Phoenix Fit UK elastic lace system giveaway winner announcement

24 Aug
colour choices
The winners of the Phoenix fit UK elastic laces giveaway on were selected at random on Rafflecopter.
Congratulations to: 
1. Izzi Normanton
2. Ellie Wood
3. Franny Tran
The prize is a pair of Phoenix Fit UK elastic laces in the colour of the winner’s choice. Hopefully, the winners will love these laces as much as I do🙂





DNF and I feel fine – a guest post from my husband

22 Aug

Originally I had planned to write a post for Tamsyn’s blog after IM Copenhagen but things didn’t go quite to plan and following on from that I wasn’t feeling what I thought I should be feeling so hopefully this post will also help me explore that a bit. 

Firstly, I entered IM Copenhagen back in September 2015 as I wanted to have a challenge for myself ahead of my 40th birthday at the end of this year. At that stage I was reasonably confident about the running and swimming but had never ridden over 65 miles. Those regular readers of the blog will know that I don’t have a great injury track record and at the time of entering I was recovering from a torn calf muscle which happened the week before IM Dublin 70.3. 

I realised I needed a bit of help with my goal and after not being able to find a local coach I signed up to online coaching via Training Peaks (Carson at Fascat Coaching if anyone is thinking about a coach) in November. 
To cut a long story short, I completed around 450 hours of training in the build up to the race with the support of friends and especially Tamsyn who took on more housework to help me have more training time and put up with me being tired and grumpy a lot. There were a few bumps on the way with niggles and illness but this was probably the best training block I’ve ever had. Good to go for race day. 
The short term preparation was badly hampered by our bikes being stolen – not really an impact on training but very stressful and time consuming trying to obtain a race bike and deal with police and insurers. Thanks to Darren at Estrella Bikes I was lent a road bike to race on although I wasn’t able to get any long rides in ahead of the race. I managed to get a last minute bike fit from Garth at Vankru so was confident I would be OK with the position despite that lack of time on the machine. 

Copenhagen is a great city and whilst expensive, I’d recommend a visit and the race to others. A few days here getting registration, racking etc. done with a bit of light tourism and I was ready to race. 

The swim went pretty well – it’s a fast route being in a lagoon with the benefit of salt water but not having waves or strong currents to worry about. Age group athletes get set off in groups of 6 every 5 seconds so there is nowhere near as much stress at the swim start as many other races. 

It did get hard to sight at times with fog but I was really happy to come in at 58:05 with around half without any drafting and having done an extra 200m as a result of sighting issues. Transition was fairly standard and out onto the bike course. 

I got about 3k into the bike when another rider swerved in front of me trying to correct themselves after going onto the wrong side of the road and nearly head on into a bus. I took a bit of evasive action but unfortunately caught a pothole which then resulted in me clipping the kerb. 

I was probably riding around 35kph / 22 mph and went down. Nothing spectacular but a bit of a shock all the same. Some spectators helped pick up the bike and walked me down to some nearby marshals. I could definitely feel the road rash down my right side but of more concern was a gash in my wrist. At the time I was struggling to move my fingers a lot (which subsequently is absolutely fine) and I was not confident it would last the vibrations of another 175k and be safe and enable me to brake. 

Another factor was a crack in my helmet which meant I was likely in trouble if anything else happened. I was looked at by the race doctor who confirmed I would need stitches in my wrist and arranged for an appointment at a local clinic. I rode there having no other transport and after that back to the hotel. 

I knew Tamsyn would be really worried as around 90 mins had passed since the crash and I hadn’t been able to contact her. 

What the big surprise for me was the realisation that came to me waiting for the doctor – despite the hours of training, emotional investment and cold hard cash required to get me onto the start line in the best shape I have ever been in, I wasn’t devastated, angry, frustrated or anything I would expect to feel. It’s hard to rationalise this and I’m not sure I understand my own feelings on this but in hindsight I had no doubt I could complete the race and the only question was how quickly. I had hoped some months ago for sub-11 hours but actually sub 10:30 was realistic on a good day. I’m not competitive with others generally and really just with myself and my own abilities so maybe I had proven to myself what I needed to. 
These, combined with more important things in life (looking after Tamsyn ahead of our baby being born later this year) left me feeling that it was ok. I have no regrets over the decision made on course – it was the right one. 

