In summary, brilliant race, fantastic location, well organised, enthusiastically marshalled, eye wateringly expensive and lots of fun. With the race fee, camping fee at Holkham and a night in a B&B (to keep Charlie happy - she is not a keen camper) having blown the Fowler race budget for the whole summer, a bad weekend was not an option. Thankfully the rain and clouds on Saturday gave way to a glorious sunny race day on Sunday - so of course Fowler opted for the clear swimming goggles instead of the tinted ones *face palm* . Apart from not being able to see when swimming east (which was only a couple of times luckily) the swim was fine (water visibility was on a par with Salford Quays, ie: zero) with only some mild "hand bags at dawn" with fellow competitors. Bike course was great, fairly flat and many of the junctions had teams of marshalls who actually stopped traffic, which almost gave it a closed road feel, even though much of it wasn't. There was also a nice touch from the organisers of highlighting potholes etc on the course with orange spray paint. The number of participants out on the roads made for a lot of overtaking (and being overtaken) - but actually this was more fun than being out on your own for ages, and led to some friendly banter. So, to the run, basically my running legs only really showed up for a couple of miles, the rest was a bit of a slog, although weirdly I started to feel a bit more comfortable in the last lap. Long suffering Charlie managed to make it out of bed and gave us a cheer on each run lap which was nice, and hopefully I smiled a bit (although photographic evidence suggested not). Was hoping for something a little quicker than 5:22:08 but I really enjoyed the whole experience and will very likely be back. Good to see James H, Rich, Kate and Tamsyn (thanks for encouragement!) also over the weekend - and I also heard Eleanor S being called out over the tannoy as she won her age group in 5:04:06 - a fantastic performance, well done Eleanor! And so to the lessons learnt section:
+ Skip Norwich Castle for sightseeing if you don't want to have recurring nightmares (see attached). However, we are still buzzing from seeing the largest teapot in the world
+ Blickling Parkrun is a good warm up for the day before the race, but a 8 mile circular walk from Holkham to the beach,Wells-Next-The-Sea and back again is probably pushing it *face palm*
+ The Victoria Inn is a top pub for after the race, but don't get tempted to have a couple the night before *face palm*
+ It's worth going to the race briefing if you've got absolutely nothing else to do. It could have been 10 minutes - but it took a whole hour, during which time Charlie ate cake and a vegan sausage roll in the cafe. I wasn't happy.
+ Goggles (see above)