Tag Archives: run

A little run around Norfolk

Along with setting up my own business over the summer, I have started my long road to Ironman Austria (why of course, why wouldn’t I do these 2 thing at the same time ?). I say I’ve started because everything between now and June 2015 builds to THAT race but really my focus for training right now is a running event at the end of November and a swimming camp at the beginning of December.

Along the way, I’ve planned some fun things to take part in, and one of those ‘fun’ things was running one of the 17 stages in the Round Norfolk Relay (http://www.roundnorfolkrelay.com/). It does exactly what it says on the tin, a 24 hours, 17 stage running event which starts and finishes in Kings Lynn, following the entire Norfolk border and you need to safely carry a baton through it all :-).

We ran the border !
We ran the border !

This was my first year getting involved and when I put my hand up in May to the Garden City Runners’ team captain to say ‘yes I’m in’ it sounded so far away and, of course the training would have been done and of course, a 4.30am start time would not be a problem ! As the day of the event came closer I realised that I hadn’t really thought this one through, surprise, surprise and suddenly it occurred to me what all of this meant – logistics !

A few things I needed to consider :

  • Stages did not start and finish at the same place, so how was I going to get my car ? My stage was the 7.27 miles from RAF Feltwell (somewhere between Thetford and Downham Market on the map above) to Wissington and in the middle of nowhere.
  • I had also volunteered to cycle with the last few runners, how was I going to get my bike to where it is needed ?
  • What do you eat when you are due to run 7.27 miles at 4.30am ?
  • What happens if you take a wrong turn and end up in a field with no-one else ?

As it turned out, a knight in shining armour decided to come along with me and all of the logistics were in place – but what do they say, all the best laid plans ? Hmmm enough said I think on that one.

The weekend came and as the team got under way along the coastal sections, I started to get the buzz of race-day ! I think that was a lot to do with the unknown and how was it going to all unfold. I was also getting updates along the way from Sean, team captain and it was good to hear all the news and see all of the photos – couldn’t wait to get out there and take part.

After spending a restless few hours sleeping in a tent in the pouring rain in Kings Lynn, the alarm went off at 2.45am and we headed to my handover point. By now the team was ahead of schedule and I was due to head off at 4.15am, so on arrival at Feltwell it was a quick warm up, a flashing beacon and ‘caution runners’ sign attached to the car, the required ‘stage start’ photo was taken and I was gone…….. into the night !!

A nervous smile....... whoosh, then I was gone !
A nervous smile……. whoosh, then I was gone !

If anyone hasn’t run in the middle of the night, you have to try it ! Now I don’t mean 6am or midnight, I mean the darkest part of the night ! After the wonderfully bright full moon of the previous week, there was a tiny crescent moon, no street lights and very little shades of darkness out there, and for Little miss clumsy here, that meant 100% concentration – no admiring the stars in the bright sky – just focusing on the road in front. A little hic-up with the support car aside (what happens in the depths of Norfolk, stays in the depths of Norfolk right ?), the run was amazing, I loved it ! Something about not having massive crowds at a race, but knowing there are other crazy people around you, waiting for car lights to appear / disappear, not being able to see your garmin so having no real idea how far you have run or how fast….. something very special about that and goes on my ‘hardcore’ list 🙂

My stage was over so quickly, felt like about 10 mins but no, I wasn’t that quick – 40 seconds ahead of my prediction and the baton was passed on to my team-mate, who was off on his 10.5 mile stage.

And in a flash, the baton was handed on
And in a flash, the baton was handed on

The rest of the race went off very smoothly – a little supporting bike ride, a dramatic sunrise and a yummy breakfast after it all was done !

Nothing like a chilly sunrise to get you pedaling
Nothing like a chilly sunrise to get you pedaling
Bike support done
Bike support done
The finish line crew..... whoop whoop !
The finish line crew….. whoop whoop !

A great weekend ! Next year ? Why of course, you don’t really need to ask do you? But a little note to team captain, please something in the day light would be preferrable next time !!

Live life loud


Age Group girl

New dawn ? The road ahead is long……….

But it will be worth it ! To cross the finish line at Ironman Austria in June 2015 is going to tough, emotional and exhausting but today I start the training plan………


Actually thinking about it, crossing the start line is going to be tough, emotional and exhausting too – staying healthy and fit throughout the next 10 or so months will be key to ensure consistency in training.

I’ve taken the time to map a few things in the diary between now and then so we will see how things progress. This will be my first time building my own plan, so I’ll be reading lots of blogs for ideas and all suggestions gratefully received !

