Tag Archives: triathlon

Monday Morning Motivation: Island House Triathlon

13 Nov Island House Triathlon

The 2017 Island House Invitational Triathlon will take place at Highbourne Cay in the Bahamas on 17th – 18th November. It will be staged as three events over the course of two days, awarding $500,000 in prize money.

There are four British women taking part: Leanda Cave, Rachel Joyce, Holly Lawrence and Emma Pallant. Sadly, the only British male entrant, Tim Don, has had to withdraw following an accident a short while ago.

The format of this event is really interesting with a super sprint time trial and an enduro race (run, swim, bike, run, swim, bike, run) on the first day and a sprint pursuit on the second day.

I think it’ll be really inspiring to watch… does anyone know if it will be possible to see it live in the UK?


Thank you to everyone who’s voted for Fat Girl to Ironman so far – there’s still time to cast your vote in The 2018 Running Awards.

Nominated for The 2018 Running Awards. Please vote for me.

Monday Morning Motivation – Bad to the bone

30 Jan

If you have 10 minutes to watch this video of Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon 2015 then you’re bound to feel inspired (and in awe of the athletes who take part).


“If you’re looking to test your personal limits and find your mental and physical boundaries in a single day event, I think this is the only place you can come.”

“It is unique to jump in the cold water, to climb the mountain, to share with all the family. That makes it unique to share – to know that we’re not alone”

“This is the coldest water I’ve ever swam in in my entire life. There will be a time when I’m warm again, it might be tomorrow or tonight, but a time will come in the future and just put your mind on that – this is temporary, you just have to work through it. I think you’ve got to be strong up here!”

“You know it wasn’t bad in the beginning, it got cold once we got into the bay.”

“This is ridiculous.”

“How was the water?”

“Freezing!”

“That was awesome!”

First 160 athletes allowed up to Gaustadtoppen checkpoint known as Zombie Hill.

“But we are ahead of time. You said like 14 hours and 30 minutes…”

“But there are 160. That’s our safety cut off!”

Fast Fuel – eating for success… and a giveaway

11 Oct

Even if you’ve not been following my blog for long, you’ll know that nutrition is important to me. I’ve successfully managed to lose weight by eating a healthy balanced diet and have only put on 7-8lbs by Week 39 of pregnancy by eating well, so I’m always interested in learning more about nutrition.

Training FoodAs we saw in Rio, the world’s greatest athletes have an entourage of professionals behind them to ensure they’re properly prepared for the games. Elite sports nutritionist and author of Amazon’s #1 best-selling book in the fitness training section, Training Food, Renee McGregor is one of the people who works with Olympic and Paralympic athletes to get them fully fuelled for the big games. Renee is a hugely respected registered dietician and sports nutritionist who works with both amateur athletes and those at the very elite levels of competition. She is a performance and clinical Dietician/Nutritionist, accredited by the Health Professions Council, and The Sports, Exercise and Nutrition Register, and is a member of The British Dietetic Association, and The Sports Nutrition Group. Renee works with individual athletes, and runs workshops for coaches and squads, alongside guest lecturing on sports performance at The University of Bath and appearing at sports conferences.

This month Nourish Books is publishing two new books by Renee to help everyone, from amateur athletes to those standing on the Olympic podium, to properly fuel their fitness:

I’m really excited to have been sent an advance copy of each of the books for review. As you may be aware, I adhere to a vegetarian diet, but I appreciate that this isn’t for everyone (and I think my own life might be easier if I could bring myself to eat meat/fish!)

Food for Running Success

Fast Fuel - Food for Running SuccessThe first half of this book focussing on giving the reader information about how to fuel properly with chapter on the basics, training and fine-tuning; the second half of the book features recipes that are divided into five sections:

  • breakfasts
  • light meals
  • main meals
  • snacks and portables
  • desserts

There is a single recipe on each page and each recipe includes nutrition information per portion as well as information about the number of servings, preparation time and cooking time. This information is essential for any time-pressed athlete. I think my only criticism would be that there are no photos of the food, which is what I like to see in a recipe book!

In the first section of the book, there are sample menus made out of the recipes that have been included, so it is easy for a runner to put together a nutrition plan using the information. The advice that is given is clear and practical, but I was reassured that it was backed up by science. Some of the recipes have clearly been developed by someone with similar tastes to mine, such as the Black Forest Porridge. I also particularly liked the rosemary and paprika vegetable and bean hot pot… so much so that I ate it before thinking about taking a photo – oops!

