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Monday Morning Motivation: Why not now?

17 Jul
Vivian Stancil

©Jeff Lewis

I love this video about an amazing woman who took up swimming as an adult – please do spend 3 minutes watching it.

Why Not Now: Vivian Stancil from Riley Hooper on Vimeo.

If you’d like to read more, have a look at this article: Doctor’s weight-loss order pushed her into the pool; now she’s a champ.

HOWL aquathlon 2017

14 Jul Finish of HOWL aquathlon

This evening Stu and I took part in HOWL aquathlon. It’s the second year that the event has taken place and it was my second time taking part. Last year, I was pregnant when I took part, so I was grateful just to be able to do so. This year I was hoping that I would make it through the swim and would put in a good run leg.

Our lovely friend, Jez, has offered to babysit for us several times, so we decided to take his up on his kind offer. We figured that we shouldn’t be away from M for too long and if she was having a bad night then several of our other friends would be around to help out… plus Jez is a sporty guy (and amazing runner), so we thought he might like watching the aquathlon.

Tamsyn and M

We registered at 6:30pm and the event wasn’t due to start until 7:30pm, so there was

Waiting at the start of HOWL aquathlon

As well as the individual competition, there were also team prizes up for grabs. We had assumed that the first two men and two women from each club would count as a team, but were told that we had to pre-register as specific teams. This proved to be a little challenging as no-one was sure of their rank within the club – especially as many people are significantly better at one of the disciplines. In the end, Stu and I were registered in STC’s team 2.

STC at HOWL aquathlon

© Darryl Marcus-Hanks

STC at HOWL aquathlon

© Darryl Marcus-Hanks

Most of my clubmates were representing Southampton Tri Club in their club lit, but I only own an STC gilet and I wanted to wear my lovely kit from The Athlete’s Palate.

I set up my stuff in transition and then had some more time to chat with friends. Before long it was time for the race briefing. I should have been fully focused, but I suddenly realised that my swimming hat was missing. Panic! Panic! Jez kindly ran over to registration and picked up another hat for me, so I was able to start thinking about the race. [As an aside, it was great that women were given blue hats and men had the red hats – such a refreshing change!]

After the briefing, we were straight into the lake for a deep water start, so there was a bit of a warm up. To my dismay, wetsuits had been banned. I really feel the cold when swimming (because I am sooooo slow) and I also appreciate the extra buoyancy, but there was nothing I could do about it, so I just got in.

Getting in the water at HOWL aquathlon

Getting in the lake HOWL aquathlon start

I positioned myself towards the back, but was almost in line with the buoy as I didn’t want to swim any further than was necessary.

Start of HOWL aquathlon

I found the swim challenging, although I managed to get into a rhythm. I had forgotten how much I enjoy open water swimming as it’s so peaceful. I didn’t see anything strange out of the corner of my eye – usually, I spy my hand a lake monster and get freaked out, but not today.

I knew I wasn’t going quickly and this was confirmed when I got clopped in the head by one of the leading ladies heading towards the end of their swim.

I acclimatised to the water temperature fairly quickly, but was disarmed by some of the extremely cold patches that we had to traverse. I had thought that the water would get stirred up a bit by all of us swimming, but that didn’t happen.

I didn’t have a very quick transition. I tried not to faff, but I did exchange a few words with spectators.

My running is significantly better than my swimming, so I was pleased to see some other runners up ahead who I was able to hunt down. I haven’t seen the splits yet, but I think my run was quite good.

Running at HOWL aquathlon

© Darryl Marcus-Hanks

On the second lap, there was a lady in a yellow top up ahead. I chased her for a significant portion of the second lap. In the end, she beat me by about 6 seconds and was 3rd V40 lady. Maybe next year, my swimming will be back on track and I’ll be able to chase her down!

Finish of HOWL aquathlon

Last year, I managed:

Swim time: 21:47

Transition time: 1:16

Run time: 30:06

Overall: 53:09

Here are my (provisional) results for this year (based on my Garmin):

Swim time:  21:12

Transition time: 01:05

Run time: 24:30

Overall: 00:46:44.274

So, it was a PB 😀

I was 16/21 senior ladies and 19/35 women.

It was also great to learn that Stuart was first V40 finisher – well done, Stu!

Stuart finishing HOWL aquathlon

Swim the triangle, run the prom

24 Jun Jubilee aquathlon medal

This week I’ve been down in Cornwall visiting my mum for her birthday. There are loads of events on this weekend (including Lordshill 10k and Southampton City Ride), but I had intended to do St Ives Biathlon. This is a race that involves running and swimming, not skiing and shooting. It’s a 2km run then a 1500m sea swim. I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of years, but in the end I didn’t pack my wetsuit as I thought a mile in the sea off the back of no open water swimming would be silly. I’m now feeling a bit of regret 😞

I looked up local races and found there was a 7 mile cross country race in Truro on Wednesday, so I planned to enter that… and then Stu struck gold. One of the Jubilee aquathlon races would be on on Wednesday night. Hurray!

