Deca Update

Unfortunately, I had to withdraw from the UK Deca Ironman due to a busted achilles (right) that I picked up towards the end of Day 3. Having won the first three days and comfortably leading the event, it was an extremely difficult decision to make.

However, as a coach I think it’s important to know when it is time to take the sensible option to preserve yourself for future races. It got to the point where I had to take a lot of painkillers just to get around the course. Masking injuries in this way is never a sensible option and you’re only setting yourself up for permanent damage.

Having decided this, I took the bike easier and walked the marathons for the next two days to achieve the quintuple ironman, which is a fantastic achievement I’m very proud of.

I went to the hospital yesterday and they have confirmed a minor rupture to my achilles and said it could take up to 12 months to recover. The pain I am now in when trying to walk is further testimony to the fact that I made the right decision.

Guy's lent me some crutches...

Guy’s lent me some crutches…

Anyone who has had to pull out of an event will understand what I went through. I sat in my tent on the morning of Day 6 listening to those (now friends) still left in the deca go down to the lake for the swim. I thought about joining them and lost it when I heard my name being called out by Steve taking the roll call. Thankfully, I had Rachael there to re-assure me (stop me) that I was doing the right thing. If I’d have gone down to the lake that morning I would have seen the pain the others were going through and forced myself to continue. We band of brothers (and sister!)…

Would you believe it..!!!

Would you believe it..!!!

We didn’t have a great web link in the New Forest, which made uploading to a daily blog a bit difficult. I do have lots of notes, pictures, videos and experiences to share so I’ll put these up over the next few days/weeks as I recover (it’ll give me something to do now that I can’t train).

aaaarrrrggghhhhh – 2 days to go

Two days to go…

As always you have a long time to prepare and everything is in control but then nerves creep in and it feels like a rush.

During the event:

– you can follow me via a live tracking system.

– if you’re coming down to watch contact Rachael on: 07789860937

– if you’re driving down the sat nav postcode is: BH23 8EE. There is a car park for visitors. You won’t be able to use the main driveway as that will be part of the bike course. Any problems call Rachael and she’ll guide you in. BRING PIZZA..!!!

UK Deca Ironman: 4 days to go…

Use it…or, you lose it..!

As a coach, I’m all too aware of an athlete’s conditioning and I spent a lot of careful time training for this event.

I’ve been tapering for about a month now. I built my training up to a final block of eight back-to-back days that included minimum half ironman distances in each discipline.

My concern has been how long to taper without losing the accumulated fitness. In coaching terms – Reversibility.

I decided to take about a month, with shorter more power focused sessions to keep me sharp. I did the TriGrandPrix two weeks out to have one last big full throttle effort. Since then I’ve been doing more open water swimming, 10-13km runs and joining the Paragon club for low intensity aerobic rides e.g. today’s 80km.

80km club ride to turn the legs over

80km club ride to turn the legs over

UK Deca Ironman: 5 days to go…

Taking it easy today, visiting family that can’t make it down to the New Forest for the event.

Picked up a gas bottle, camping stove and fold out chairs to take down with us.

The event does provide meals but travelling to events in the past has taught me to have your own contingency plan. Managing your own food and eating at times you’re used to helps to reduce the stress the body goes through.

For this event, I’m taking all the things I normally eat but choosing the full fat, full salt versions as I’ll need to keep these stores topped up throughout the event e.g. normal crisps as opposed to reduced salt, etc.

Here’s an example of the things I was eating these weekend…

Increased fat diet...

Increased fat diet…

During ultra endurance events it becomes vitally important to maintain your fat and salt stores. Through the training I’ve been doing over the winter, I have been conditioning my body to efficiently burn fat as my primary fuel source. This is why I have become so lean.

I’ve been tracking my weight in the morning and evening (most days). My intention is to aim to be calorie neutral every day i.e. what I burn during each Ironman, I put back in by the time my head hits the camp bed each night.

During the event, as always, my focus will be to maintain a balanced diet and I intend to take additional supplements (Vitamin C, Zinc, a multi-vitamin with iron and cod liver oil) to keep my immune system in order. I don’t normally supplement as I get everything I need from managing my diet but this is no ordinary event and this is intended to be an insurance policy/safety net.

I raced the TriGrandPrix at around 66kg. Because I’m not doing the same amount of training I normally do prior to the start of the deca, my weight has increased to 68.7kg this morning 9this will rise to over 70kg by the end of the day. So, I’ll probably go in to the deca at around 70kg. It’ll be interesting to see what I come out of it weighing…

Deca Swim Course

This is the lake that will host the Deca Swim Course. It will be a square circuit of just over 300m which means 12 laps or 120 laps over the course of the 10 day event.

It’s a beautiful course but does have its dangers:

A family of Canadian geese nesting in the swim exit..!

A family of Canadian geese nesting in the swim exit..!

I’m not sure this family of Canadian geese is going to appreciate triathletes thrashing around it’s lake.

Canadian geese set off to patrol the swim course

Canadian geese set off to patrol the swim course

Deca Run Course

The Deca run course is picturesque but 26 laps per day (260 laps for the 10 day duration of the event) may just make this an interesting mental challenge as well.

The run course

The run course
From the run course...nice spot.

From the run course…nice spot.
Run Course

Run Course
Run course

Run course
Run Course

Run Course

Given the size of the grounds in which the event is taking place, I’m a bit surprised that a one mile lap was used. However, with it being a small event (in participant and spectator numbers) it will keep the event tight and support close.

My initial thoughts having just run around the one mile loop:

The course is not without its dangers too, which should make things interesting…

Canadian geese on the run course...they get really annoyed if you try to overtake..!

Canadian geese on the run course…they get really annoyed if you try to overtake..!

As well as the wildlife, there are other obstacles…not quite so large…

Beauty is only fern deep...below this...Enduro marbles..!

Beauty is only fern deep…below this…Enduro marbles..!
Enduro marbles...pack a sweeping brush..!

Enduro marbles…pack a sweeping brush..!
Enduro marbles...close up.

Enduro marbles…close up.

And last, but by no means least…

Oh yeah...and some roots for good measure :-)

Oh yeah…and some roots for good measure :-)