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Swimming with a legend

5 Apr

As you may know, I’m currently training for Swimathon, which is going to be a massive challenge for me. I’ve not been swimming as much as I used to because it’s a logistical challenge with Baby M, so when I was offered the chance to have a swimming lesson with Duncan Goodhew, the President of Swimathon, I leapt at the opportunity.

After a challenging journey (running buggies are not the smallest mode of transport for a baby and definitely not designed for the underground), we made it to a beautiful pool at Pancras Square Leisure.

I got changed and Sam (our Swimathon contact) introduced me to Adele, another Swimathon ambassador. Adele completed 5k last year, so she knows what she’s letting herself in for this time around (and she’s wisely chosen to do 2500m faster than she has before). (If you’d like to find out more about Adele’s training, please check out her blog: Fit Artist Running Blog).

Then we were introduced to Duncan. He is such a lovely person and clearly remembered meeting Adele last year. Duncan is a great example of someone who found where their talent lay at a young age and who has built a successful career around it. He’s clearly as passionate about swimming today as he was in 1980.

Duncan chatting to Adele and Tamsyn poolsideDuncan Goodhew chatting with Blogsquad

We had a discussion poolside and talked about the importance of warming up before discussing our training and what our goals are. I know that my technique has lots of flaws (and that I just haven’t been in the water enough recently… but that’s not something that Duncan could fix!), whereas Adele wanted to work on her speed.

Duncan Goodhew discussing stroke with Tamsyn and Adele

Then it was into the water. We did a warm up and then Duncan started giving us specific advice and drills.

Duncan Goodhew in the pool with the Swimathon Blogsquad

As you can see, Adele and I had a spacious lane to share and I was surprised that the rest of the pool was much quieter than I am used to. It was such a beautiful and clean pool that if it were my local, I’d be happy to swim there every day. Southampton Tri Club is now so popular that there are usually at least 5 of us in a lane and sometimes as many as 8!

Duncan Goodhew in the pool explaining drills

One of the first things that Duncan pointed out is that I hold my fingers tightly closed. When I first learnt to swim, I was accused of having ‘banana hands’ as my fingers were so far apart. I now need to learn to relax them as the latest research has shown that it is better to have gaps between the fingers.

Duncan Goodhew explaining catch up drill to Tamsyn

Some of the first drills that I did with Duncan were to help me with lengthening my stroke. One of them was ‘catch up’ which I’m familiar with.

After doing this for a while, Duncan identified that when I start to tire, I don’t finish my stroke properly, so I miss the final push phase of my crawl. I know that I can do it when I’m thinking about it, so I need to make a conscious effort to focus on that until muscle memory makes me do it every time!

Duncan Goodhew trying to refine Tamsyn's technique

Duncan then pointed out an imbalance in my stroke. My right hand side has worse technique than my left. Back in 2014, I had a cycling accident in the Pyrenees. It took months for my right arm to function properly and although it’s fine now, I’ve lost a lot of flexibility on that side. Duncan explained that on that side in particular I lead with my hand, instead of leading with my elbow, so in effect I’m doing an exaggerated doggy paddle :-O Obviously, that’s not something that I can fix quickly. I really need to make time for shoulder flexibility exercises, ideally every day. Unfortunately, I think carrying an increasingly heavy baby in a car seat is only adding to the problem, at the moment.

All too soon, the session was over and we were onto the cool down (and some posing for pics!)

Adele, Duncan and Tamsyn in the pool

Adele, Duncan and Tamsyn by a Swimathon banner

This was an amazing opportunity for me. I really appreciate Duncan giving up his time to help us.

Swimathon takes place this weekend, but it’s not too late for you to sign up. You can do a range of distances from 1.5k-5k, or could form a team and take part in a relay.

Finally, before leaving I had to ask Duncan for a quick selfie with his amazing medal! Isn’t it amazing?

Tamsyn, Duncan Goodhew and Duncan's Olympic gold medal!!!

When I’m battling my swim on Friday morning, I’ll definitely be thinking back to Duncan’s wise words and will try to

  • lengthen my stroke
  • consider my head position
  • finish my stroke when I get tired
  • lead with my elbow on my right hand side

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Have you entered Swimathon 2017?

