristwatch to roughly have an idea of how long the laps were taking me. Again, the plan was executed according to how I saw it pan out, 2 laps completed, pull up at the railings, don’t unclip, change water bottles get handed a sandwich then off I go eating on the move. Another lap, another sandwich!

Then two laps without stopping to take me to the half way point. At this point I couldn’t grumble, a planned 8 hrs for the bike looked feasible and more importantly felt comfortable. I finished the bike in 7.37 and was extremely happy. Off the bike, run trainers are put on at the race centre and I complete a lap of the run in my cycle gear, then it’s into the cabin, where I had something small to eat and got myself changed, I’ve always enjoyed running and was actually looking forward to the run, again the plan was to run the flats and downhill’s and walk the hills.
I probably went out to fast on the run, although it did feel comfortable, Dad said I was doing well but said I should drop the pace considerably as he thought I was going too fast, at first I thought what does he know about what I’m capable off so I carried on a few more laps, later he said it again so at this point I took I long hard look at myself and eased off. Guy W, Dave M and TC seemed to be flying past me, this did concern me a lot and for the first time that day I had a moment of self doubt that I wasn’t capable of lasting the ten days.
I finished the run in 5.24, really happy with myself, the completion time was an hour or so faster than anticipated which I was over the moon with, as were my crew, Gareth said if I keep this up we will be in bed by 10 every night instead of 12!

Day 1 Finish with Dad

The routine after finishing started off being walking down to the lake for a ten minute cool down, to ease off the legs and help with muscular repair, not the most pleasant of experiences, however as TC (eventual winner) reminded me, if it worked for Gerry Duffy!! (Last year’s winner)
After being in the lake, a hot shower, a quick rub down on the legs and then time to eat a decent meal and off to bed. As the nights got later, I didn’t bother with the lake but went straight to the cabin.

Day 2 – Finish Time 14hrs 7mins (again!) Swim – 1.06 Bike – 7.36 Run – 5.24

A restless night, I just couldn’t sleep a mixture of excitement and nerves, when I was awake I made a conscious effort to have a nibble at something and a mouthful of drink, I think I actually ended up eating a whole tube of Pringles.
Alarm goes off at 4.45 am, enough time to eat breakfast have a hot drink and prepare myself for the day’s activities. We had to be at the lake for a roll call and ready to be in the lake for a 0600 start every morning. The swim was carried out again according to plan, I knew the swim as with both the bike and the run were gradually going to get slower so I was preparing myself mentally for this to happen, the swim was soon over and again I was pleased to exit over the timing mat in 1.06.
Transition done, bike kit on, crumpet in hand off I went out on the bike again, same as day 1 two laps, I knew where to change gear, what gear I was meant to be in, push a little here, ease off a little there. Breakfast in sandwiches for two laps, the routine was working well. I knew later on in the race this routine would be embedded and as I became more tired I was hoping that gear changes and work rate would happen automatically therefore potentially I should maintain a decent consistent times.
Sam was here now, she had arrived Friday evening after being at work, my crew were working well, as soon as I was out on the bike one of them would wash and prepare my swim kit ready for the morning, whilst the other two looked after me on the bike. My Bento box was always filled up with treats:
I actually became really obsessive over this and became increasingly worried if it started to become empty, I actually ended up having it topped up every lap so that I couldn’t run out, not that it was ever going to!!
The bike was uneventful, I just kept plodding away trying to maintain consistency. There seemed to be a noticeable difference in pace between the first day and day two between the first three guys, Guy W, Dave M and TC. I think they were all holding back a little having pushed the pace quite hard on Day 1.
Onto the run, a quick bite to eat before the first lap, then back into the routine of running and walking. My stomach was feeling bloated today and during the second half of the run, my stomach just didn’t feel right, I don’t usually suffer with stomach problems so just put it down to the exertion and the amount of food I was eating during the bike, I thought to myself I would need to monitor this.

Day Two Run (or walk?!?)
Apart from the stomach issues the run went well, the last lap came round and I ended up running into the finish line with TC, finishing in joint second place for the day. So far so good.

In the lake with TC – Total respect for this guy, he demolished the run every day and was definitely holding something back.

