Training – where has the time gone ?

Training following a night dressed as a sailor at Koko s in Camden with the Discob*tches (TM) isnt easy at the best of times, however as my first official triathlon draws nearer, the butterflies have started to flutter and the urgency to make up for lost training has suddenly dawned upon me.

Diet, I have come to realise, is very key to this type of training.  One cant underestimate the careful planning required to build core muscle and fuel this machine I call my flubbered mainframe (currently a bit too much of a veranda over the toyshop – however should be fine by the time I get the ‘ol tri one piece out next weekend at the GE Blenheim Triathlon http://www.theblenheimtriathlon.com/).

With the return to the Jungle a bit farther off – my focus is on building my base fitness for the Ironman at the end of July. The thought of Jungle critters, alligators, snakes, piranahs and jaguars doesnt phase me at all however the thought of a 112  miles bike ride followed by a 26.2 mile run (after the 2.3 miles swim) is starting to wake me up at night. The size of the event, the intensity of the training, and the fact that its held in Bolton for the UK edition, fills me with dread.

That said and done, I wouldnt be doing these events if I didnt think I could compete them. But then what do I know – lets see what happens next weekend.

Training in Thailand

‘Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them’ Castro

Despite sun burn and a few hangovers, we managed to get a few jungle run s in on Paradise Island in Koh Yow, just a short boat ride from Krabi. The intense heat and lush jungle took me back to the Amazon however due to slight injury including some harsh sunburn ( i never learn) and over doing the food and drink, training didnt quite go to plan. All the same, back in London and have the Orpington Marafun on 14th May – normally i would allow at least 6 weeks for this kind of race, however needs must and all that. Sunburnt nipples picture below…




Training in full flow…Ironman and Jungle Marathon 2011

After a slow start to the year in training, I am pleased to say we are back in the game with some hard sessions under the belt and plenty more to come.

This weekend saw cycling across Norfolk, 90 mile round trip including a trip to the seaside to try on the new wetsuit. The coastguard couldnt understand why I needed a wet suit for the lovely Norfolk North Sea. I explained I was from London…it was so cold my hands turned purple !

After a well earned rest day, its a personal training session tomorrow followed by an open water swimming lesson.

Ironman UK – 31st July 2011

“The human body is capable of amazing physical deeds. If we could just free ourselves from our perceived limitations and tap into our internal fire, the possibilities are endless!” – Dean Karnazes.

So I will be swimming, cycling and running the Ironman 2011 on my 38th birthday.  There is nothing more challenging out there than having to race 140.6 miles in a single day.

My training plan formulated, dietry plan in progress (sorry my friends at the Casey arms, Friday lunchtimes wont be the same for a while). With a new life ahead, I havnt cycled for about 10 years, can only swim 5 lengths of  a 15 meter pool and the blood pressure is looking a bit dodge. But hey, as George Bernard Shaw said “People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it”.

Ironman has always seemed like an impossible feat for me. When I first heard about the Ironman when I was in the Amazon Jungle Marathon last year, I thought that the chaps and chapesses that competed in that sort of event were completely nuts. I was never active as a child, playing soccer ball, cricket, hockey and skiing. In school, I never made the team, despite being a (very) social member of the Rugby team but all sports compared to Ironman, seemed laughable.

It consists of:

2.4 mile swim

112 mile bike ride

26.2 mile run

all within 17 hours.

EASY !

If the fire in your heart isn’t strong, there’s no point trying

Coming Soon

the next challenge ?

David Grayson
“Adventure is not outside man; it is within”.

TomBird

Having had time to reflect on an incredible adventure both physically and mentally, I now have to put this race behind me to focus on the next challenge. Deciding what race and how to approach it for such a novice isnt easy. My new Jungle friends are talking of such craziness as :

Canadian Death Race: http://www.canadiandeathrace.com/

The Polar Race: http://polarrace.com/2011

 The Yukon Arctic Trail: http://www.arcticultra.de/en.php

For starters Im thinking : http://www.4deserts.com/

All incredible endurance races. The Marathon Des Sables veterans I met in the Amazon were hardened ultra atheletes. The Jungle Marathon in their eyes was a much more brutal and raw experience, everything so far doesnt seem to compare. These races cost money and require significant sponsorship so any advice would be greatly welcomed. I am up for the challenge so any suggestions are welcome !

Final Stage and Finish

It was all nearly over. Last race day (32km on the beach in the blistering sun) and then a slap up lunch at Missus Miggins Pie shop.  After all the kerfuffling with final hammock removal, a beautiful beach start it was the final attempt to put one leg in front of the other. At this point my legs were in pieces but I knew the end was in site. Thank god for a cloudy morning…

PA160167

PA160165

Legs werent in any good shape at all and ankles killing me a strode forward, one leg in front of the other trying to make sense of the whole week and still thinking of Darren and Danny and they nightmare they had gone through.

