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Brutal Double Iron Triathlon Race Report

Ironjediby IronjediOct 7th 2013

Firstly let me apologise in advance for the length of this blog. (you may want to read it in two parts). Please cut me some slack, I have trained all year for this race and it did take some time to finish. So I think I am allowed to blah on about this for longer than normal.

I spent the week before the race resting and attempting to get as much sleep as possible. I had one bike ride and one swim and tried to stay off my feet as much as possible. I was as fit as I was ever going to be and no last minute sessions would help me tame the Brutal. Sleep however was a bit of an issue in this last week, partly down to working shifts, barking dogs and copious amounts of nerves. We travelled up to Snowdonia on Friday morning arriving around 4pm. We had booked a house large enough to accommodate the team of friends and family who had come up to support me through the race. The house was tactically on the bike route about 3 miles from transition in Llanberis and proved an excellent base to refuel.t

After arriving in Llanberis, we could see that Transition and Race HQ were all set up, this added to the nerve bank which was topping up quite nicely. We arrived at registration amongst a whole host of nervous looking people. Registered, collected my race pack and numbers. The film crew from Zig Zag productions were there, doing quick interviews with Double Brutal competitors ahead of them filming Richard Parks also completing the Double as part of a build up for a World Expedition and a four part documentary about his journey to be shown on Channel 5 next year. By this time I was a jibbering wreck, could hardly speak, had bright hot lights in my face and had to answer questions about the race and myself. At this point I had almost forgotten who I was! Interview done and some embarrassing moments, comments caught on camera, which hopefully will never make it to the final documentary. My classic line on camera �I can�t go home without finishing this race� (more pressure added).
Brutal Double Iron Triathlon Race Report
Briefing was at 8pm so we were able to go back to the house and get kit sorted. I had brought so much kit, changes of clothes, food, the list was endless. I calmly sat on my own packing race bags contemplating what lay before me. I had raced Ironman distance before but the thought of swimming 4.8 miles, riding 231 miles and running 52 miles was far beyond anything I had ever done. I doubted myself and my ability to finish. During training my longest swims had been 5K, my longest rides normally around 140-170 miles and my longest runs a mere 26 miles. My first fear was whether I would get through the swim. I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to the cold water and the temperature was due to be 12-13 degrees. I kept telling myself that I had prepared for this! Really? You only got your wetsuit last week, not great planning! More of my support crew arrived and this just added to my nerves. 11 people had come to watch me finish this race; they had spent money and used up leave from work. No pressure at all to do a good job. I had the thought going through my head �Oh, thanks for coming to support me, I�m sorry I got pulled out of the swim because of hyperthermia�.

My wife Wendy made me force down the normal pre-race food I had learned to love - pasta, pizza and salad. Others around me seemed to be starting the celebrations early, cracking open bottles of beer and wine. None for me, I had not drunk since Christmas because I wanted to give my body every chance of finishing this race and wanted to be in the best shape I could be. I got into bed hoping to get at least 6 hours sleep but was not surprised when I woke at 0445hrs on Saturday morning having only been able to sleep for 2 hours. I was feeling a little tired but the nerves consumed this. This was really happening. Why on earth had I ever thought this would be a good idea? I walked downstairs to find that the support crew were all wearing hoodies which my sister in law Chloe had organised, advertising that I was doing the double and that they were there to cheer me on. Thankfully there was no embarrassing pictures, just tasteful writing, however more pressure to add to the pot. I reluctantly ate some porridge and a banana and headed down to transition.