Day Three – Finish Time 14hrs 38mins. Swim – 1.07 Bike – 7.23 Run – 6.07

Not much to say about today, I was really pleased with my efforts so far so as long as this continued I would be happy. Gareth and Sam were leaving later in the day, so mum was going to look after me by herself for Mon (Day 4 and Tues Day 5). We felt the routine was working well but come the run today I really started to suffer. Basically I was eating a small amount of food before starting the run as I felt I was consuming a lot of food on the bike. Then throughout the run I was just topping up as and when needed, however during the second half marathon I was feeling bloated and knew I should be eating, I just couldn’t face it, this resulted in me feeling light headed, dizziness after going up through the Tennis Courts and general lethargy towards the end of the run. Not being used to this and generally being a fairly strong runner I was getting myself worked up, something really needed to change, although my run time doesn’t reflect the problems I was having I just didn’t feel comfortable.

After finishing day three and still pleased with my time, I sat down with Mum in the cabin and we discussed my nutrition strategy for the run. We decided that the best course of action was to skip the food I was eating on the bike on Lap 9 (to make me less bloated) then go back to what worked during the Triple which was eating two or three spoonfuls of food on every lap of the run, I would also take a couple of sweets or something to eat on the back half of the lap so that my energy levels remained constant. That all being discussed I went to bed.

Day Four – Finish Time 16hrs 14mins. Swim – 1hr 09 Bike – 8.25 – Run – 6.40

Woke up today not feeling too bad considering, every night I had been through the same process, go to sleep wake up cold due to sweating, change the bed sheets, go to sleep wake up again sweating and cold, change the bed sheets. Every night I changed the bed sheets at least twice. The worst part of it was waking up when the alarm went off, feeling cold then having to think about getting into a cold lake. I used to jump into the bed next to me when I woke up to eat breakfast as it felt warmer. Later in the week my crew started putting the hot blanket on just to warm me up and make me comfortable before getting ready, it even got as bad as putting my swim clothes under the hot blanket to warm them through before putting them on. I managed to carry my box down to the transition area for mum so couldn’t have been feeling that bad! Again the swim went well, three laps then feed, I had developed a rub on the rear of my neck the last two days so we were applying more Vaseline and Glide to stop the rubbing, It wasn’t aggravating during the swim which was good. Swim time 1hr 9mins, again really pleased, I was still doing better than my anticipated swim time on Day 1 so definitely a positive and a good way to start the day. Transition completed, out on the bike, a pancake for the first lap for a change which was nice. I was settling into the bike nicely again, my legs felt fine, I wasn’t pushing big gears at any stage of the bike just spinning the legs, I enjoy going up hills and felt like I was flying up them today, I was working hard going up Braggers Lane just to give myself some leeway for later in the day. At some stage during the bike I got a puncture I can’t recall when or where but it seemed to take me forever to change the inner tube, the tyre was a right pain in the arse to get off, and although you are trying to remain calm and not rush you just can’t help but think about the amount of time you are losing. Good job I had been working harder in the morning as I ended up finishing the bike in 8.25. A pleasant surprise was (I’m sure it was today!) Steve and Michelle Feesty members of my Triathlon Club had come down to race centre to visit. They were camping locally and decided they would come and offer their encouragement and support. Although I didn’t have time to have a chat I was really glad they had come down, it was nice to see some familiar faces. Onto the run with the new nutrition strategy, every lap I was eating a few mouthfuls of food, the plan was to consume cold food at the start then as the temperature dropped move onto hot food. The first laps I alternated between Rice Pudding, Custard and Tinned Fruit, I felt much better, later in the evening I was eating Tomato Soup with bread chunks thrown in. It was only a couple of mouthfuls and I had no bloated feeling, the discomfort had gone and I found I was able to concentrate on running than thinking about my stomach issues. Run completed in 6.40. Although I finished the day slightly annoyed with the overall finish time I was happy that my nutrition issues had been sorted. This is definitely worth bearing in mind for future races, stick with what you know and don’t try to over complicate things.

As Sam wasn’t here to sort my legs out I asked Rich from Extreme Medics just to give my legs a quick once over.

Inside the Medic Tent getting ready for a rub down
Day 5 – Finish Time 18hrs 24mins. Swim – 1.11 Bike – 9.48 Run – 7.24.

Alarm goes off again 4.45. Usual routine, porridge, coffee, a quick look at the results to see what had happened after I had finished then get ready. At the moment my feet were holding up well, no rubs or hot spots, I didn’t really have anything to complain about, just that bloody swim to get through again. I was really starting to dread the swim and I was doing well in the swim, I can’t possibly think what the weaker swimmers were going through each day.