14 Mar Stuart and M swimming

I’ll be posting a lot about Swimathon in the next few weeks as I’m thinking about it a lot. I’ll be completing my 5k swim at The Quays in Southampton on 07/04/17 (I hope), although I’m a little worried about just how long that will take. (It’s 200 lengths! I’ve swum 5k before, but it was wearing a wetsuit in a lake and it took me 2:05!)

swimathon

If you’ve not heard of Swimathon before, it’s a nationwide swimming event with Marie Curie as its official charity partner.*

This year’s event is the 30th anniversary, which really surprised me as I hadn’t realised that it had been going for so long. There are also some amazing swimmers who have taken part every single year! The event has some great supporters, including its President, Duncan Goodhew. I was fortunate enough to meet him recently and will be sharing some tips later this week. There’s still plenty of time to enter and lots of different options including 1.5k, 2.5k, 5k, team relays or ‘SimplySwim’ where you do your own distance in your own time, so there’s the perfect level of challenge for everyone. If you’re not sure how to tackle the training, there are some excellent training plans for the various distances available on the Swimathon website. They’re divided into Advanced, Intermediate and Beginner, so there’s bound to be something for you.

I’ve found it hard getting back into the pool after having a baby. Stuart and I don’t have any relatives who live close to us, so we have to carefully schedule when we are going to swim. This makes me feel like a slightly lazy member of the Swimathon blogsquad, but I’m sure some of you can relate to the challenges I face. Our Tri Club has two one hour sessions on a Monday night from 7-8pm and 8-9pm, so Stu swims in the first session and I swim in the second session. This means that the baby gets passed from one to the other by the changing rooms!

I was chatting with Stu about Baby M recently and expressed a desire for her to be able to swim well, to which Stu responded, ‘Oh, I just want her to be happy and healthy’. I had to explain that I’m not going to be a pushy mum who is expecting her to aim for tumble turns in her first lesson, but that I think being a competent swimmer is an essential life skill like being able to read or to cook. (Although I will admit that I’d like her to swim better than I can… and cooking better than me would also be good.)

I don’t often share pictures of Baby M, but we recently took her for her first swimming lesson in the hope of fostering a lifelong love of the water. She had so much fun that I don’t think that will be a problem, and I’m sure she’ll be taking part in Swimathon in future!

Stuart and M swimming

Last night was my first swimming session for a couple of weeks. When I met Stu, I went to pass him M who was in her car seat and he gave me a look before saying that his arms were dead after a tough session. Luckily, they were strong enough to get M home safely.

I was a bit concerned about what my session might consist of, but Stu and I swim at different levels, so we have different coaches. After my usual 400m warm up (200m crawl; 100m pull buoy; 100m crawl), it was onto some technique work. We did various drills using fins and hand paddles, to make us think more carefully about the catch phase of our stroke. After that it was onto a pyramid:

  • 50m off 1:10 (x3)
  • 100m off 2:30
  • 200m off 5:00

and then we repeated some of that with fins.

I know my technique and endurance have fallen apart since having M, but I felt quite comfortable throughout and was easily recovering in the allocated time, so I’m feeling a bit more positive. Now I just need to work on my flexibility.

Have you ever taken part in Swimathon or another swimming challenge? What’s the best piece of advice you can give me about how to tackle it?


* Several of my friends have asked me what the difference is between Marie Curie and Macmillan, as they are similar organisations. Here’s the info:

WHO THEY NURSE:
Macmillan – people with cancer
Marie Curie – people with all terminal illnesses

WHAT DO THEY OFFER:
Macmillan – advice & info to people with cancer, from the time they are diagnosed.
Marie Curie – hands-on care to people with terminal illnesses in their homes, usually in the final weeks/days of their lives.

WHEN THEY VISIT PATIENTS:
Macmillan – usually for 1 hour at a time.
Marie Curie – usually for 9 hours overnight or 3-6 hours in the day/evening.

WHO FUNDS THEM:
Macmillan – 100% NHS funded after the first 3 years.
Marie Curie – approx 50% Marie Curie and 50% NHS.