Take a read of my blog from last year, about getting ready for off-season training, it reminded me of a few things I did last year that really helped : https://catherinedanndann.wordpress.com/2013/10/05/the-triathlon-seasons-are-changing/

Anyway, time to get cooking !

Live life loud


Age Group girl


#Monday Motivation : Carpe diem or crazy lady ??

I did it, all signed up for IM Austria June 28th 2015…….. I’m going to need a lot of motivation on Mondays and in likelihood other days of the week over the next year !

Carpe diem !
Carpe diem !
This time next year, I'll be there !
This time next year, I’ll be there !

I think there is going to be plenty of material for blogs, don’t you !!

Live life loud


Age Group girl

I’m close to pressing that button !

Ok so shoot me, shoot me now !

A month ago I declared that I wouldn’t do an IM until 2016……. even then, it was with anxiety and a realisation of the amount of work and pain there would be !

So what has happened ? I’ve gone a convince myself I can do one next year, a year to the day on Sunday in fact !! Strange what a good night’s sleep does for you !

In my diary is a reminder of when the registration opens for 2 events. Sigh !!

I have to be crazy, but I am very very excited…… !!

Will I ? Won't I ?
Will I ? Won’t I ?

Live life loud (and with some discomfort I predict !)


Age Group girl

An Ironman ? WOW !

When we finished our tri Camp in Club La Santa last week, we were lucky enough to hang out to watch Ironman Lanzarote live, in the flesh ! WOW, that’s all I can say………. !
After completing two 70.3 races in 2013 (well January 2014 for the 2nd), my ‘life plan’  was to complete a 140.6 in my 40th year (November 2013 – November 2014) but circumstances have led this to move to 2016. I was fascinated to finally be a spectator and even find a little time for a volunteering stint at bag drop the day before. One of our tri-campers and neighbour was a participant too, so we were prepared to be the loudest set of groupies ever heard.

Crew, ready to take those bags
Crew, ready to take those bags

I don’t think anything had really prepared me for what was going to unfold that day – at the swim start at 7am I said “hell yes, let’s do this next year” to “oh my, what am I thinking” at 7pm as I watched people run / shuffle / walk through the marathon……. 2016 is a long way off !! Ok so perhaps not.

7am we were at the beach ready to go !

I can’t quite describe what happened next, it was like a huge flock of birds landed on the water. Instead 2300 people in black wetsuits, swim caps and goggles took to the water all at the same time and they just kept coming, streaming into the water, and they kept coming and coming !

A flock of seagulls ?
A flock of seagulls ?


And they still keep coming
And they still keep coming

And then lap 2 !!

And off they go again.....
And off they go again…..

After watching alot of the swim we walked to bike transition. At this time we hadn’t seen ‘soon-to-be Ironman’ Paul, so we waited very close to his bike, groupies through the chain link fence.

The buzz was incredible ! Everyone was so focused after changing into their bike kits and getting ready for the 112 miles around the Lanzarote (see my recent blog about cycling in Lanzarote for a little taster of what was in front of them, https://catherinedanndann.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/lanzarote-just-a-few-rolling-hills-in-the-sunshine/).

Before we knew it Paul was there, smiling widely, ready to rock the next 7 hours or so in the saddle…….. and then he was gone ! And we decided it was time for breakfast 🙂

While we were taking our little brunch sabbatical the IM circus continued – the transition emptied (well almost – another story there !), the commentators kept the crowds informed, the big screens showed the beasts out on their bikes and the motivating heart-pumping music blared.

After our own little sea swim, the groupie group re-grouped (!!) to watch the bike finishers stream into the transition shoot. By now the temperature was up in the high 20s and the sun was burning……… we tried very hard not to complain, cos what did we really have to complain about ?

Again, ‘1 step closer to being an Ironman’ Paul flew past us in a bit of a blur ! We had an advance party watching out for him and yes, we were loud and proud as he blew past us.


So 2 stages down, just the little matter of the run to go !

Now this was a spectacle to behold. The course consisted of 2×10 mile laps and 1×6.2 mile lap, each one bringing the field back to, but not quite touching, the finish line. The course was exposed, there was very little shade and early on, no wind at all. The spectacle was heightened by runners being at different stages of the race but alongside each other – you had those just starting the run with those that were starting their final 10k and amongst all of these were the elite leaders, being escorted by mountain bikes.

It was at this point that my “hell yes I can do one of these” euphoria started to wane a little – this was tough, really really tough. No like really really really really tough !

If possible, it started to get even tougher when the wind started to blow up, the sun started to set and the temperature started to drop quickly.