Food for Triathlon Success

fast Fuel - Food for Triathlon SuccessThis book follows a similar structure to Food for Running Success, so I won’t explain it here. Also, many of the recipes are the same, so it’s probably best to decide whether you are predminantly a runner or a triathlete, rather than investing in both editions. My favourite recipe so far in this book is the Tofu Pad Thai. I have to admit that I modified it slightly (coriander is the food of the devil), but I’m sure most people would love the recipe exactly as it is.

Both books include a detailed bibliography, so if you want to read more about the research behind the recipes, it’s easy to follow it up.

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed reading these books and intend to try out many of the recipes over the next few months. There are sound scientific principles behind all of the recipes, which are explained in an accessible way. Also, although the benefits of specific foods are explained, Renee does not advise faddy eating or cutting out entire food groups.

 

Giveaway

I have one copy of each of Renee’s new books to giveaway to UK residents.

Fast Fuel giveaway Terms and Conditions

These books are for anyone and everyone with an interest in fitness and in keeping their bodies properly going, so if that sounds like you, why not enter?

 


Update:

The books were won by Michelle Dorrington and Norbert-Daniel Acatrinei. I hope they enjoy them 🙂

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DNF and I feel fine – a guest post from my husband

22 Aug

Originally I had planned to write a post for Tamsyn’s blog after IM Copenhagen but things didn’t go quite to plan and following on from that I wasn’t feeling what I thought I should be feeling so hopefully this post will also help me explore that a bit. 

Firstly, I entered IM Copenhagen back in September 2015 as I wanted to have a challenge for myself ahead of my 40th birthday at the end of this year. At that stage I was reasonably confident about the running and swimming but had never ridden over 65 miles. Those regular readers of the blog will know that I don’t have a great injury track record and at the time of entering I was recovering from a torn calf muscle which happened the week before IM Dublin 70.3. 

I realised I needed a bit of help with my goal and after not being able to find a local coach I signed up to online coaching via Training Peaks (Carson at Fascat Coaching if anyone is thinking about a coach) in November. 
To cut a long story short, I completed around 450 hours of training in the build up to the race with the support of friends and especially Tamsyn who took on more housework to help me have more training time and put up with me being tired and grumpy a lot. There were a few bumps on the way with niggles and illness but this was probably the best training block I’ve ever had. Good to go for race day. 
The short term preparation was badly hampered by our bikes being stolen – not really an impact on training but very stressful and time consuming trying to obtain a race bike and deal with police and insurers. Thanks to Darren at Estrella Bikes http://www.estrella-bikes.com/ I was lent a road bike to race on although I wasn’t able to get any long rides in ahead of the race. I managed to get a last minute bike fit from Garth at Vankru http://www.vankru.com/ so was confident I would be OK with the position despite that lack of time on the machine. 


Copenhagen is a great city and whilst expensive, I’d recommend a visit and the race to others. A few days here getting registration, racking etc. done with a bit of light tourism and I was ready to race. 


The swim went pretty well – it’s a fast route being in a lagoon with the benefit of salt water but not having waves or strong currents to worry about. Age group athletes get set off in groups of 6 every 5 seconds so there is nowhere near as much stress at the swim start as many other races. 


It did get hard to sight at times with fog but I was really happy to come in at 58:05 with around half without any drafting and having done an extra 200m as a result of sighting issues. Transition was fairly standard and out onto the bike course. 


I got about 3k into the bike when another rider swerved in front of me trying to correct themselves after going onto the wrong side of the road and nearly head on into a bus. I took a bit of evasive action but unfortunately caught a pothole which then resulted in me clipping the kerb. 

I was probably riding around 35kph / 22 mph and went down. Nothing spectacular but a bit of a shock all the same. Some spectators helped pick up the bike and walked me down to some nearby marshals. I could definitely feel the road rash down my right side but of more concern was a gash in my wrist. At the time I was struggling to move my fingers a lot (which subsequently is absolutely fine) and I was not confident it would last the vibrations of another 175k and be safe and enable me to brake. 

Another factor was a crack in my helmet which meant I was likely in trouble if anything else happened. I was looked at by the race doctor who confirmed I would need stitches in my wrist and arranged for an appointment at a local clinic. I rode there having no other transport and after that back to the hotel. 

I knew Tamsyn would be really worried as around 90 mins had passed since the crash and I hadn’t been able to contact her. 

What the big surprise for me was the realisation that came to me waiting for the doctor – despite the hours of training, emotional investment and cold hard cash required to get me onto the start line in the best shape I have ever been in, I wasn’t devastated, angry, frustrated or anything I would expect to feel. It’s hard to rationalise this and I’m not sure I understand my own feelings on this but in hindsight I had no doubt I could complete the race and the only question was how quickly. I had hoped some months ago for sub-11 hours but actually sub 10:30 was realistic on a good day. I’m not competitive with others generally and really just with myself and my own abilities so maybe I had proven to myself what I needed to. 
These, combined with more important things in life (looking after Tamsyn ahead of our baby being born later this year) left me feeling that it was ok. I have no regrets over the decision made on course – it was the right one. 