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What Valentine’s Day means to triathletes…

7 Feb

swim bike run Valentine

There are several challenges for non-triathletes who are dating triathletes…

The first challenge is buying the right gift. Typical Valentines gifts include:

  • underwear
  • shoes

Then of course, there are the activities. You’re thinking you might need some lube to get your pulse racing, whereas we want a HRM (or some body glide)!

Anyway, there’s no reason why you can’t fall back on these Valentines favourites for the triathlete in your life. There’s plenty of sports specific underwear available – if your partner is female then there are lots of gorgeous crop tops and sports bras available and either gender could appreciate some Runderwear.

When it comes to shoes, there are so many options:

  • swim bootees (especially useful if you live somewhere where the water is cold!)
  • cycling shoes
  • trainers

Remember that your triathlete partner may be on a strict training schedule, so a late night out or a boozy meal may not appeal to them… but some healthy treats and a massage would probably be appreciated.

What I’ve been reading this week:

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What I’ve been doing

6 Feb

Busy, busy, busy! I’m still managing to exercise, but it’s so difficult for me to find time to blog, which is very frustrating. I thought I’d do a quick summary of what I’ve been up to recently…

Sunday 22nd January

No running for me today. Stuart, baby M and I headed out into the New Forest to marshal a race in the local cross-country league.

We had been positioned on one of the first marshal points, so we saw the start of the race and were then able to move to another point to watch runners heading towards the finish, before we walked back to the finish.

It was a crisp and cold day and as usual, there were lots of New Forest ponies around.

cc6-marshalling-1

You might not be able to tell from my photograph, but the water below was frozen solid and remained that way all morning.

cc6-marshalling-3cc6-marshalling-2

I feel so lucky to live in such a beautiful area and am looking forward to being able to get back on my bike and cycling in the forest.

Tuesday 24th January

I went for a long run with Pete around Chilworth. We left in daylight, but the sun started to go down as we headed down a very long hill. We paused to look at a beautiful sunset and to take some photos… but I hadn’t dressed adequately (just a t-shirt and shorts), so I quickly started to feel cold.

We ended up running around 10 miles, but it was hard going as my hands were so cold.

Wednesday 25th January

Baby M and I went to Buggy Mums on The Common again. We ran some laps around the model boating lake before heading up to the top ‘field’ part of The Common where we did some paired exercises. As usual, it was a lot of fun.

Thursday 26th January

The following day, I went to Buggy Mums at Weston Shore.

Last week the weather had been beautiful, with warm sunshine and no wind; it was the complete opposite today. Just before leaving the house, I decided to put on a base layer. I was so grateful that I had. I kept on my base layer, long-sleeved top, jacket, Buff and woolly hat for the entire session. Towards the end, I took my gloves off for a short period of time, but not for long!

buggy-mums-collage

I really like the Thursday sessions as they are less busy than the ones on The Common and there are more opportunities to chat to people.

buggy-mums-weston-shore

Saturday 28th January

It was my turn to run on Saturday. I met my friend Teri who is recovering from injury. She has to follow a walk/run strategy. I agreed to join her as I thought it would be nice to do a steadier-paced run… however, Teri is fitter than I am, so he run intervals were quicker than I usually go and the walk breaks were very short, so I barely had time to decelerate before we were off again.

In the end, my time for the run wasn’t much different from my usual result.

Southampton parkrun 28th January

Sunday 29th January

The following day was Sunday Runday – a training run for Southampton half marathon. It was my turn to run, so I was able to choose which group to help. Part of me was tempted to go with the 11 minute mile group, but I know that I need to push myself, so I joined my friends Pete, Kate and Malcolm in the 10 minute mile group.

It’s interesting to refamiliarise myself with the route for the half marathon (as well as learning the new parts). The race is being run in the opposite direction from last year.

Monday 30th January

The following day, I decided to return to Southampton Tri Club for my first swim since having my baby. It was a logistical challenge as Stu swam in the first session from 7-8pm and I swam in the second session from 8-9pm. Stu finished his swim a little early, and then met me outside the changing rooms at 7:55pm. I passed him Baby M in her car seat and my car keys; in return, Stu gave me his car keys.