You could also see energy levels, physically, emotionally and mentally, seep out of those on the course too. They were doing whatever they needed to get across the finish line !

Our buddy, ‘I’m very nearly an Ironman’ Paul was pushing on – for the first time we lost the smile for a while which was worrying, but at about mile 18 he found a rhythm and some energy from somewhere (lemon Fanta apparently worked for him!) and he could taste that medal.


And then he was done ! A sprint finish, a GB flag and the medal around his neck……… and the smile that says ‘I am an Ironman’……. yes you are !

For some though, the evening hadn’t finished. With the 17 hour (midnight) cut off looming, we jumped on our bikes to ride back to our apartment. I’ve never felt like I did riding past people still out there cheering them on. Some were nearly at the line, some were still heading away from the line, some were with family, some were alone, others had found supportive volunteers to keep them company. Did I feel pity ? No it was admiration. Some knew they wouldn’t be crowned an IM and would not get that medal, but they weren’t giving up.

One of the last sights of that day was from our hotel balcony – a IM car with the timing clock at 16.41 on a count down, driving along the road about 3km from the finish. That was brutal…………

2016 for me ? Hmmm I’ve started to tell people now, so I guess I’m committed – but its going to be a hard road to get to the start line, let alone the finish line. Have I got what it takes ? Only time will tell. If what it takes is focus, determination, guts and a big degree of stubbornness, then evidence suggests I can. But I’ll keep you posted over the next few years.

Another motivating factor ? Those smiles !! At the start line, at the finish line and at the airport the next day…….. I want one of those !

Live life loud


Age Group girl



3 weeks a year in Lanzarote ? Really ?

If you had told me a year ago that I would have spent 3 weeks in 2013 on the island of Lanzarote I’d have laughed and told you no way ! But I did and given that I’ve just got back from my first trip there in 2014, it got my thinking why ? Firstly why would I have said no way in the first place ? Then why did I spend 3 weeks here last year and why am I doing more this year ?

The first why is easy – honestly because I can be a little bit of a travel snob ! There you go, I’ve said it, phew glad that’s off my chest ! And my evidence that it wasn’t a great place to visit ? The image of Brits on a drunken, partying holiday was on my mind – I’m sorry we’ve all been there, seen it and wish we hadn’t.

So I built a bridge, got over it and May 2013 was my first time visiting any of the Canary Islands.

The second question was why did I spend 3 weeks here last year ? That’s fairly straight forward too – I found that it’s a great place to do the things you love, if what you love is swimming, biking and running. I’m not saying that it is an easy place to do those things, but it is a great place – now that’s a another blog topic all to itself.

One of the places that help this is the Club La Santa resort (www.clublasanta.com), which is a small (or not so small) oasis on the north-west of the island that caters for many many forms of exercise and sport. I had seen resorts like this advertised before but had considered them out of my price range and only for elite athletes, not age group warriors like me and my buddies. Little did I know that this wasn’t the case ! A week there and you feel like you are in a bubble……. A bubble of swimming, biking, running and many other activities and equipment that are available for residents.


Fancy trying SUP’ing ? You can, grab a board and head to the salt water lagoon

How about a little paddle tennis ? You’ve got it, lots of courts available

Scuba diving ? They have a scuba center that will get you sorted

Golf ? Yes indeed !

Etc, etc, etc


I think you get the picture………

But there is more to the island that I have discovered, mostly from the seat of a bike and it certainly does have some charm ! I have always found volcanic islands fascinating and they remain high on my list of places to visit…… fantastic scenery. Rugged coastlines, long sandy beaches, interesting weather conditions, camels, whitewashed buildings, black land and Timafaya National Park.


I guess I still haven’t actually answered the 2nd question, why 3 weeks last year ? First week was my very first Up and Active (www.upandactive.com) tri camp with Tanja Slater. The second week was the International Running Challenge (https://catherinedanndann.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/international-running-challenge-2013/ ) and the third week was swim camp (https://catherinedanndann.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/its-swim-camp-time-with-tanja-stephan/ ). All of theses were based out of Club La Santa, surprise surprise.

So now to 2014 – more than 3 weeks ? Well only  by a couple of days ! Tri camp is over for another year (more blogs to follow) and we stayed longer to support a friend and fellow tri-camper in his quest to be an Ironman (now that seriously is another blog – in short wow, what a day ! Then a return to the Running challenge (there are times to beat right ?) and then the swim camp (it will always be my personal battle !)

So I’m back, inspired and full of new blog material and ready to write ! Back soon


Live life loud


Age Group girl