Tag Archives: Southampton Tri Club

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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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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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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Training with friends

31 Jul

After last weekend’s Thunder Run, I intended to take this week easy, but looking back, I’ve perhaps not been as lazy as I’d intended!

On Monday evening, I did my usual swimming session with Southampton Tri Club. I liked the set and really enjoyed it… but I wish that my swimming lane hadn’t been moved to the side of the pool nearest the changing rooms as the fug of aerosol deodorants can make it really hard for me to breathe. On Monday night, the doors were propped open, and I ended up having to rest a few times and use my inhaler 😦

It was the Lordshill Road Runners Magic Mile on Tuesday evening. I knew I wouldn’t be as quick as last month as my legs were tired from Thunder Run, but I was pleased with my result:

Lordshill Magic Mile July 2016

I managed 8:42 last month, so I was just 9 seconds slower 🙂

On Thursday I went for a lovely lunchtime run with my colleague, Sarah. I suggested that we take a side path, that we had tried previously. Last time it was muddy, so I thought the sunshine would mean that the route would be ‘safe’ this time. What I hadn’t thought of was the growth of brambles and nettles, so after a few hundred metres, we had to turn back. The rest of our run was uneventful. It was very humid and we were enjoying a chat, so I can’t say it was a quick run, but it was good to get out and get some fresh air during the working week.

Yesterday, I went to parkrun. It was a special event at Southampton as we knew that the 45th runner would be the 100 000th finisher at Southampton. Southampton Daily Echo sent a reporter to cover the event and I appeared in their photo gallery:

Southampton parkrun 30th July 2017

Southampton parkrun 30th July 2017 © Southampton Daily Echo

I had agreed to meet up with my friend Carmen. We haven’t seen each other for a while, so decided to have a chatty social run. The sun wasn’t shining, but it was a very warm day, so we didn’t go as quickly as we’d hoped. After we’d finished running, Inez took some photos:

Tamsyn and Carmen parkrun 30th July

Posing with Carmen – my face shows how warm I thought it was!

After Carmen had to dash off, I had a great chat with Inez and Ellie, and Inez persuaded us to pose for some more photos:

Tamsyn at parkrun 30th July

Inez wanted a photo that shows off my 29 week baby belly, so here it is!

Tamsyn and Ellie parkrun 30th July

Ellie and Tamsyn parkrun 30th July

Ellie and Tamsyn parkrun 30th July

I then went to the Hawthorns Cafe for a post-parkrun drink with Ellie and Di. Whilst we were there, Rob the Run Director asked me if I could have a look at the kit with him. Unfortunately, the data wouldn’t download from the stopwatch. We spent until midday battling with the stopwatches and the Event Director, John, had to come back and collect the kit. In the end, John and his wife Rachel had to manually enter the data for over 600 runners, which must have taken hours.

My official result was:

parkrun result 30th July 2016

parkrun result 30th July 2016

However, I’m confident that Carmen and I completed the run in 31:28.

How has your week been?

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Planning for 2016 and some new kit

23 Oct

There are so many exciting things happening in the next two weeks that I’m going to have to work hard to find enough time for blogging.

Exciting thing number one is a new training location taking shape – there will be a sneaky glimpse next week, but you’ll have to keep following if you want more than a peek! The other excitement is a week dedicated to warm weather training 😀 There are also just eight days left until the end of the Tri Club Merit table – I’ve given it my best shot, but I think it’s too late for me to do much more – fingers crossed that I manage to cling on in the top three as Ian’s not going down without a fight and probably has a few things up his sleeve! Also there are only six days left until voting closes in the Blogging Edge 2015 Awards… and they’ve given me a lovely icon to display on my blog.

2015 UK Blog Awards finalist

My training has been a bit mixed up this week, but I’ve been busy planning, so it should all fall into place soon.

On Monday evening, I went to STC’s swimming session. We did a lot of technique work with fins and then we had to work on our swolf scores (stroke count and time for 50m). I’ve been working really hard on my stroke count and was pleased to be able to consistently swim under 20 strokes per length, with many lengths at 16 strokes! We had to count our swolf three times – I managed 85, 87 and 86. We were told that we should improve each time, but I think I was reasonably consistent 🙂

On Tuesday morning I went to the SUTRI strength and conditioning session with Coach Olly from Solent Athlete.  We did loads of lunges.