The only disappointment I have is not seeing the bike course and more of Denmark and feeling the support of the crowd on the run route through the centre of Copenhagen. 

We went to spectate and the support was superb. I’d really recommend this race – the course is beginner friendly and fast as well as having good support on the run. 

I’m not sure what the next step is for me – I could look to race long distance again in a few weeks or alternatively may call it a day for the season or just race a marathon. I’m going to take a few days to decide whilst my body heals. 
I never though I would say this but I just DNF’d a race I’d spent 8-months training for and I feel fine. 
– Stu

Monday Morning Motivation: Iron Cowboy

14 Sep

James Lawrence is a double world record holder – in 2011 he completed the most half iron distance races in a year and in 2012 he completed 30 iron distance races – but he decided that wasn’t enough, so in June this year he set off on a journey to complete 50 full Ironman distances in 50 days in 50 states. His journey ended in July, but it’s an unofficial record as he didn’t race on official courses. Why did he do this then, if not to set a record?

“My goal is simply to inspire others to challenge themselves and to be more active.
Together with the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation we can all be part of the movement to fight obesity.”
– James Lawrence

Lawrence ran to raise awareness and funds for a non-profit that combats childhood obesity. At the end of every running portion of his Ironmans, he invited supporters from around the U.S. to join him and run the final 5K of the race with him.

This video reflects on Lawrence’s 30 iron distance races (not his recent 50 triathlons), but it’s still inspirational.

Monday Morning Motivation: Bailey Matthews

31 Aug

Bailey Matthews

Chances are that unless you were on holiday in a remote location at the end of July, you’ve already seen this inspirational video, but it’s so heart-warming and motivational that I wanted to share it again.

Eight-year-old Bailey, from Doncaster, has cerebral palsy and was cheered over the line by hundreds of spectators after completing a 100m lake swim, 4,000m bike and 1,300m run. The emotional crowd shouted its encouragement when Bailey stepped away from his walking support to finish the last 20 metres of the race unaided – and into the proud arms of his parents Jonathan and Julie Matthews.

This inspirational young man also regularly runs at his local parkrun, Clumber Park. If Bailey can do a triathlon, what’s stopping you?

Impatience

13 Feb

I’m currently off work as I’m ill and the lack of exercise is making me grumpy and impatient, as well as providing me with the time to browse online, which is never a good thing.I’ve seen a few humorous videos this morning, such as

but mostly, I’ve been reading other people’s blogs, which make me want things, and then I turn into Veruca Salt:

“I want it now!”

This is how I feel about the new SOAS team kit. I love the 2014 kit, but now I’ve had a glimpse of the 2015 kit, I am desperate to have it

Preview of 2015 Team SOAS kit

I also want all of the new winter running kit.

Which one’s your favourite?

2014 race awards

18 Dec
For this post, I’ve linked up with Montana at Pretty Lil Mudder  and a few other fab fitness bloggers – be sure to check out their posts. Here are my 2014 race awards… drum roll, please…
Most Scenic Course
For me this award has to go to Lanhydrock parkrun It’s in a beautiful location, but as the course profile shows, it’s not an easy route:
Lanhydrock parkrun course profile
The event takes place on a National Trust property, which is a stunning old country house. This photo of the gatehouse shows just how magnficent it is.
IMG_1922
Most Challenging Course
This was a difficult award to decide on. The profile of Lanhydrock parkrun made it a runner up, but overall, I decided to present it to Adidas Thunder Run. This event is a 24 hour relay on a 10k cross country course. It has lots of different sections: uphill, downhill, short grass, compact ground, mud. The weather conditions were also quite warm.  I ended up running 50k as part of a 7-person relay team.
Best Expo
This was a tough choice as the only races that tend to have expos in the UK are marathons, and I only ran one this year (Brighton). In the end, I decided to award it to the Triathlon Show with Primera Tri Expo as runner up.
 IMG_1966 IMG_1965 IMG_1964
Best Post-Race Food/Beverages
Braishfield 5 mile beer race – beer, cake and water – what more can I say?
Best Swag
This was another tough category to judge. The goodie bag at Brighton Marathon was good, but the prize has to go to Good Fri Tri, where finishers were not only given a medal, some dried fruit, a drink and their choice of free gift (mug and coaster; bike bottle or buff), but also a lovely Cadbury’s Easter egg 🙂
Good Fri Tri finishers