There were lots of new faces in the swimming session, so Coach Steve had to rearrange the lanes a bit. I was asked to move into Lane 2, but I pointed out that I no longer have any stamina. I swam in Lane 2 just for a bit before Steve rearranged us again and I went back to Lane 1. There’s now quite a lot of disparity in the ability of the swimmers in Lane 1 as some people find it tough to do more than a length or two at a time.

Steve had planned an interesting session that included some core work on the pool side. This was quite challenging, but good fun.

In the end, I did the majority of the session, but I finished nearly 10 minutes early. This was because the pool was so busy that I didn’t want to have to queue for a shower as I needed to get home quickly. The changeover seemed to work well, so I now need to get myself back on track ready to take part in Swimathon. I think I swam around 1600m (1 mile), so I need a lot of training!

Tuesday 31st January

I had originally intended to go for a long run with Pete today, but I had completely forgotten that I had booked onto a cycle maintenance for women course at my local Giant Store, so we rescheduled for Thursday.

I know that some people will think that it’s not necessary to run separate maintenance workshops for men and women, but most of the women who attended seemed to be quite nervous and didn’t want to made to look stupid in front of men.

My friend, Lou, has recently bought a road bike, so she had also booked to come to the event with me. When we arrived, we were divided into three groups, as there were three members of staff, each of whom was running a separate 30 minute workshop.

giant-store

The first workshop was about bike cleaning. This was a simple topic to start with, and didn’t really warrant a 30 minute timeslot. One of the most interesting points was when we were shown the difference between Muc Off and a cheap alternative, which was quite eye-opening:

The second workshop was led by Nigel, the store owner. He was covering dealing with punctures. I’ve fixed punctures in the past and changed an innertube, but I think it’s always good to refresh this knowledge and there’s always something new to be learnt. Nigel showed me some tricks that make it easier to replace an innertube and tyre without using tyre levers. It was easier, but as I have delicate thumbs, I will probably continue to use levers!

Lou raised an interesting question about the need to pump up tyres after filling them with CO2. I hadn’t heard of this before and neither had the others. Later, Lou proved us wrong by sharing the scientific information that she found online!

The third and final workshop was the most technical one of the three as it was on brakes and gears. Whilst I understand the theory of all of this, I’m still nervous to adjust the gears on my own bike. We’ve had a few problems with the brake on M’s running buggy, so I asked a couple of questions and should now be able to fix the problem.

Overall, I think the evening was a great success. The staff were helpful and friendly and each participant was given a goodie bag, including a lanyard, button badges, a New Forest cycling map, some dry lube and a puncture repair kit. Apparently there are plans afoot to run more events in future, which would be really good.

Wednesday 1st February

On Wednesday, I went to Buggy Mums. My mum had come to visit, and I needed to drop her off before the session, so I ended up parking on the opposite side of The Common and had to dash to the start of the session.

We did a warm up on The Flats, so I ended up travelling back towards where I had parked. We then went back to the play area for the main part of the session, which included some pull up and chin up preparation as well as lots of tricep dips and press ups on the benches.

buggy-mums-on-the-common

Thursday 2nd February

I had so much to do and was feeling tired, so decided not to go to Buggy Mums and to save my energy for a long run with Pete.

I ran down to meet Pete on The Common. As I was cold last week, I decided to wear a long pair of tights that I had got out for Buggy Mums, as well as a t-shirt and jacket. I took off my jacket when I met Pete, so it immediately started raining. Fortunately, the shower was over quickly.

Yet again, Pete had planned a lovely route, which took us all around Ocean Village. I think it would be a lovely route to walk in summer, but it was quite windy and the water looked rough.

Part way around, we stopped for Pete to have a ‘comfort break’, which gave me a chance to put my head torch on. I was grateful that I had it on as we got to the east side of Riverside Park. The river was overflowing and all of the paths were covered. Pete and I took an alternative route for part of it, but in the end we just had to go through the water. It was ankle-deep and cold 😦 This meant that we had cold, wet feet for the final part of the run.