Onto the bike, at some stage in the morning TC had caught me up, this was a daily occurrence and I started to expect him to come up behind me at some point every morning, strangely I wouldn’t say I was looking forward to it but it was a reassurance thing, some days it seemed to happen sooner and other days it would be later. During this brief encounter we had a chat and TC asked if I had seen the weather forecast I hadn’t, he said rain was expected in the afternoon hence the reason why he and I’m sure he said Guy and Dave were trying to squeeze in the laps before it started. Pretty much true to his word the rain did come, so waterproofs were put on and it was a matter of grinding it out. Unfortunately for me probably half way through one of the laps and when the rain seemed to be at it’s hardest I had a puncture, no drama, pull over, change the inner tube and crack on, I did the necessary checks or I thought I did and checked the tyre for anything embedded in it, obviously I didn’t do it well enough and about half a mile down the road I got another puncture, this time I checked properly and found a piece of flint embedded into the tyre which looked liked it had caused the second puncture. Annoyed now, starting to get cold I changed the inner tube again, and cracked on. By this time I was positive I had wasted a lot of time. Still, it is what it is, the final end to it was getting another puncture further down the road, however I wasn’t carrying a third inner tube so I had to call Mum up and ask her and dad to bring one out. The rain was lashing down now and I was really feeling to start cold, I wasn’t wet as the waterproofs were doing their job just completely disheartened and fed –up. Mum and Dad arrived we changed the tyres on the bike and I sat in the car for 5 minutes to warm up and have something hot to eat, tomato soup, my favourite which gave me a bit of a lift. I just kept thinking this was going to be an extremely long day. Dad told me not to try and increase the pace to make up for any lost time but just to carry on doing what I was doing, I believe I still had another 4 laps once I got to race centre this time round. There seemed to be more traffic on the route into the turning circle, probably due to those taking part in the Quin arriving. The bike did turn out to be a long one and I finished in 9hrs 48mins. I was gutted. That’s all I can say on that one.

I don’t really recall much about the run today, the nutrition strategy was working so no need to change anything there. Finish time for run 7.24, not bad considering everything that had gone on throughout the day. I just kept on thinking to myself I needed to have just one day where everything went smoothly with no problems. It was a late one finishing at 12.24am so straight up into the cabin for a hot shower, the hot blanket was on already so I jumped straight in and had some food in bed whilst trying to relax a little before getting my head down. I think I turned the light out at 1.30 to go to sleep.
Day 6 – Finish Time 17hrs 25mins. Swim – 1.12 Bike – 8.54 Run – 7.17

Three hours of broken sleep which involved the ritual of changing bed sheets and waking up cold. Still I was half way there, and today would be a little more interesting with the Quin’s starting their first day. I also had the thought that Sam, Gareth and Paul would be arriving at some point throughout the day to help me get to the finish line.

The introduction of the Quin’s into the swim was off – putting and although there were only 15 starters I didn’t feel comfortable in the swim for at least 5 laps until everyone had spread out.
I got out of the swim extremely cold today, in the transition area I was shaking uncontrollably and must have looked a right mess to those athletes doing the Quin who were in there getting changed.

I got dressed as quickly as possible and wanted to get out on the bike as soon as I could just to warm up. The shaking soon stopped and I made a note to myself as of tomorrow I would have to put an extra layer on beneath my wetsuit.

On the bike I ate my hot food on the first lap and had a look in my Bento box to see what sweets I had, I was disheartened to see dry fruit in there, not that I don’t like dry fruit but I was expecting to see some Haribo!! I couldn’t believe my mum had done that to me! However after the initial shock I had some dried apple pieces and I can honestly say it was awesome and I had to thank her for putting it in on the next lap. The laps continued and sometime in the morning Gareth was waiting at the turning circle with some food for me, I exchanged a few words with him something along the lines that “I was hanging” then carried on. Because of the previous late night I just felt a sense of lethargy and tiredness. It was starting to get hard and I was one of the fortunate ones up until last night getting a reasonable amount of rest. I don’t think I would have been a strong enough person to be carrying on, if, like I had planned having late nights from Day 1.

The bike continued, I remember coming through Burley on one of the laps and had caught up with a car, looking out through the rear window was a Boxer Dog, this reminded me of my boxer Lennox who was staying with friends; it made me smile, there’s something about their faces that just makes me laugh, and this kept me entertained for the duration of that lap.

