Tag Archives: CC6

Big round up

9 Jan

It feels like ages since I’ve had a chance to blog. Christmas was hectic and baby M takes up an awful lot of time (who knew it was possible to sit doing nothing but watch a baby for hours!)

On Christmas Eve, Stuart, M and I were in Cornwall. I had found out that there was a new parkrun at Trelissick, near to Feock, but the inclement weather conditions meant that it might be very challenging with a buggy, so we decided to try to alternative route at Penrose parkrun. We’ve only done it out on the coastal past previously, but it’s currently on a flat tarmac path, which seemed like a more sensible option for the buggy.

It was Stu’s turn to walk with the buggy, so I put on my festive SOAS cycling jersey and some shorts. I persuaded Stu to take his festive antlers with him. Initially he was undecided about wearing them, but when he saw that everyone else was in fancy dress, he put them on:

Christmas Eve at Penrose parkrun

The event was heaving in comparison with when we have visited previously – there were 335 runners, which was over 200 more than in most weeks. Unfortunately, this meant that it was a slow start. I was hoping that the relatively flat course would make it easy for me to beat my post baby PB of 28:15. The course was also far muddier than I had expected. It took me almost two minutes before I could start jogging and even then I had to weave around people.

I finally managed to get moving more quickly. I could hear the man in the inflatable turkey suit just behind me, so I tried to pick up the pace. The course is currently an out and back, with an incline up to the turn around point. As we hit the incline ‘turkey man’ passed me. I was able to overtake on the way back down, but it wasn’t long before he sped past me again – oh well, never mind. I was also keeping an eye out for Stu and M. They were doing very well and were ahead of quite a few others.

The return leg was much easier as the crowd had thinned out. I could see the finish, but it involved going around a muddy corner and across a patch of grass.

Christmas Eve parkrun 2016

It wasn’t a PBPB, but I felt quite pleased anyway. I was 53/147 female runners and 6/24 in my Age Group.

After I’d caught my breath, I jogged back to meet Stu and M. They managed to beat 24 other parkrunners, which is a great result as they walked the entire event.

Stu and I had hoped to get out and about a bit at Christmas, but Stu came down with a heavy cold and we had so many relatives to visit that it was nigh on impossible to fit in any running, although we did go on a long walk to buy pasties 🙂

By New Year’s Eve, we were back in Southampton, which meant that we were able to take part in Southampton parkrun. It was Stu’s turn to run, so I got to walk with M’s buggy. My friend, Caro, caught up with us partway around, so I had a lovely social walk, and also managed to get a walking PB 🙂

New Year's Eve parkrun

I then had a dilemma. New Year’s Day was an extra parkrun day, so I knew that I could do either Netley or Eastleigh parkrun at 9am before doing Southampton parkrun at 10:30am. However, my next parkrun was a (minor) milestone: #200. In the end, Stu, M and I went out for a party on New Year’s Eve and then decided to have a lie in, so that I was able to do my 200th run at Southampton.

At the start, I met up with my friend, Pete, who agreed to run with me. Pete’s a stronger runner, but he’d had a very late night, so didn’t want to push himself too much.

During the first lap, we saw our friend, Kirsty, so she stopped and chatted to use for a while before heading off – she was in the middle of a long run.

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My photographer friend, Paul was out on the course, so all of the photos from my 200th parkrun were taken by Paul A. Hammon 🙂

I had decided to wear my parkrun 100 t-shirt, but it was a mistake as it was far too hot to wear black!!! I was also wearing my Hoka One Ones – I like them a lot more than I thought I would!


Stuart race walking with baby M.


Pete and I had been chatting a lot during the first lap, but the second lap felt harder. I had said to Pete before the start that I wanted a PBPB of under 28 minutes, but I started to wonder whether it would be possible.

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I was so pleased when we crossed the line in a time of 27:54 – a PBPB!

parkrun 01 January 2017

I was 80/218 females and 19/47 in my age group.

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This weekend was also a busy weekend. On Saturday, I walked Southampton parkrun with M. It was a busy event with its second highest ever attendance of 884.