We headed up Bassett Green Road, which is a long hill. Pete had intended for us to go all of the way up to the top, but about 3/4 of the way up there is a short cut that leads towards my house. I was starting to get tired, so I suggested we took the short cut.

In the end, we covered about 13 miles. I’m finding the long runs tiring, but am not struggling with DOMS afterwards, which is a good sign.

Saturday 4th February

On Saturday, Stu, Baby and I headed to parkrun with my mum. My mum has never completed a parkrun before, so I agreed to walk it with her. I didn’t want to push her too hard, so we took it very steady:

Southampton parkrun 4th February

I’m now hoping my mum will take part in a parkrun near to her in future.

Well, that’s all of my recent training summarised. In the last few weeks, I’ve also been testing out a variety of products, so I’ll be posting about those this week.

What have you been up to? Are there any events that you’re training for?

Still waiting

25 Oct

Well, I’m still hanging on waiting for mini me to arrive, but she seems to be as stubborn as Stuart/determined as me!

I’ve eaten plenty of spicy food, but there’s a limit to how much curry/fajitas/chilli I can take! I’ve also eaten a lot of fresh pineapple, but apparently pregnant women need to eat at least 7 for the bromelain to have any effect!

Fresh pineapple

Fresh pineapple

On Monday, I went to tri club swimming, which was fun, but I think people were surprised to see me there. Then on Tuesday, I went out for a brisk walk up and down a nearby hill whilst Stuart did a scheduled hill sprints training session.

Stuart doing hill sprints

Stuart doing hill sprints

img_7916 img_7917

I was advised against doing parkrun on Saturday, which was disappointing as I felt fit and well and I missed seeing everyone, but I took the opportunity to have a lie in instead. I also didn’t make it to swimming last night, so I’m hoping to fit in a brisk walk (to get some raspberry leaf tea) today before having a relaxing massage.

Fingers crossed that I’ll have some news soon!

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Monday Morning Motivation – Meet Non Stanford’s Toughest Opponent

17 Oct

Triathlon is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. Mastering three disciplines simultaneously puts an immense amount of pressure on an athlete’s body.

After a string of injuries forced Non Stanford to take a break from her sport in 2008, it was the mental strain of starting all over again that challenged her the most. It was during this period that Non had to learn true patience, accepting her limits, understanding her body and controlling the urge to push beyond what she could do. The gruelling and often lonely training tested Non’s mental resilience. While many athletes would have thrown in the towel, Non used the experience to emerge a more complete competitor.

There is no greater opponent than the one inside your own head. We explore the mind game that every athlete has to overcome on the path to greatness.

Non Stanford:

To go from World Champion to not even being able to stand on a start line was pretty tough. I was pushing a bit harder in training and got injured. Patience is one of the most valuable lessons that I’ve learnt as a triathlete. I’ve had to learn it the hard way. Everyone has self doubts or moments of weakness. It makes you more tough at the end of the day.

Tomorrow I will be more patient.

Did you get a place in London Marathon?

10 Oct

I had to go out and run some errands today, but as my hybrid is currently stuck behind a couple of old sofas in my garage, I had the choice of driving or walking. The devil on my shoulder said that it was cold and I’d enjoy singing along to music in my car, but the angel won, so I put on a jacket, filled up my rucksack and headed out on foot.

I was really glad that I chose to walk. I’m not getting as much exercise as I usually do, and my baby pokes me less in the ribs/back when I’m moving, so walking is less painful than driving. It was also surprisingly warm and sunny. However, there were lots of signs that autumn is here

Conkers (horse chestnuts) Leaves changing colour red berries

When I got back from my errands, the post had arrived:

London Marathon rejection

Yet another London Marathon rejection 😦 Bizarrely, there was no news for Stuart, so we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out whether he has got in. If he does have a place, then I really should go and support him, but I had my heart set on running Southampton marathon, and one of us has to look after the baby! (It may be that Stu doesn’t receive a magazine as apparently only half of the rejected applicants will receive a magazine adn teh rest will get an ezine).