I went to transition only with Wendy as I needed to stay calm and I thought the excitement of everyone would freak me out. I arrived in what I thought would be good time, however there were no seats left so I just found a space on the floor, set up my kit and started getting the wetsuit on. I had opted for budgie smugglers and neoprene swim vest under the wetsuit. On advice from another competitor who did the single Brutal last year I doubled up on neoprene socks and wore some gloves, I had also invested in a neoprene hat under my swim hat. I felt like some sort of superhero �Neoprene Man�. Still, if it kept me warm I couldn't care less. Surprisingly the nerves were being kept under control. Once dressed I headed out, the weather was not too bad and at least it wasn't snowing! The rest of the team had arrived, all wearing their hoodies. How embarrassing. At 0645hrs I walked down to the lake for the swim briefing, said my goodbyes, had a couple of photos and stood there waiting. There was a mass of white swim hats, red swim hats and a small handful of green swim hats. I spoke to a guy wearing a white hat and asked what the difference was between red and white (there were clearly more white than red). I was told the white were the half distance, the red the full and the green were the ones with mental health problems. Oh great, I was wearing a green hat! I spoke with another Double competitor �Will�. He was pretty nervous, so much so that he had drunk a bottle of red wine the night before to help him sleep. I shook a few hands of other competitors and wished them good luck and walked into the water.
Brutal Double Iron Triathlon Race Report
The water temperature was cold at 13 degrees but it was no way as cold as I was expecting. Maybe that was because I was covered head to toe in neoprene. I waded in to shoulder height, flushed my suit, took a couple of deep breaths and we were off. It was a strange start; normally the start is a frenzied wash of white water with everyone battling for position. This did happen but it was between the white hats and the red hats, without speaking the green hats just hung back and let the others get on with it. I certainly did not want to start fighting for space in the water with others, after all 4.8 miles is a long way to run, let alone swim�

So the swim had started, and I was actually doing it, a Double Ironman. Why??? The swim was going to be an 8 lap course and after every 2 laps you had to get out, go over the timing mat and then get back in for another 2 laps and so on. There was a small table next to the mat with tea and food. I thought that the swim would take me almost the whole of the 4 hour cut off which was allowed and my plan was to pace it and finish without being pulled into the safety rib due to hyperthermia. I had always thought I would swim the Ironman distance without stopping as I knew I could comfortably do this. I kept my stroke constant maintaining a reasonable pace, just enough to keep warm and after the first 2 laps I got out, passed the mat and could hear the team shouting words of support. I had comfortably been passing all colour of hat so far. As I walked back into the water, I was only at knee level but keen to block out the cheering and just get on with the job in hand. I dived forward to get on with it, almost smashing my head on the rocks below. The thought of that kept me amused for the entire lap. After four laps done and 2.4 miles under my belt I stepped over the timing mat and swigged some tea and took on a gel. My wife who had now taken up the role of Head Coach gave me some swim advice about keeping on top of my sighting as it appeared that I was swimming further than everyone else. Yeah, thanks for that! I waded in deeper this time before launching my head at the rocks. I swam the next two laps before getting out over the timing mat. The field had certainly thinned out, all the half and most of the full were already out and onto the bike, it only left a small field in the water and we were fairly spread out. It was quite a peaceful experience and certainly no one to sit behind and draft off. I stopped again for another swig of tea and a gel. What no advice this time from coach? Wendy had obviously thought better of it. I was starting to feel the cold and started to get a case of lock jaw, Coach pushed a couple of jelly babies in my mouth which I could hardly chew. And I was off; I started to believe that I could complete the swim, just needed to hold on for 2 more laps. I had my own personal kayaks to keep an eye on me. On the 7th lap I swam to the 1st and 2nd buoy. At the turn on the second buoy I saw the 3rd buoy but it seemed far too close. Great I thought, it was only about 50 metres away but unbeknown to me it had been pulled up from its sand anchor because the wind had picked up and pulled it across the lake. As I neared it, it started to move away from me, I carried on swimming chasing this buoy which was being pulled back into position. I thought this was some sort of sick joke on behalf of the organisers, however it did make me chuckle. Last lap to do, I seemed to whizz round, and as I approached the shore I could hear my name being shouted and my support crew going mad. I stood up, thanked the kayakers and walked out the water, triumphant. To my surprise I was done in 2 hours 41 minutes and well ahead of time. I couldn�t believe it, I was also told I was in 5th place. It had been the first time I thought I could actually complete this thing. I managed a quick interview for the film crew and was then assisted back to transition with a sleeping bag wrapped around me. Boy I was cold and my jaw had almost completely seized over. A quick comfort stop, change, bowl of porridge and I was on the bike.
Brutal Double Iron Triathlon Race Report

When I thought about the race, I thought that my nemesis would be the swim, which would make or break my race. I thought that I would destroy the bike and that the run would be an unknown quantity, however if I could get that far, I would drag myself round even if it killed me, inside the 42 hours deadline.

