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O.rangeCannon's pirate journey!!!!!!!
O.rangeCannon's pirate journey!!!!!!!

So I'm now a pirate, (ie normal people who are inspired by the runners world forumites doing IMs)..... This involves drinking beer, buying lots of yellow kit, oh, and a race or 2 a year to give it an objective.

I bumped into the pirates via the runners world magazine / forum, and they gave me the confidence to dare enter an IM.


2010 IMDE - flat, Outlaw - flat
2011 IM Regensburg 2011 - flat, IMWales - hilly, oh so windy
2012 Lanza - hilly and windy
2013 - IM Lanza - the return :-)

Recovering from knee issues, (too many rugby injuries) so now the plan is to swim OK, be an Uber Biker, and just let the run take care of itself. Oh Well

IM Wales Race Report

orangecannonby orangecannonSep 17th 2011

I booked this back in May as a reward for finding a new job. The choice was IMWales or Challenge Henley. The flurry of pirates signing up swung the deal....

Then I forgot all about it as I concentrated on IMR.

However I did see the posts following the long course weekend... hmmm

The last 5 weeks consisted of 1 week recovery, 1 week easy training, 2 weeks training, then a weeks taper.... I felt really good.
This was going well until my right achillies started playing up following long, then any runs.....bugger. Oh well, I stopped running to let it get a bit better... This lowered my expectations a little. Thoughts turned to just survival

Booked the camping over the summer -camping in September should be fine (just like at the Vit), and there was a good pirate contingent at kiln park.....also saving some money seemed a good idea

Race week
Spent the whole time looking at the weather forecasts. Sort of concentrated on the effect on Sunday - ignored the effects on camping for some reason....

Turned up at Tenby on the Friday, pitched the tent in an area not too waterlogged next to Slagiat but the pirate contingent were split up all over the campsite. It was wet, windy, and just got wetter and windier as the weekend proceeded. Summer camping this was not...

So registered, then over to the Race Brief, then ate in the surreal campsite bar, (cba to cook..)

made it over to the late practice swim. This was over on the sheltered North Beach - Tenby was full of rubber clad people - very weird. The swim was a short loop, great out to the first buoy, then turned into the waves and omg. I have not really swam in the sea, so plunging up and down the waves was fun,but a little concerning (ie making any progress and breathing). However, it got better the further along the course we went.

Really good to have done the practice.

Racking - All pretty smooth and relaxed. Used the plastic bike cover to tie my bike to the racking - it was very windy!
Drove the course, (looking for somewhere for a ice cream) - Again, this was worth it as I saw the number and size of the hills late on.

Up, porridge + banana, coffee, lenses in, then off to the start
Pfaffed for 45 mins, (packing bento box, adding bike bottles to bike, top tyres off with air, watch onto bike - bugger speed pod must be out of battery - oh well.

Off to the swim start - massive crowds lining the cliffs beach - Welsh national anthem was a nice touch, then phizzle, a small bang and off we went,straight into the water. Dived through a big wave, then just started swimming out, then left towards the first buoy.
I really enjoyed the swim - it felt uncongested - I just concentrated on swimming, only occasionally having people around. Water was blue, but visibility limited due to the storm / waves etc, Did not see a jellyfish ;-)
Sighting was really easy - once you spotted a buoy, (they were really big) then it was a case of using something on the cliff above to aim at..... Only problem as someone parking a fishing boat 10 m from one buoy. Loads of RNLI boats and boarders around which felt great.
The distance between the buoys also was consistent, (500m?) so I always felt like I was making progress. Again, one section had big waves to plough through but that soon lessened.

Got out in 1:10 - thats a pb by 5mins so it could be short, or could be due to a quiet swim.
33:13 for lap1, 37:03 for lap 2.... did not feel I was slowing, but swim endurance is obviously an issue. I was 799th at this point!
My overriding thought was thank god thats over.

