Is it possible to add any more awesomeness into my weekend?

Group of women from Lordshill Road Runners wearing smart dresses
Linda soas
This motto, which was shared by a fellow Racing SOAS Ambassador, encapsulates my weekend!

Wow! What A busy weekend I had. It started with a 6am alarm call on Saturday morning, as I needed to do a long run as part of my marathon training. I had to leave the house at 7:10am to meet a friend, so I had just enough time to lace my Brooks shoes:

My new SweatPink shoelaces in my Brooks shoes.

The SweatPink shoelaces have come in really handy for me. I had two identical pairs of Brooks Vapors, so now I can differentiate between them. I’ll have a better idea of which pair I’ve been wearing and when I need to replace them.

Running with Teri

It was dark when I left the house, but it was only a short run to where I was going to meet my friend, Teri. She’s training for London Marathon, which is a week after mine, so our schedules are not identical, but they’re close enough. After we’d been running for a while, we found ourselves on a motorway bridge. It gave us fantastic views of the morning sky and the sunrise. As usual, my photos don’t do it justice. You’ll just have to believe me when I say it was beautiful!

Sunrise over motorway
Sometimes it’s worth getting up at 6am for a run!
The sunrise on our early run
The sunrise on our early run

Teri had planned a route which took us out the Chandler’s Ford via some back roads. She had programmed it all into her Garmin and apart from one tiny wobble, it worked really well. I don’t really know the area, but Teri has worked there for quite a long time and is familiar with it. She was quite confident about where we were and where we needed to go. It also meant that we were able to meet up with Meryl, one of Teri’s friends who wanted to do a 10k run. Anyone who knows me knows that I talk a lot, but it’s always nice to add a fresh person to the conversation during a long run. Even I don’t always have enough to say for three hours!

Map reading
Teri and Meryl had a go at map reading

Although Teri had planned the route really well, we needed to ensure that we were going on a route that meant Meryl didn’t end up far from her starting point. This took a little bit of coordination… and gave me a couple of minutes to stretch and take some photos.

Trees in Chandlers Ford
It might look overcast, but the conditions were perfect for running

Clothing decisions

I hadn’t been sure about what to wear but had settled on a lightweight long-sleeved Gore top with tights, gloves and a headband. It didn’t take long before I took off my gloves. Chandler’s Ford has a microclimate of its own, so I put my headband back on when we got there and it stayed on for the rest of the run!

River in Chandlers Ford
We didn’t get wet, but there were streams everywhere

We were really lucky with the weather. It stayed dry and at times the sun came out, which made running quite difficult as the roads were so wet from the overnight rain we were blinded! The temperature was ideal for running and I really enjoyed it.

When we got back to The Common, Teri and I posed for a quick photo before going our separate ways. She wanted to ensure that she had done 17 miles, whereas my house is further away, so I knew I’d make the distance. A quick check of my Garmin when I got home revealed that I’d run 17.5 miles. It was further than I’d intended, but after missing my last two long runs, it was a relief that I’d made it without curling up in pain. My knee and hip felt fine, so I was really happy!

17.5 miles done with Teri
17.5 miles done with Teri

New shoes!

While I was out running, Stu was on his way to Alton Sports, our local running shop, to pick up some new trainers. Usually, I would advise seeing an advisor in a specialist shop and trying on shoes before getting them, but this was different. Like last year, Brooks are running their ‘Try it on’ promotion, where it’s possible to borrow a brand new pair of shoes to try for a week before returning them. This entitles you to a £25 off voucher on any of their shoes. How brilliant is that?

Brooks try it on
Brooks try it on promotion

I knew I wanted another pair of Brooks Pure Cadence, but as I had the chance to try something different, I plumped for the Brooks Pure Flow, which are more minimal.

What shoes do you run in? Are you loyal to one brand? I love Brooks shoes as my main trainers but swear by Salomon Speedcross for trail/cross-country. I’m also lucky that I can wear neutral shoes. Brooks Vapors are support shoes, but I’ve had them for a long time and they don’t cause any problems, so I’ve stuck with them.

Choosing The Right Type Of Running Shoes

From Visually.

I was hoping that when I opened the box, I would see this:

pure flow turquoise Brooks shoes.
I was hoping that I would get to try Brooks Pure Flow in turquoise to go with my Soas kit…

mainly because I liked the colours. As the Brooks UK website was showing 10x as many in that colour combination as the other choices, I thought it was a foregone conclusion that I would get turquoise shoes. Alas, it was not to be. When I opened the box, I realised I had the black and pink model:

Brooks Pureflow pink.
Brooks Pure Flow pink

They’re attractive shoes and a brief test on one foot suggests that they will be comfy, but they won’t match my team SOAS kit! I’ll try them out at Monday night’s running club session to see what I think.

Novice cycling course

After I got back in from my run, I changed as quickly as I could. Then I collected Asa and headed to Steve’s house for a novice cyclist course. Although I ride to work every day, I’m still quite nervous on my road bike, so I thought it would be good to learn from an experienced cyclist. I really enjoy riding my bike and think it’s great that cycling is increasing in popularity.

The British Cycling Economy

From Visually.

In the first part of his session, Coach Steve went through how to do a basic bike set-up and also how to do an M check.

This is the kind of visual checklist that I find really helpful. Steve also gave us some reminders on what kit we should take with us on any cycling excursions.

