Tag Archives: brand ambassador

Do you want to be a SOAS Ambassador?

27 Sep

I’ve been a SOAS Ambassador since 2014, and have loved being on the team. The brand is led by strong female triathletes, who really know what women want from their kit (comfort AND style), and the other ambassadors (who are spread around the world) have some great stories. If you’d like to join us for 2017, why not apply? You have until the end of October to get your application in.

soas-ambassador-2017

If you’re male and want some of the action, then you could apply to join the first ever Hansym Racing Ambassador team.

hansym-ambassador

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I’m so excited…

20 Mar

…my 2015 Team SOAS kit has finally arrived:

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I have my first multisport event of the year on Sunday (Winchester Duathlon), so the kit has definitely arrived at the right time… but I want to wear it all now. (I’m wearing the new hoodie as I type). I was going to be sensible and have a rest day tomorrow, but now I’m very tempted to go to Southampton parkrun tomorrow. If I take it steady, it’ll be OK, won’t it? Plus, if I’m slower people will have more time to admire my gorgeous clothes 😉

Preview of the 2015 SOAS racing Brand Ambassador kit

15 Dec

I’ve absolutely loved wearing the 2014 SOAS Brand Ambassador kit (and have to admit that my workout wardrobe is significantly more turquoise as a consequence… I even refused to buy a new pair of Brooks PureFlows until my local shop agreed to get them in turquoise), so I’ve been waiting with bated breath to find out what the 2015 kit would be like.

The first hint was the ‘team kit’ that was previewed at Interbike, back in September.

SOAS 2015 sale

We had another hint back in November when we saw the exclusive Kona kits, which were in the trademark turquoise with fluorescent accents:

Kona 4 SOASKona 1 SOASKona 2 SOAS Kona 3 SOASKona Gina SOAS

Then finally, we got the first glimpse of the awesome kit that I’ll be wearing in 2015:

New SOAS kit

Fortunately, there’s still some turquoise, so I don’t need to replace my shoes etc. I really like the look of this design, and am so excited about receiving another super box full of goodies from SOAS.

I am also really happy to know that some of the awesome triathletes I met this year are going to be on the team, including:

  • Kat Marshall, who coaches on the Embrace Sports camps that I love
  • Elena Nikitina, who I met when cycling in the Pyrenees in May
  • Rosie Wild, who I met at a triathlon training camp in Portugal

As soon as the new SOAS kits are available, I’m going to be stocking up as I LOVE the new designs. Which one is your favourite?


 

Update – December 2015
I have loved wearing this kit this year and am just as excited about the 2016 kit. I’ve recently blogged about the sneak previews that we’ve had.

Gosport Half Marathon

16 Nov

Today was my last ‘proper’* race of the year, and although I knew I hadn’t prepared adequately for it, I was actually feeling quite good. I ran 10 miles a couple of times when I was on holiday in Portugal, did a 10 mile training run on 2nd November and a 15k run last weekend, none of which were at the pace I wanted to run at, but they were better than I’ve managed for a long time.

As part of my final preparations for Gosport, I went out to Liz’s flat for a party last night. I didn’t drink any alcohol, but I did have a bit of chocolate cake. I’m not sure that’s how the elites roll, but it was good!

I got up at 7am today, dressed for the race and ate a bowl of porridge with dried mango, before heading off to pick up Justin at 8:15am.

We arrived at race HQ fairly early and were able to get our race numbers and chips. As usual, there was a long queue for the toilets, but at least they were real loos and not just portaloos. After I came out, I saw a few people I know, so I stopped to chat to them. I think it was a good move as I realised that it was raining hard outside. Last year, the weather was cold when this race took place, but I overheated at 8 miles, so I was hoping that it would be cold again and that I wouldn’t have similar issues.

