Yesterday was such an exciting day. I came home at lunchtime, as I needed to get my car for work and noticed that there was a man on my front lawn. On closer inspection, I realised that it was Adrian, my lovely gardener (I’m not posh, but it was cheaper to have a gardener for a couple of years than buy a new lawnmower, and it gives me a bit more time for training!) Adrian told me that I’d just missed the postman who’d tried to deliver a parcel. I assumed that I would need to wait 24 hours before going to the post office to collect it, but when I looked at the delivery notes, I found that the postman had delivered my parcel to my next-door neighbours.
I needed to head down to the Oceanography Centre for work, so on my way to the car, I called at my neighbours’ house and collected my parcel. Instantly, I could see it was a parcel from Team SOAS – yay!
In the last few days, I’ve seen a few posts on social media about the American Brand Ambassadors receiving their kit, but I’d assumed that I’d need to wait a couple of weeks for mine to arrive. I wanted to take photos to savour the moment and share it with all of you, so I put the parcel on the front seat of my car and it remained there until I got home from work, which is when the excitement began.
I carefully opened the box, which was packed full of exciting goodies, all carefully packaged with turquoise tissue paper.
First out of the box was a headband. Unless it’s really hot, you’ll have noticed that I almost always wear a headband. It fits really well and is incredibly comfortable. I love the details on it – at the back there are cute little SOAS logos.
Next out of the box was the hoodie. It’s soft, warm and comfortable and I can tell it’s going to be a favourite for wearing to and from races and just about any other occasion. (I’m currently on my way to an education and technology conference, where I’m going to be giving a presentation on Digital Literacies and I seriously considered wearing it today!)
Sadly, I then had to take a pause from the excitement, as I had to go to my Weight Watchers meeting. That seemed like as good a reason as any to put on my new hoodie. I found out that I put on 1.5lbs in Cyprus, but I think my new kit will be great motivation for me to get back on track with eating healthily!
When I got back, I was able to start going through the contents more thoroughly. First out of the box was a lovely note from Steph, one of the founders of SOAS. It is so exciting to be part of a team of amazing women.
The next items that I tried on were the grey marl cropped jogging bottoms. I’ve never had cropped jogging bottoms before, but they felt really comfortable on. They’ll be ideal for wearing to and from races in the warmer months of the year, and for after open water swimming. They’ve got a gorgeous logo patch on the left hip.
You’ll see that I’ve teamed the trousers with my new flip-flops. Last year was the first time since I was a small child that I owned a pair of flip-flops as I’ve always found them incredibly uncomfortable. Part of the reason is that I have conjoined toes and they’ve always rubbed between my toes. Last year I invested in a pair of the most hideous flip-flops known to man (pearly pink straps and multicoloured leopard print soles). I chose them specifically as I wanted them for when I went open water swimming. I figured that if they were brightly coloured, I would be able to spot them even without glasses on/contact lenses in. Fortunately, they can now be retired for a significantly more stylish option… now I just need a SOAS swimming costume to match. (I wonder whether one is in the pipeline!)
I then decided to try on the running kit. You may have noticed that I rarely wear a vest for running. This is for several reasons – I only own three or four vests and they tend to get lost in my running drawer; I don’t like revealing my fat arms and finally, my club vest was bought when I was a lot slimmer than I am now and I intended to lose more weight, so it’s a teeny tiny size 34”, which means that I can’t breathe when I wear it. As we’re now coming into the warmer months, I’m looking forward to running in a vest. My other challenge is that for several years I’ve favoured a particular sports bra that doesn’t have a racer back. I have a couple of racer back sports bras from my martial arts days, but think I’ll need to invest in some new, stylish ones so that no grubby straps can be seen emerging from my pristine kit!!!
Accompanying the vest are the running shorts. They are made of absolutely gorgeous fabric and the design details are so stylish. I’m going to try a short run with them on, but I suspect that they are a little too short for my thunder thighs. This gives me three options: 1. Don’t wear them, 2. Lose weight, 3. Wear a base layer underneath them. I don’t want to miss out on wearing them, so I’m hoping they will be an inspiration for me to lose weight, but in the meantime, I think I’ll need to wear a base layer. I’ve already searched for some options online and may try them with some lightweight Lycra shorts that I have. If only there were a magic way to spot reduce!
The only part of the kit that is slightly disappointing is the socks. They fit beautifully and feel like they will wear well. The details are stylish, but unfortunately, they are not a perfect colour match for the rest of the kit – they’re blue whereas the rest of the kit is turquoise. This probably won’t bother most people, but I’m obsessive about matching things!
I then moved onto the cycling kit. As the shorts are designed for cycling and triathlons, the chamois is fairly small. I’m hoping to go for a reasonable length bike ride at the weekend, so I’ll let you know how comfortable they are on the bike. I was worried that the grippers on the legs might be a little tight and that the waistband might be uncomfortable, but I needn’t have worried at all as they are incredibly comfortable and not in the slightest bit tight.
The cycling jersey has some lovely details on it. There are little buttons on the short sleeves, which add a stylish touch. The pockets on the back of the jersey are quite small, but as I have two bottles to put on my bike (and my bike has a snack pouch), then I won’t need to carry much in them!
I tried on the arm warmers with the jersey. I first tried arm warmers a year ago when I bought a pair for the Paris Marathon. Sadly, one of them got lost along the way, so I had to buy another pair. They come in really handy when it’s not obvious what the weather conditions will be like, as it’s much easier to roll them down than to take off another layer when cycling. The Team SOAS ones are absolutely gorgeous. They feature the beautiful wings design as well as having lovely turquoise cuffs. I think I should possibly have ordered a smaller size as my arms are a little short, but when I’m stretched out on my bike, I’ll get a better idea.
I also tried on the beanie that came in the parcel. It’s a black knitted beanie with a team patch that is stitched on off-centre. It took me a while to work out how to wear it and as the weather id now starting to get warm, it may take a while before I wear it… although as open water swimming starts in a few weeks, I may get it out for that.
I then tried on the tri vest. I’ve never worn a two-piece trisuit, but I think it will be preferable to a one piece for a half iron distance tri. In Chrissie Wellington’s autobiography she talks about peeing whilst on her bike, but I just don’t think I could bring myself to do that!!!
The last item that I had to try on was the casual vest. It looks enormous when spread out, but it is made of a very soft and drapy fabric. I’ll definitely be trying it out this weekend.
There were also a couple of stickers in the box, which I will use to decorate my bike box before I go on my triathlon holiday next month.
I wanted to take a couple of photographs of the whole kit, but I realised that my house is so small that there isn’t enough floor space in any of the rooms to lay everything out, so I had to lay it all out on our king-size bed. Wow! What a lot of stuff! I’m so excited about having an opportunity to wear it soon.