Outlaw Triathlon Report – 23 July 2017 by Team Probert

Well it started on a nice couple of days away on our own in Wales when I entered the race – had the laptop out spot on 9am in case it filled up quickly! Remember that pub where we bumped into Trevor.

Roll on 11 months and 28 weeks training and there we were in Nottingham with the alarm going off at 2.45am. That has to be a record for early triathlon mornings. But amazingly team Probert were all up and ready to go by 4am. Instant porridge doesn’t get any more palatable! But Oliver enjoyed it!

It was a dark walk down beside the lake (it still looked incredibly long) – I’d say quiet but Hannah seemed to have issues with her wellies! Anyway we got to transition – I checked my tyres, added nutrition to my bike, saw Kim – and left the bike ready for later. Back to meet the others and get the wetsuit on – last minute panic ‘What am I doing?’

[Rhyan: Team Probert support training had been going well – we’d supported Katherine on some Olympic and 4 half ironman races over the last couple of years, so we felt confident going into this event. But at a full distance and potential 14 hour+ finish time, it would stretch us to our limit. Will I be able to keep Oliver and Hannah entertained for that length of time? Will I be able to find food other than sausages and bacon? Will I be able to find agreeable toilets? Katherine emerged from transition setup, and after a few team photos, it was time for her to suit up. Hugs all round, she headed off to the start. See you this evening!]

So down to the lake and in to the 80-100 minute bay – the water felt ok, I put my head in and was pleasantly surprised that my goggles didn’t immediately fill with water – ongoing open water issues with goggles. Suddenly felt a lot calmer and ready to get on with it. 5….4…..3….2…..1…. and we were off. The start of a very long day. I didn’t panic and rush but just swam with the people around me – it was busy to start with but no pushing and shoving but before too long pockets of clear water would appear and I could get into my newly found open water bilateral breathing. The rest of the swim was great – it was weird not being able to see the turn around point – it was just an out and back course – but felt ok just to keep following the crowd. It was amazing to feel I was swimming with other people and not hanging on at the back as usual. Soon enough I was being pulled out – wetsuit undone for me (and then stripped off me in transition!) and the swim was done ‘Hooray’.

1.22.56 – amazed and very happy with that. Fastest ever 3.8km!

[Rhyan: We were expecting Katherine to take about 1:30, which gave us time to see her off (from a distance) and then get some “breakfast”. Bearing in mind the kids had been up since 3.30, it felt more like lunch, but it was only 7am. First proper meal of the day consumed, we moved over to the grandstand where we met up with Guy and watched the swimmers come in. Amazingly we spotted Katherine coming past the grandstand, so we knew she was onto a good swim time and then knew when to reposition ourselves to see her go out onto the bike section. A quick wave as she went past and she was off. Time for us to get onto the bike course to see her out there.]

Now a bike ride to do – I faffed a bit in transition. Bags were hard to get out, couldn’t get my (new) arm warmers on with wet arms, dried my feet (had a cup of tea – may as well have done with my leisurely 11 mins!) and out to the bike. The lap around the lake was nice to get into it and appreciate how far we’d just swum! And I was glad of my emergency panic buy of arm warmers on Friday!

The bike was flat and fast and the average crept up but was expecting it to plummet at any moment. It was great to see Team Probert with their signs and Guy at 36 miles – shouted out my average was 18.3 as it was much faster than I’d told Rhyan I’d be and his timings would be out if live tracking didn’t work! Saw Team Probert and Guy a few more times – thanks for the encouragement all – and caught up with Kim at 87 miles. We leapfrogged from then until almost the end (no drafting though) – that helped as the legs were starting to feel it now. Amazed to see that my average had only dropped to 17.8 despite the rough road, speed bumps, and post van blocking the lane all in the last 2 miles. And then I was back in transition – bike done  Had the bike taken off me and headed for the tent – saw some more local friends from Nottingham had joined Rhyan too.

6.19.55 – amazed and happy with that. Fastest ever bike average!

