Going into outlaw I felt in pretty good shape and I fully expected to have a great performance and was going for the win, I had had a consistent 6 weeks of training blocked together, my run fitness had come back since the injury and was really looking forward to making a comeback to long distance racing again after two frustrating years.
Since my problems with chronic fatigue back in 2013 I had really struggled putting together a competitive race for anything over 4hrs as my body would literally just get to a point and with very little warning the lights would go out and my body would just stop.
I felt this was finally behind me and I had begun to understand it more in training and much more aware of the signs and symptoms of my limits - but whatever you do in training it pretty hard to replicate fully in an ironman.
I have very fond memories of the outlaw having won the very first outlaw and last year winning the outlaw half. The team at one step beyond put on a fabulous event that the more global companies should take note from- they have a clear passion for triathlon and making their event to be the very best it can be.
So the race started and the swim went off really steadily, I was comfortably in the lead group and go to the end of the lake with real ease, the return leg seemed to pick up a little and with two relay teams in the group they had little to loose so upped the tempo and i lost a little ground to will clarke and another relay swimmer.
towards the end of the swim my hips began to feel really tighten so focussed on tirning the arms over and really relaxed my legs. i got back to t2 in under 50min and exited on the bike in 2nd with just harry wiltshire up front.
Out on the bike the first hour felt a struggle as my hips were really tight but eventually eased off and I got into my rhythm. My plan was to race my own race and I kept it solid and in control, and confident that i was holding a bit back in the tank.
after Around 3hrs into the ride I was feeling great and on top of everything even despite the tv crew almost taking me clean out at a roundabout where the motorbike missread the sign turning left as i was going straight on, somehow we avoided a full on collision and cracked on.
As i began the final loop i still felt great and upped the tempo a litte, and still riding in 3rd with just harry and the bike beast craig twigg.
About 30min later things started to go downhill pretty quickly and my body literally just stopped letting me ride- my legs felt great and my hr was still controlled but I had zero energy to turn the pedals and was literaly completely empty.
I took on more fuel but knew this wasn’t the case as I was very on top of my nutrition. I kept trying to push and get myself out of it but no improvements.
Karl alexander came past me and I fought like hell to keep him in sight but that was the last once of energy left in me as he slipped away into the distance and was left to crawl back to t2 and hand in my chip.
Pulling out Is never easy and the worst feeling especially over the last 2 seasons ive had more dnf’s than I care to remember, last year in ironman wales my body did the same and damaged i myself a lot to just scape over the finish line, i remember my chest being so tight on the run that i thought my heart was going to pack in but there was no stopping me getting to the finish line.
Sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture and call it a day to preserve your health and avoid damaging yourself even further.
So where to go from here –
Before outlaw I had already thought about giving ironman distance a break but this more than confirmed it- my body still isn’t ready to let me push myself for the extreme duration and needs more time to repair itself fully.
I ve raced a few sprint and olympic distance events already this year and ive won two of them and felt great so the body is still in great shape its just the prolonged duration of the ironman that effect my performance.
Ironman is a huge demand on the body and I’ve been doing it for a good few years- my original plan for the season was to focus on the shorter stuff but my training was going amazing and decided to give it one more go.
I have pushed my body pretty to much the limit for a very long time – 10 years in triathlon and before that as a Royal Marines commando so eventually even the green lid need to recharge and re-boot.
So it’s time to readjust my plans and training for the remainder of the season and choose some shorter races to target. i really do enjoy the shorter events as you can really push your body on the red line and race alot more often so im quite looking forward to the change, and hopefully let my body re-boot itself.
I fully expect my body to sort itself and stop being soft as ive still not finished with the long distance just yet.