20 Oct Crossfit

That’s me on the right with the green shoes carefully studying Olly’s technique ©Olly Drew

22 Oct crossfit

We also worked on what I would call ‘dishes’, but Olly calls ‘hollow holds’ – fortunately, we’re not made to do dish/arch rolls, which I used to find tough at gymnastics. The last part of the session was 6x 2 lengths of walking lunges. It sounds easy, but by Wednesday afternoon my legs were in agony!

Thursday morning’s session was based around deadlifts, which gave my achy legs a rest. I really wanted to do well, but (like on Tuesday) I felt really light-headed and faint, which isn’t great when you’re trying to pick up heavy things. I didn’t feel too bad after the session, but my arms and shoulders have been a bit tired today.

I really love doing the SUTRI training sessions, even though all of the others are so much younger and slimmer than me – it’s definitely a motivation for me to train harder. I’ve put in an order for some kit, so that I can represent the team at parkrun and other events. I wish that I’d had more opportunities to join sports clubs at uni as I might be so much healthier now if I’d been sportier 15 years ago.

On Thursday evening, Liz ‘parcels from America’ Carter came around with my new SOAS kit. It felt like Christmas. I ripped open the parcels and admired my goodies.

Barcelona Nights crop top Barcelona Nights shorts Sunset cliffs sports bra Sunset Cliffs shorts Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 22.42.02

I still want to get the run tights in Sunset Cliffs and Barcelona Nights and would love to have the Sunset Cliffs cycling jersey. I’m wondering whether more items will be released in the Aquarius collection soon – I’m sure I saw some tights on instagram… and a crop top… and a totally awesome bikini. That’s all the incentive I need to get my nutrition plans back on track.

This evening, Olly and Sam came around to help me plan my races for next year and also do some general training planning. I’m still waiting to find out whether I have got a place in some popular races, but I know what my main events are. Probably the most important weekend for me will be when I tackle the Long Course Weekend in Wales.

I agreed with Olly and Sam that I’d post my general weekly schedule as it helps to keep me accountable:

Autumn 2015 training plan

I’ve also been talking to LRR about a possible return to coaching, but it’s all going to depend on whether I can complete an assessment day… unfortunately, there aren’t many and most of them are a long way from Southampton 😦

I’m also excited that I’m going to be trying out some indoor cycling with Brightside next week. I don’t really know what to expect, so watch this space!

Finally, I’ve managed to find a few minutes to watch things online:

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Another hectic week

18 Oct

It feels like all of my posts start with an excuse about how busy my week has been, and this week is no exception. Hopefully, I will have more time for blogging in a month’s time when the season winds down. Although if Ironman were to have their way, I’d be entering another couple of events this year!

Screen Shot 2015-10-18 at 19.05.26

Tuesday started with a great SUTRI strength and conditioning session with Olly from SolentAthlete. We did some technique work and deadlifts. I really appreciated the mobility drills as I feel like my joints are seizing up :-S

© SolentAthlete

© SolentAthlete

This was followed by another session on Thursday morning where we did plenty of box squats. Olly described the final section of the session as “a tasty posterior chain workout”, which was rounded off with foam rollers and stretching, which felt like torture, even though I know it’s good for me!

© SolentAthlete

© SolentAthlete

On Saturday, I took part in ‘Tim Wilks Day’ with Southampton Tri Club. It is a fantastic event that is held in memory of a triclub member who sadly passed away shortly after finishing a local triathlon. The committee did a brilliant job organising it and I was grateful to the volunteers for supporting us. The event consists of a 400m timed pool swim; a 10 mile time trial and a 4km run in the New Forest… however, transitions are not timed as the events take place in different locations.

I had a bit of a panic when I realised that I would be sharing a swim lane with my other half as I was expecting him to finish about 2:30 ahead of me and I hate the pressure when someone starts tapping your feet. We had a chat with Donna, the timer for our lane, and agreed to have half a lane each so that I wouldn’t get in Stu’s way. I predicted a 9:30 swim time, so was pleasantly surprised to finish in 8:42. I tried to swim at a steady pace, and I wasn’t too exhausted when I finished, so I think I could go faster.