The second part of the session was when we went outside on our bikes. We did a little warm-up. Steve checked our balance by making everyone reach down to get their water bottle and then cycle along whilst holding it on their head. We then moved on to doing my favourite cycling drill – one-legged pedalling. As we only had to do it for a very short distance, I didn’t find it too hard! We then moved on to cornering. I didn’t crash, but I still find it hard not to brake after I’ve started turning, which is a bad habit that I need to get out of.

When we’d finished we went back into Steve’s to warm up with a cup of tea… and we also had some lovely cakes to celebrate Liz’s birthday. It was an opportunity for the group to chat, and Steve recommended Tiger Frog workouts for using on a turbo trainer.

The Billy Bash

When I got home, I had a shower and a short nap before getting ready for ‘The Billy Bash’, which is my running club’s annual award dinner.

Stu and I arrived shortly before everyone went into the dining room. We were pleased to find that we were on a table with some people that we get on well with.

There were some fantastic people on my table
There were some fantastic people on my table © Paul A. Hammond

As it wasn’t long after Christmas, there were crackers on the tables. The novelty items in the crackers seemed to be quite well received…

...including my Coach, Ant, (right) and work colleague, Rikki (left)
…including my Coach, Ant, (right) and work colleague, Rikki (left)

After dessert had been served, the awards ceremony began. I knew that I wouldn’t win anything for being fast (because I’m not), but I was pleased to be a joint winner of the club participation award with the latest women’s captain, Di. As I’ve decided to focus on triathlons this year, I know that I won’t win this prize again – I’m not entering all of the eligible races.

Club Participation Award winner for teh second year in a row!
Club Participation Award winner for the second year in a row! © Paul A. Hammond
2013 participation award
Here’s a close-up of my trophy

After the trophies were handed out, the party began, with some people drinking quite a lot. I don’t drink alcohol, so I was happy to observe the proceedings, but I think the photo below shows that my husband had a few glasses of rum!

...and here's my greatest supporter (who had had a few rums by this stage!)
…and here’s my greatest supporter (who had had a few rums by this stage!) © Paul A. Hammond

I had hoped that I would lose weight before the event, as I had chosen quite a daring dress, but with all of the stress I’ve been under this month, that didn’t happen.

Back of Billy Bash dress
My dress was a little more daring than usual © Inez Walker

Overall, it was a good night out and I enjoyed having the opportunity to chat with a few people I don’t normally see.

The lovely Lordshill ladies at the 'Billy Bash'
The lovely Lordshill ladies at the ‘Billy Bash’ © Paul A. Hammond

Rainy ride

On Sunday morning, Stuart and I got up fairly early to go for a long bike ride with Liz, Katherine and Suzanne. Several others had originally planned to join us, but the Billy Bash after-party and the rain claimed a few victims.

It was raining hard when we left Southampton, but we hoped that the weather would improve. It didn’t feel too cold and I was enjoying chatting with Liz. An hour in, disaster struck – Suzanne got a puncture. Everyone was roped in to help… so I offered to hold bikes/equipment, as I know my limitations!

Repairing a puncture
Repairing a puncture © Liz Carter

Suzanne’s tyre decided to fight back. It took quite a lot of persuasion with tyre levers to be able to get the inner tube out. After quite a while standing around in the pouring rain, we were glad when it was time to move on again.

Puncture © Liz Carter

Unfortunately, we had only been moving for a minute or so when Suzanne realised that her tyre had split. It wasn’t safe for her to continue riding. The only option was to slowly make our way to the local garden centre cafe and ask for Suzanne’s partner to come and collect her and her bike.

So glad to be in the warm
So glad to be in the warm © Liz Carter

Eating and drinking

As we knew that we would have to wait for a while, we thought we might as well take advantage of the facilities and order some snacks and drinks.

Liz at Hilliers
Liz loves a selfie! © Liz Carter
My medicinal hot chocolate
My medicinal hot chocolate

My hands were freezing, so I was very glad to have a large mug of hot chocolate to help warm them up.

Katherine was worried that there might not be any food!
Katherine was worried that there might not be any food!

After Piers collected Suzanne, we cycled back to Southampton before going out for a pub lunch. We definitely consumed more calories than we burnt off on Sunday – oops!

Everything has fallen apart a little this week as I’ve been working from 8am-10pm+ almost every day. I didn’t make it to running club on Monday, but I managed to get to Run Camp on Tuesday morning. We had to run for 3 minutes followed by a 3-minute break four times as well as doing some strength training. I found it tough this week.

Although I tweeted a few times on Tuesday, not everything appeared in my #TWIET (Tweet What I Eat Tuesday), and what you did see wasn’t good:


I started out with chocolate brownie porridge. Then I had a muffin at iPAD Coffee Club. This was followed by an enormous burger at a work meal. As the last image shows, I didn’t manage to eat it all.

Yesterday, I got home from work too late to train and my visit to Weight Watchers wasn’t successful. Not only had I put on weight, but I found that my group is being closed down. This means I need to find an alternative. I didn’t go out running with my friends this morning as I needed to go to work. Fortunately, my big project is nearly ready to go live. I’m hoping I’ll be able to get back to training soon. I’ve got a long run scheduled for Saturday followed by a meal with a couple of female friends who I haven’t seen for ages. Then the second part of my novice cycling course is on Sunday.


I found a little bit of time to watch this video this week. It made me laugh out loud several times:

How’s your week been?

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