Stu and I last did a Jubilee aquathlon back in 2013 before the beautiful lido was storm damaged. (It’s been repaired now). You can read my blogpost about it here: Swimming, cycling and running in Cornwall

I’ve not been training as much as I’d have liked this year, but I hoped that I could beat my times from 2013:

  • Swim: 4:39
  • Run: 17:30
  • Total: 22:09

Jubilee Pool

We arrived at the pool fairly early as it is on the day entry only and is limited to 200 places. We had printed out forms in advance and completed our details. We’re both BTF members, so entry was only £7. We were allocated number 25 and 26.

Lido 2

After a long wait, Stu and I decide to set up in transition. I chose a spot fairly near to the steps from the pool and Stu went next to me. Last time, I was not set up in a convenient location, so I was hoping this would save me some time. Some teenage girls came and set up their kit next to me and had a long discussion about how ‘no-one wears socks’, which made me dither a bit… however, I decided that I would wear socks as I’ve not worn my shoes without them before and couldn’t cope with blisters at the moment.

Lido 1

The organisers have decided to try a new tactic this year by asking participants to self-seed (according to some times on the wall). I figured that I might take around 25 minutes because of my lack of training, so positioned myself reasonably near to the start. Stu was towards the back of the group.

waiting for the start of JA 1 waiting for the start of JA 2

The weather had been lovely all day, but by the time we were lined up on the side of the pool, it was overcast and getting a bit chilly. Fortunately, the water in the pool was thought to be over 20C.

Swimmers were set off at 30 second intervals, so there was a bit of a wait before it was my turn. Finally, I was off. The temperature in the pool was perfect and the visibility was good. It was hard not to get distracted by the lovely surroundings.

The Lido is triangular in shape and the race follows the sides of the pool, with some buoys to ensure that no-one cuts the corners. I was unable to catch up with the swimmer in front of me, but on the plus side, no-one passed me.

I climbed up the steps and had to shout my number to the marshals waiting by transition. I barely had enough breath to call out 26!

I removed my hat, goggles and earplugs, put on my socks and shoes, messed up mu Garmin (pause instead of transition – oops!) and was off.

There are a few flights of steps out of the lido and as it’s Golowan Festival (Cornish midsummer) this weekend, there were a few fairground rides to be dodged.

It was then out onto the promenade, which was made famous by the Newlyn School artist Norman Garstin in his 1889 painting ‘The rain it raineth every day’.

The rain it raineth every day

Jubilee aquathlon 1

Although my swimming isn’t good, I knew that I ought to be able to catch up with some of the other participants on the run. It was a muggy evening and my breathing wasn’t great, but I soon got into my stride. I managed to pass the lady who had started immediately ahead of me, but then had to work hard.

I should have re-read my blogpost about the last time I did this event as yet again I was taken by surprise by the steps and shingle on the run!

I passed a few other female runners, before I was passed by a fast male runner. I then managed to catch up with and overtake the chap in the photo below.

Jubilee aquathlon 2

Finally, the end was in sight and I put on a sprint finish.

I was delighted to find that my time compared favourably with my last attempt at this event

  • Swim: (4:39) 4:26 – 13 seconds quicker
  • Run: (17:30) 16:28 – 62 seconds quicker
  • Total: (22:09) 20:54 – 75 seconds quicker

I finished 75/120. 7/15 in my category (30-39) and 28/60 female.

Jubilee aquathlon medal

After finishing, I went and watched Stuart do his swim and start his run. I then met up with my mum (who was walking my baby) and we watched Stu finish the race. He finished in 14th place in 16:16.

Jubilee aquathlon selfie
There are three other races in this series – I hope that I can at least do one more of them!

Back on it – a weekly round-up

16 Jun

Hello again! I feel like I’m finally getting back on top of things, so here’s a round-up of my week…

Saturday – Volunteering at parkrun

For the second week in a row, I was a volunteer at parkrun – this time as a Run Director.

Southampton parkrun 10 June 17

Because of building works, we’re currently on an alternative route at Southampton parkrun that starts near to The Cowherds pub. I quite like Run Directing with this start as there’s a bench for me to stand on. There was also some excitement as our long-awaited PA system has now arrived, so I now longer need to rely on my teacher’s voice projection!

RDing at parkrun

That’s what 767 runners looks like © John Grant

 

Sunday – Southampton Tri Club event

On Saturday afternoon, Stu and I finished sorting out our bike trailer, so that M is able to go out cycling with us. I recently traded in my beautiful Fiat 500 for a Citroen Berlingo that we affectionately refer to as ‘the mum bus’. It’s not a beautiful car, but it’s comfortable and there’s plenty of room for bikes and more. Stu reconfigured the car to fit all of our kit in, but we learnt the hard way on saturday night that Baby M is allergic to peanuts. This meant that we didn’t manage to join Tri Club friends for a social bike ride on Sunday morning. We could have joined in with the run, but were shattered after a long night.

