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Had a few days to reflect on Sunday whilst getting all the camping stuff out of the car and trying to get back to normality.
Race weekend started really badly when despite all the best preparation, focussed as usual on being fit and well on the start line, I was struck down with sciatic pain and staggered out of the car at the campsite. Fortune smiled on the lone pirate when I crossed paths with a Physiotherapist who proceeded to beat me up in a magical way over the next day and a half inbetween selling wetsuits.
Such was my delight at being able to start, that walking down to the lake which was daunting 2 years ago felt like a the start of a fantastic opportunity. Unlike last time there were 2 waves ,and we got to see several of the younger wave baulk at the 14 degrees and hang on to the canoes before presumably dns ing! I am only good at one thing and the swim went well as usual with a time 40 minutes , but from there on it all went a bit pear shaped! Having listened to the briefing I raced in my new pirate jacket and was suprisingly not to hot, the sense of well being continued over the first of the big hills up to the pylons , and it was only on the waydown that the pirate water bottle was dropped. Confidently I stopped to pick it up on the second lap burning a few minutes, only to burn a few more at the steepest part of Haddon hill when an operator error led to a speedy dismount involving gear ''issues''. The subsequent walk broke me from my rose tinted view of the race and I hammerd home just making the cut off. I had been trading places with Sumo Sue so I knew that she was in as the only other pirate sighted.
The run is always my poorest discipline as a lifetime of knee injuries means that I don't run at all in training. Faced with 3 hours and 10 minutes or so for the distance I was convinced that my record of 7 41 in 2011 was not in danger ,but it never occurred to me that things could be so much worse than that! The support for the pirate kit rather than me as an individual was genuine and humbling from both other athletes and the supporters- from the marshall who asked me '' which one are you?" to the lady shouting out '' you're not poison I'll still support you!. As a new pirate the rest of you have done some excellent work out there and the love flowed! and it needed to ! The last lap was when it came home that it might not happen for me , all alone except for a few other athletes in their own world of pain who still looked up and nodded ''pirate'' as we shuffled past each other on a lap were the marshall outnumbered us ten to one. In the last 400 metres the PA announced that the first wave were out of time and he hoped that all the remainder were in wave 2, I staggered in at 8 17 , shattered and moved by the support from everyone. Minutes later it was all over, they were still coming in , and I felt very lucky indeed.
This was a hell of a course taken with insufficient respect because firstly I had completed it before ,and secondly having staggered around like a man 100 years old for 3 days prior to the start I felt like I had a charmed life!
Looking back with swollen knees I loved every minute of it and would love to be their next year OMG as they say it's already up on the events list , what to do?? Congratulations to Sumo Sue who was great to be around and to any other pirates or future pirates who took part..Trundle , how did it go?