So I was on the bike riding 231 miles around the beautiful countryside of Snowdonia, a place dear to my heart. I wrapped up quite warm to start with to try and warm my body up and had planned to strip clothes off as the day went on, and then to wrap up at night. My plan was to ride each of the 8 laps (29 miles), not stop at transition but to stop at the house on route for refuelling and fluids. The weather in Llanberis was quite nice, there was a bit of a chill but the sun was coming out. The first 6 or 7 miles were bright and clear and then as you went up over the steep rise towards Waunfawr the weather changed completely. The 20mph winds and 45mph gusts we were told about at the swim brief were now here. These were closely followed by rain and fog. The weather had certainly begun to change. This part of the course was relentless and I felt so isolated. My body felt hot due to the hills, but the weather was wet, it was a real challenge to know whether to put extra layers on or not. Hot up the ascents, cold down the descents. The back part of the course was undulating and seemed much harder than when I had ridden it in the April. The climb up Pen-Y-Pass (4.5 miles) however was a joy, I loved climbing up it. The only thing missing was the views, as visibility was fairly rubbish. Once at the top of Pen-Y-Pass I was rewarded with a long descent back down to Llanberis. After about 1 mile from the top I came out of the fog and back into the sunshine. A completely different feeling came over me. If only the whole course could be like this. I passed through transition and onto the house. I had done my lap in 2 hours 5 minutes. Not a bad pace and roughly where I wanted to be. I had allowed myself 2:15 per lap which would include any stoppage time for food or mechanicals.
Brutal Double Iron Triathlon Race Report
At my first pit stop the support crew jumped into action. I got off my bike, Matt checked the bike over, refilled my two bottles and topped up food in the benti box. I took a comfort stop behind a wall, had a quick swig of tea and was off again quite quickly. I had told Head Coach not to let me in the house at any point as I might not come back out. Onto Lap 2 and the weather and course were pretty much the same, shockingly bad for about 20 miles of the 29 mile loop. I dumped the heavy coat and put a lightweight rain jacket in my pocket to put on for the back part of the course. I was feeling ok. I travelled round again keeping a reasonable pace with a high cadence. Lap 2 complete in exactly 2:05. Same procedure occurred again, Matt sorted the bike, I went to the toilet, swig of tea and off.
Brutal Double Iron Triathlon Race Report
Lap 3 seemed quite a difficult lap, the weather was taking its toll on me. The feeling of isolation on the course was depressing. It was very rare to see other competitors. My positive mind-set was starting to fall apart. Added to the fact that my stomach did not feel right and I was clearly eating my body from the inside out. I was finding it hard to eat anything on the bike. I finished my loop in again 2:05, the same procedure occurred except this time I thought it might help to eat something more substantial. Enter the Scotch egg. I had successfully eaten these with coffee on long rides and they seemed to do the job. This was not going to be the case today. I suggested to the support team that if I could have some support over at Beddgelert (1/2 way point) that it may help with morale due to the other side of the course being so bleak and challenging. I had another swig of tea and started out on lap 4.