I was really nervous about the bike section. I’ve done time trials with the Embrace Sports crew in Portugal, but I’ve always known exactly where we were going and it has definitely been for fun, rather than a timed event. However, I’ve done a reasonable amount of cycling recently, so I thought I’d be reasonably fit. I said to Stu that I reckoned 35 minutes would be about right for me – I finished in 35:05, so that’s pretty close… but I didn’t realise that in order to get that I’d have to wheeze for the entire ride. It was so uncomfortable. I probably should have stopped and used my inhaler, but I didn’t want to waste time. It also inhibited my cycling – spinning made me wheeze more, so I had to keep grinding away in the big ring.

The 4km run course was on an attractive forest trail. It was well-marked and as someone at the back, I had plenty of people to follow.I started out feeling quite comfortable and with a good cadence, but when my watched beeped at me at 1km and I saw I was running at 4:44/km, I knew it wouldn’t end well. I kept doing the best I could, but was gradually slowing down and others passed me. I was so relieved when I saw Sonia and Claire along with a group of others. I put on a terrific sprint finish… only to find that the group were some random ramblers and that there was still some way to the finish – doh! The ladies were simply there to direct me. A few minutes later, I finally saw the finish, but I had nothing left. It took me 21:27, which was very slow, but at least there’s plenty of room for improvement next time!

Today, I took part in a new sportive organised by Red Skye Cycle Tours. Stu and I chose to enter the Great Oak 70 mile event, which started just after 8am. I was really surprised that only about 10 people had entered the long distance, and only 7 of us were there at the start. We headed out as a group, but after a few miles, one of the women headed off on her own as we were cycling at a social pace.

It was quite chilly, but I’ve learnt from my last two bike rides, so I started out with a SOAS jersey and shorts teamed with arm warmers and knee warmers. I think it would have been good to have worn a buff, but I soon warmed up, so I know I made the right choice.

Although I was unfamiliar with the start location for the ride (Holmsley), there were sections of the ride that I was really familiar with. It was also clearly marked, so I didn’t have to worry too much about following the route on my Garmin. Sadly, someone had removed one of the signs, which had confused some other riders. It’s such a shame that there are so many cycle saboteurs in the New Forest area – they are clearly unaware of how much income this popular pastime brings to the local area.

I had thought that we would get to the rest stop after 35 miles, but when we had gone that far, I was warned that it would be another 6 or 7 miles before we got to the rest stop. Fortunately, we were doing well with spotting Hampshire’s ‘big game’ – we saw wild cows, horses, donkeys, pheasants and even a herd of pigs. I’ve only seen one wild boar whilst out cycling previously, so to see a herd of pigs running alongside the road was great.

By the time we got to the rest stop, I was flagging. Fortunately, the rest stop was really well stocked. I had a banana followed by a granola bar and plenty of jelly beans. I knew that at some stage, the sugar rush would wear off, but hoped that it would be enough to get me through at least 20 miles. I also picked up a pineapple flavoured energy gel to pick me up later and get me to the finish. Unfortunately, we found out that the female cyclist had not made it to the rest stop ahead of us, so we hoped that she hadn’t got too lost.

There were some tough headwinds during the ride that really sapped my energy, but I was determined to finish. I was also struggling as my chest was really aching after yesterday’s time trial.

The final section of the ride included some busy roads. The major road towards Bournemouth currently has some road works, so lots of cars are taking an alternative route near to Matchams. Some fo them were driving at crazy speeds, which was a bit nerve-racking. We also got stuck in a traffic jam.

Most of the ride had been overcast, but in the last hour or so, the sun came out which was lovely – there’s nothing better than cycling in sunshine!

Finally, the campsite came into view. The six of us cycled under the finish archway together. Woohoo! My first podium finish in a cycling event and top 10 overall 😉 (Sometimes it’s important to be selective about the stats you use!)

End of Red Skye Sportive

End of Red Skye Sportive

We were offered a variety of hot meals, which is always a great way to finish an event. Several of us sat down and ate together, before heading home. I felt exhausted, but pleased I took part! My friend, Jules has also blogged about this event – please do read his post.

Several of my friends have been taking part in running races today – mainly 10 miles, half marathons and marathons. It looks like they all did really well… but I don’t think any of them set any world records, unlike Jessica Bruce. This amazing lady has set a new record for running a marathon with a buggy, completing Abingdon Marathon in 3:17:52. I’d be happy with a time an hour slower than that! More about this story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-34551782

Finally, I saw this video earlier this week. The stereotypes in it made me laugh so much

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My longest ever swim (and a cold dip in the lake)

30 Apr

It has been such a busy week, so far, so I think tomorrow may be a rest day.

