How and why did you get into triathlon?
I was 53, swimming (head up breaststroke!) at the brilliant Beccles Lido on the last day of the season in 2012 when I saw a poster for the first ever Beccles Triathlon – I asked the lifeguard about it – she was the inspirational Kate Bryson (Kate, Jason, Sean and Issy pioneered the Beccles Tri) and I just thought, I’ve got to do this - bought my first ever running clothes the next day – I’d never run before, was always useless at sport, and had only pottered around on my “happy shopper” bike. I then went “running” virtually every day – hated every minute but just kept going. I made my husband Alan take up running again (he was a lifelong runner and took to it again brilliantly) and train with me.
Triathlons and sport transformed my life totally and opened up a whole new world. I really can’t imagine life without it.
What was your first event?
Beccles Tri! It was fantastic, despite being overtaken by the world and his mother on the bike (the “happy shopper”, of course!). I can’t believe I wore a swimming costume and changed into shorts and top after the swim!
Which is your favourite discipline?
Running (when I’m not injured – so far I’ve had stress fracture, Achilles, impacted back, groin strain and plantar fasciitis). I love swimming in the sea, the lido and lakes/pools in Finland where my son Jimmy lives.
Greatest Achievement to date and any PBs you are proud of?
Learning to do crawl. I always had a real fear of putting my head under water but thanks to a couple of lessons with the amazing Ty (our Events Officer), I managed it and did the Great East Swim! She is incredible.
Running my first 10 mile Turkey Trot in less than 1.30 hours and entering my son, Jimmy, in the Wymondham 10k without telling him and running with him (sort of!) He went on to do a half marathon in 1 hour 23 minutes – annoying or what!
I am very happy to have started the Norwich Cathedral running team (where I work) – on the basis if I can have a go, anyone can, and we’ve run 3 Run Norwich races together.
Best, worst and funniest race moments? (doesn't just have to be tri)
WORST (quite a few)
In my first running race, having a really terrible rant (swearing and all!) at Alan, 8k into the Bungay 10k because he was going faster than me. Several other runners looked very worried but I just said it’s OK, we’re married and fortunately they understood.
In my first Beccles Tri, running along the riverside and seeing other competitors with medals and I thought oh no, everyone else has finished, they’ve had the medal ceremony, everyone’s gone home and I’m still plodding along. I stupidly didn’t realise EVERYONE gets a medal when they finish!
We were driving at 6am to the Norwich Tri, when the bike rack with both bikes fell off the car and bounced down the road. Fortunately they didn’t hit anybody and my “happy shopper” was put back together to live another day. Tri Anglia were great and let us just do the swim and run.
One of the first running training sessions with Waveney in Beccles – when Dave said run up and down the hill from Puddingmoor 5 times – and I just looked at him, totally bewildered, and said “why on earth would I want to do that?” I had absolutely no idea about reps/training.
Thinking I had to carry a banana with me during the tri in case I needed an energy boost – some very peculiar photos!
Who motivates/inspires you?
Everyone on the Wednesday night running sessions with Waveney Valley AC (injuries and ailing relatives mean we haven’t been for a while). Richard Auckland is such an inspirational running coach, as are Dave, Rob, Karle, Phil (just don’t ask me to do that noughts and crosses cone thing again!} Suzy is wonderful.
Describe a typical training week
I try to swim 3-4 times a week, run about 20-25 miles a week (when I’m not injured), have recently joined the gym to try to keep fit during running injuries and either do indoor cycling at home or go out on my bike (yes it’s still the “happy shopper”!) 3 or 4 times a week.
Any special pre race routine?
Just a bundle of nerves, tieing and re-tieing my shoe laces, queueing as many times as possible for the loos and reminding Alan not to beat me.
Races on the agenda and future ambitions
The Rothwell Carnival 10k in July with Alan and my 2 nieces, who I nagged into taking up running, the Beccles Tri (of course!), getting back to training on a Wednesday/Thursday evening, getting a new bike? Trying to inspire others, who like me, were totally useless at sport and saying you CAN do it.
Favourite piece of kit or tech
My brilliant Polar M430 watch – amazing Finnish technology. (ok so my son works for Polar but it really is an excellent gizmo).