The hours went by, Sam arrived at some point in the afternoon which was a good mood lift and then the bike was over, 8hrs 54mins.

Onto the run, nothing new to report, my crew were doing a great job of keeping me fed, watered and motivated to carry on, run finished in 7hrs 17mins.
Day 7 – Finish Time 16hrs 37mins. Swim 1hr 09. Bike 8hr 14. Run 7hr 13.

Woke up this morning as usual, and just knew it was going to be a long day, it was overcast and was spitting with rain already. Not a good sign! I had really achy knees this morning, and was in a lot of pain, I don’t know why they were so painful but it was terrible, after about 20 mins the pain subsided and that was it, no reoccurrence at any point in the race, very strange.

After being so cold after finishing the swim yesterday I decided it was time to put on my rash vest underneath my wetsuit, many of the Deca athletes were already wearing theirs, so I didn’t think I had done too bad to last up until now. The rash vest was probably the best decision I made over the 10 days. I found it served two purposes, one it kept me really toasty, no trouble with being too cold and secondly, it must have made me slightly more buoyant in the water, Mum had been saying to me I really needed to concentrate on my sighting as I had a tendency to be taking the buoys quite wide, with the rash vest on I found I really didn’t have to lift my head out of the water much to sight, I was therefore able to stay very close and in a straight line to the buoys, I can honestly say this swim was enjoyable and I think I exited the water and actually said to my crew I enjoyed it! Swim time 1hr 9 mins faster than the previous two days, work that one out.
In the transition area Waterproofs went on straight away, it was raining and windy. All I could say to myself it was here to test me so I just had to get on with it. If I was struggling so was everyone else.

Although the weather today was horrendous, I felt really strong on the bike, and I was even managing a smile as I went through the turning circle! I spent a lot of time in the aero position, something that I hadn’t been doing a lot of on previous days. I was drenched through, with each lap the rain was relentless, more and more surface water was appearing on the roads, I knew it was a bad day when a sweeper vehicle with two marshals approached me and said there was a fallen tree in the road up ahead!

With all this though I was actually enjoying the bike, during a feed stop Gareth said I looked like I was enjoying it.
He reckons it was because I knew everyone else was having struggling as well. I carried on knocking out the laps until after midday, then I was told when I came in on my next lap I had to stop and be briefed on the change of bike route because it was too dangerous to carry on with the route we were doing.

I got told I had to complete two laps of the shortened route. This would have equated to one lap of the original route. I cracked on with these two laps and finished the bike in 8.14 which was the second fastest bike split of the day! Drenched wet through, and still in my waterproofs I put my run trainers on and did a lap of the run route, I even kept my cycle helmet on today because I was cold and soaked through! Once the first lap was completed I went into the cabin for a shower to warm up.

Conscious of the fact that so far I’d been having a good day I didn’t want to spend too much time in the cabin fannying around. My feet were a little sore so I asked Sam to tape my toes up, I had developed a couple of hot spots but at that point they weren’t sore.

Out onto the run, the route was becoming increasingly muddier each time I completed a lap and with the continual rain and more traffic coming onto the run route in places it was becoming very boggy in places.

I tried to work hard on the run, not changing my strategy of where I was walking and running but I tried to open the legs up a little going down the hills. At times on the run it feels like you are out there on your own, it’s not until you complete your last lap in the opposite direction and get to high five the other athletes that you realize there are others competing! This last lap couldn’t come quicker today.

I finished the run in 7hrs 13mins again quicker than the previous two days and in worse weather. I finished 2nd overall out of the Deca athletes, and was really happy with myself, everything seemed to come together and for it to happen on a day like today I was so grateful.
Day 8 Finish Time 17hrs 51mins. Swim – 1hr 12. Bike – 9hr 59 Run – 6hr 39.
The news at the lake was due to the weather conditions the bike route would have to continue on the shorter version which I completed two laps off yesterday. This wasn’t the best of news I wanted, but for the race to continue it was the way it had to be.

So into the lake we went, get today over and done with and I would only have two more swims to do, that was good news!

It was really windy and the lake was kicking up a chop, I changed my tactic today and decided that I wasn’t going to stop during the swim, I failed to tell my crew I was going to do this though and during the swim I kept on wondering what they were thinking about, I was actually chuckling away to myself, imagining them waiting for me to come in and feed, it’s the small things like this that keep you going!!