On Monday morning, I had a cross fit session with SUTRI for the first time in a few weeks. There were only 4 of us there and Olly made it quite a relaxed session, with a lot of stretching. I was amazed by how flexible I felt, but I think it may have been down to the super-painful sports massage that I had on Saturday. We did 40 dead lifts (in 10 minutes). I started out with a relatively easy weight and finished at 55kg as I didn’t want to over-exert myself. We also did a lot of wall ball, which I’m terrible at – I think I’ve got a lot of muscle imbalances and throw in a wonky way, which makes me feel self-conscious, which makes me even worse.

I went to STC swimming at 7pm and decided to stay for a double session. A problem with my parking permit meant that I started a bit late, so I was really pleased to be able to swim 3750m. It is by far the furthest I have ever swum (I’ve only swum 2000m or more 12 times, with my longest ever pool swim being 2250m and my longest open water swim being 2.6k. I would have liked to have swum 3800m (as an iron distance swim is 3.8k), but at least I have a goal for another week.

On Tuesday evening, I went to the STC track session, but there was no coach and the others who had turned up decided that it should be a hills session. We did just over 6km with much of it up and down golf course hill, which is a particularly tough hill at the best of times. By the end of the session, I was feeling better, but my legs were tight to start off with. Thanks, Donna for choosing the session!

Lakeside

Lakeside © Try Tri

After coaching yesterday evening, tonight’s session was my first swim in the lake. Unfortunately, a series of accidents and football traffic meant that what can be a 20 minute drive at the right time turned into over an hour and three-quarters 😦 A;though I had been told that the lake was a balmy 17C, I decided to start off wearing my new bootees and orca vest. I have to say that they both worked brilliantly, but my fingers were very cold and my face was freezing. Fortunately, my breathing took much less time to calm down than last year. I did one rubbish lap (mainly doggy paddle!) and then a full lap of front crawl, but the sun was going down and I didn’t want to get colder, so decided that that would be enough for today. Hopefully, the lake will be warmer next time and it won’t take me as long to get there. Stu arrived earlier than me and managed to swim 2 miles!

One good thing about the lake is that the old changing rooms have been demolished, so there are new portacabins, which are really cosy (although the shower temperature still fluctuated between very hot and icy cold). I also felt a bit safer as my NOWCA wristband was scanned in before I started swimming and scanned again when I finished, so hopefully there won’t be any bodies drifting around in the lake!

It’s also been a week when a lot of my friends have been signing up for marathons – Paris, Bournemouth, New Forest and Brighton have been particularly popular choices. I’ll enter the ballot for London next week, but if I don’t get a place, I’m OK with that. I’ve not received any emails about my mysterious free place at Lisbon Rock’n’Roll marathon, but I don’t think it would be sensible for me to add it to my training schedule. It’s really hard being picky about what I will/won’t do. I’m really tempted to do a 5km swim at Stithians Lake in Cornwall on 19th July – it’s the day after I swim around St. Michael’s Mount, so I’ll be in Cornwall, and that seems like a good enough reason to enter!

My first triathlon of the season is on Monday: May Day Tri. Stuart is in the first wave of the day at 8am and I’m in the 4th wave at 8:30am. I’m in a lane with 3 blokes aged 30-45, which seems to be a competitive age, so I’m hoping that I’ll be OK. Some of my friends are much faster than me and they’re in later waves, so I’m not sure how the waves were allocated. In the afternoon, my niece is taking part in her first triathlon, so we’ll stay to cheer her on, which will be fun. She’s a brilliant swimmer and is in her school cross-country team, so I’m sure she’ll be able to hold her own.

What I’ve been reading this week:

Finally, following the perpetuation of unattainable physiques by Protein World, it was refreshing to see this fantastic video by my favourite female endurance sportswear brand SOAS:

We Are SOAS from SOAS_RACING on Vimeo.

If you watch closely, you might see a familiar face at 1:20!