I’ve been keeping my eye on social media this afternoon and can see that my friends Jo, Tom and Matt have got places (and my speedy friends have Good For Age or Championship places), but most people seem to have rejection letters. I’ll get a second chance in my running club’s ballot, but won’t be too upset if I miss out this year.

Stuart is getting back into the swing of training after taking a month off following Ironman Copenhagen. He hasn’t got a bike yet, but it won’t be long before he has something to ride… and hopefully, he’ll keep me company on the turbo trainer every now and again. I’ve also had a quote email from Cyclescheme, so I’m just waiting for a couple of details to be resolved and then I should be able to order a new bike 🙂

In the late afternoon, I received an unexpected email:

Email in Polish

One of my Polish-speaking friends has translated the message for me: “Hi, your bike has been found in Poland. The whole case has been directed to the police. It’s only a matter of time to get your bike back.”

I’m not really sure how to respond to this. I don’t think it’s a scam as the sender doesn’t have any of my contact details – there is a form for them to complete on Stolen Bikes… but I have no idea what state my poor bike will be in and also whether it would be possible to get my bike back from Poland. If it’s been trashed then it probably isn’t worth it. It does make me feel there’s even less chance of getting our other bikes back as they’ve probably disappeared in Poland. I’ve contacted the local police officer assigned to the case, so hopefully he’ll get back to me.

This evening, we went along to Tri Club swimming. It was a nice session and I did almost all of it, only missing out 100-200m.

I’m now in limbo… will I make it to Tri Club swimming next week? Will I make it to parkrun on Saturday? Will I be able to run with my friends on Thursday afternoon? It almost feels like I’m living on borrowed time. I’ve changed my Tri Club membership, so that from November, it is a non-swimming membership… but I’ll still be allowed to go to track running sessions and turbo trainer sessions (when I get the all clear from the doctor, and assuming I want to go).

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Planning for 2017 and SUTRI aquathlon

7 Oct

After feeling too tired to run on Monday, I arranged to meet my running buddy on Tuesday… but fate conspired against me and I didn’t make it, so I was pleased when Teri said that she could run on Wednesday.

I drove over to The Common and did a gentle warm up whilst waiting for Teri. Annoyingly, my Garmin 910XT is terminally ill and the buttons have become unresponsive, so none of my warm up was captured 😦

It’s been a while since Teri and I have been able to go out for a social run, so I really appreciated it. I hope it wasn’t too bad for her as she listened to me talk non-stop for almost 40 minutes, whereas I was not a good listener (sorry, Teri!)

It would have been possible for us to stay entirely on the flat, but after we’d done the first part of our run, I thought we might as well tackle the hill – at least I knew there’d be a downhill afterwards.

Teri had brought Lulu (her dog) with her, which meant that we had a couple of little breaks. However, I’m not used to running with a dog, so I would pause every now and again whilst Lulu stopped to sniff something as I was worried that we would somehow lose her. Luckily, she is a well-behaved dog, so she always came running after us.

By the time we got back to my car, my Garmin was saying that I had done 5.8km. I was a little tempted to jog up and down to make it say 6km, but I know I had run at least 200m before my Garmin started, and I needed to get home.

In the evening, we met a group of friends from Tri Club at a local pub. Everyone who came along is considering doing an Ironman or a half in 2017… and there were quite a few others who are interested, but were unable to attend. A large group of STC people have entered Ironman Austria, which sounds lovely, but I think the logistics of travelling overseas with a young baby might be too much for me. Fortunately, Ironman Weymouth is unlikely to sell out, so I can make a decision much closer to the date about whether it’s a realistic goal. It’s not too difficult to find accommodation, plenty of my friends would be able to come and support and if I’m not ready for a full Ironman, there is a half taking place simultaneously. [Unfortunately, I’ve now heard that Ironman haven’t yet confirmed that there will be an event in Weymouth next year, so fingers crossed!]

Yesterday evening, I marshalled at an event for my other Tri Club – SUTRI. An aquathlon had been organised at the local lake for Freshers. It consisted of a 300m swim and a 2.5k run. I’d have loved to have taken part, but I’m not sure that my wetsuit would fit me, and I was afraid that the water would be too cold. (I was right to think that as it was a chilly 13C/55F – brrrr!)