Soon it was time to line up at the start. I was with Jenny and Helena, who were both hoping to finish in under 2 hours. I knew that I needed to keep my pace at <5:40/km, but I didn’t want to go off too quickly, which is one of my bad habits. Last year, I resolved not to check my watch until I had run two miles and I decided that would be a sensible option again this year. I could see several LRRs up ahead, and Jenny went speeding off, but I decided to hold back a little.

Jon shared this video of the start of the race – I can be seen in the centre of the picture at 4:23 onwards!

At the two-mile marker, I could see that I was running at about 5:15/km, but I was feeling good. I decided to slow slightly, but that I wouldn’t slow right down to 5:40/km. A little while later, I saw my husband, Stu, who had cycled over from Southampton to cheer runners on. It was lovely to see a friendly face.

I continued on, but at six miles, i started to wonder why I had entered the race – there just seemed to be so much further to run and I was already feeling a little bit tired. Fortunately, there were quite a few LRR supporters at the 10km turnaround point, which helped to motivate me. It was also good to see John, one of Stu’s training partners, and his son. The turnaround helped to motivate me as I was able to see quite a few LRRs. First there was Kelly, then Paul and then I saw Elaine, Aurelio, Rachel and Luana… but I can’t remember what order they were in. I also saw Becky from STC… and I could see that James wasn’t too far ahead. I also heard a familiar voice – I couldn’t see him, but I saw teh front wheel of the lead bike announcing that the first finisher was on his way. My buddy Jules is currently on the road to recovery from a foot/ankle injury, so he decided to use teh opportunity to take his new wheels out for a spin!

I thought that I might be able to catch up with james who was also targeting sub 2 hours, but I didn’t want to pick up my pace too much to catch up with him as I knew I would pay for it later. I decided that a more sensible tactic would be to slowly reel him in. Unfortunately, James was not having a happy race and had started to slow. It wasn’t long before Kelly ran past me. We did our first ever half marathon together, but Kelly is on great form know, so I expected her to beat me. Then Lisa ran past. I hadn’t noticed her at the turnaround, but she was moving at a great pace. I saw her slow a little to chat to James before heading off into the distance.

Just before the 8 mile water station, I caught up with James, but I was starting to feel fatigued and was not breathing as well as I wanted to, so I was unable to speak to him. I had my inhaler zipped into my pocket, but I’m not good at using it whilst moving, so I was hoping that I wouldn’t need it.

I was very concerned that I would overheat like last year, so I decided to try to take on a mouthful of water at every drinks station and to throw the rest of the cup over me. Although this helped a little, I was still starting to overheat. I think my pace dropped a little, so I had to tell myself to harden up and ick up the pace. I knew how disappointed I would feel if i finished just outside of my goal time again.

Although I was feeling warm, it wasn’t as bad as last year and my legs and lungs seemed to be doing OK, so I pushed on. It seemed to take a long time before I got to the loop at the far end of the course, but eventually I made it and  a lovely little downhill section took me on to the long home straight.

A small section of the race was on shingle, which is one of the surfaces that I hate to run on most as I always get pebbles in my shoes, but fortune was smiling on me today, and I managed not to pick up any gravel!

Quite a few LRRs were out supporting on the course, which was great. Having my name on my club shirt means that quite a few people shout encouragement, but it’s even better when it’s someone you know. Lawrence and Mike had cycled out to cheer us on and had positioned themselves on opposite sides of the path: Lawrence had a camera on my left and Mike was on the shingle to my right. I was so happy when I saw them that I gave a big cheer!

Pleased to see Lawrence and Mike out cheering on runners © Lawrence Chen

Pleased to see Lawrence and Mike out cheering on runners © Lawrence Chen

Smiling at Mike who was on my right © Lawrence Chen

Smiling at Mike who was on my right © Lawrence Chen

I knew that the next supporter I saw would be Stu, just at the top of a ramp. I was so happy to see him, but I also warned him that I was feeling unwell and asked him to go to the finish.