Stuart and I before collecting our Easter eggs

Most Unique Medal
I loved the ribbon on my Brighton Marathon medal, but probably the one that I liked most was from Eastleigh triathlon:
medal
TryTri have custom medals for every race 🙂
Favorite Race Shirt (tech tee or reg)
I’ve not received many tshirts from races this year. I quite liked the Wiggle Spring Sportive tshirt, but the one that I’ve worn the most is the  Gu Energy Classic tshirt from Bustinskin. It’s a wicking cotton tshirt that was produced in both men’s and women’s sizes 🙂
GU tshirt
Favorite Overall Race
I really enjoyed taking part in Weymouth Half. An advantage of taking part in triathlons is that the order of the disciplines is the same as my confidence levels. I started the day feeling nervous, but my confidence soared when I was on the bike and although my run didn’t go quite as I’d hoped, the crowds were brilliant. The whole event was amazing and I would recommend it to anyone.
Tamsyn running in Weymouth

It was such a relief to see the finish arch © Katherine Anteney

Best Course Support (aid stations, volunteers, people cheering you on, etc)
I loved the crowd support at Weymouth Half… but there wasn’t a huge amount of support out on the bike course. I’m awarding this one to Brighton Marathon as I desperately needed the crowd support during this race and it didn’t let me down!
14 miles © Emily Smith

14 miles © Emily Smith

Race You Are Most Proud of Yourself for Completing
This has to be Weymouth Half – as someone who couldn’t swim 18 months before the race, it has taken a lot of hard work and determination to get to a stage where I could take part in this race. I also had various health battles this year, so I was proud to make the start line and even prouder to finish!
Lap 3 © Marathon-photos

Lap 3 © Marathon-photos

I’d recommend checking out which races my fellow Girls Gone Sporty Ambassadors have presented their awards to:
Which events that you took part in this year would you give prizes to?

18 months into my 5 year challenge… what have I achieved?

23 Sep

18 months ago, I laid out my plans: https://fatgirltoironman.co.uk/2013/03/28/failure-to-plan-is-like-planning-to-fail/

A year ago, I reported back on my progress:  https://fatgirltoironman.co.uk/2013/09/10/where-am-i-now-assessing-my-progress/

So it’s now time to check up on whether I’ve made any progress in the last year. Here’s a recap of my goals.

Year Swimming Cycling Running Triathlon
2013 800m swim 42k cycletta or 82k Marathon Novice – Newbury
2014 1600m swim 63 mile sportive (IoW) Marathon Sprint
2015 2k swim 86 mile sportive Marathon Olympic
2016 3k swim 100 mile sportive Marathon Half Ironman
2017 4k swim 127 mile sportive (Chichester) Marathon Half Ironman
2018 2.4 miles/3.9k 112miles/180k 26.2 miles Ironman

Swimming – goal: 1600m – surpassed!

I feel like I’ve made significant progress over the last six weeks to two months. Back in April, I did a 400m time trial and managed to swim it in 9:30. I would love to repeat this now as I’m confident that I could beat that time. Coach Peter has timed me doing 25m in 25, which is a massive improvement and several people have commented that they think I’m getting faster. I wouldn’t say that my technique is good yet, but I’m finally getting to grips with breathing. I’ve persevered and with the help of Huw (and the stress of sea swimming), I’m now starting to believe that I might one day be able to swim 3.8k in 2:20. In June, I managed to swim 1.54 miles in 1:23 at the Big Cove swim.

Cycling – goal: 63 mile sportive – achieved!

In April, I completed the Wiggle Spring Sportive (100.74km) and at the end of August I cycled 100km in Cornwall with Stuart and Donna. When I set my goals, I had a specific sportive in mind. I did not do a 63 mile sportive on IoW, but I am confident that I can cycle the distance having done the other 100km rides, so I am going to count that as a success… especially as teh Cornish ride was at least as hilly as the IoW!

Running – goal: marathon – achieved!

In April, I ran Brighton Marathon. My time was a little disappointing (4:39:44), but I was unwell and had not trained to my full potential, so this is far better than I expected.

Triathlon – goal: sprint – surpassed!

This is the one goal that I leapt ahead on. I completed a sprint triathlon back in April (Good Fri Tri) as well as Eastleigh Open Water (sprint) Tri in June. I did two Olympic distance triathlons in Weymouth this summer (GU Classic in July and Weymouth Classic in August) and then I soared past my goal to finish Weymouth Half last week.