STC BBQ

©Darryl Marcus-Hanks

Stu took part in a sea swim, whilst I sun-bathed and played with M on the beach. We then had a lovely barbeque. Southampton Tri Club is such a friendly club and this was a great opportunity to meet some of the new members. After a few burgers, I went off for a walk by the beach huts.

Calshot beach huts

 

Monday – swimming

The Quays

I finally got myself back to the pool on Monday night. I think swimming will always be the hardest part of a triathlon for me. I prefer open water swimming, but it’s hard to get to the lake and reasonably expensive, so I need to make sure that I attend tri club sessions at the pool.

It was the first time I’ve swum since I got me new watch, so it was interesting to see what data it would show me. We did quite a few 100m sets, including some with fins. Coach Steve called me over and explained that he had identified the problem with my front crawl – apparently my stroke looks like a bear crawling along and it’s basically my strength that gets me through as my technique is awful. Steve had a new torture device swim aid that he got me to try – a Finis Forearm Fulcrum Positioner that “holds the hand, wrist and elbow to position the forearm optimally”. It definitely felt different, but I still don’t think that I can visualise what correct technique should be – it doesn’t come naturally to me!

I positioned myself at the back of the lane for the swim as I’ve not been swimming for a while, which meant that I didn’t feel too much pressure. We covered just over a mile in the session, which was enough for me!

 

Tuesday – Run with Sarah

At lunchtime I went for a run with my work colleague and friend, Sarah. It was quite warm, but we were out for nearly an hour. I had M in her buggy and that combined with the humidity and my asthma/hay fever made for a challenging run. Sarah and I kept the pace slow so that we were able to have a much-needed chat. I love running for keeping me fit, but I also love it because it really helps to keep me sane. Some people might swear by a glass of wine at the end of a hard week, for me nothing beats a chatty run with a friend 🙂

 

Wednesday – Buggy Mums and Mile of Miles

On Wednesday, I went to Buggy Mums, which is one of the highlights of my week. It was a hot and sunny day, so we did a mix of intervals and exercises in the shade. It was lovely to see some mums that I know from elsewhere (Sing and Sign and my running club). Unfortunately, I didn’t get to participate as much as I had hoped to as M wasn’t in her happiest mood and my hay fever was playing up.

On Wednesday evening, Stu, M and I walked down to the Sports centre to take part in Mile of Miles, which is a 10 x 1 mile track relay. Southampton Tri Club had two teams: a fast team and a fun team. Stu was originally on the fast team, but he’s been under the weather, so switched to the slower team. I was on leg 8 and Stu was leg 9. I did a brief warm up, but my hay fever and asthma were making breathing difficult, so I knew that I would find it hard. I also struggle to pace myself on the track and the relay format meant that I wasn’t running alongside others, which usually helps to push me.

My final time was 7:29 which is quite a lot slower than my recent PB of 7:10. I had thought about doing the Lordshill Magic Mile on Tuesday evening, but decided against it as I wanted to save my legs… however on Tuesday I was feeling well and on Wednesday I was shattered. Hopefully, I’ll feel better by the next mile event as I would love to achieve 6:59. My splits were all over the place: 1:41; 1:59; 1:55; 1:54!

Tamsyn at the track

© Di Mattingly

Tamsyn at the track

© Di Mattingly

Tamsyn at the track

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn at Mile of Miles

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn at Mile of Miles

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn on the track

© Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn running on the track

© Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn at Mile of Miles

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn at MoM

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn on the track

© Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn at Mile of Miles

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn at Mile of Miles

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn on the track

© Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn running on the track

©Paul A. Hammond

STC at Mile of Miles

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn at Mile of Miles

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn running at Mile of Miles

©Lois Elliott

Tamsyn running at Mile of Miles

©Lois Elliott

Tamsyn running at Mile of Miles

©Lois Elliott

Tamsyn running at Mile of Miles

©Lois Elliott

A rare pic of me with my baby © Paul A. Hammond

STC at Mile of Miles

Thursday – run at Weston Shore

I drove to Weston Shore early on Thursday as I was keen to be there ready for Buggy Mums. I had a bit of time to answer some emails when I arrived, before going over and chatting to friends. After a short while, one of them looked on Facebook and saw a message saying that the class had been cancelled 😦 All was not lost as one of the others agreed to go running with me. We did an out and back – one direction was easy, but the other was into a headwind. I did just over 4.5km, but couldn’t motivate myself to make up the extra distance with the wind!

Sadly, I’ve heard that there won’t be any more sessions at Weston Shore… however, they will be replaced with sessions at Riverside Park, which is a bit closer to home.

 

So that’s my round-up of this week. Southampton parkrun is cancelled tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to going to Lee on Solent parkrun. My friend, Sarah, lives nearest to that parkrun, so hopefully I’ll get to run with her. Also, I’m going to meet up with a few Hampshire-based running and tri bloggers, which should be fun. Then I’ve got some really exciting events planned for next week, including an aquathlon in a stunning setting.

What are you looking forward to next week?

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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

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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.