The only disappointment I have is not seeing the bike course and more of Denmark and feeling the support of the crowd on the run route through the centre of Copenhagen. 

We went to spectate and the support was superb. I’d really recommend this race – the course is beginner friendly and fast as well as having good support on the run. 

I’m not sure what the next step is for me – I could look to race long distance again in a few weeks or alternatively may call it a day for the season or just race a marathon. I’m going to take a few days to decide whilst my body heals. 
I never though I would say this but I just DNF’d a race I’d spent 8-months training for and I feel fine. 
– Stu

My first international parkrun at Amager Faelled

22 Aug

We didn’t arrive in Copenhagen early enough for the Ironman 5k run that took place on Wednesday, so I was keen to take part in parkrun on Saturday morning. Denmark was the first country outside of the UK to have a parkrun and we knew that there were three in Copenhagen. We quickly realised that the view from our hotel room window was of Amager Faelled, which is where Denmark’s oldest parkrun takes place.

We got up early on Saturday morning and dressed in our running clothes before heading down for breakfast. I was worried about Stu doing too much ahead of his ironman, but his coach had told him to do a 20 minute run, so he said he’d be OK to do parkrun with me.

We went to the nearby Metro and took the next train to DR Byen, which is the stop nearest to the start of the parkrun. We crossed the road and started walking across the park.

After walking for quite a while, I started to get worried as there was no sign of a parkrun. We then saw an olde lady running, so we asked her is she knew about parkrun. Of course, she spoke impeccable English, but she apologised that he was unsure where the start was and said she thought we should continue in the direction we were going. 

There were quite a few runners around, but none of them looked like they were intending to do parkrun as they seemed focuses on their own workouts.

A little while later, we saw some more people who seemed to be looking around. They turned out to be more English people looking for the start of parkrun.

Although this event has been running for 7 years, it is very low key. We found a patch of grass and a couple of people who has stopped there with bicycles. Apparently, somewhere nearby was a sign, but we think it was in the opposite direction.

There were a number of English people who had arrived to run – mainly friends and family of people taking part in Ironman Copenhagen, like me. Everyone gathered on the patch of grass where a tarpaulin was spread out as a place for people to leave their bags and jackets.

(C) Henrik Poulsen

The Run Director gave a really good briefing in English and Danish. She also asked who had done the double. We were a little confused until she explained that because of the Ironman set up the parkrun at Amager Strand had had to take place at 8am, so some people had already completed that event.

After the briefing, we walked a few hundred metres to the start line that was marked in organic flour. We had been told that there would be no marshals on the run course, but that all of the turns were marked with flour.

I set off quite slowly as I was at the back. It wasn’t long before I got chatting with a group of parkrunners who were mainly from the Milton Keynes area. This was good because it meant that I maintained a steady pace.

The course was mostly flat, with only very minor inclines and declines. I was surprised to see one of the runners emerge from a thicket, but assumed that he had needed a ‘comfort break’, so I thought no more of it… Until he stopped again a couple of hundred metres later and I realised that he was picking blackberries as he ran and filling a small bag!

I hadn’t realised from the race briefing that it was a two-lap course, so it came as a surprise to pass the flour start-line. I glanced at my watch and could see I was doing quite well, so I decided to maintain the same easy even pace and see whether I could finish in under 30 minutes. Just after 4K, my right leg started to feel a bit tired and achy, but I figured that wouldn’t do my baby any harm, so I kept going!I was delighted to cross the line in an official time of 29:47, which isn’t bad for 32 weeks pregnant. I definitely think the flat course and cool breeze helped.

After the run, Stu and I chatted with a few other parkrunners befor thanking the Run Director for holding such a lovely event. If you ever have the chance to take part here, I strongly recommend it. It is a small and friendly event.
All photos by Henrik Poulsen.

Monday Morning Motivation – Power of She

22 Aug

athleta advert

This is the day we stand up for standing together.

We commit to:
Put an end to undermining
Live on the healthy side of competition
Lift our fellow sisters
Realize our limitless potential

Alone we are strong, united we thrive.
Together we create the Power of She.