I found the final mile really difficult. It was windy and I was feeling very hot and tired, but I was so desperate to achieve my goal and knew that as long as I didn’t slow down too much I would make it. A lovely older chap from Winchester tried to encourage me – he said that he had been following me for quite a long time. I said that I was struggling to breathe, so he very kindly counted for a little bit in the hope that it would get me back into a rhythm. I couldn’t stick with him, but knew that the final turn would be coming up soon.

As I turned the final corner, I knew I had about 400m left to go. Quite a few people were passing me, but I was too focused on my own personal goal to care about taking them on. Eventually, I saw the 13 mile sign, and then saw Kim cheering people on. I was so happy to see her and knew I was going to reach my target. I shouted, “I’m going to do it” and sprinted for the line, passing the chap from Winchester.

I could see the time on the clock (gun time) was 1:58:43. I had achieved my goal! I felt so elated… but knew that I couldn’t just stop as I was feeling dehydrated and really shaky. I’ve fainted after several races and wanted to cool down a bit. LRR Captain Emily came over to me and helped me to get a cup of water before I had my chip removed and was presented with a medal and a goody bag.

The goody bag at Gosport Half Marathon is always packed with lovely stuff:

  • Finger of fudge
  • Wagon wheel
  • Hula hoops
  • Slice of carrot cake
  • Pen
  • Banana

It’s also a reusable drawstring cotton bag, which is handy.

I had a look at my watch and could see that it said 1:57, but could not find out where the seconds were displayed until I got home. My chip time and my Garmin time were identical: 1:57:37 – I had smashed my goal 😀 Frustratingly, I was 59/117 in my category (F35-39), so not quite in the top half, but that’s not too bad. I’ve been so desperate to run a half marathon in under 2 hours. Amongst my running friends, I don’t think it’s a terribly impressive achievement, so I was surprised when one friend told me that only 15% of female half marathoners manage to finish in under 2 hours! http://www.runnersgoal.com/how-to-run-a-half-marathon-in-under-2-hours/ I think this race is different as it’s part of the Hampshire Road Race League and is therefore very popular with club runners (rather than ‘ordinary’ people). The race’s popularity is such that it even featured on the local news: http://www.itv.com/news/meridian/story/2014-11-16/runners-gather-for-gosport-half-marathon/

I still need to take another 5:30 off my time before Southampton Half Marathon in April, but if I can maintain my confidence and my training as well as eat well and lose weight, I’m genuinely starting to think it could be possible 🙂 This result has been a long time coming and there are several people who have helped me to get to this point this year: Stu for always looking after me; Ant for helping me at Run Camp; all of the Embrace Sports guys, but especially Graeme; all of my amazing team-mates from SOAS racing – when the race felt bleak I thought of you all and didn’t want to let you down! – and Huw for pushing me at Tri Club track sessions – THANK YOU! It also seems fitting that this has happened on the same weekend when I’ve found out that I am going to be a brand ambassador for SOAS in 2015 – I am so proud of ths and feel honoured to join so many inspirational women who are achieving at levels that I can only dream of!

At the end of the race, I caught up with quite a few fellow club runners and friends from Southampton Tri Club. Many of them got PBs and the ones who didn’t generally had good races, which was great. It was also lovely to catch up with Sam who I met on my last Embrace Sports holiday.

Posing with Sam after Gosport Half Marathon

Posing with Sam after Gosport Half Marathon

Sadly, Sam has a foot injury, so her race didn’t turn out as planned, but I know that as soon as it’s fixed she’ll be back out there getting PBs (and celebrating with bubbly) again!

Full results for Gosport Half Marathon.

I’ve been having a clear out and have been trying to decide what to do with all of my old race t-shirts… I used to wear some of them at the gym, but I do fewer classes now and have plenty of technical t-shirts, so I don’t use them any more. I think I’ll probably make a quilt out of them. Here are some other ideas: http://blog.walkjogrun.net/2014/11/13/race-t-shirt-overload-here-are-8-ways-to-repurpose-them/

Another article that I’ve read this afternoon is Human body: the ‘ultra-athletes’ aged 60+ It’s a really interesting article that suggests that people shouldn’t just ‘give up’ when they retire.