PA170176

Still it was a long journey to the final finsh line to be greeted by the Brazilian 100km winner with my lovely ceramic medal followed by some meat and beer. Absolutely lush.

6834_164178691198_539466198_3232716_6375802_n

The super star medic and support team. Legendary.

Then it was jump on to the bus where i was greeted by a bombedro who i exhanged my trainers and waterbottle for his shorts – seemed a fair deal at the time. Then the local lad who came second wanted my head torch for a hold of his 6 month old baby boy. again seemed a fair deal at the time…

We then got carted off to the “hotel”. Roy said as we pulled into the hotel entrance…”welcome to Bagdad”, he wasnt far off the truth !

quick change, check blisters, infections, beard ! and get back into bus for a long mission to the evenings reception and prize giving. Caught up with Darren who was still a bit spaced and confused about what had happend. Gil Serique, the so called guide and support said he  should come back next year and ignore what the doctor said. strange attitude and strange man.

a few beers, a bit of food and then hopped back to hotel for a couple of hours kip before we set sail back to blightly. my feet were in agony and swelled up like balloons.

IMG00248-20091019-1617

I think it was worth it…

Looking back it was a tough old race but Im glad I did it. Whats next….?

Day 5 and 6

Thursday – 90km day. a bright start to the day with another river crossing – 200m ish (630 am start so nice and chilly !). broke free onto the trail at a good pace following the crowd only to discover 200m in we were going the wrong way.

PA160153Divert to some more jungle action in the hills cascading throug the rather trecherous terrain. everyones objetive was to get past checkpoint 4 before 4pm or 330 pm or 3pm – noboday seemed to know the cut off time ! got a steady ´pace and dropping into a jog now and again. through checkpoint 1 and 2 with ease then the jungle got more dense to checkpont 3 where quick top up and off again. i was running behind again, but desperate to get through to the next checkpoint as i would be forced to set up with the others and bombederos in the middle of the jungle under armed guard in cased jaguars attacked. everything was going peachy until the heat got the better of me and got a bit delerious stumbling over things. got to the checkpoint and everyone was phaffing about, had to sort my own water out and then other peoples ! then told i had 5 minutes to get out to go on to the next stage !! contemplated staying but then thought …give it a go.

pegged it through still a bit weary then Carlos caught up with me and we trampled through together cussing the jungle, the organisers and everyone else.my legs were giving way so i started to plod, at the same time the ~eau de jaguar was very ripe. so walking like the dwarf in Willow at a fast pace we caught up with Shirley the race organsier as we finally got out of the jungle 3 hours later to checkpoint 5. many defeated looking people feeding up- at this point it was 47km done. my legs were in bits so i decided to take some time out and get in the hammock. Judah did my feet. without going into too much detail, just remember the scene from Aliens when they find the girl and she says ~help me~. thats my feet.

many people have pulled out with infection. rotting; flies are trying to lay eggs in my scratches which is nice. the guy from the foreign legion had rotting where it shouldnt happen….

PA160145

 

anyway, got in hammock and put feet up for a few hours. woke at 3am and pulled down hammock, got food in order and set off in pitch black – v exciting as you could see eyes in the bushes on the trail with my head tourch. until 11am everything was going fine then the open roads began, then onto the beach in the searing heat. my water ran out and it was 3 hours of blazing heat. but as Tom Hanks said ^^ i just kept runnin ^^, well walking.

PA160168

got to the finish and in pieces. up early for the final stage, 30km ish and then lunch !then maybe a couple of
beers.PA160171

a genuine thanks to all those who have emailed, including mr sandes from SA, any relation ?

it s been a great motivator when i get back to my hammock for some quality Tom time.

cant wait to get back and make some sense of this blog, add photos of my rotting feet and some of the most amazing things Ive seen.

peace and much jungle love

T x

Day 4

 

following last nights long trip through the jungle under torchlight, i actually had a good nights sleep. some people who didnt complete the final stage ( due to it getting dark and it being dangerous for jaguars….HELLO ! why was I allowed up there then monkeys ????),  a hot day with more drop outs along the way. ran a bit which was fun until my ankle went one way and my knee the other. we are at 100km so far….tomorrow is the biggest hurdle of the entire week. PA14011290km. aim is to get through the jungle before dark as its jaguar territory…oh dear. they suggest you get through stage 4 at 30km before dusk which should be achievable if i replace my legs, arms and shoulders…we bathed at the rivers edge this afternoon when we got back which was bliss as it meant everyone could wash kit. sweet smelling jungle heaven.