Monday Morning Motivation – It’s what you do in the dark, that puts you in the light

15 Aug

I love this video that shows the hard work gymnasts need to put into their sport, often at an age when they are in full-time education.

What sacrifices are you making to achieve your goals?

Can you imagine playing soccer barefoot with a leather ball?

14 Aug

I love reading about unusual stories from the history of sport. My friend Ola recently wrote a great article on

The Story of the 1949 Nigerian Football Team’s UK Tour

before I read this article, I had no idea that this tour took place. One of the aspects that I found most interesting was that they players did not wear shoes. I can’t imagine trying to play football with a lightweight plastic children’s ball, let alone a heavy leather football of the type used in England in the 1940s.

Ola’s article is really well-written, so even if you’re not a football fan, you’ll enjoy it.

Some good news

14 Aug

Thanks to lots of sharing on social media, one of our bikes has been recovered🙂 I went to Southampton Police Station this morning and identified my Giant Escape City W, which had been abandoned less than 5km from where it had been stolen. It still had its panniers attached and their usual contents (puncture repair kit, spare inner tube etc) inside. I am so grateful to everyone who shared information about our bikes on social media, but in particular Lisa. It was one of Lisa’s friends who saw a photo of my bike and identified it as one she’d seen.

Giant Escape City W

I am also very grateful to the ‘older gentleman’ who found my bike and contacted the police.

The bike was abandoned in an area that is not a through-road, so we are assuming that the thieves were not in a van and were trying to get away whilst riding/pushing the bikes. This gives me hope that they are still in the Southampton area. If you live in Hampshire and haven’t yet shared any of my posts, I’d be really grateful if you could. Here’s a link to the public Facebook album:

Also, someone has generously agreed to loan Stuart a gorgeous new bike (that is being held in a secure location until we travel to Denmark). We are incredibly grateful – more details about this beautiful bike will be shared later🙂


In the words of Rohan Dennis…

12 Aug

…”Shit happens!”

Last night whilst I was asleep my garage was broken into. 5 bikes were stolen. I am devastated.

The most upsetting factor is that my husband has spent months training for Ironman Copenhagen and we’re due to travel there in just a few days time, but now he has no bike. Several people have very generously offered to lend him their bikes, but not many of them are the same size as Stu. We really appreciate the offers and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that one particular offer works out, but it still won’t be the bike that he has trained on and got used to.

If anyone is offered a ‘good deal’ on any of the following bikes, please get in touch:

Canyon Aeroad

Canyon Aeroad

Promotional picture of Canyon Aeroad

Canyon Aeroad the day it was built and fitted

Canyon Aeroad the day it was built and fitted


Stuart on his Aeroad not long before the saddle was replaced

  • Black bike with black tribars and yellow lizardskin bar tape on main handlebars
  • Stages power meter – 6800 model
  • Black speedplay pedals
  • Aerobars with black lizardgrip bar tape.
  • Garmin out front mount on handlebars
  • Garmin speed / cadence sensors
  • Two black carbon water bottle holders
  • ISM PN 1.1 saddle (split)


Kuota Kharma Evo

This is the main bike that you will have seen pictures of me riding. It is my pride and joy.

my new cycling kit

Out for a ride on my Kuota wearing my 2014 SOAS kit


Promotional picture of a Kuota Kharma Evo in black, white and silver

Close up of Kuota Kharma

Close up of my bike that shows my name on the cross bar and the black San Marco saddle


Picture of my Kuota that shows the usual bento box that is on it – this has left marks around the handlebar stem

  • Black speedplay pedals
  • Black lizardskin bar tape
  • Two white Elite custom race bottle holders with black text
  • Name on crossbar (Tamsyn)
  • Tippex marking saddle height and handlebars
  • Black deda handlebars and stem
  • Shimano Ultegra
  • Had been marked by the police in an event at Decathlon
  • Bento box, saddle bag and pump attached to frame
  • Garmin speed and cadence sensors
  • Predominantly black San Marco saddle with barely noticeable flowers on it

Giant Defy 1

This is the bike that Stuart rode in Japan.