Canada Geese 1 Canada Geese 2

Stu and I arrived at 5:30pm, but there weren’t many people around. During the day, quite a few people had dropped out. The main group was travelling by public Uni-Link bus. Unfortunately, they were travelling at rush hour and as it is the start of the academic year, the first bus that arrived was full, so they had to wait for another bus.The HOWL gazebo

Eventually, it was agreed that there would be two waves for the event – the people who were ready at the lake and a second wave for the people who were stuck on the bus. This was mainly because the light was going and a long section of the run route is tree-lined, so it’s quite dark even on a sunny day.

I was marshalling at the first main turn. I took a camping chair with me as I wasn’t sure how long I would have to stand for and I get faint if I stand still for too long. The chair turned out to be unnecessary for two reasons: firstly, I was right by some picnic tables and secondly, it wasn’t long before the athletes came past.

I was sitting down when I saw the first runner, so I jumped up and got into position. It was only as the runner got very close that I realised it was Stu. I’ve not seen him wear the lovely tri top that he got at Ironman Copenhagen before. He was looking strong and relaxed… but I was too flustered to take a photo – oops!

img_7876

When the tail runner came past, I asked him whether the late arrivals were going to be allowed to run, but he didn’t know, so I figured that I had better wait and see.

Fortunately, it wasn’t too long before I saw a girl in a trisuit coming in my direction, shortly followed by some lads. At the back of the pack, Stu was doing another lap as tail runner.

I picked up some route signs and cones and headed back to the start, arriving just as the final finisher came in.

A quick look at the results confirmed that Stu had won the event in 15:49. He had hoped to be quicker, but I think it’s harder to push yourself when there are no athletes around you (the faster people were mainly in the second wave). He also had a problem in transition as the zip on his wetsuit broke, so it took him quite a long time to get it off. (If anyone can give any recommendations for a man’s wetsuit, I’ll pass them on to Stu. He’s a strong swimmer [58 mins at Ironman Copenhagen – 3.8k]. He’s about 5’8″/173cm tall and weighs about 135lbs/9st9lb/60kg. He currently wears a 19 Rogue).

After the aquathlon, we stopped for a little while to talk to people from SUTRI and other friends who were arriving for a ‘Glow in the dark’ swim. It looked like a lot of fun, but was also a reminder that it’s the end of the open water swimming season here. I hope that by the time May comes around, I can get back into my wetsuit and will be able to join in the fun again.

Collage from SUTRI aquathlon

 

What are your favourite goggles?

4 Oct

I’d really hoped to go running with a friend yesterday afternoon, but after a day of rushing around and trying to get my house organised,  I felt quite tired. I still prefer to run than to swim, but I knew that I should go swimming as I haven’t made it to the pool much recently.

As a child, I didn’t mind being in the water, but I really hated having to wear goggles and a swimming hat for school swimming lessons. At least they were optional when I went to the beach with my family.

Bryony and Tamsyn at the beach

That’s my sister on the left and me (in the bikini) on the right.

I have a strong memory of seeing prescription goggles for the first time ever when I was at the opticians as a 10-year-old. Unfortunately, I looked at the price tag and they seemed incredibly expensive, so I never even asked whether I could have some.

When I decided that I wanted to take part in triathlons, my eyesight had deteriorated so much that I knew I had to buy prescription goggles. Fortunately, the price had come down a lot and I was able to buy suitable pairs for under £20.

After I had my eyes lasered, I had no idea what goggles to buy, so my husband gave me a pair of polarising goggles like his, so that I could wear them for open water swimming. I’ve been very happy wearing them and have never had any problems, but when Joci gave me the chance to try their Free Swim Swimming Goggles, I leapt at the opportunity.

Joci goggles

The company claims that they are “a pair of swim goggles that fits kids and adults really well and are ideal for training.” This is a bold claim, but since they were launched in May 2016, they have risen to be in the top 1% of goggles sales on Amazon, which is quite impressive.