The swim was hard work and I was pleased to finish in 1hr 12mins.Job done.
Out onto the new bike route, which immediately felt strange, there was lot of debris on the road however the weather was holding up, it was just windy. At about the half way point so approx two mile going up a hill I got a puncture, I pulled over, changed it and cracked on, there was no point getting stressed about it anymore

. Coming back down into the turning circle I hit a pothole and the front tyre went this time, so instead of fixing it there I wheeled the bike into the race centre and we changed the tube again. I set –off again and the tyre blew out, in the rush we must have twisted the inner tube. Gareth said instead of messing around take my other road bike out.

So I cracked on again, the spare bike had a compact group set on, which turned out to be a blessing as the new route included a long climb on each lap, I was able to stay in the saddle and spin my legs out going up it.

This new lap threw me completely though, I couldn’t get any sort of rhythm, the places that you wanted to rest you had to pedal because of the wind direction so it was pretty relentless for the whole day. The sun did make an appearance at various times throughout the day but it wasn’t for long.

At some point during the bike I came into the race centre and as I went through I asked my crew how many laps I had done, Gareth looked at Sam, they both looked at my mum and neither could answer my question, it was a tumbleweed moment, however I didn’t see the funny side of it and as I went past I shouted “I’m getting pissed off with this!”. Later on during the lap, I had to remind myself that it was impossible for them to keep track off me all the time so I shouldn’t really have got angry. I don’t know what they were thinking when it happened, but they probably had a laugh about it!
Eventually after 9hrs 59mins I was getting off the bike, that was a tough one. I don’t really remember anything significant about the run today. I must have felt half decent as I finished in 6hrs 39mins which was faster than the previous three days.
Day 9 Finish Time 17hrs 12mins. Swim – 1hr 14 Bike – 8hr 52 Run – 7hr 08.
The walk down to the start of Day 9.
Feet a little sore with a few blisters.
I’ve got a hot water bottle down my coat to keep myself warm.

Get this swim over and done with and only one left to do. The walk down to the lake was sore today, I had developed several blisters/rubs on my small toe which was painful in my old trainers, and I asked Sam to remind me that tomorrow I would have to wear my open toe sandals.

Again during the swim I didn’t stop, but it was hard going, I couldn’t settle into or it felt I couldn’t settle into a rhythm and in my head it seemed to be taking forever to finish, still I got told last lap eventually and I was pleased and surprised to finish in 1hr 14. Day 9 and I was still within my estimated swim time on from day 1.

Day 9. Over the timing mat pleased to have finished.
Don’t remember anything of real importance about the bike, it was nice to be back on the original route again, today was just about getting to the end of the day; it was a big milestone as I knew if I could finish today I would be at the start tomorrow and then it would be over.

The Double Enduroman was due to start at 9am so throughout the day I was expecting there to be more cyclists on the route. At around 11.15am Paul Thompson flew past me on his bike; he had obviously come out of the water first and was trying to stamp down some authority on the race. He was motoring, tucked up in the aero position, completely different to me! When I got back to race centre I asked Gareth what his lap time was, it was somewhere close to 34mins, a little different to the 50 -55’s I was knocking out by then!

The laps continued, and soon Paul was coming past me again, we had a brief chat, I asked him what his swim time was, I think he replied with 1hr 51. I asked him if he thought the course was slightly short, as I was swimming quite well for the 9 days, he replied it’s probably that you are in just good shape, whether he was lying or not I don’t know but hearing him say that made me feel good about myself. Thank – You Paul! Then he was off again.

I was eating food on every lap now, and I think the previous day I had demanded I have a pasty in quarters for laps 8, 9 and 10!! Not that I was hard work or anything!

A nice surprise today was seeing a few friends at the turning circle, Kev and Jen who lived locally and a work Colleague Andy who had travelled down from Lewes. I didn’t have much time to stop and chat but I was really grateful for the visit.

The bike finished again late afternoon, trainers put on at race centre and I cracked on with the first lap like the previous 8 days! Day 9 run was a blur, I actually can’t remember anything about it, finish time 7hrs 34. However, just one more day to do!

Day 10 Finish Time 18hrs 6mins. Swim 1hr 15mins Bike – 8hr 52mins Run – 7hr 6mins

Last day, in my head I really thought that today was going to be a breeze. I was thinking that it was going to be a bit of a jolly. Get the swim over and done with then get out on the bike and enjoy the ride! How wrong I was, I think I had a warped perception of how it was going to end.