I decided to wear some new kit. I’ve been sent some fantastic compression socks and insoles by SportArt, so I’ll be blogging about them soon.

Sport Art compression socks

I also wore a top from Craft that I received just before Christmas:

Craft base layer

Again, I’ll be writing a review of it as soon as I have the opportunity.

I also took the opportunity to try out a new gadget – a phone holder for my buggy – so I decided to play Pokemon Go whilst walking. This meant that I didn’t set a new walking PB, but I wasn’t far off.

parkrun 7th January 2017

Yesterday, I took part in my first cross-country race of 2017. It was also my first race since having baby M. It was the 5th race in the CC6 series and I was looking forward to running with clubmates from Southampton Tri Club, although I was a little worried that I might struggle to complete 5 miles as I’ve not run that far for a very long time.

Badger Farm CC6 group photo

It was quite a busy race, so I tried not to start too close to the front. It was also rather damp and misty, but warmer than the photos suggest.

Start of Badger Farm CC6
Stuart had agreed to look after M, so I was able to borrow his STC vest. I need to buy my own soon! I was also trying out some compression calf guards from Sport Art – I’ll be blogging more about them later.

The course was different from in previous years, which were usually two laps. I much preferred the new route, but there were some long uphill stretches as well as some steep parts. I loved the downhills, but they tended to be very muddy and a lot of other runners were wearing inadequate shoes, which slowed them down.

Badger Farm CC6 2017

In this league, only 3 women are needed to score as a team, however all abilities are welcome. I assumed that I was one of the last runners for my team, and I was correct… however, I hadn’t realised that Claire was just behind me until she over took me in the final 500m. I finished in 57th place out of 80, so there’s definitely some work to be done on my running, but I was pleased to complete the distance and to see lots of friends from STC, Lordshill and various other running clubs.

Post CC6 Badger Farm

I’ve not talked about New Year’s Resolutions because I’ve not come up with anything solid this year… however, I’ve got some exciting plans afoot regarding my nutrition, so I’ll be sharing more about them in the coming weeks. I’m also still deciding on my A races for 2016 as I need to know how much free time I have for training and I want to be fair to Stuart.I may take part in some races as a pacer as I really enjoyed it last year.

I’m hoping to get back to swimming soon and went out on my first post baby bike ride recently, with my friend Kim. Later this week, I’m going to be going to a free fitness class: Buggy Mums. I’ve no idea what to expect, so I’ll be reporting back on it.

What have you been up to recently? Have you set yourself any big goals for 2017?











My final race of 2016

28 Sep

The last couple of weeks have been hectic. I’ve been trying to round off various projects at work and then Stuart and I have been doing loads of DIY at home. We’re having carpets delivered tomorrow, so we’ve been trying to repaint 4 bedrooms and our lounge (including the ceilings and woodwork). This has involved moving lots of large pieces of furniture, which has been quite tiring.

Having thought through the logistics, I realised that it would not be possible for me to fit in a parkrun on Saturday morning (before the antenatal class), which was a shame as I love running. However, it did mean that my legs were fresh for Sunday…

Sunday morning was the first CC6 of the season. This is the cross-country league for local running (and triathlon) clubs. Originally, the league consisted of 6 races (hence the name), but it has now been expanded with there being 7 races last season and 8 this year. The first race took place at Fleming Park in Eastleigh. This is not far from where I live and I know the venue well as it’s where Eastleigh parkrun takes place. It was also a course that was similar to what I’ve run before with a start section, two main loops and then a finish section.

Stuart rarely takes part in cross-country races as he is injury prone and doesn’t want to risk getting hurt, but he agreed to come along to this one (perhaps to see how fit he is, but more likely to keep an eye on me!) The big change at this event was that we had both agreed to run for Southampton Tri Club, instead of Lordshill Road Runners. Stuart collected his new STC vest, and I was very grateful that Coach Steve from the tri club had agreed to lend me a top. (I fully intend to buy an STC t-shirt/vest as soon as I’m back to a normal size!) It was a bit sad to see club-mates from LRR in their club vests, but I figured that there are many more runners in LRR, so STC needs me more than them.