I wanted to assess the following areas:

  • fit
  • fogging
  • tint
  • visibility

Joci goggles

I ate dinner fairly early and after resting on the sofa for an hour or so, I managed to muster up the energy to go swimming. As I said to Stu, if I made it as far as the pool, I knew that I would make it through the session.

As it’s the start of the month, the queue to enter the swimming pool was really long – everyone needed to pick up new parking permits, so although we’d allowed plenty of time, it was still a bit of a rush to get to the poolside on time. This meant that I didn’t have any time to spend faffing around with checking that the new goggles had been adjusted to my size – fortunately, they didn’t need any adjustments. The goggles are a single moulded piece, so there is no nose piece that can be adjusted, but the elastic strap can be adjusted.

The user guide advised getting the goggles wet before wearing them, so I splashed them in the pool before putting them on. I’ve quite a small head and narrow face, so was pleased to find that the goggles fitted me well. They have a slight tint, which was sufficient for indoor pool swimming. I could see clearly, although I did wonder whether there was some slight distortion – I’m sure I can normally see my coach’s face clearly from the far end of the pool, but I couldn’t last night. However, I have also been warned that my vision may change temporarily during pregnancy, so that might be the reason. I did find that I had a wide field of vision… and the coach complimented me on my head position during this swim, which may have been helped by how much I was able to see. (I have a tendency to lift my head).

The best part of wearing these goggles was that they did not leak and did not fog up at all during the whole swimming session. I intend to wear the goggles repeatedly over the next few weeks (well, for as long as I’m able to keep swimming) to see whether there is any deterioration.

As for the swim set, it was great to do a mix of drills and speedwork with Huw. There were four of us in the lane, and with the exception of the kicking drills, I was firmly at the back… but I managed to hang on. One part of the session was several x 100m off 2:20. I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to keep up, but I managed to keep within the 2:20, which was a confidence booster. I had a few breaks (I did 4x25m at maximum speed when the others did 6×25 as I didn’t want to get out of breath), but completed the vast majority of the session 🙂

What are your favourite goggles and why?

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Looking forward to the first cross country race of the season

13 Sep

Last night I managed to get myself back to swimming. It seems that there are a lot of people who really love swimming when they are pregnant, but I’m finding it incredibly frustrating. I can no longer go as quickly as I can and I find that my breathing is off… and my additional ballast is making me roll around in a way that makes it feel so difficult. In comparison, I’m much more accepting of being slower when running. I’m wondering whether it’s because even when I do parkrun, it’s very much on my own terms, whereas lane swimming with others means that I feel under pressure to go faster.

swimming pool

Anyway, it was an interesting session with a variety of sets. I can’t remember them all, but the main set was 200m steady front crawl; 15s rest; 125m hard front crawl; 25m recovery; 30s rest – 3 times. I didn’t do all of them and am not convinced that my fast was significantly different from my steady pace, but at least I completed the whole session.

I’m also incredibly grateful every morning when I get my bike out. The process takes a little longer than it used to, with multiple locks on the garage door and then further locks inside, but at least it means that my work bike is still there.

Every day I wonder whether today will be the day when I have to dismount and push my bike up the hill, but so far I seem to be doing OK. I’m a little out of breath at the top of the hill, but that used to happen when I first moved to the area, and I’ve still a few gears left. I’ve got 9 more days left at work, so hopefully I can keep going for that long.

This weekend, I’ve got two events lined up: parkrun on Saturday and then the first CC6 (cross country league race) of the season. The CC6 is at the same venue as Eastleigh parkrun, so it shouldn’t be too muddy this early in the season. It’s also one of the shorter races (assuming it follows the same route as previous years): 3.9 miles. I’ve not run that far for a few weeks, but I’m confident that I can do it. I now just need to source a vest or t-shirt from someone who is not built like an elite athlete as the rules stipulate that I need to wear a club vest. It’ll be the first CC6 that I’ll be doing wearing Southampton Tri Club colours instead of Lordshill, which will be a bit strange, but I figure the tri club needs me more than LRR… and there’s a hope that I might make one of the first 4 teams for the tri club, rather than being in at least the 10th team for LRR!