Southampton Tri Club’s best new female athlete :-D

30 Nov

It has been such a busy couple of weeks that I’ve struggled to find time to blog – apologies. I’m hoping that I’ll get back up to date soon 🙂

I thought I would share a quick post as this weekend has been particularly exciting. On Saturday, Rob and Stu agreed to pace me at parkrun. They’re doing heart-rate training, so my flat-out race pace is their current training pace. Rob’s really good as a pacer – he guided me around the course advising me to ease back in places and to push harder in others. Unfortunately, I think my tiredness and poor diet this week got the better of me. I also started far too quickly (hello 3:20/km!!!), which probably had an impact on my final result. I was disappointed that I finished in 25:30, which is still 16 seconds slower than my Southampton parkrun PB and 22 seconds slower than my 5k PB… but it was the third fastest time I’ve ever run, so I think that deserves a bit of celebration 🙂

On Saturday evening, we went to Southampton Tri Club Christmas dinner. Suzanne kindly agreed to drive the party wagon, with Katherine, Liz, Stuart and I as her passengers. We managed to get a table together along with Neil and his wife and coach Huw. After we’d had dinner, Darryl stood up to present the awards. The first awards were for the best new athlete (male and female). My friend James won the male award, but he wasn’t able to be the event. I was completely blown away when Darryl awarded me the women’s trophy. It was such a massive surprise and a really lovely way for me to end my first full season.

Best New Athlete trophy

Best New Athlete trophy

I managed to get through my seconds in the limelight without going into a rambling Oscars acceptance speech style monologue… I saved that delight for you! Thank you to:

  • The coaches at Southampton Tri Club – particularly Huw (running and swimming), Peter (swimming) and Steve (cycling).

I also need to thank a few people from outside Southampton Tri Club who’ve helped to get me this far this year:

  • Coach Ant from Run Camp
  • Friends, fellow Run Leaders and Coaches at Lordshill Road Runners
  • Coaches from Embrace Sports
  • The inspirational women who make up Team SOAS
  • Coaches from SUTri

and last, but by no means least, Stuart.

The next award was Tim Wilks trophy for ‘the spirit of triathlon’. As soon as Steve started describing the winner as always having a smile on their face, we had an inkling of who it might be… this feeling intensified when he discussed the athlete’s highly unorthodox nutrition strategy. The award was presented to my lovely friend, Liz, who described the half marathon at Weymouth Half Ironman as ‘9 2.5k jogs to each buffet’ or ‘a walking picnic’.

Celebrating with Liz

Celebrating with Liz

What a fantastic evening 😀

In other news this week, I’ve become a Training Peaks Ambassador. If you’d like to become a Training Peaks Ambassador, you can sign up here: http://sot.ag/3rKyq

I’ve also been reading lots of interesting things online:

Some extra recovery followed by two days of intervals

25 Jun

After my long swim on Sunday, I was meant to go swimming with the Tri Club on Monday night… however, I had a fun night out planned with some former work colleagues. I tried to find a way to fit a swim in, but I would have had to get up very early to do it before work, and my lunch break was sandwiched between meetings on different campuses, so in the end it just wasn’t feasible. I know that people will say that if you want to find a way, it’s always possible to make things work, but I was feeling absolutely exhausted and thought that a little bit of extra time in bed and a chance for my arms to recover wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Yesterday, I had to spend the day in London for a work event. Luckily, the meeting didn’t finish too late, so I was able to get home in time to be able to do some of my training. I was meant to do a 45 minute bike ride, but I only had time to fit in 25 minutes before my track session. If I’d been better organised, I might have found a bit more time, but I’m not too worried about it (I cycle to and from work every day, so missing out on 20 minutes on my bike isn’t as bad as it might seem).

After cycling, it was time for my weekly track session with the local tri club. Huw was away, so the session was led by Steve, who’s also a really good coach. We were told to do the usual warm up (a one mile lap of the sports centre), but I still had to change from my bike shoes into trainers and lock my bike up, so I took a short cut. I’d assumed that I wouldn’t be able to catch the group, but I think that with a bit of effort, I would have made it.

After the warm up, we were told to do a deceptively simple pyramid session:

  • 1 minute run; 1 minute recovery
  • 2 minute run; 2 minute recovery
  • 3 minute run; 3 minute recovery
  • 4 minute run; 4 minute recovery
  • 4 minute run; 4 minute recovery
  • 3 minute run; 3 minute recovery
  • 2 minute run; 2 minute recovery
  • 1 minute run; 1 minute recovery

We were told the runs should be done at ‘steady’ pace, which was then modified to 5k pace. My best parkrun (5k) time in 2014 is 27:40, but I’m still aspiring to get a PB, so I tend to think of 5k pace as being 5:00/km. I managed an average of 4:53/km (moving pace), which means that I managed to achieved what I wanted to.