*I’m planning to do several more parkruns and a ‘Santa dash’ before December 31st, but there are no more cross-country races for me to do until January, and I haven’t paid to enter any more running events.

I may not be a winner, but at least I’m losing in style!

26 Mar

Yesterday was such an exciting day. I came home at lunchtime, as I needed to get my car for work and noticed that there was a man on my front lawn. On closer inspection, I realised that it was Adrian, my lovely gardener (I’m not posh, but it was cheaper to have a gardener for a couple of years than buy a new lawnmower, and it gives me a bit more time for training!) Adrian told me that I’d just missed the postman who’d tried to deliver a parcel. I assumed that I would need to wait 24 hours before going to the post office to collect it, but when I looked at the delivery notes, I found that the postman had delivered my parcel to my next-door neighbours.

I needed to head down to the Oceanography Centre for work, so on my way to the car, I called at my neighbours’ house and collected my parcel. Instantly, I could see it was a parcel from Team SOAS – yay!

My Team SOAS parcel

My Team SOAS parcel

In the last few days, I’ve seen a few posts on social media about the American Brand Ambassadors receiving their kit, but I’d assumed that I’d need to wait a couple of weeks for mine to arrive. I wanted to take photos to savour the moment and share it with all of you, so I put the parcel on the front seat of my car and it remained there until I got home from work, which is when the excitement began.

I carefully opened the box, which was packed full of exciting goodies, all carefully packaged with turquoise tissue paper.

So many goodies!

So many goodies!

First out of the box was a headband. Unless it’s really hot, you’ll have noticed that I almost always wear a headband. It fits really well and is incredibly comfortable. I love the details on it – at the back there are cute little SOAS logos.

The cute headband (and a slightly crazed smile!)

The cute headband (and a slightly crazed smile!)

Next out of the box was the hoodie. It’s soft, warm and comfortable and I can tell it’s going to be a favourite for wearing to and from races and just about any other occasion. (I’m currently on my way to an education and technology conference, where I’m going to be giving a presentation on Digital Literacies and I seriously considered wearing it today!)

The hoodie

The hoodie

Sadly, I then had to take a pause from the excitement, as I had to go to my Weight Watchers meeting. That seemed like as good a reason as any to put on my new hoodie. I found out that I put on 1.5lbs in Cyprus, but I think my new kit will be great motivation for me to get back on track with eating healthily!

When I got back, I was able to start going through the contents more thoroughly. First out of the box was a lovely note from Steph, one of the founders of SOAS. It is so exciting to be part of a team of amazing women.

The note from Steph

The note from Steph

The next items that I tried on were the grey marl cropped jogging bottoms. I’ve never had cropped jogging bottoms before, but they felt really comfortable on. They’ll be ideal for wearing to and from races in the warmer months of the year, and for after open water swimming. They’ve got a gorgeous logo patch on the left hip.

My SOAS bottoms

My SOAS bottoms

You’ll see that I’ve teamed the trousers with my new flip-flops. Last year was the first time since I was a small child that I owned a pair of flip-flops as I’ve always found them incredibly uncomfortable. Part of the reason is that I have conjoined toes and they’ve always rubbed between my toes. Last year I invested in a pair of the most hideous flip-flops known to man (pearly pink straps and multicoloured leopard print soles). I chose them specifically as I wanted them for when I went open water swimming. I figured that if they were brightly coloured, I would be able to spot them even without glasses on/contact lenses in. Fortunately, they can now be retired for a significantly more stylish option… now I just need a SOAS swimming costume to match. (I wonder whether one is in the pipeline!)