I knew I would have to take the race easy and had accepted that I might have to walk some of the hills, but my aim was just to enjoy it (and hopefully finish).

I started at the back, which was a sensible move. We had a gentle start, which is good as I’m terrible at pacing myself and always start enthusiastically. My friend, Kathy, was out doing her first race in a long time as she has had severe knee problems following a cycling accident. She was also starting steadily, so we had a bit of a chat, which was nice.

I knew that I would be running with different people from usual, but it was a bit sad that a lot of the slower ladies that I know weren’t taking part as I had hoped to run with a few friends.

I spent the first part of the race tailing my team-mate, Rachel, but the cheers from all of the marshals spurred me to pick up the pace a little bit. Most of the marshals were from Eastleigh Running Club and Itchen Spitfires… but I know them through ‘Sunday Runday’, Southampton parkrun and Southampton Tri Club. It was great to see so many friendly faces.

Towards the end of the first loop, former LRR team-mate turned Southampton Athletics Club runner, Andy, came racing past. he’s an excellent runner, so it was great to hear that he had finished in first place.

The second loop was a bit harder as the baby decided to wedge her feet into my ribs, which makes running a little more uncomfortable. However, after a few rubs on my side, she moved around again and I was able to run as normal 🙂

Running at the CC6

© Marie Keates

Thanks to Marie for managing to snap a picture of me whilst I was running. If you’d like to read more about the CC6 from Marie’s perspective (or just want to look at her beautiful nature photos), please check out her blog.

Although I was running steadily, it was quite a warm day, and the STC tops are much darker than LRR tops (STC tops have black shoulders, whereas LRR vests are predominantly white). This meant that I was glad when I was getting towards the finish. Fortunately, there weren’t any other runners who were very close to me, so I didn’t have to resist any impulse to sprint.

The race was just over 6km long and I finished it in under 40 minutes, which wasn’t too bad.

At the end of the race, I was given a raffle ticket with my position number on it: 66 (out of 72), so although it wasn’t particularly speedy, I wasn’t last 🙂

I then had a bit of a chance to catch up with various friends, before a group of us from STC headed off to Costa for some drinks.

Monday last week was going to include a gentle bike ride with Dani King. I was really looking forward to it and had arranged various appointments around it, but then I received this message:

cancelled Dani King ride

It was quite disappointing, but as I had problems with extremely low blood pressure at the weekend (73/33), it was probably better for my health that I spent a lazy afternoon at home.

Do you like cross-country running?





Looking forward to the first cross country race of the season

13 Sep

Last night I managed to get myself back to swimming. It seems that there are a lot of people who really love swimming when they are pregnant, but I’m finding it incredibly frustrating. I can no longer go as quickly as I can and I find that my breathing is off… and my additional ballast is making me roll around in a way that makes it feel so difficult. In comparison, I’m much more accepting of being slower when running. I’m wondering whether it’s because even when I do parkrun, it’s very much on my own terms, whereas lane swimming with others means that I feel under pressure to go faster.

swimming pool

Anyway, it was an interesting session with a variety of sets. I can’t remember them all, but the main set was 200m steady front crawl; 15s rest; 125m hard front crawl; 25m recovery; 30s rest – 3 times. I didn’t do all of them and am not convinced that my fast was significantly different from my steady pace, but at least I completed the whole session.

I’m also incredibly grateful every morning when I get my bike out. The process takes a little longer than it used to, with multiple locks on the garage door and then further locks inside, but at least it means that my work bike is still there.

Every day I wonder whether today will be the day when I have to dismount and push my bike up the hill, but so far I seem to be doing OK. I’m a little out of breath at the top of the hill, but that used to happen when I first moved to the area, and I’ve still a few gears left. I’ve got 9 more days left at work, so hopefully I can keep going for that long.

This weekend, I’ve got two events lined up: parkrun on Saturday and then the first CC6 (cross country league race) of the season. The CC6 is at the same venue as Eastleigh parkrun, so it shouldn’t be too muddy this early in the season. It’s also one of the shorter races (assuming it follows the same route as previous years): 3.9 miles. I’ve not run that far for a few weeks, but I’m confident that I can do it. I now just need to source a vest or t-shirt from someone who is not built like an elite athlete as the rules stipulate that I need to wear a club vest. It’ll be the first CC6 that I’ll be doing wearing Southampton Tri Club colours instead of Lordshill, which will be a bit strange, but I figure the tri club needs me more than LRR… and there’s a hope that I might make one of the first 4 teams for the tri club, rather than being in at least the 10th team for LRR!