This evening, I had a choice between doing an RR10 (local off-road race) or doing a specific run as set by my coach. I didn’t finish work until after 6pm, so I decided that it would be best just to do the work out set by Coach Ant. However, I also combined it with a run with my friend, Teri. I ran to her house, and then we did a 10 minute warm up before alternating between 90 seconds at ‘race pace’ (5:00-6:00/km) with 2 minutes of jog recovery after each one. It was hard to run quickly as I’m very tired, but I managed all of the intervals at the appropriate pace.

I think I would have found it a difficult run, if I hadn’t had Teri for company. We would start discussing a topic, and then my Garmin would beep to warn me that it was almost time to run hard again, so we’d agree to pick up the narrative in our next jog break. Teri’s a much faster runner than me, so she went ahead on the intervals, but we regrouped for the jogs.

Tomorrow, I’ve got an aquathlon. Last time, I was still struggling with my arm, so I did the novice distance. This time, I think I need to tackle the sprint distance, but I’ll try to hold back a little as I’ve a triathlon on Sunday. On Friday, I’m cycling and swimming and then I’ll finally have a rest day on Saturday.

This evening, I watched an interesting video from CTC (Cyclists’ Touring Club). It’s part of a campaign to make cycling safer in the UK. I fully support it, but I’m not sure that all of the proposals will be practical:

If you’re in the UK and could like to support this campaign, please visit the website.

Tracking and track-ing

10 Jun

Today has been a really beautiful sunny day, so I’ve made the most of it. This morning, I had to cycle down to the Oceanography Centre for work (which was exciting as I got to see some really cool stuff linked with a work project), but the real bonus was that I then had to cycle all of the way across the city at about 11:30am, so I got to enjoy some of the sunshine.

I’ve also been #TWIETing today:

Breakfast:

Chocolate brownie porridge

Chocolate brownie porridge

Oats, raisins, cocoa powder and almonds (there were no walnuts in the cupboard!)

Lunch:

Salad with carrots, spring onions (scallions), spinach, lettuce, radish, tomatoes and hummus.

Salad with carrots, spring onions (scallions), spinach, lettuce, radish, tomatoes and hummus.

An apple (with my brand new apple!)

An apple (with my brand new apple!)

Snacks:

No photos, but a sharon fruit/persimmon and some toast.

Tea:

Vegetable stirfry with tofu and a peanut sauce

Vegetable stir fry with tofu and a peanut sauce

I’ve been using MyFitnessPal for an entire week now and am into the final couple of weeks of my WW membership, so I went along tonight for my Weigh In. The tracking has obviously helped me as I’ve lost 2.5lbs 🙂 I hope I can maintain my momentum as I’m back under 11 stone again – I’m 10st 12lbs (152lbs)… only 26lbs to lose, how hard can that be? 😉

So, from tracking to track-ing… This evening, I went along to the first Tri Club track session. I quite enjoy running at the track, and it doesn’t cost me anything, which is great. I also thought that it would help to mix up my training and I might meet some new people. Finally, I’ve grumbled a bit before that my Tri Club mainly functions as a swimming club, with a few rides organised (at times, locations and paces that don’t suit me) and absolutely no running, so I felt that I should support this endeavour.

A mix of people from Tri Club turned up, but I recognised most of them which was good. I was definitely at the back of the pack, but I hadn’t really expected anything else. Also, an advantage of track running is that you’re never far from the other runners and after a while it’s hard to know what lap anyone is on!

The track was very busy when we arrived, so we went for a 1 mile warm up outside of the track. Then, on our return, we did some drills, including high knees, butt flicks and fast feet. Then it was on to the main set 6x600m. We were meant to be doing them at 5k pace, but I went out at what Steve Prefontaine would refer to as ‘suicide pace’, which wasn’t wise and I paid for it later. How on earth did I think I could maintain 3:19/km?!! I averaged 5:12/km for the entire set, which is faster than my current 5k pace, but I know the last couple were very slow… and I want to see all of them start with a 4! Overall, I really enjoyed being at the track, but I think I need to push myself harder.

Do you like track running? Is it something that is readily available for you to do? (It costs £3+ per session here).

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