I think it is probably time for me to revise my original goals. Obviously, an ironman is still my ultimate goal, but I think the swimming targets are a little soft. I regularly swim over 2k in an hour and my longest swim this year was 2.67km. I am considering entering a 5km lake swim next year, although I may find it a little boring. I need to persevere with cycling, but I think that with some good mileage over winter and a new-found friend in my turbo trainer, I should be able to complete a 100 mile event next year. My running aim is the one that is most challenging. I’m not sure that I have the motivation/desire to run a marathon whilst I’m struggling so badly with my breathing. I really want to focus on my speed and achieve a 5k PB and get a great time (ideally a PB) at Southampton Half Marathon in April, so I may choose not to focus on doing a marathon next year.

The area where I still feel that I am failing is my nutrition and weightloss. I am an emotional eater and this year has been a rollercoaster for me. I am also struggling with having a huge workload, which means that by the time I’ve finished training, I’m too tired to spend a lot of time preparing food. I know that unless something changes, I will never be successful in this area, so I’m going to spend a bit of time planning ahead and preparing to try to get me back on track.

I want to do another half iron triathlon next year. I loved Challenge Weymouth, so I may enter the event again and aim for a PB, or I may do Ironman 70.3 in Dublin. As soon as I’ve made a decision, I’ll share it here!

This might be the most exciting thing has has ever happened to me…

4 Jan

O.M.G! O.M.G! O.M.G! That was what went running through my mind when I opened up laptop this morning, but I didn’t have much time to ponder the contents of the email that I had read as I was going to parkrun. Not just any parkrun, but Eastleigh parkrun, which has returned (for three weeks only) to its birthplace at Lakeside. It’s where my love for running started back in 2010. The picture below is one of the earliest pictures that exists of me running, and it was taken there!

Eastleigh parkrun August 2010

Eastleigh parkrun August 2010

Since then, I have returned to Lakeside during training runs and for open water swimming, but I’ve not often done 5k there.

Lakeside panorama

Lakeside panorama © Emily Smith

I had been hoping that it would be a dry day, not because I’m bothered about running in the rain, but because I know how easily the course at Lakeside gets churned up – it would be a shame if it is unable to go ahead for the next three weeks. Alas, it was not to be. It had rained steadily all night and was still raining when we got up. This meant that some areas of the course were under water and it was VERY muddy and slippery!

I ran with Lynda for a few hundred metres, which was good, as it was her 50th event. Then I met up with Ellie and ran with her for a while, before doing the last lap with James. That’s what I love about parkrun – it really is a social event that encourages runners of all ages and abilities to run together. However, for many people it is a weekly chance to push themselves and this week was no exception. The Lordshill boys battled it out for the first six places. LRR marshal, Neil, managed to snap the speedy chaps part way round the lap:

Lakeside speedies

The fastest runners © Neil Garton

I didn’t want to push myself as I’m still struggling with sinusitis and I need to do a 13 mile run tomorrow, so I was happy to finish in 73rd place in 30:48. Afterwards, we went to the cafe to warm up with a cuppa. It’s been a while since I’ve had time to stop after parkrun, so I enjoyed catching up with a few other runners/triathletes.

LRRs enjoying a cuppa after parkrun

LRRs enjoying a cuppa after parkrun

I’m trying to avoid ‘junk miles’ this year, but sometimes it’s good for the soul just to get out and run with friends. I’ve signed up for Jantastic again this year, but I’m not setting myself hard targets as I don’t want to ruin my training by forcing myself to run when I don’t need or want to. I’m trying to educate myself to be a better runner and coach. One of the books that is helping me with that aim is ‘Triathlon Science‘ by Joe Friel and Jim Vance – I’ll be sharing what I learn with you. I’ve also been reading ‘The Ghost Runner‘ by Bill Jones, which was one of Stu’s Christmas gifts (he’s a fast reader, so he finished it over a week ago). It’s a really interesting biography of John Tarrant, an amazing runner from yesteryear.

So… the news you’ve all been waiting for. This is what I saw in my in-box this morning:

Congratulations! You have been selected for the SOAS Racing 2014 Brand Ambassador Team.

How exciting is that?! I applied a while ago and am absolutely ecstatic that I have been selected. It’s a brilliant opportunity for me to work with a brand whose values I identify with. I’m also looking forward to connecting with some of the other team members this year.

So what does it mean for you? Well, I am hoping to be an even more conscientious blogger, as well as being more active on Twitter. I’m also going to make an extra effort to take my camera/phone with me to events (and use it)! Oh yes, and you’re going to be seeing me wearing some awesome kit that is comfortable and attractive… and it all matches 😀

If you haven’t heard about the brand before, please visit their website: http://www.soasracing.com/ and their blog: http://soasracing.blogspot.co.uk/