I was on Lap 4 and I had already done over 90 miles and there was so much more to do. I felt tired, worn out by the changing challenging weather and felt fatigued due to the lack of food I had been eating. I had only got about a mile from the house and found myself standing at the side of the road being sick. The Scotch egg was a really bad idea! I struggled over the hills to Waunfaur and then headed across to Beddgelert. Some of my team passed by in the car and went on ahead to cheer me on. Mentally I felt beaten and thought that the race was over. I don�t know whether my confidence had gone because the bike was so hard and I had thought that this would be the easy part. I still had so many more miles to cycle and a small matter of 52 miles of running still left. I felt mentally and physically beaten.
Brutal Double Iron Triathlon Race Report
I passed through Beddgelert and towards the climb of Pen-Y-Pass. I had slowed right down and was clearly swerving around and from nowhere a chap pulled up next to me on his bike. �Jim� was his name and he was also doing the Double. He looked really strong. He asked me if I was ok, I explained that I was beat, had been sick and had had enough. He offered me some help so we stopped and he gave me some magnesium tablets to help replace some of the tissue salts I would have lost. He wished me well and cycled off ahead. I continued on feeling a little perked up. I don�t know whether it was the magnesium tablets that helped; whether it was the kindness shown by Jim or what really. It made me feel a little better for a bit and I continued on finishing lap 4. That was by far the hardest lap up to that point and I after I got back to the house I was a wreck. Nad provided me with magnesium spray and my neck and legs were massaged by Wendy, Nancy and Darren. Clearly my mind had given up on me and I was at an all-time low. Some of the support crew told me how proud they were of what I had achieved so far and that it didn't matter whether I finished or not. This probably wasn�t what I needed to hear and clearly what the Head Coach Wendy did not want to hear. She asked for a minute alone with me as I sat outside the house crying feeling sorry for myself. I still had another 4 laps and 116 miles to go on the bike and it was now getting dark. Coach gave me such a telling off with some home truths about what had been put into this moment. I had no other option but to carry on and quite frankly that talking to was probably what I needed and what I deserved. Wendy is such a strong woman!
I set off on lap 5 with bike lights on, the support vehicle was now responsible for looking after me as marshalling on the course during the night would be pretty non-existent. The phone reception was rubbish and the weather was so changeable. The support team would drive past me, pull in, cheer me on, give me a little time to get ahead and then leap frog me again. It was reassuring to have the support. However there is a fine line between too much and too little support. Too little and you give up, too much and it�s easy to give up. I think they balanced it just right. The main person responsible for me during the bike was Matt. He kept the bike rolling, mechanicals free and came out on nearly every lap to check on me. He was a great support. As the weather got worse and visibility reduced to only a couple of metres the support car when clear drove behind me to try and give me some visibility and also protect me from someone driving up and rear ending me. It�s not normal for people to be cycling around Snowdonia in the dead of the night and I was grateful of the support. If another car came along then of course they would get out of the way as not to hinder other road users as per the race instructions!
Brutal Double Iron Triathlon Race Report
At the end of lap 6 I had had enough. I walked towards the house to go in, Wendy attempting to stop me as I had told her earlier in the day not to let me in the house. I told her it was fine I just needed to change into dry clothes. The house was so warm, the smell of toast and the cosiness was almost enough the keep me there. I changed clothes, ate a piece of toast and some soup and went off again. The laps were ticked off and on lap 7 at the top of Pen-Y-Pass I stopped to put another coat on for the descent as these had become quite cold, I was with Justin and Mark at this point from the support car who gave me tea to warm up. I stood and leaned over the wall opposite the youth hostel crying, protesting that it was too hard. Everyone must have been sick of my moaning by now, surely. Mark was really kind, told me I could stop if I wanted, Justin however, in only words Justin can use, told me politely to get on with it. So I did. I passed Transition for the last time and now every mile covered would not be seen again on this bike. I stopped at the house for a final refuel and headed off for the last lap. Whoop Whoop Whoop! I enjoyed the last lap; I was amazed by what I had already achieved. On the last lap having completed 230 miles with 1 mile to go I came over all dizzy and has a funny swirling in my stomach, I did not feel good. The guys pulled up next to me to say goodbye as they wanted to see me come into transition. I had a little panic on thinking I would fall over in the gutter never to be seen again. I pulled into a layby. As Matt held onto my bike I lay on the floor and let out the two biggest farts you could imagine. That seemed to untangle my stomach. The guys went onto transition. I had a moment to myself and then cycled into Llanberis and dismounted from the bike for the last time.

The 231 mile bike was done and the time was roughly 0540hrs. There were many times when I doubted myself and quite frankly looking back I was pathetic at times, crying like a baby�. The bike I had in my mind would take me 16-18 hours, it took me closer to 20 and was far harder than I had thought it would ever be, I was just pleased to have finished. I had completed each lap in around 2:05, what added to my time were my breaks between laps which became longer for fueling and changing.