[Rhyan: We had in mind Katherine would average around 16mph, so I’d planned to see her at a few points about the bike course, and hopefully the drive between the spots would allow the kids to get some sleep. Thanks to Guy for joining us on this drive; the company was much appreciated! The first stop was Ashlockton (~36 miles in). Luckily the live tracker told us that Katherine was storming the bike course at an 18mph average, so we made sure we were there in time. We waited, positioned on a corner, with Oliver and Hannah holding appropriate support signs. We had some heart-stopping moments watching other competitors take a gravelly corner here. We saw Kim, who threw her arm warmers to us. Katherine came past shortly after, shouting out her average to us so that we knew to re-adjust the times. Time to move over to Southwell (~56 miles in), on the northern part of the northern loop. We weren’t there that long before she came past. She still seemed to be keeping a high average, despite the climb at Oxton. The pace was great, but it was messing up my meal timings. Fortunately the kids had fallen asleep, and it seemed too early to wake them for lunch at 10.30, so Guy and I decided to move on and find somewhere else on the course. We headed over to Oxton (end of the Northern loop ~68 miles) and waited on the roundabout for Kim and Katherine to come past. Still looking strong, and the gap between her and Kim was closing. The pub there wasn’t serving food until 12, so snacks were distributed while we made our way back to the site. As it happens, we ended up driving back along a large part of the bike course and decided to see if we could drive alongside Katherine and Kim to see if we could encourage them along. It took us AGES to catch them! They’d passed over the 80 mile timing mat by the time we caught Katherine. Still storming it. We drove on after a brief catch up, and we didn’t have to go far to catch up with Kim. We peeled off after a brief chat, and headed back to the site to wait for them to come back in. Back on site, we got some bacon, sausage and chips for lunch and waited for Katherine to come into T2. Guy headed home, and we met up with some local friends. We saw Katherine come into transition, still smiling. T2 was much quicker, so I missed a photo opportunity to catch her heading out on the run.. Time to settle in with an ice cream, which was much needed since the sun had come out.]

And ‘just’ a run to do – at least that’s what I told myself. Didn’t mention the marathon word – that just sounded ridiculous. Another faff in transition stuffing my trisuit pockets with gels, changing my socks (!) and I was off and it felt great to be running. I got completely carried away and started off with an 8.15 min/mile – I knew I had to slow down. I did a bit but not enough but it felt good – once round the lake and then off along the river – it felt like forever to get to the turnaround point but I was still overtaking people so all good! I passed the ½ way mark at about 1.54 – and soon after I payed for that! Miles 14-20 were hard – some of the people I’d passed came past me. I had to run/walk a bit. Cramp didn’t help either. I’m sure the river had got longer and the aid stations further apart. My plan was always to walk through the aid stations which I did – consuming any mix of flat coke, high 5 zero, water and salted crisps. Normally I love jaffa cakes but they weren’t in the least bit appealing! But I eventually made it back to the lake for the last 5.5 miles and I wasn’t going to walk anymore – I got a new (slow) lease of life and ran between aid stations – overtaking some of those who had passed me and soon there it was – the finish line!! Rhyan threw the kids over the barrier and we ran hand in hand to the finish line. What a feeling to have done it!!

4.13.15 – amazed but felt I could have paced it better.

12.14.22 – Very happy!

And 27th female (out of 147) and 8th in AG (out of 43)

[Rhyan: On the run section, we were able to see Katherine at 3, 10, and 13 miles. Oliver and Hannah were struggling to keep going and I was struggling to think of fun things to do, so emergency tablets (of the computer variety!) were distributed. Her pace was, again, higher than we anticipated. She was onto a sub-13 if she kept this going. After seeing her at 13 miles, we made our way over to the grandstand area. Based on her latest timing splits, I had in mind what time she would pass the final timing mat (~23 miles), which would give us a 30-40 minute heads of up when I needed to get the kids in position for the final straight. But time ticked on, and the app wasn’t showing any final time split. Worry set in. Had she blown up? Had she fallen? No one had phoned me as the emergency contact, so she was still in the race. Oliver and Hannah were now flagging, as was I, to be honest. Clearly spectators hit a wall, too. We sat down, in a café area, Oliver and Hannah draped over me. Competitors were streaming in, looking broken, as we sat there waiting for news. Mulling over the split times, I wondered if the timing mat had not registered her starting her final lap. A quick recalculation of her predicted finish time meant that I had about 20 minutes to get to the finish line if she was still going at the same pace. I had no idea, but I didn’t want to miss that chance. We moved over to the finish straight and were there about 10 minutes before I spotted her heading for the finishing chute! There was no room at the “companion collection area” to deliver them to Katherine, so I threw the kids over the fence and watched proudly as they trotted down the finish line, hand in hand with her. The announcer called out her name, and I made my way over to collect Oliver and Hannah before making our way over to the top of the STAIRS to collect Katherine. 12 hours 14! What an achievement! We hadn’t even had dinner yet!]

What a great event!

Recommend it for anyone wanting to try the full distance.

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