2013 Giant Defy 1

2013 Giant Defy 1

This picture of the Giant Defy 1 and my Kuota Kharma on the bike rack shows the black, blue and white bottle cages on the Giant Defy

This picture of the Giant Defy 1 and my Kuota Kharma on the bike rack shows the black, blue and white bottle cages on the Giant Defy

Stuart riding the Giant Defy on rollers

  • This bike is an unusual pale green metallic colour
  • Lime green speedplay pedals
  • Silver pannier rack
  • Two black with white text elite custom bottle cages
  • Garmin speed/cadence sensors
  • Garmin out front mount

Giant Defy 4

This is the bike that I rode in Japan.

Picture of my Giant Defy that shows the silver pannier rack

Picture of my Giant Defy that shows the silver pannier rack

Giant Defy 4

The bike now has slightly different toe clips

Promotional picture of 2014 Giant Defy 4 (white)

Promotional picture of 2014 Giant Defy 4 (white)

  • Slightly mouldy white bar tape
  • Pedal cages
  • Silver pannier rack
  • Two white elite custom bottle holders
  • Saddle was wonky and had some black plastic tape attached to it
  • Garmin mount on handlebars
  • Variety of Decathlon lights on it

Giant Escape City W

This is my work hybrid, so I usually use it every day.

Promotional picture of Giant Escape City W (2013)

Promotional picture of Giant Escape City W (2013)

Picture of my Giant Escape City W that shows the silver bell and distinctive teal panniers

Picture of my Giant Escape City W that shows the silver bell and distinctive teal panniers

Picture of my Giant Escape City W that shows the reflectors on the front spokes

Picture of my Giant Escape City W that shows the reflectors on the front spokes

  • Had teal fixed panniers and reflectors on all front spokes and some rear spokes
  • Noticeable scratch on right front fork
  • Variety of parking tags on seat post
  • Orp smart horn attached
  • One black elite custom bottle cage
  • D-lock and bicycle repair kit in panniers, including tyre levers and a spare innertube
  • Mount for light on front handlebars and back of pannier rack
  • Small silver bell added to handlebars as original integrated bell broken

We have the serial codes of these bikes.

Steps to recover the stolen bikes

I’m aware that most people never get their bikes back, but there are a few glimmers of hope and stories from friends who have tracked down their bikes down on Gumtree or ebay.

So far, Stuart and I have done the following:

It is possible to register your bike(s) with many of these places whilst it is still in your possession, so it may be worth you spending your time checking that you have full details of any bike that you own and that you have registered it on line. If the worst does happen, then it takes an awful lot less time to get it registered as stolen.

We already had full privacy settings on Strava/Garmin Connect etc and think it’s likely that someone had seen Stuart riding his distinctive bike around. Also he has had to use his turbo trainer in the garage recently, so anyone walking past when the door was open would have seen the bikes.

A reward is offered for each of the bikes ranging from £75-£750. Please get in touch via the comments if you hear anything or contact Hampshire Police on 101 quoting the reference number 44160303060… and I’d be really grateful if you could share this blogpost or my public Facebook album: ‘Stolen Bikes’.

Thank you x

UPDATE: 14/08/16 The Giant Escape City W has now been recovered. It was dumped in Golf Course Road, Southampton, which is relatively near to where it was stolen from. I have identified it at the police station, but have left it there for finger-printing. This gives me hope that the others may be found.

UPDATE: 21/08/16 One of the road bikes was advertised on Gumtree by a seller in Southampton. The police have been notified and are following it up.

On the night that my garage was broken into, my neighbour’s shed was broken into. The power pack for his hedge trimmer was stolen and left by my garage door. Someone also attempted to break into the garage of the neighbours two doors along.



Excitement on Social Media

11 Aug

The last three weeks have been pretty exciting for me on social media. First of all, at the end of July I learnt that Fat Girl to Ironman had been added to the Vuelio Top 10 UK Sports Blogs, which was a big surprise, especially given the prestigious company I was in. Please check out the blogs on that list.

Vuelio Sports Blogs UK Top 10 Vuelio Top 10 screenshot of FGTI

Then this week, I heard from WIMI Sports and Fitness who gave included this blog on their 50 Best Women’s Running Blogs to Start Reading Now.

