Life is a rollercoaster

Sweat Pink laces

Hello all! Apologies for my silence, the last week has been an emotional rollercoaster for me. After the high of finding out that I had been selected as a Team SOAS Ambassador, I plummeted to a low when I found out that my beloved grandmother was seriously ill. This has thrown my training, nutrition, blogging and work plans into disarray, but some things are just more important. I’ve still managed to do some training with Tri Club and Run Camp.

Tri Club swimming session

On Monday evening, I went to the Tri Club swimming session. It was a slightly strange session for several reasons. Firstly, the local council has introduced evening parking charges, but many people did not realise until they had parked their cars and gone into the swimming pool’s reception. They then had to scrabble around to find enough change to put in the meter. This meant that the swimming session started late.

Secondly, I usually swim in the 8-9pm session, but I had to go to a running club meeting from 8pm. We went to the 7pm swimming session, which meant that Stuart and I were with unfamiliar groups.

There were two ladies and two gents in the first lane. I’d never seen the chaps before, but know both of the women. I know Jenny through Run Camp. Sonia is one of the best female runners in another local running club (but also very down to earth and friendly. I would finish a long way behind her in any race, but that doesn’t stop her from speaking to me!)

Breathing whilst swimming

We did a few lengths of front crawl as warm up, but I wasn’t fully focused. I suddenly realised that I had been counting my strokes and had reached 13 but had not taken a breath. Whilst that was not what we were intending to do, it has made me wonder whether I could actually swim a whole length underwater with a bit of practice. (I know that it takes me 21 strokes to do a length).

We did a warm-up drill that involved backstroke and then moved onto various body position drills. As usual, my battle was to keep my head in line with my body. Coach Peter said it looked better, but it may just be that he is despairing about what to do with me!

The main set

The main set was 12x50m off 90 seconds. I knew that I would find that a huge struggle, so I did the first 5 and then had a break when the others were doing the sixth set so that I was able to join in for the last half. The pace felt a lot faster than the usual group that I am in, and there were fewer of us in the lane.

The warm down was 200m breaststroke, which was quite a pleasant change.

All of the data is here: …but as I haven’t quite figured out how to use my watch correctly, I’m not sure it’s very meaningful! At the end of each of my two lengths of crawl, I waited for about 20 seconds before doing my next set, but I wasn’t sure what to do with my watch, so I just left it running whilst I was waiting (that’s easier for me than watching the clock on the wall as my poor eyesight means that I can’t read it!!!)

Run Camp speed session

Run Camp at the track
Run Camp at the track © Ant Gritton

On Tuesday morning, I went to my first Run Camp speed session of the year. I told Stuart that I needed to get up at 6am. H must have set the alarm for earlier than 6 as, by the time I had dressed, I looked over and saw that the alarm clock said 6:01. I might have been quick, but I don’t think I can put on compression tights and full running clothing in a minute!!!

I drove up to Southampton Sports Centre and could see that Andy had already arrived. Jenny was parking at the same time, so I picked up my water bottle and jogged down to the track with her. Coach Ant was already at the track along with the rest of the runners. We had to do 2 x 400m as a warm up before we were divided into two groups:

Group A

  • Gareth
  • Andy
  • James
  • Katherine

Group B

  • Tamsyn
  • Jenny
  • Max
  • Liz

Strength work

Group A started on the track, whilst my group were given exercises to do.

  1. 12 x single leg deadlift (on the left-hand side) with a weight
Single leg Romanian deadlift
Single leg Romanian deadlift © Townsend Fitness Systems
  1. 12 x lunge with medicine ball on alternating legs
Medicine ball lunge
Medicine ball lunge © Everyday Better
  1. 12 x single leg deadlift (on the right-hand side) with a weight
  2. 12 x squat with a resistance band.
Squat with resistance band
Squat with resistance band © The Secret La Revista
  1. 2 x 20m squats sideways

We did the entire set of exercises four times before we were told what we would be doing on the track. We knew that we would run for 3 minutes, before having a 3-minute break. In that break, we would need to return to the start, so we would have to spend some of it walking. I had to run 597m; Jenny had to do 590m and I think Max and Liz were given about 500m. Fortunately, I know where the 200m mark is on the track, so I knew where I had to go. My average pace was between 4:38 and 4:52, so although I didn’t manage to beat Jenny on the last lap, I think it’s fair to say I nailed it. I got to my marker for each of the four laps and when I started to feel tired, I reminded myself of my ultimate goals.

Sweat Pink

After returning from Run Camp, my rollercoaster week continued with an email confirmation that I am now a Sweat Pink Ambassador:

Welcome to the Sweat Pink™ movement, where tough and girly come together at last. Sweat Pink™ is all about sharing the joy that comes from living a healthy lifestyle. It’s a celebration of hard work and well-earned rewards. Our pink shoelaces are a proud demonstration of all we’ve achieved, and all we plan to become.
I hope to continue inspiring women around me and have ordered my first batch of pink shoelaces 😀
Sweat Pink laces

Going home

On Tuesday afternoon, I drove the 220 miles (approx 350km) down to Cornwall to be able to visit my grandmother. For the rest of the week, I have been getting up early and trying to fit my day job (which is mostly online) around visiting hours, which has meant that I’ve been online working from around 7am – 11pm every day this week. It has been exhausting and I feel sluggish from the lack of running, swimming and cycling.

Sadly, at the age of 92, I know that my grandmother is not going to make a recovery, but it was lovely to see that she had managed to get out of bed yesterday. She was watching one of her favourite afternoon quiz shows and remained as alert as ever. I saw my grandma again today and will see her again tomorrow before I have to head home. It’s heartbreaking to know that they are probably the last times that I will ever see her.

A final ‘up’ of the week was that I found out that I already know one of my fellow Team SOAS Brand Ambassadors – the amazing Kat Marshall from Embrace Sports. Kat is one of the kindest, most supportive and most energetic people who I know. She is a brilliant role model for any aspiring athletes and I can’t wait to catch up with her later on this year 🙂

Kat at the top of The Punisher
Kat at the top of The Punisher

2 Responses

  1. Wow. That’s a LOT to take in. Congratulations on being an ambassador. I was beyond elated to find out I was chosen as an OGIO Advisory Board Member! That made my day, no, my life! 🙂 Looking forward to hearing about your swag!
    And. I am SO sorry to hear about your gramma. 🙁
    You’ve got your first 10k coming up, I see. Good luck on your training!

    • Thank you, Sandra. As soon as my goodies arrive, pictures will be posted 🙂

      As for the 10k, I’m not prepared, so I’ll just remind myself of the mantra, “When your legs get tired, run with your heart”!

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