Tag Archives: Ambassador

A fortnight of exercising

19 Jan Running track

After the Reading Half Marathon workshop, I was determined to start my training for this year’s races. I still need to sort out a proper half marathon training schedule, but at least I’m making a move in the right direction.

I’ve been out running with Sarah for the past two Wednesdays. We did just over 5km the first week and 6.5km this week. I’m starting to feel a bit more comfortable again, but I definitely need to start doing some speedwork.

Running track

Photo by Austris Augusts on Unsplash

I’ve also been out running with Rachel and Felix, then on Saturday I took part in Southampton parkrun, so I ran three times in a week for the first time in a long time. I found parkrun really challenging, partly because of my fitness levels, but also because it was so busy. I had M in her buggy, so it was really hard for me to pass slower runners. I started off with Inez who was doing her 100th parkrun, but I couldn’t run alongside her, so I slowed down a bit. Then Linda and her baby caught up with me, so we had a lovely chatty run. There are a lot of stressful things going on for me at the moment, so I’m really enjoying the chance to clear my head either by running on my own or by chatting to friends whilst running. I also loved seeing Tuba Libres at parkrun, there to celebrate Laura’s 250th parkrun.

Southampton parkrun Jan 13 2018

Of course the other big challenge that I’m training for is Swimathon. I’m so excited to be an ambassador again this year – check out my profile. Last week I swam with Stuart on Monday. My arms were aching in the first few hundred metres, but  kept going and managed 1000m. I would have swum more, but I didn’t have enough time. Then this week, I swam on Tuesday and did 1200m. I’m determined to keep building up my strength, speed and distance until I’m back to comfortably doing 2km in an hour… by which  stage I should be ready to start my proper training programme.

Swimmers doing front crawl during Swimathon

Swimmers doing front crawl during Swimathon

I’ve been cycling to work (as usual), but I don’t have any cycling challenges at the moment, which is probably just as well as I’m still getting to grips with balancing work, training and family life.

I’ve also been doing a lot of gardening as it’s finally a bit drier. I spent 2.5 hours raking my garden two weeks ago and last week I spent another 2.5 hours raking. I would have continued with the theme, but there’s no room left in my garden waste bin and it’s wet and cold here. Hopefully, I’ll manage to do some more gardening next week.

Have you got a detailed training schedule for this year?



Bubble, bubble, breathe – Swimathon 2018

12 Jan Swimathon 2018 logo

I’m so excited to be an ambassador for Swimathon 2018. I had a great time last year and it really pushed me to get back in the pool after having M. I had big plans for swimming more when I went back to work, but as M has been ill for most of the last 4 months, that didn’t really work out. She’s now seeming better, so I’m hoping to take her to the pool with me this weekend. She’s not really swimming yet, but who knows, maybe she’ll be ready to take part in the 400m challenge next year!

Last year I entered the 5km challenge, but that was a lot to take on, so I’ve entered the 2.5km Swimathon challenge this year. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to improve my speed this year. I want to do a 2.5km time trial as soon as possible, so that I know what time I’ve got to beat. 2.5km is 100 lengths, so it will still be hard work! By concentrating on a shorter distance than last year, I’ll be able to focus a bit more on my technique rather than just focusing on getting the distance in.

There are venues all over the country that are taking part in Swimathon. I’ve decided to swim at David Lloyd at Ringwood because I can do my swim there on a Friday morning. I no longer work on Fridays, so it will help to keep my weekend free so that I can spend more time with M.

If you’d like to join me, there’s a 50% discount until 21st January, so what are you waiting for?!

Did you know that Swimathon is the world’s biggest annual fundraising swim? So far it has raised £48 million which has benefitted 36 charities. It really doesn’t matter what your age or swimming ability is, there’s a challenge for everyone, including a new 400m event this year.

My motivation for taking part in this event is two-fold. Firstly, I need an event that will push me to get in the pool and train. I enjoy swimming, but as I’m so time-pressed that unless I have a reason to be in the pool, it is sometimes squeezed out of my schedule. Secondly, the charities associated with Swimathon (Marie Curie and Cancer Research) are ones that are meaningful for me as my father died of oesophageal cancer nearly 16 years ago.


I got in my first swim of 2018 yesterday. I could only fit in half an hour, which was a bit frustrating. I had hoped that I would be able to swim for an hour and that I would be able to see how far I could swim in that time. I managed to swim 1000m. I could tell that I haven’t swum for a while as it felt like so much hard work. My speed has definitely dropped and my arms were tired by 200m. If I can maintain yesterday’s pace then 2.5km will take me 90 minutes; if I were at my best, I know that I could do it in an hour, so that is my goal.

First swim of 2018

Have you entered Swimathon? Which distance?

Life is a rollercoaster

11 Jan Sweat Pink laces

Hello all! Apologies for my silence, the last week has been an emotional rollercoaster for me. After the high of finding out that I had been selected as a Team SOAS Ambassador, I plummeted to a low when I found out that my beloved grandmother was seriously ill. This has thrown my training, nutrition, blogging and work plans into disarray, but some things are just more important.

On Monday evening, I went to  Tri Club swimming session. It was a slightly strange session for several reasons. Firstly, the local council has introduced evening parking charges, but many people did not realise until they had parked their cars and gone into the swimming pool’s reception. They then had to scrabble around to find enough change to put in the meter. This meant that the swimming session started late. Secondly, I usually swim in the 8-9pm session, but I had to go to a running club meeting from 8pm, so we went to the 7pm swimming session, which meant that Stuart and I were with unfamiliar groups.

