Tag Archives: Beaulieu

Swim, run, bike – my weekend in that order

6 Dec

The weekend didn’t get off to a great start. I felt exhausted by Friday evening, but Stuart had booked for us to go for a swimming assessment, so I had to find some motivation. We arrived at the pool early and I got organised before heading poolside. Rachel was being filmed first, so I had time to do a warm up in one of the other lanes, then it was my turn.

I helped to set the camera in position and then was asked to do 200m at a steady pace. I had been told to swim normally, but of course I was trying to do my best. unfortunately, this meant that I think I may have kept my arms fairly straight throughout the stroke – oops!

The camera was then moved to the end of the pool, and I did another 50m. That was all I had to do. Darryl gave me some instant feedback, but I’ll get the video footage on Monday evening, so I’ll be able to see everything that I’ve been doing wrong then.

At that point, Stu went for his swimming assessment and I was able to join in with the main set. unfortunately, I didn’t really understand what was going on and when I did understand I realised that it would be a very tough session for me. We were expected to do a combination of press ups, underwater swimming, dolphin kicks on our backs and diving in. I can do press ups, but I absolutely hate being underwater, so I was terrified of doing the other parts of the set. I had a go at swimming underwater, but was clearly hopeless at it, as the coach asked whether I was going to make any effort at joining in with the set. I found that disheartening and would have preferred to give up at that point, but Stu was still doing his assessment. I completed the class, but don’t think I’ll go back to another Friday night training session :’-(

on Saturday morning, the alarm went off at 7am and I really didn’t want to get out of bed. I had a splitting headache and did not feel at all well. I turned over for another 30 minutes, but then thought I’d better get myself moving if I wanted to make it to Southampton parkrun.

The weather is particularly mild at the moment. There are roses blooming in our garden, camellias in our neighbour’s garden and cherry blossom in some of the parks! However, it was really blustery. I chose to wear some shorts and my parkrun 100 t-shirt, but I knew I would feel cold at the start.


It was great to catch up with some parkrun regulars, but I didn’t arrange to run with any friends as I wasn’t sure how well I would do – my assumption was that I would probably be able to do about 29 minutes.

I also had enough time to watch the local uni quidditch team training session. It seems so strange to see young adults running around with sticks between their legs. I bet this is one side effect of Harry Potter that J.. Rowling could never have predicted!


I started out with Rachel from STC and near the top of the first hill, Stu ran past with John and Rob. I then caught up with Alison, who was happy enough to run at my pace and have a chat. I was enjoying the run, but realised that I hadn’t used my preventer inhaler this morning and had left my reliever inhaler in my bag, so I thought I had better be careful and not push myself too much.

Alison and I had a great chat… and for once I didn’t try to have a sprint finish, although I think we both picked up the pace slightly when we got to the final 500m.

In the finish queue, someone asked me what time I had and I glanced at my watch: 26:33. I was really surprised. I had been so busy chatting that I hadn’t looked at my watch at all when I was running and had assumed that our pace was much slower.

Later on, I received the official results email:

Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 19.45.14

A second faster than I expected (I don’t think I paused my Garmin very promptly!) There are 4 parkruns left this year. I think a PB might be too much to ask for, but I think with some sensible eating and regular training then a season’s best (SB) might be a possibility.

Yesterday evening, I saw something very exciting on Facebook:

Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 21.32.22

Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 21.30.49Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 21.30.42Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 21.30.35

Oh my! I am so excited to see the 2016 SOAS Ambassador kit! I can’t wait until this stuff arrives. Fingers crossed that it’s here in time for my first tri of the season 🙂

Today, Stu and I went out for a bike ride with Abi. We met Abi on our last Embrace Sports holiday – she was doing the running camp whilst we were there for triathlon. Anyway, Abi has come over to the dark side and has bought a bike so that she can get ready for her first triathlon in 2016.

We had a lovely 35 mile ride out into the New Forest and back, with the obligatory stop at The Olde Bakehouse tearoom. I hadn’t really worked hard enough to deserve a slice of cake, but it was delicious!



