Midnight Man 2016

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This should have been good. I had been swimming well and although I’d not done as much cycling as I had wanted to my run post comrades was strong. Although the 10:15 of last year looked a little out of reach a sub 10:30 I hoped would still be achievable.

Instead I got a DNF, my second of the season.

So, what happened? Well I got ill on the bike. That’s the short story, but I’ll explain more.

Saturday morning, parkrun day. I hadn’t intended to do parkrun, but having just received my new elastic laces in the post I needed to get a small run in to check they were tensioned right. Southend parkrun was the venue and I plodded round, throwing in a few strides to loosen the legs for the first 2 laps, keeping at just believe 5min/km pace. At the beginning of lap 3 I got chatting to a guy who was looking to break 24:30, seemed rude to not try and help him so the last Km and a bit was a little quicker. Nothing too stressful there.


At home little Langdon who had also done it started to feel a little ‘off’ and kept taking himself off to bed for short naps. Once I’d sorted my kit out I had my pre race dinner/breakfast of pesto pasta  (what would be dinner about dinner time the night before if it had been a morning start. Timings can be trick)  too went for a short nap.

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Delicious pasta. Not so sure if it’s at 10am for breakfast

2hrs later and having hit the snooze button on the alarm 4 or 5 times I dragged myself out of bed. Should have known then that something was up as I felt hung over. However I had a big bowl of muesli (having had pasta for breakfast) and jumped in the car.

Upon arrival I registered and then stuck gels and naumbers in my bike, excellent.


Down at the start line bake racked and wetsuit on I was good to go. Time to get in the water, passing the finish line I hoped to see in 10 hours or so.


The swim was a deep water start, we all climbed into the lake and swam to the start point. Along side the full iron distance there was also a half and quarter distance race being run so there were a fair few people in the water. Some would be doing one lap, others two but for me it was to be four laps of the lake. I swam a 1:07 the year previously and hoped to go a little quicker than that this year. i managed to pull clear of the washing machine start fairly quickly and settled into my rhyme, albeit with someone on my toes for a large chunk of the first two laps, I apologise if it was you as I’m pretty sure I kicked them in the head twice as we made some of the turns. s the swim wen ton the faster quarter and half distance racers finished and the lake emptied slightly,  I sped on, keeping good stroke rate and with a solid breathing rhythm. Out of the water in 1:05 on my watch (1:06 by the time i made it to transition and the timing mat, quicker than last year but feeling fresher. Excellent.  A quick dry of the feet and arms, socks, arm warmers, glasses, helmet and shoes on and off i went on the bike.


The bike started well, I was makig good time and not getting caught up i too much traffic. The frst few laps got busier as more people finished the swim but I knew by the wee small hours it would be very quiet. Trying to figure out where the wind was was always a challenge, as it was last year, and I settled into it. A long time to go.

It was only a few laps i that I started getting a headache, odd, carry on. Then it got worse. I’d done a good few laps but now I was feeling weak. Headache was getting worse and I felt like I had no energy. Mmmmmmm, this is not right, I ploughed on. For a bit. Well to almost the end of lap 9. This was the point where I had to pull over and be quite sick at the side of the road. This was not good. I pootled back to the transition area and called it a day. With 7hrs of racing still to go I was in no condition to carry on.


Checking my phone on the journey home I found that the boy had been quite poorly after I had left to race and needed medicine and cold compresses to cool his temperature. Whatever he had I had got too.

the next morning he was fine, and 24hrs after I started feeling ill I was better too. Whatever we had had was a real 24hr type thing and it had arived at the worst time. I suspect that had I not been racing and putting that kind of stress on my body to exacerbate the issue I would never had know.

Looking at the times for each lap I was doing well compared to last year, but you can see the sudden drop off!

I will just have to return next year then and at least I’ll be fit for the Team Relays a fortnight after!

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