I’ve finally got my running mojo back :-D

1 Dec

It’s been a strange week for me. After spending months and months thinking that I would never get back to my former level of fitness, there is actually a glimmer of hope on the horizon. I’ve come back from my training holiday with a new enthusiasm for running and an unwillingness to accept my self-imposed limitations.

As Run Camp has finished until January, Thursday morning has transmogrified into ‘Run Gang’, which is similar to ‘Bike gang’, but with running. Liz, Katherine, Stu, Jenny and I have been meeting near to The Hawthorns at 6:30am for speed work sessions. This week, Coach Stu told us to do one mile reps at our 5k PB pace. For me that translates to 5:01/km (about 8:04/mile). Unfortunately, I had forgotten my Garmin, so I decided to just follow Katherine and Jenny and do my best to keep up with them. Amazingly, this strategy paid off. We followed each rep with about a 2 minute recovery. My pace was 8:05, 8:10 and 8:15. Ideally, I would be able to maintain three reps at the same pace, but given that I really didn’t think I would be able to do a single rep at that speed, I was really happy with how well I did.

On Saturday morning, I was excited about having my first chance to run at Southampton parkrun for a number of weeks. Sadly, Stu didn’t feel well, so he stayed at home. I rushed off, so that I could collect a parkrun parcel before the event, and realised after I had closed the door that I had forgotten my Garmin, which was charging. As Stu was sleeping, I didn’t want to wake him, so I decided to run without it.

I met up with Katherine and we decided to have an enjoyable run together. The first part of the run went well. We saw Di and Angela and had a chat with them as we first went up the hill. It was fairly busy, so I had to ask a few people if we could pass them, but I was enjoying the conversation and barely noticed the hill. Katherine didn’t allow me to slack off at all on the downhill, and it wasn’t long before we were tackling the hill for s second time. As we neared the top, we passed Laura. She fought back and surged past us and I commented to Katherine that I didn’t think Laura would let us be ahead of her for long. This spurred Katherine on, so we had to speed up on the downhill. We then kept pushing, until we turned the corner and got back to the Flats. At that point, Katherine encouraged me to sprint, but I was unable to pick up the pace.

parkrunning with Katherine

parkrunning with Katherine ©4ceejay

About 15m from the line I was able to find a tiny sprint, so I pushed as hard as I could.

It felt like it had been a good time, even though I had not pushed myself for the whole run and I had failed to do a warm up. I asked Katherine our time, but she hadn’t stopped her watch. She reckoned it was under 26 minutes. We then saw Laura, who said that she had recorded 25:20 on her watch. My 5k PB of 25:08 was set 596 days ago in April 2012. The closest that I had come since then was 25:32 earlier this year, so if Laura’s watch was right then I knew I would be in for a Southampton parkrun PB.

Eventually I received a text message and email with my result:

parkrun result 30/11/13

parkrun result 30/11/13

So, not a PB, but very close. I was delighted with how well I had done. I think that I should be able to beat that and am now starting to believe that sub 25 minutes is a real possibility for 2013 😀 I had a good look at the results and was also pleased to realise that I was 3/13 within my gender/age category, which is quite a good result for me.

This morning, I ran my last CC6 of 2013, which was also the final (eligible) race for the Club Participation Award. It was at Badger Farm in Winchester and my recollection of it was that it was quite flat, with the exception of a final long gentle incline to the finish, but when I arrived, several people pointed out that my memory had failed me. As usual, the brilliant local photographer Paul Hammond was on hand to record the action.