Next weekend, I have my final race of the year: Heartbreaker Tailwind 10mile trail run. It’s a new race, but the course is mostly the same as the Heartbreak Half, so I know what I’m letting myself in for!

What have you been doing this weekend?

If you haven’t already voted for me in the Bloggers’ Lounge Health and Fitness blogger of the year awards, I’d be really grateful if you could go to: http://bloggers-lounge.co.uk/bloggers-of-the-year/blogger-of-the-year-2015-voting/ You don’t need to sign up to anything, it’s just a single clock on that page. Thank you 😀

Tiring training weekend

2 Aug

On Thursday evening, I was excited about trying out my new wetsuit at Lakeside. However, a series of minor disasters (including leaving my phone at work and finding that the building code wouldn’t let me in) meant that I almost didn’t make it. By the time I arrived at the lake at 7pm, it was already getting cooler. It has rained quite a lot in the last week and I was surprised by how much colder the lake felt. I spent a little while acclimatising and then decided to head off for a speedy first lap.

The first time that Stuart wore his new wetsuit (a 19 Rogue), he found that he swam significantly faster than in his 2XU T:2, so I was hoping for a similarly magical result. Sadly, it was not to be. I did my first lap in 7:30, which isn’t any faster than I normally swim. I decided that perhaps it was because I hadn’t warmed up, so I swam a second lap. It was slower. I decided to really go for it on my third lap and felt like I was doing well, until an incredibly competitive man decided to try to swim over me. I really don’t understand why someone would do this in training. I felt the man’s hands on my feet, then my ankles, my knees and my lower back… at which point I started kicking like hell. The swimmer did not miss a stroke and just carried on. Given that there were only a few people in the lake, there was absolutely no need for this to happen, but I saw the same swimmer do it again to another fairly weak swimmer. I don’t know what kind of kick he was getting from it, but it wasn’t training that I wanted.

I’m not sure whether it was the cold water, the new wetsuit being less warm or my general tiredness, but in the end, I decided that four laps was enough.

I had Friday off work, so I did a lot of housework/garden work, which involved getting soaked with the pressure washer. I had forgotten how much of a workout it is to use one of those!

On Saturday morning, Stu and I went to Southampton parkrun. I haven’t seen Teri for weeks, so it was lovely to see her there. I asked whether she was going for a social run or a fast run, and she suggested that it might be possible to do both. Yet again, I had failed to bring my inhaler, so I wanted to be careful. I struggled as I got towards the top of the hill, but Teri encouraged me to keep up. I recovered a bit on the downhill and managed to maintain my pace. Clare caught up with us, so I had a chat with her and Teri picked up the pace a bit. Towards the end, Clare asked whether I wanted to pick up the pace. I said I would when I got onto the gravel. Clare soon sprinted past me, and I just did the best I could, but it was a mistake. After crossing the line there is a slow walk to get your token – I started feeling dizzy, so I stepped out of the line and lay on the grass, breathing heavily. I felt really rough and realised that I shouldn’t have pushed as hard. The good news was that I had managed a reasonable time and my Garmin showed an average pace of 4:59/km, which made me smile.

Southampton parkrun 1st Aug 2015

Unfortunately, the consequence of my hard run was that I felt ill all day and kept feeling really dizzy. I had such a headache, even though I kept drinking lots of water 😦

This morning, I felt much better, so I cycled up to the Common to meet Teri and Roelie for a 90km ride. On the way out of Southampton, we had to stopped as the traffic meant that Roelie was unable to cross the road. Unfortunately, I failed to unclip and had an unplanned dismount 😦 Luckily, I wasn’t injured – just a tiny bruise on my hand, a big bruise on my left leg and a dent in my pride. It was also a bit of a nutrition fail as I had packed a small bottle of protein shake in my jersey pocket and managed to squash it – oops!

We headed out towards Beaulieu and then towards Buckler’s Hard. It’s a route that I particularly like as it’s relatively traffic free, so it means it’s easy to ride as a group and have a conversation. It’s also quiet and beautiful. Partway round, we saw Stu coming in the opposite direction, which was nice. We stopped for a very brief break, where I opened my packet of salt and pepper nuts – yummy. I also dropped my mobile phone, but luckily Teri spied it before we cycled off.