I had awesome support from a truly amazing team; I had had support which I think saved me on the bike from �Jim� (Double Competitor), which kept me going. I had support through the wonders of social media which was overwhelming, great to get updates regarding sponsorship, messages, texts, phone calls from people behind me willing me on. I had an awesome Head Coach in Wendy who told me some home truths when I needed a shake up and a special mention to Matt who did a sterling job keeping me moving and safe on the bike, he was the backbone of the bike and I am very grateful.
Brutal Double Iron Triathlon Race Report

So with the bike complete, I felt like my whole attitude towards the race had changed. I was relieved to be off the bike, relieved to have finished. I had a massive smile on my face. Now time for the 52 mile run, the first part being the ascent and descent of Snowdon up the Llanberis Path. My brother in law Ben and friend Grant were going to come up the mountain with me. You had to have at least one person support you for safety reasons.

We set off in the dark with our head torches on. The first part of the path is extremely steep. I had thought to myself that it would take somewhere in the region of 4-6 hours as it would be a hike and not a run due to the dark, the greater chance of going over on an ankle (and that being the end of that) , being fatigued and low on energy. It soon became light as the sun came up and Wow I had been on the go for 24 hours with no sleep. Time for some manic behaviour! We maintained a good speedy hiking pace up the mountain; I had a couple of trip/falls, probably down to tiredness than anything else. Ben was concerned by this so I used his arm to balance myself. This worked really well and certainly prevented me face planting the rocks on a couple of occasions. I used the time to refuel and my stomach was able to tolerate some proper food. As we got about 1 mile to the top I passed some of the other double competitors coming down the mountain. I passed �Jen�, the only female doing the race and an awesome cyclist, passed �Jim� who again gave me some more magnesium tablets � top bloke! And a couple of others.
Brutal Double Iron Triathlon Race Report
As we got to the summit we found the marshal tent to check in, had a quick photo, visibility was as always non-existent and it was quite cold and headed straight back down. I had proposed to Wendy on the summit of Snowdon over 7 years ago and on that day it was so clear you could see out to the sea. What a beautiful place, whatever the weather! On the way down passed �Will� and a couple of others coming up. It was a great feeling going down, but bloody hard on the quads and knees. I think going up was slightly easier but going down meant I was that much closer to the finish. Most of the other competitors were using poles. I could have kicked myself for not getting any. Still I had Ben and Grant to steady me on the way down. At one point walking down I was arm in arm with Ben and unbeknown to us in the distance was one of the film crew filming, we must have looked really funny, arm in arm out for a Sunday morning stroll. At the bottom of Snowdon I was eating a glucose tablet when Grant recounted something funny to me, unfortunately this made the tablet go down the wrong hole, and due to my stomach feeling fairly delicate I was stood near to the mountain railway station leaning over a wall being sick, yet again. It must have looked like we had been on a night out and had too much to drink. With the insides of my stomach now empty I could get on with the run. We were up and down Snowdon in around 3 hours 30 minutes which I was very pleased with.
Brutal Double Iron Triathlon Race Report

Thankfully the weather was bright and clear, at some points throughout the run too hot. A quick change and some hot food before I set out on 43 miles of running around Lake Pardarn. An 8 lap, 5.2 mile circuit described as gruelling. I had taken off the GPS watch much earlier in the event after 177 miles (at this point I had burnt 12000 calories on the bike alone) on the bike, my left wrist had swollen up with it on. What a great decision that had been. It meant I was free to run, depending on how my body felt and not what pace I should be running at. I also did not have the mental burden of seeing what miles I had done and what miles I had left. I think mentally this would have made the run much harder. I was going to treat the run as 8 laps where I could run with one of the support crew and talk, catching up with how their race experience had been; after all they seemed to be having a whale of a time. By this time I had lost all concept of time, in relation to how the race was going, what time of the day it was, how long each lap was going to take me. All I was doing was counting laps.