CC6 Badger Farm 1

© Paul A. Hammond

CC6 Badger Farm 2

© Paul A. Hammond

CC6 Badger Farm 3

© Paul A. Hammond

First time we passed Hammy

First time we passed Hammy © Paul A. Hammond

Having completed this CC6 twice before, I am quite familiar with the course. It starts off at the top of the hill, so there is a long downhill, before an uphill run, most of which is between two hedges, so it is difficult to overtake. My strategy was to do what I have done on my last few runs, which has been to ignore my watch and run as fast as I can, but to pace myself according to how I feel.

I adore running downhill, so this race starts exactly the way I like it. There is then a long uphill, before a relatively flat section around a field before running sandwiched between two fences for quite a long section. I could see Kirsty just ahead of me, so I decided to try to stick with her for as long as possible. I knew this would be challenging as she set a fantastic PB at parkrun yesterday, but I didn’t think it was an entirely unrealistic goal.

When we returned to the main starting field, I could still see Kirsty about 10m ahead of me, and I was feeling surprisingly good. paul managed to catch some photos which really show just how much I was enjoying the race:

CC6 Badger Farm 4

© Paul A. Hammond

CC6 Badger Farm 4

© Paul A. Hammond

CC6 Badger Farm 6

© Paul A. Hammond

I didn’t dare to look back to see who was behind me to how close they were, I just wanted to keep pushing to finish the race as quickly as possible. I knew that catching Kirsty was unlikely, but I wanted to try to match her pace. Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite manage that, but I kept pushing up the hill.

CC6 Badger Farm 7

© Paul A. Hammond

CC6 Badger Farm 8

© Paul A. Hammond

CC6 Badger Farm 10

© Paul A. Hammond

Final uphill slog

© Paul A. Hammond

Eventually, I reached the finish line. I was the 6th LRR lady and in 37th place overall, which I think is my highest ever finish in a CC6 race.

Garmin data for the race: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/411084453

CC6 Garmin data Badger Farm

What have I been doing since my holiday?

22 Nov Gosport Half Marathon

I’ve been so busy in the fortnight since we’ve been back from Portugal that I’ve not been able to update my blog as much as I’d hoped to, so here’s a quick rundown of what I’ve been up to.


The Sunday morning after we got back was a cross country race out in the New Forest. It was hard getting up in time for it as I was feeling shattered from the previous day’s travelling, but I knew I had to if I still wanted to be in with a chance at winning the club’s participation award.

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Near the start of the CC6

Near the start of the CC6 (all CC6 photos © Paul A. Hammond)

It was not an easy race, with quite a lot of it being muddy and hilly and the last section was a hard uphill slog.

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CC6 © Paul A. Hammond

CC6 © Paul A. Hammond

I played cat and mouse with Kathy for a while, but towards the end her superior speed won out and she was able to finish ahead of me. I felt quite pleased with my performance as I didn’t give up and I knew that I was running on tired legs.

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CC6 © Paul A. Hammond

CC6 © Paul A. Hammond

Swimming lessons

It was good to be back at my swimming lessons – I hoped that I would be stronger and would not have picked up any bad habits whilst I was away, although I know that swimming with a wetsuit on makes me lazy! I don’t think I’ve mentioned it in any of my blog posts, but in the last session before my holiday, I dived into a pool for the first time in my life. This probably doesn’t sound like a big deal, but for me it was massive. I’ve spent so long standing on the edge of a pool, but was terrified that I would get too deep and be unable to breathe, or would hit my head on the bottom, so I just couldn’t bring myself to try it. I’m now desperate to go swimming with Stu as I really want to show him how well I can dive.

Chris got us to practise quite a lot of butterfly, which is not (and never will be) one of my favourite strokes. I’ve now had two lessons since I’ve been back and I know that I really need to work on keeping my head more streamlined during front crawl as I lift it up and don’t even realise that I’m doing it. I was also given a few pointers when doing breaststroke to try to keep my hips lower so that my feet don’t come out of the water. I’ll report back on my progress soon!

I received the video of me swimming in Lagos, which has really shown me where my swimming is going wrong, so I’m keen to get in the pool and practise:

Lordshill training

On my first Monday back, I coached a session on hills, so we went to Holly Hill and I got my group to practice various aspects of downhill running which I think went quite well, but it involved more running (to and from the venue) than I had anticipated and my legs were a little bit grumbly!