The swim was real hard work, the Singles and Half’s were in the water at the same time as us today, which made the start not very pleasant at all. Steve did mention in the brief that they should be aware and remain courteous. Through no fault of theirs I just found it very off putting, I just wanted to concentrate on sighting and staying in a straight line as much as possible. I didn’t feed again, as I just wanted to get it over and done with.

Exiting the lake on Day 10 with one of the Quin’s and Single Athletes.
Looking and feeling slightly worse for wear!

Trademark Puffy eyes! I was totally unaware that my face had swollen up over the last few days.
Into the transition area, no sense of urgency today, it seemed to take ages to get ready.

Ten days taking its toll!

Onto the bike, Dave M had suggested that we could stop in Burley after about Lap 3 for an ice-cream, this seemed a really good idea, and strangely I was looking forward to it, however the weather wasn’t great again, and I think everyone just wanted to get the bike done.

I thought the bike was going to be easy, I hadn’t really considered that I still had to complete a 116 miles which was still a very long cycle.

I knew one of the guys doing the half Hew, he actually went onto win, he was flying on the bike. I did have to laugh to myself; I was wearing thermal tights with an extra pair of cycling shorts on top, a short sleeve cycle jersey, a long sleeve top over that then my waterproof coat, and a buff under my helmet. These guys were just wearing Tri – Suits!!

The pattern for the bike didn’t change on this last day; however I actually think TC had got out on the bike before me today as I took awhile in the transition area.

I cracked on, I’m not quite sure what happened for the first 3 or 4 laps but I lacked any power and felt quite strange, I was experiencing an empty sick feeling in my stomach, that feeling when you haven’t eaten anything. We hadn’t done anything differently, so I put it down to the level of exertion that I had put my body through. This feeling did pass and eventually I was able to pick up the pace for the remainder of the bike and it felt like I finished quite strong. Finish time 8hrs 52 mins.

Last run of the 10 days, all a bit of a blur. In my head I thought I was going to finish at a reasonable time it wasn’t until I did the maths and judging on previous runs it was still going to be a late one!

TC was flying on the run and there was definitely a noticeable change in his pace as he went past me from previous days. It was awesome to watch him in action.

I haven’t really got much to say about the run, I just can’t recall what emotions were going through my mind, but eventually I was getting told last lap, even then it was a strange feeling, I couldn’t comprehend that I wasn’t going to be getting up tomorrow and doing it again.
I came into the race centre for the last time, shell shocked, not really knowing what to do. I recall Steve being there at the finish to congratulate me and giving me a big hug and placing the medal around me. Then Sam was there giving me a hug and she started crying, I think I said to her “why are you crying?” I really didn’t know what to do with my self; at that point it wouldn’t sink in that it was finally over.
After about 10 minutes of saying thank – you to everyone I made my way up to the cabin, I wanted to see Carl A finish, we had been sharing the cabin together for the last 10 days and it didn’t seem right not to. I had a quick shower got some warm clothes on then walked back down to the race centre with a Guinness in my hand!

At finish with Mark Padley
Award Ceremony – Monday 11th June 2012

The award ceremony was a very emotional affair, I was still shell shocked to be honest and didn’t know what to make of it all. Dad got really emotional, and I still haven’t found out what he was going to say when he called me to the front to shake my hand.

The Aftermath

Recovery is going well, I felt extremely tired the whole of the following week, and still have moments of exhaustion. I am nursing a sore lower left leg but this is getting better each day.

To be honest, this achievement still hasn’t sunk in and it’s been two weeks, I’m sure it will do though.

Writing this report has been hard; each day seemed to have rolled into one. I hope you didn’t find it too boring too read.

I’m undecided what to do for the rest of the year, it seems several of the Enduroman athletes will be racing the Big Woody Ironman distance in August; I’m really tempted with this and would like to do a single event on a challenging course so you never know.

I would like to take this opportunity to Thank Steve, Dad, Dan and all the Enduroman helpers and crew for once again giving me the opportunity to take part in something special.

My crew, Gareth, Sam, Mum, Paul and Sarah for being with me every step of the way and allowing me to concentrate on just moving forward, I am forever in your debt.

And finally to all those people that didn’t know me but still offered their support and encouragement to will me onto the finish line.

Chris Ette
Deca – Enduroman Finisher.