There is no two ways about it, this was a tough day in the office, it was always going to be and I had no illusions that I would suffer both mentally and physically through the process.
Looking back to when I first lined up at the Enduroman in 2013 my only thought was, how the f**k am I going to swim 3.8km around a lake with 50 odd other guys and girls. On Saturday I was supremely confident that i’d hold my own with 1800 others being capable of mixing it up and strategically pace myself.
I came out of the water in 1hr07mins having cruised around with very little drama holding it together without the need for “headspace” breaks.
This of course was always going to the big challenge for the day, I have practised the course loads of times and know it pretty much inside out. I knew which bits were going to be the most mentally and physically tasking for me and paced myself accordingly. Whilst I would have hoped to come in a little sooner, managing a slow puncture in my front tub (Tubular tyre) probably added to the time, and having to finally cut my losses and properly swap it out was a wise decision.
I arrived at T2 with a bike time of 7hrs53mins, by that point 847 athletes had passed me. On the upside my guts were behaving, I was feeling vaguely energised, and ready to claw my way back through the field.
This was possibly the best I have ever felt going into the marathon.
Emotionally going from being near suicidal 20 minutes earlier on the bike to the euphoric head trip of being surrounded by the awesome support along the sea front of Puerto Del Carmen. meant I had to hold back my pace as I would have easily gone completely crazy.
Again I know that sea front run like the back of my hand and started ticking off the k’s and mentally carving the task down into manageable chunks.
I kept on trucking, waiting for the inevitable wheels to fall off, being careful with the nutrition and hydration levels that I didn’t turn my stomach into its usual washing machine cycle.
21km all was fine, 25km all was fine, 30km still all was fine. Looking at the Garmin, whilst I was off target for Plan A and Plan B there was a good chance that I could still be on for the Plan C. Doing the maths (which is quite tricky after 12 hours of racing) I had not a lot of room for manoeuvre, and dug deep to maintain the pace and not slack off, I bypassed two of my scheduled Aid Station “stops” taking the gamble that I was hydrated enough and had gas in the tank to take me through the final 10km.
This time around the gamble paid off and I came in with a marathon time of 3hrs58mins giving me a new marathon PB and putting me into the Sub 4 club.
Crossing the line was the usual mixed bag of emotions, and to be greeted by Kenneth Gasque who handed me my medal and shook my hand was a very special moment indeed.
This lifestyle is essentially incredibly selfish and extremely self absorbing, without support of my family, the tolerance of my clients, the patience of my coach Darryl Carter and my friends for not letting me disappear up my own arse.
You all play a very valuable role in this journey and thanks for hanging on in there.