This Monday, I had planned to do a core session. I had a long list of exercises, but unfortunately, it rained and I didn’t think it would be a good idea to make my athletes lie on wet ground 😦

Southampton Tri Club

Straight after my LRR session on Monday, Stuart and I rushed down to The Quays to have a go at our first session with Southampton Tri Club. Katherine had originally tried to persuade me to wait until she was back, but I wanted to join asap and Huw at work persuaded me to go. I was in a lane with three others: Liz, James and Jo – all of whom are bloggers and LRR members! We did a 200m warm up, which felt like hard work, before being asked to do ‘200 off 4:40’. I didn’t know what that meant, so the coach explained that we had to swim 8 lengths of front crawl and have a break within 4 minutes and 40 seconds. unfortunately, I’m quite slow, so it took me over 4:30 to swim 200m. This would have left me with no break, so I waited for the others to do 2 lengths before joining in again. We had to repeat it 5 times, which felt really hard – I don’t often swim that far in a session. (Later when I asked Stu what he had done, his main set was exactly the same!!! How is that fair?!) We also had to do a variety of sculling drills, but I had to work extra hard as I didn’t have a pair of fins.

Overall, I really enjoyed the session and know that I need to work on my technique if I’m going to do OK at Challenge Weymouth, so I signed up to Southampton Tri Club yesterday evening and am now an official member 🙂

I’ve now done a second swimming session and know that it takes me 4:44 to swim 200m. I’m definitely towards the bottom end of the group, but I am not the slowest and I hope that I’ll start to make good progress.


On Tuesday evening, I went back to yoga with Stu. Our usual instructor, Wai, is away, so we have a different instructor. It’s nice to mix up the sessions a little. We did a few shoulder stands and plough pose, which is one of my favourites… although I can’t seem to stop my feet from going right over and touching the ground, whether or not my legs are straight!

Weight Watchers

At my first WW session after our holiday, I found that I had lost 4lbs. I went again today and had lost another pound. I had thought that I might have lost more as several people commented on how good I looked today and I felt that I was looking more trim. My WW leader said that she didn’t think I needed to lose more weight and as I my BMI is now 24.47, which is within the healthy range. I am happy to be classed as a gold member again as the money that I save can be used for my tri club membership, but I would still like to lose at least another stone – I’m sure that it will help me to run faster! Every time I so much as glance at something ‘bad’ I ask myself whether Kat would eat it and the answer is usually ‘no’!

Interval training and social run

On Thursday morning last week, Stu, Liz, Katherine and I met for an interval session. This is when I usually have a Run Camp session, but as there are no more until after Christmas, we decided to have ‘Run Gang’ instead (it’s like ‘Bike Gang’, but with running!) Stu had devised times for us to do 400m intervals, but my Garmin decided to amend my pace and breaks, so I wasn’t getting any rest. In the end, I reset my Garmin and just did the best that I could. My last interval felt really good – for 200m I felt like my technique was as good as Mo Farah’s or Usain Bolt’s – but I was unable to sustain the pace.

On Thursday evening, I went for a lovely 11km run with Teri. It’s nice just to be able to run and chat. We had intended to run around Portswood, but we ended up going through Bevois Valley and then back towards the Common.

This week on Thursday morning, Stu and I met Liz and Katherine for a gentle run around the new parkrun route (Route C). I didn’t want to get out of bed, but was glad that I did the run when I had finished.

Sports massage

On Friday I had a sports massage at You Massage Therapy. The masseur, Pete, is a really nice guy who is interested in sports. I’ve had sports massages from other people, but Pete seems to get the pressure just right. I thought that a massage would be a good way of preparing myself for my forthcoming race.


On Saturday morning, I was Run Director at Southampton parkrun. It was meant to be Stu’s turn, but I wanted to save my legs for Gosport Half Marathon. It was the first time that Route C had been used and quite a few people got PBs, so I’m looking forward to trying it.

Tri Expo

After parkrun, we drove down to Bournemouth for the Primera Triathlon Expo. I ended up buying various goodies for myself:

– Endura overshoes

Endura overshoes

Endura overshoes

– Endura toe covers

Endura toe covers

Endura toe covers

– Bike bag

Topeak top tube tri-bag

Topeak top tube tri-bag

I also bought three bags of blueberry protein powder.