I started my first lap with my brother Darren. He is due to run the Great South Run in a matter of weeks. It was a privilege to run with him. I had only ever run with him once before at �The Grim� in Aldershot one December. I so appreciated the effort he had made in coming to support me with his wife Nad. It was really important to have them both there, particularly as Darren was in charge of Social Networking which was going mad and Nad was in charge of my wellbeing. I started a very slow run out of transition and quickly informed Darren I would be walking once I had cleared the cameras. I didn�t even know whether I would be able to run properly and having just emptied the contents of my stomach again did not want to �hit the wall� after what I had already gone through. We took this lap fairly easy. I developed a plan quickly, I would run everything except the tarmac bits and at every opportunity I would find mud, grass, and track. The difference on the knees, quads and feet between tarmac and everything else was massive. Most of my training was off road and to say I dislike running on tarmac is an understatement. The tarmac bits however were quite a fast walk, no easy ambling for me! During the first lap I met �Stuart� who was on lap 3. He seemed in good spirits and was on his own. We talked briefly; he had done a Double before (Enduroman) and was clearly mad enough to do another. He was also operating some kind of walk /run system. Darren was keen for me to run on the tarmac, I stood firm and stuck to the plan. As we ran back to transition for the start of lap 2, I was feeling very tired and with an empty tank, the trainers I first put on were killing my toes. I made the decision to change trainers. My stomach still didn�t want to eat anything.

Lap 2 started with my sister in law, Nancy the fitness instructor. We started off strong, maintaining a good pace all the way round. I was starting to really enjoy the run, it was great to have company and just be catching up with the lovely people who were there to get me through this challenge. Stopped at the aid station and talked to the marshal, a great chap really positive and supportive � thanks. I discovered Pringles, Jelly Babies and Cheddars - these were to be my main sustenance for the remainder of the race. Lap 2 down and only 6 to go, the excitement of who�s next to run with me! Nancy�s lap was a quick one. After each lap I would sit down swig some tea, eat something and once refreshed go again. I wasn�t stopping for too long but this system seemed to be working well, �Why change things if they are going well?�.

Lap 3 and it was the turn of my other sister in law, Chloe the Army Major and secret fitness lover. It was clear from the start she wanted a good time for her lap and was keen to be one of the quickest and certainly beat her sister Nancy. What were these people thinking? Racing each others times, did they not know how tired I was! Of course they did, none of them had slept much either in the last couple of days. We were about a mile away from transition and I informed Chloe I would stop for a quick toilet stop. She soon put a stop to this telling me to go in transition as she didn�t want her time to be affected. So I just did what I was told and ran on.

Lap 4 was to be with Helen who has been training for the Cardiff Half Marathon. It was like I was being used as a crash test training buddy by my crew, all out to race around the laps as quickly as they could. Helen was armed with her ipod and thought she would play music to me to motivate me. In fact she just wanted to set her running app and listen to music to motivate herself. I was having none of it! I had spent all day and night with no music on my own and all I wanted to do was to talk to my helpful crew. We set off; Helen worked really hard and pushed up the steep hill running whilst I fast walked on the tarmac. She was then worried that she would look more tired, red and sweaty than me when we finished our lap. She did a great effort and helped me through what was certainly the hardest lap of the day both physically and mentally. I had not quite reached half way and even after this lap would still have 21.5 miles of running left. My feet, ankles and toes were in bits. My trainers were clearly too small, that or my feet had swollen up to the size of pig trotters. Either way by the end of this lap I had to do something to my feet or I was never going to finish.
Brutal Double Iron Triathlon Race Report
A special mention for Justin, he declined the offer of running with me, however he did walk out onto the run course and just after the half-way point he found �The Perch�. This was probably the highest part of the run course with beautiful views back over the lake and towards transition. This was a wonderful place for him to cheer on the Doublers and soak up the breath taking scenery. It was a real boost to see him on each lap and gave me a target to run to. That was until one lap I got round and he had gone. I thought great thanks for that mate! However he had got right into the swing of things and was actively helping Stuart on a lap.