So out of the water, up the hill, grabbing trainers along the way, then trotted off to T1, generally taking it easy. T1 was heaving. Found a free spot, changed, then off I went. It was my longest ever t1...12:06!!!

yee-ha! - lets go! Running mount, arm warmers on, gloves on whilst going down hill out of Tenby was fun. Then it was a case of holding back for the first section. Just hunkered down for the way out into the wind. Then we started going up hill, then down, then up, and repeat

Some sections were flat, some were flat with a tail wind, some were downhill, with the wind, but generally it was tough. The downhills mostly had bends on them / at the bottom, which meant you could not carry your speed.

Highlights were
  • the lanes down to the beach - really exposed to side winds - It felt like I was leaning over at 30 degrees - I really backed off which was good considering the sandy corner at the bottom,
    support in the villages / back into Tenby
  • continuous overtaking.... A few came by, but the advantage of being a relatively crap swimmer / strong biker is the motivation of always having someone just ahead to overtake.
  • It was nice enough I took the arm warmers off, (until heading back into the wind - on they went again)
  • the support - brilliant, so may shouts of go pirate!

It was good being on a normal road bike with normal wheels....I saw lots of people of tri bikes having problems - if nothing else, just by the sheer volume of gear changing that was needed.

I did not have a working speedo, which was probably good - I could not tell how slow I was going - I just rode on HR - I kept my hr average down to 150 for the first lap, 148 for the second - My target was 145 so it was a little high but I blame the hills for that.

The downside was not hitting Tenby to start the second lap until 4:30ish....I knew it was 2/3 ish into the course, but it messed with the head a bit.

I had a gel on the 30 mins, and 2 slices of maltloaf on the hour. After 4, swapped to 3 gels an hour. Did not drink too much so did not feel bloated.

Hit the last set of hills and resigned myself to not hitting 6 hrs - got in in 6:22, and was up to 315th -
overtook 484 I think! :-)
52 mins slower than IMR though :-(
But it was a wee bit harder!

So glad to get off that bloody bike.
Bike top off, bike shoes off, trainers on and lets go - 5:20. Not sure what I was doing in there.

So let see if the ankle survives....
Trucked off into town - it was heaving, then out up a long gentle hill. Noticed that my right hip flexor was really tight from the off - bit of an issue running uphill, but did not have any choice.
Ran between the aid stations,then 45 second walk, having a gel every 20 minutes. Spotted Rosie out on the course - tried to stay ahead as long as possible but eventually he came past me.
Back into town, which was great - loved the support - Tenby was out in force. Pirate supporters were great, but again there was so much support from so many others, shouting 'Go Pirate'

Then we dropped back down towards the castle, around it, then up a bastard 10 m slope - just walked it every lap. Just tried to keep the cadence up / form strong. Felt it was going in places, but tried to stay string.

So got band 1, then 2. Started shouting / high fiving the increasing numbers of pirates on the course, and the coach as well! - great!!
HR slowly fell from 148 to 138 over the laps..... and so did the speed - very similar to IMR

Band 3 was a long time coming. Started thanking marshalls, feed station people etc and picked up the pace running back into town. Even castle hill was enjoyable last time around!
Got the 4th band (yes!!!!) and really started motoring. Swung into the finish shot, saw Bassy shouting up in the stands, blanked the missus, and was then over and across the line in for a 3:51 marathon, 11:41 overall - up to 267th overall, and 50th in age group.

Really happy with the result considering how fragile my run training has been in the last 3 months. I wanted to be in the top 20%, and was just about there

placingcompetitors%age position
Age group532460.22
Post Race
Got given a gatorade - left that alone ;-)
Fish and chips- yum!
Got changed as I was getting cold - very cold.
Made it back out onto the course, into pub for scampi and chips, then a bit of supporting.
Saw bhudda and a couple of others in but then had to bail....
Very un-piratey I know but I was cold and wet, and it was just getting wetter and windier....
The tent stayed up - just - over night. It was not summer camping.

Finally the achillies.... Its been absolutely fine - not a tweak...... No idea whats going on with it.
Felt surprisingly ok yesterday, but the quads are a bit shot today.

Great performances from everyone - that was tough, and those that DNFd know they can prance around other courses when they are fresh..
For those on their first IM - you are mad for choosing this one, but what a memory you will have!
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