Superlife blueberry super protein powder

Superlife blueberry super protein powder

We were both given Bustinskin swimming hats and USN bottles and vooma gels.

USN vooma gel and bottle

USN vooma gel and bottle

Stu decided to check out the bike porn and decided that he liked a Storck bike, but at over £9.5k, it’s a bit out of his price range!!!

Stu admiring a Storck bike

Stu admiring a Storck bikeIMG_1597

To console him, I let him buy a couple of sachets of recovery hot chocolate.

Apres recovery hot chocolate

Apres recovery hot chocolate

Christmas presents

After we left the tri expo, we went to visit Stu’s parents with an ulterior motive in mind… members of Southampton Tri Club are expected to bring a pull buoy, fins and hand paddles to every swimming session. Stu and I had added these to our amazon wish lists, but realised that we need them now. Unfortunately, Stu’s mum had already done her Christmas shopping, so we collected our presents early – thank you, Brian and Sally!

My Christmas presents from Brian and Sally

My Christmas presents from Brian and Sallyspeedo-8-027610006-zoomspeedo-8-017910004-zoom

Gosport Half Marathon

I have kept Graeme’s words in my mind about self-limiting beliefs, so I decided to aim high despite not being on form since April 2012. I decided not to look at my watch for the first two miles of Gosport HM as it takes me nearly that long to warm up, so I was delighted to find that I was running at a reasonable pace when I finally glanced at my watch. I chose to continue running according to how I felt and was delighted to achieve a 5 mile PB (42:10), which meant that I was on track to get somewhere near my HM PB of 1:52:19.
It was an overcast day that was about 6° C with no breeze, so it would seem that those conditions would be ideal for running. Unfortunately, although my breathing was comfortable and my legs felt good, between 8 and 9 miles, I started to overheat and got tunnel vision, so I had to slow down. I took on plenty of water and was fully hydrated before the race, but I could not cool down. At 10 miles, Stu was by the side of the course (he had cycled to the event) and he could see that I looked ill, so he kept popping up for the next three miles as he was worried about me. I was determined to finish and hoped that even if I wasn’t near to my PB, I would still get a sub 2 hour time. I was also aware that I was my club’s leading FV35, so I hoped that I would be able to retain my position.
Alas, it wasn’t to be. In the final mile, I was passed by many of my clubmates. Full On Sport’s chip timing system failed, but according to my Garmin, I finished in 2:00:13. I was incredibly disappointed, but Stu has pointed out to me that not only did I get a 5 mile PB, it was also my second fastest ever HM and it was over 30 seconds faster than I did the race last year. I also managed to completed it (and a cross country race on the day after I got back from Portugal), so as long as I complete a cross country race on 1st December, I will win the Lordshill Road Runners Championship participation award alongside Di Mattingly.

dsc_4789(1) dsc_4790(2)dsc_4791(1)dsc_4792(1)dsc_4793(1)dsc_4794(1)Gosport Half Marathon Running and smiling at Gosport Half Marathon © Paul A. Hammond


As I know that I need to work hard on my cycling, I realised that I had better buy myself some winter cycling clothing, so I went online to Wiggle and ordered myself some bib tights and a long-sleeved jersey. There wasn’t a lot of choice, so I chose DHB Team Wiggle Honda kit as it had great reviews. Orange isn’t my favourite colour, but it all arrived today and I think it looks quite nice.

My new Wiggle Honda kit

My new Wiggle Honda kitIMG_0032

I was also lured in by SportPursuit… it’s such an evil website, as it knows just how to suck me in. I wanted to get a pair of plain black shorts and ended up ordering a pair of black shorts, a Pearl Izumi jersey and a pearl Izumi winter jacket for cycling.

Pearl_Izumi_Womens_Elite_Softshell_Wxb_Jacket_White 11221120_3YQ Bellwether_NEWTON_Bicycle_Shorts_Black_Front__83336.1359390098.1280.1280

I think these goodies should arrive just before Christmas 😀