The running kit

The running kit

I then decided to try on the running kit. You may have noticed that I rarely wear a vest for running. This is for several reasons – I only own three or four vests and they tend to get lost in my running drawer; I don’t like revealing my fat arms and finally, my club vest was bought when I was a lot slimmer than I am now and I intended to lose more weight, so it’s a teeny tiny size 34”, which means that I can’t breathe when I wear it. As we’re now coming into the warmer months, I’m looking forward to running in a vest. My other challenge is that for several years I’ve favoured a particular sports bra that doesn’t have a racer back. I have a couple of racer back sports bras from my martial arts days, but think I’ll need to invest in some new, stylish ones so that no grubby straps can be seen emerging from my pristine kit!!!

The rear view of the running kit

The rear view of the running kit

Accompanying the vest are the running shorts. They are made of absolutely gorgeous fabric and the design details are so stylish. I’m going to try a short run with them on, but I suspect that they are a little too short for my thunder thighs. This gives me three options: 1. Don’t wear them, 2. Lose weight, 3. Wear a base layer underneath them. I don’t want to miss out on wearing them, so I’m hoping they will be an inspiration for me to lose weight, but in the meantime, I think I’ll need to wear a base layer. I’ve already searched for some options online and may try them with some lightweight Lycra shorts that I have. If only there were a magic way to spot reduce!

The only part of the kit that is slightly disappointing is the socks. They fit beautifully and feel like they will wear well. The details are stylish, but unfortunately, they are not a perfect colour match for the rest of the kit – they’re blue whereas the rest of the kit is turquoise. This probably won’t bother most people, but I’m obsessive about matching things!

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Front and rear views of the socks

Front and rear views of the socks

I then moved onto the cycling kit. As the shorts are designed for cycling and triathlons, the chamois is fairly small. I’m hoping to go for a reasonable length bike ride at the weekend, so I’ll let you know how comfortable they are on the bike. I was worried that the grippers on the legs might be a little tight and that the waistband might be uncomfortable, but I needn’t have worried at all as they are incredibly comfortable and not in the slightest bit tight.

The cycling kit

The cycling kit

The cycling jersey has some lovely details on it. There are little buttons on the short sleeves, which add a stylish touch. The pockets on the back of the jersey are quite small, but as I have two bottles to put on my bike (and my bike has a snack pouch), then I won’t need to carry much in them!

The rear view of the cycling kit

The rear view of the cycling kit

I tried on the arm warmers with the jersey. I first tried arm warmers a year ago when I bought a pair for the Paris Marathon. Sadly, one of them got lost along the way, so I had to buy another pair. They come in really handy when it’s not obvious what the weather conditions will be like, as it’s much easier to roll them down than to take off another layer when cycling. The Team SOAS ones are absolutely gorgeous. They feature the beautiful wings design as well as having lovely turquoise cuffs. I think I should possibly have ordered a smaller size as my arms are a little short, but when I’m stretched out on my bike, I’ll get a better idea.

I also tried on the beanie that came in the parcel. It’s a black knitted beanie with a team patch that is stitched on off-centre. It took me a while to work out how to wear it and as the weather id now starting to get warm, it may take a while before I wear it… although as open water swimming starts in a few weeks, I may get it out for that.

The tri top and shorts

The tri top and shorts

I then tried on the tri vest. I’ve never worn a two-piece trisuit, but I think it will be preferable to a one piece for a half iron distance tri. In Chrissie Wellington’s autobiography she talks about peeing whilst on her bike, but I just don’t think I could bring myself to do that!!!

The tri top and shorts

The tri top and shorts

The last item that I had to try on was the casual vest. It looks enormous when spread out, but it is made of a very soft and drapy fabric. I’ll definitely be trying it out this weekend.

The casual vest

The casual vest

There were also a couple of stickers in the box, which I will use to decorate my bike box before I go on my triathlon holiday next month.

I wanted to take a couple of photographs of the whole kit, but I realised that my house is so small that there isn’t enough floor space in any of the rooms to lay everything out, so I had to lay it all out on our king-size bed. Wow! What a lot of stuff! I’m so excited about having an opportunity to wear it soon.

My new wardrobe!

My new wardrobe!

The rear view of the kit

The rear view of the kit