WIMI 50 Best Women's Running Blogs

29: Fat Girl to Ironman

Look at that – sandwiched between a couple of amazing blogs!🙂

I was familiar with a lot of blogs on this list, but have enjoyed spending the last couple of evenings going through the list and subscribing to lots amazing running blogs.

Which blogs are your favourites and why?



Are you feeling lucky? Phoenix Fit UK elastic laces review and giveaway

8 Aug

I’ve been lucky enough to have some Phoenix Fit UK elastic laces to try recently.

Phoenix fit UK elastic laces

Phoenix fit UK elastic laces

They come in a wide range of colours, but this pair especially appealed to me as they match my favourite trainers… which match my Team SOAS kit.

My favourite Brooks with elastic laces

I have tried various elastic lace systems in the past, but the first pair that I bought were very cheap and were so stretchy that my shoes kept slipping off. The next pair that I tried were OK for a while, but I found that if I ran for longer distances (over 10k), my feet started to swell and my shoes became too tight, so I’ve been searching for a perfect replacement for a little while.

There are lots of benefits to using Phoenix Fit UK elastic laces:

  • You never have to stop to tie your shoelaces. This is an essential time-saving element in triathlon as no-one wants to waste precious seconds in T2 (the bike to run transition), but it can also be the difference between getting a PB or not in a running race. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen someone have to stop during parkrun (or a race) to retie their laces… or worse yet, trying to struggle on with their laces untied, whilst I’m panicking that they’re going to trip and fall! This can also be a huge benefit if you have a child who hasn’t yet learnt to tie their shoe-laces or an elderly relative who struggles with fastening their shoes.
  • They’re really quick and easy to put into your shoes. I had put one pair in an ordinary pair of trainers, but I wanted to wear my blue/turquoise shoes for my aquathlon. I completely forgot to lace them before going to the event. Luckily, I was able to lace up both shoes in just a few minutes after I had arrived at the race venue.
  • They’re easy to adjust. Pressing the ergonomic lock button releases the laces, so you can easily make your shoes looser or tighter.
  • They’re really comfortable. As a runner who’s currently 7.5 months pregnant, I know what it’s like to have feet that swell at random. These laces are extremely comfortable and I know there’s no risk of getting hotspots and sore patches where my laces have been too tight.

This short video shoes just how easy Phoenix Fit UK elastic laces are to install:

My partner, Stu, is just a couple of weeks out from his first Ironman, so he has been looking for the perfect laces. He chose to add a pair of the laces in white to his Brooks shoes that he uses for distance running:

Close up of Phoenix fit UK elastic lace

Phoenix fit UK elastic laces in Stuart's shoes

Phoenix fit UK elastic laces in Stuart’s shoes

Since putting the laces into his shoes, Stuart has worn them for quite a few long (10 miles+) training runs. I managed to get a couple of pictures of Stu out running with those shoes on:

Stuart running 1

Stuart running 2

Stuart running

Stuart is a very different runner from me – he’s got good technique and can comfortably ‘jog’ a hilly marathon in under 3:25. I asked him what he thought of the laces, and this is how he responded:

“I think they give a more consistent tightness than standard elastic laces. I will definitely be wearing them for triathlons in future. They were quite easy to install, although I found putting the ends on quite fiddly… but that’s a one-off job, so it didn’t bother me”

Close up of Phoenix Fit UK elastic laces toggles

Close up of Phoenix Fit UK elastic laces toggles

So, what do you think? For me it’s free speed for my next triathlon🙂



I’m hosting a Phoenix fit UK elastic laces giveaway, so please enter for a chance to get your hands on “the ultra tough elastic lace system.”

I have three pairs of laces to give away – the winners will be able to choose from the following colours (depending on availability).

colour choices

The giveaway runs from 12:00am on Monday August 8th 2016 to 12:00am on Monday August 22nd. Full terms and conditions are available at the link below:

Fat Girl to Ironman ‘Phoenix Fit UK Competition’ TERMS and CONDITIONS

No purchase necessary. Entrants muct be resident in United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The winner will be picked at random by Rafflecopter and announced on this blog by Wednesday August 24th.











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