There were two ladies and two gents in the first lane. I’d never seen the chaps before, but know both of the women – Jenny I know through Run Camp and Sonia is one of the best female runners in another local running club (but also very down to earth and friendly – I would finish a long way behind her in any race, but that doesn’t stop her from speaking to me!)

We did a few lengths of front crawl as warm up, but I wasn’t fully focussed. I suddenly realised that I had been counting my strokes and had reached 13 but had not taken a breath. Whilst that was not what we were intending to do, it has made me wonder whether I could actually swim a whole length underwater with a bit of practice. (I know that it takes me 21 strokes to do a length). We did a warm up drill that involved backstroke and then moved onto various body position drills. As usual, my battle was to keep my head in line with my body. Coach Peter said it looked better, but it may just be that he is despairing about what to do with me!

The main set was 12x50m off 90 seconds. I knew that I would find that a huge struggle, so I did the first 5 and then had a break when the others were doing the sixth set, so that I was able to join in for the last half. The pace felt a lot faster than the usual group that I am in, and there  were fewer of us in the lane.

The warm down was 200m breaststroke, which was quite a pleasant change.

All of the data is here: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/425939642 …but as I haven’t quite figured out how to use my watch correctly, I’m not sure it’s very meaningful! At the end of each of my two lengths of crawl, I waited for about 20 seconds before doing my next set, but I wasn’t sure what to do with my watch, so I just left it running whilst I was waiting (that’s easier for me than watching the clock on the wall as my poor eyesight means that I can’t read it!!!)

Run Camp at the track
Run Camp at the track © Ant Gritton

On Tuesday morning, I went to my first Run Camp speed session of the year. I told Stuart that I needed to get up at 6am. I think he must have set the alarm for earlier than 6 as by the time I had dressed, I looked over and saw that the alarm clock said 6:01. I might have been quick, but I don’t think I can put on compression tights and full running clothing in a minute!!!

I drove up to Southampton Sports Centre and could see that Andy had already arrived. Jenny was parking at the same time, so I picked up my water bottle and jogged down to the track with her. Coach Ant was already at the track along with the rest of the runners. We had to do 2 x 400m as a warm up before we were divided into two groups:

Group A

  • Gareth
  • Andy
  • James
  • Katherine

Group B

  • Tamsyn
  • Jenny
  • Max
  • Liz

Group A started on the track, whilst my group were given exercises to do.

1. 12 x single leg deadlift (on left hand side) with a weight

Single leg Romanian deadlift

Single leg Romanian deadlift © Townsend Fitness Systems

Image from: http://www.townsendfitnesssystems.com/2013/03/03/5-exercises-for-show-stopping-legs/

2. 12 x lunge with medicine ball on alternating legs

Medicine ball lunge

Medicine ball lunge © Everyday Better

Image from: http://www.everydaybetter.com/category/exercise-videos-online/medicine-ball/

3. 12 x single leg deadlift (on right hand side) with a weight

4. 12 x squat with resistance band.

Squat with resistance band

Squat with resistance band © The Secret La Revista

Image from: http://www.thesecretlarevista.com/en/8/3744/Elastic_band_workouts_%282%29.html

5. 2 x 20m squats sideways

We did the entire set of exercises four times before we were told what we would be doing on the track. We knew that we would run for 3 minutes, before having a 3 minute break. In that break, we would need to return to the start, so we would have to spend some of it walking. I had to run 597m; Jenny had to do 590m and I think Max and Liz were given about 500m. Fortunately, I know where the 200m mark is on the track, so I knew where I had to go. My average page was between 4:38 and 4:52, so although I didn’t manage to beat Jenny on the last lap, I think it’s fair to say I nailed it 🙂 I got to my marker for each of the four laps and when I started to feel tired, I reminded myself of my ultimate goals.

After returning from Run Camp, my rollercoaster week continued with an email confirmation that I am now a Sweat Pink Ambassador:

Welcome to the Sweat Pink™ movement, where tough and girly come together at last. Sweat Pink™ is all about sharing the joy that comes from living a healthy lifestyle. It’s a celebration of hard work and well-earned rewards. Our pink shoelaces are a proud demonstration of all we’ve achieved, and all we plan to become.
I hope to continue inspiring women around me and have ordered my first batch of pink shoelaces 😀
Sweat Pink laces

On Tuesday afternoon, I drove the 220 miles (approx 350km) down to Cornwall to be able to visit my grandmother and, for the rest of the week, I have been getting up early and trying to fit my day job (which is mostly online) around visiting hours, which has meant that I’ve been online working from around 7am – 11pm every day this week. It has been exhausting and I feel sluggish from the lack of running, swimming and cycling. Sadly, at the age of 92, I know that my grandmother is not going to make a recovery, but it was lovely to see that she had managed to get out of bed yesterday. She was watching one of her favourite afternoon quiz shows and remained as alert as ever. I saw my grandma again today and will see her again tomorrow before I have to head home, but it’s heart-breaking to know that they are probably the last times that I will ever see her.

A final ‘up’ of the week was that I found out that I already know one of my fellow Team SOAS Brand Ambassadors – the amazing Kat Marshall from Embrace Sports. Kat is one of the kindest, most supportive and most energetic people who I know. She is a brilliant role model for any aspiring athletes and I can’t wait to catch up with her later on this year 🙂

Kat at the top of The Punisher

Kat at the top of The Punisher