Teri only had enough time for one loop, so we stopped for a quick selfie at Beaulieu:

Selfie with Teri and Roelie

Selfie with Teri and Roelie

As we were on the grass verge, Stu pulled over. Sadly, he had also had an accident and had some bad cuts and bruises on his arm and leg. This evening he is limping badly, which is really sad – I hope he recovers in time for Dublin.

Stu and Teri headed for home whilst Roelie and I cycled around for another loop. I was pleased that I wasn’t feeling tired, although I definitely wasn’t cycling at race pace. on the way back, Jonathan cycled past at quite a speed and then as we neared Eling, I saw Jules and another DHC cyclist… I think Jules must have been on his way to one of his favourite haunts – The Old Bakehouse tearoom!

When I got back to Southampton, I cycled back up to The Common with Roelie to ensure that by the time I got home I had done 90k 🙂


A PB, +50% on a ride and a trip to the velodrome

15 Mar

Last weekend, I had a massive weekend.

It started on Friday with a leaving party for a work colleague, which involved being out late at the pub and some karaoke (but as usual, no alcohol for me, so no singing). It was a fun evening (although sad that Justin was leaving)… but not ideal race preparation as I didn’t really eat properly. A handful of peanuts and some oriental snacks doesn’t really make for a nutritious pre-race dinner!

Saturday morning started with parkrun. I’ve been trying really hard not to over eat and to eat as healthily as possible, so I was feeling quite light. Also, my asthma hasn’t been too bad and my running has generally been going well, so I felt like I could be on good form. I told a couple of friends that I was going for a PB, and as I hadn’t really dressed for cold weather (my favourite SOAS vest and a pair of shorts), I knew I had to run quickly to stay warm!

As usual, I started a little too quickly (running past a friend who is a 22 minute runner). I kept pushing up the first hill, but by the top I was feeling rough – I felt weak from not having eaten much and I was shattered. My friend Teri shouted at me to keep pushing and I complained that I couldn’t do it, but she encouraged me to stick with her.

parkrun 14 March

Thanks to Teri for pushing me © Lauren Lilly


I managed to push a bit on the downhill, but it wasn’t long before I got to the hill again (it’s a two-lap course). I kept pushing, but wasn’t confident that I would be able to get a PB, I was just hoping that I could get close to 25:00.

When I got to the top of the hill again, I decided to give it everything I had on the downhill. When I reached the bottom, I was trying to pace myself as the finish straight is quite long, but at that moment Patrick and Angela (a couple from my running club) went past and said something to me – I can’t remember what, but it motivated me to push and try to keep up with them.

Sprint finish photo

My final sprint © Lauren Lilly

I did the best that I could and put in a massive finishing sprint.


parkrun PB

parkrun PB

My splits were:

  1. 4:51
  2. 4:55
  3. 4:59
  4. 5:06
  5. 4:42 (plus a final sprint at 3:35/km)

I’m frustrated that I didn’t manage to get each kilometre under 5 minutes, but I’m really pleased with my pace for the last km.



This has led to my RunBritain handicap decreasing to an all-time low of 16.6. I am so happy that I am on peak form… and I still feel that I can achieve more.

RunBritain progress graph

RunBritain progress graph

As soon as I finished running, I had to change and get myself up to University of Southampton as I had signed up for a #thisgirlcan / SURC (Southampton University Road Cycling Club) bike ride.

When I arrived, my friend Roelie was already there waiting with another cyclist. I had chosen to wear a new pair of cycling tights that I have never tried before (some 3/4 length Castelli ones).  I had been worried that I would be too cold, but the sun had come out and with a fleecy long-sleeved jersey and a very cosy cycling jacket on I was overheating. Soon 4 other girls turned up and we discussed the planned route. Although the initial idea had been to do 30 miles, a 45 mile route was suggested. I’ve not cycled much recently, but as I’m going to be doing 60-70 miles a day soon, I thought it would be good training.