I decided to strap up my toes, change my socks and try and get my feet to the back of my trainers as far as I could to stop the impact on my toes which were in bits. This did the trick. I then set out on Lap number 5 and it was all downhill from here. 21.5 miles to go. Whoop! Whoop! Mentally I picked up and for the first time in two days thought I was actually going to finish. Lap 5 was with Mark and the quickest to this point, my diet of Pringles and now blueberries was keeping me fuelled. These were kindly donated by �Christian's� (doubler) brother and seemed to work well. My nutrition had completely gone to the dogs hours ago and I was grateful of any help I could get. Mark worked hard on that lap!
Brutal Double Iron Triathlon Race Report
Lap 6 was with Grant, at the beginning of the weekend he didn�t think he would be doing any exercise, let alone a trek up Snowdon and a lap of the run. Again another fast lap and a great catch up. I seemed to be getting stronger as the day went on, I had certainly picked up and was on the homeward stretch now. Lap 7 and my Bro Darren was up for another lap, he would regret this decision, if he thought it would be as slow as Lap 1 he would be sadly mistaken. I was going to make him work hard, and I did. He was slightly sweatier and out of breath but did a great job. I had between the laps continued to swig tea, eat and recharge ready for the next lap, however between Lap 7 and the start of Lap 8 I just wanted to get it done, didn�t need any food as I was going to run Lap 8 on adrenaline. And here we go���������
Brutal Double Iron Triathlon Race Report
Lap 8 was with my beloved wife, Head Coach and best friend Wendy. She has been a rock over the year and without her support I would have never got to this point. In fact I blame her and thank her for this and my success is as much hers as it is mine!!!! When I first saw this race and thought it would be a good idea, she was dead against it and said no to me. I took this on the chin and had forgotten about it moving on, until one day she brought it up stating that if I really wanted to do the race then she would support me. She�s the best! So I entered. This quickly became part of the big plan to raise money for Macmillian Cancer Support.

Wendy thought she was going to have a nice sedate leisurely run around the lake, time was getting on and it would definitely be dark before the lap was done so we had head torches with us. This was going to be the quickest lap all day. The walk on tarmac and run everything else system was also out the window and we ran nearly the whole lap. Half way round the lap, the light had gone, it happened so quickly. We donned head torches and continued on. Except Wendy�s torch we couldn�t get to work, so I held her hand and pulled her along behind me whilst I lit the way. How neither of us twisted an ankle or fell over I don�t know.

This was definitely the quickest lap of the day, we ran towards transition hand in hand, I gave her a quick kiss and sprinted for the line. I couldn�t believe it, I had done it! 37 hours 19 minutes and 2 seconds and the Double Brutal Iron Triathlon was beat! Words cannot explain the feeling of emotion running through my body and mind. As �Wills� brother Nick pointed out to me �the lights were on but no one was home�. My brain was mashed! My body pulverised! But I had done it! We (Support Crew) had done it! We clapped in �Jen�, the only woman and the first ever woman to complete the course, massive respect. And then saw �Will� go by for his last lap. Had a quick chat with �Stuart� who I had chased down to finish within the same lap. He told me I would have caught him if I hadn�t stopped for so many meal breaks! Mental note for next time�
Brutal Double Iron Triathlon Race Report
James�s Double Brutal Support Crew work was done, we headed back to the house for well-deserved food and drink. I had my first alcoholic drink since Christmas. Well a sip anyway and then crashed into bed, didn�t sleep a wink!

A massive thank you to all the team, Wendy, Nancy, Ben, Chloe, Darren, Nad, Matt, Mark, Justin, Grant and Helen who had an awesome time and loved supporting all the competitors. Thank you to the organisers for creating such a crazy event and to the marshals, medics, kayakers and ZigZag productions for being so supportive. Thank you to �Jim� for saving me out on the bike, to the other competitors of all the events and to the supporters of the athletes who cheered everyone on. Thanks to Simon from Phoenix Fitness, Chard for personal training, Jamie for swim advice, Nancy and Simon for "Hour of Power" and Patrick for run advice. The event was awesome. Now that I have finished, I can say that I loved every minute of it.

The big question is �would I do it again�?

Hell Yeah, if Wendy said I could!!!!!!!!
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