PA140111

nice camp and relax as we only had 24km but the heat when in the open is incredible. more spiders, ants, snakes and caimen today (at the river crossing swim (200meters at 730am this morning)).

there is a great air about the camp today as everyone has moved closer to the finish. those who have stopped are still cheeringon those who are coming in ( again i was one of the last ones in as everyone had left the finish line but i got a delightful cheer when i got back to camp). chatted with the medic team about mondays events and general medical organisation which is very scrappy (the team are awsome they just havnt been given the right backing to fully provide reliable evacuation procedures – still I guess thats what you buy into when you sign up…)

I seem to be known as “Tom Hanks” by the locals which is quite light relief at each checkpoint. hopefully the earlier batchelor party era / Big rather than the more recent dross / self indulgent oscar crap etc.

my solar power got waterlogged (despite waterproofing) so its approx 4 hours of ipod left for tomorrow. it has helped today getting round the mundane track to some lashings of hard rock and a bit of classical for those zen moments. im feeling a bit more human today which is promising as tomorrow is approx 20 hours non stop – in theory. wont be able to update until friday when i recover.

hopefully there is more to see on www.junglemarathon.com

thanks for all the emails. its such a lift when youve got back to camp, found a couple of trees to hang a hammock, unpack bag, eat food, wash, water check, feet check (improving surprisingly although the medic wants to burst one of my blisters).

peace love and Im thinking of sticking to boring old marathons in the future for those who are concerend i may do anything like this again.

think when i get back i want to go and sit in london zoo to feel at home x

Day Three

37km of fun today ! started off with a de-brief this morning with the news that Darren was coming round and Danny was still critical. We were all asked to sign another disclaimer this morning as the medical support from Monday highlighted a few issues. Apprently the hospital we were supposed to have acces to is closed and the guys have been put up in a 3rd world style nightmare – since initially writing this I have heard horror stories from a couple of the team who were taken there, both patients and medical staff were apalled at the conditions and buy the way they were treated. Its amazing nobody died.

Anyway the race started, nice and easy and headed off into the jungle. All well and good however my fitness isnt quite what it was. Swamps and hours upon hours of jungle trail. pleasant surprise at checkpoint 2 was Mark who had been hospitalised on Monday – he was back helping ! fair play to the man. things got a little slower and a little hotter, checkpoint 3 was head in hands didnt want to go on moment. bit of food , chat to the medic, kids like something from The Mission – even the laugh of the toothless little tykes. amazing. battled through to checkpoint 4 at 530 where i was warned if I continued i would be on my own and the jungle would get dark at 630.

When trecking through in the dark I kept my ipod playig a head torch on.

PA130104

fun was had in pitch black, got last place ( ithink) and lost aswell.

saw some movement in the trees and by some buildings and flashed the camera a few times, saw some eyes. didnt think much of it as it just looked like a cat. a cat in the jungle is not often referred to as a pet, more like a JAGUAR ! but being a bloke and being a bit slow sometimes I didnt really realise until Id finished !

PA160140

Those are the eyes by the way !

Im going to play tomorrow by ear – only 24 km but all the other slowies have pulled out so unless i pick up the pace (unlikely) i will miss the cut off time tomorrow and therefore be disqulified.

Thanks for the emails, hope all this is getting through.not sure if Im getting everything but appreciate it all the same. Campsite tonight has no runnign water – I smell bad and ive lost my spoon !!!

some footage from my camera

peace love and i miss reality xxx

Day Two

Ok after sending last nights update, people here started dropping like flies. Darren from Boot camp and Mark from pre-run curry, both hydration / exhaustion issues. Then someone collapsed and went into a fit – a total of 5 people got taken away last night to the hospital. Rumour has it a couple are in a coma but we dont seem to be getting any feedback from the camp.

PA120067

Today was a long day but not as hot which was a welcome relief. Although not a great nights sleep i got second wind today. Only issue is, its going to get harder. Tomorrow is 37km. im not sure if I can complete this event at the moment but we will have to see. My feet have started to blister (photos will reveal all) from the swamps and various rubbing. Was on my own for a bit and heard all sorts going on. Its a strange place and sometimes not filled with the best confidence but everyone is very encouraging despite most people being machines ! i think i was about 87th today out of 130 although I only think there are 95 ish people left in the race.

PA120069

One thing is for definate. I will not be doing anything like this again….in the jungle that is. already talk of the Libyan desert challeneg. There is a South African guy called Ryan Sands who won todays race. He is sponsord by Salamon but to put it quite simply, the guy aint human !

Today my hammock is not near the loo which is quite a relief. For those who saw the 2007 DVD, there was a texan guy called Judah – he is here on the medic team and is a living legend.

Im going to take it easy and see how i get on tomorrow as life is too precious to over do it ! but dont worry mother and wife, I am fighting fit and ready for another day !

my footage

“official footage”

Peace to one and all. Um bongo um bongo x