The weather was slightly strange – the sun disappeared not long after we set off and it was cool and damp. The pace of the ride was faster than I’m used to (~30kph for sections) and combined with my poor nutrition and the effort that I’d put in earlier in the day, I don’t think I was at my best. Roelie and I were both grateful when we had a cake stop at the 30 mile point in Beaulieu. I didn’t take a photo of my giant chunk of carrot cake in The Old Bakehouse Tearooms, so you’ll have to believe me that it was enormous.

Roelie had been struggling with feeling cold, so we swapped jackets for the ride back. I had been finding it a bit hot, so I was grateful to have a lighter jacket on and I think Roelie was pleased to be a bit warmer. It was also my first ride with my new cycle shoes that I got at Christmas. I think they are warmer than my lovely Pearl Izumi tri fly shoes, but I had on lightweight summers socks, so my feet were cold. I put on toe covers to cycle back and felt better.

When we got back into Southampton, I decided to continue along on the cycle path on my own as I was already running late and didn’t want to continue back up to the University with the others. The whole ride had been 71.25km

When I got in, Stuart and Jez were waiting. They had loaded up my Giant Defy with my panniers, so I had a quick drink and then headed out with them for a test ride. Jez is a very experienced cyclist, but he is also happy to chat to friends and enjoy the scenery, which was a relief as I don’t want to be holding him up on our trip.

As it was a grey day and I hadn’t eaten properly all day, we decided just to cycle out to Beaulieu and back. We took it at a steady pace of about 21kph. When we got to Beaulieu, we stopped at the Old Bakehouse (again), but this time I just had a pot of jasmine tea and a bit of Stu’s cake. Then we turned around and headed back. Overall, the trip was 37.17km, so I think it was my longest ever day of cycling 🙂

On Sunday morning, I had signed up for another SURC/ #thisgirlcan activity: cycling at Calshot velodrome. Unfortunately, Roelie had too much work to do and had to pull out and I was feeling nervous before I went. When I got there, everyone seemed very confident. We were each told to choose a bike that was the right size. I chose a 52cm and managed to find a pair of shoes in my size.

I put on the shoes and then needed to adjust the saddle to my height. This was my first disaster of the day – someone tried to help me, but I clipped in and then managed to fall over – oops! In my defence, I’ve not used Look KEO pedals/cleats before and they’re just not like speedplay.

The first nerve-wracking part of track cycling is the realisation that there are no brakes on the bikes. I knew this in advance, but hadn’t really thought about it. We were told to cycle around on the flat and then get used to stopping by gradually slowing down and unclipping – at last a skill that I could manage.

Along with the other novice cyclists, there were quite a few girls who regularly ride with SURC. They were bustling around the track whilst we were learning the basics. They were then asked to come off the track, so that we could individually have a go. We were told to cycle around the grey part of the track a couple of time to help get our speed up and then to head onto the boards.

A couple of the novices had tried track cycling before, so they started first. I was the last one to go. By the time I started pedalling, I was shaking with fear.  Calshot is a 142m oval, so it is only 4m longer than the world’s shortest velodrome. As a consequence, it has especially steep banking: 48° and gets a special mention on Wikipedia because of this.

I cycled around on the grey part of the track, and encountered my first challenge when I realised that I couldn’t freewheel around the bends. This is what I naturally always do and I found it unnatural to keep pedalling. I completed two loops and the coach called to me to head up onto the boards, but I was feeling sick with fear and couldn’t do it, so I went around another time before slowing to a stop. I was told that I could have another go later, but I was so stressed and fearful by that point that I couldn’t do it. I felt frustrated with myself, but I was also having flashbacks to my crash in the Pyrenees, so I decided to call it a day. One day, I would like to have another go at track cycling and I’m proud that I didn’t wimp out before even going to the track, but on the day it was a case of #thisgirlcant

For some videos showing how steep the banking is at Calshot, visit: http://www.velodrome.co.uk/Calshot-Velodrome

Have you done any track cycling before? What tips can you offer to help me overcome my fear of crashing?

Diagram showing all of teh bicycles you might need