Tag Archives: giveaway

From Blind Man to Ironman – review and giveaway

22 Oct Haseeb Ahmad running with a guide

It’s been months since I’ve been able to read a real book, but Baby M is finally sleeping spending night time in her own room, which means that when I get into bed, I can have a light on and can read. There are lots of things from the last year that I want to catch up with, but I thought I’d start with a book that appeals to me on several levels. From Blind Man to Ironman is a book that fits my aim as it’s an autobiographical account of how a visually impaired man became a record-breaking triathlete.

“My story is about triumph over adversity,” explains Haseeb Ahmad. “From becoming blind in my teens I would never have dreamt that almost 35 years later I would break the World Blind Ironman Record.”

From the start, you know that Haseeb has broken a world record, so the drive of the narrative is about how he got there. I really enjoy reading biographies and autobiographies as you get to know about people whose lives are different from your own… and Haseeb’s life couldn’t be more different than mine. Initially, he discusses his life as a young Pakistani Muslim living life in London, the Midlands and Pakistan. I expected to hear about his talent for sports as a youth, so it was interesting that there was little mention of it, which gives hope to anyone else who hasn’t been a gifted athlete in their youth (or at least has not discovered their talent at a young age).

Haseeb Ahmad running with a guide

Haseeb Ahmad running with a guide

Ahmad’s style of writing is fluid, which gripped me and made me read far later into the night than I should have on several occasions. Not only is the book well-written and beautiful printed, but I’ve not found any errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar, which is the kind of thing that keeps the former English teacher in me happy!

Obviously, I have an interest in triathlon, but I am also an advocate for inclusivity in sport. I was interested in the details of how Haseeb worked with his guides. I have been a guide runner with a great chap, Khalid, and have great admiration for anyone who manages to guide successfully – I blogged about my experience and still feel bad that I caused Khalid to stumble into a ditch. I had offered to ride a tandem with him, but he survived that as I found out I was pregnant and thought I’d better not!

Another element of interest for me were references to Chris Goodwin, a Southampton-based paratriathlete who trained with Southampton Tri Club for a number of years. It was interesting to hear about the (friendly) rivalry between him and Haseeb.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. It was inspirational.

“I want to give hope and inspire anyone who may be struggling with life’s challenges to never give up. Every time I have fallen in life, sometimes literally, I have got back up and kept running – and that is my message to everyone out there… keep on running!”

If you want to learn more, please check out Haseeb’s blog.

I’m offering two lucky readers the chance to win a copy of From Blind Man to Ironman. If you want to be in with a chance of winning, just click on the link below:


The giveaway runs from 12:00am on Monday 23rd October 2017 to 12:00am on Monday 6th November. Full terms and conditions are available at the link below:

Fat Girl to Ironman ‘From Blind Man to Ironman’ Competition’ TERMS and CONDITIONS

No purchase necessary. The winner will be picked at random by Rafflecopter and announced on this blog by Friday 10th November.

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.

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.



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?



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



Are you feeling lucky? Phoenix Fit UK elastic laces review and giveaway

8 Aug

I’ve been lucky enough to have some Phoenix Fit UK elastic laces to try recently.

Phoenix fit UK elastic laces

Phoenix fit UK elastic laces

They come in a wide range of colours, but this pair especially appealed to me as they match my favourite trainers… which match my Team SOAS kit.

My favourite Brooks with elastic laces

I have tried various elastic lace systems in the past, but the first pair that I bought were very cheap and were so stretchy that my shoes kept slipping off. The next pair that I tried were OK for a while, but I found that if I ran for longer distances (over 10k), my feet started to swell and my shoes became too tight, so I’ve been searching for a perfect replacement for a little while.

There are lots of benefits to using Phoenix Fit UK elastic laces:

  • You never have to stop to tie your shoelaces. This is an essential time-saving element in triathlon as no-one wants to waste precious seconds in T2 (the bike to run transition), but it can also be the difference between getting a PB or not in a running race. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen someone have to stop during parkrun (or a race) to retie their laces… or worse yet, trying to struggle on with their laces untied, whilst I’m panicking that they’re going to trip and fall! This can also be a huge benefit if you have a child who hasn’t yet learnt to tie their shoe-laces or an elderly relative who struggles with fastening their shoes.
  • They’re really quick and easy to put into your shoes. I had put one pair in an ordinary pair of trainers, but I wanted to wear my blue/turquoise shoes for my aquathlon. I completely forgot to lace them before going to the event. Luckily, I was able to lace up both shoes in just a few minutes after I had arrived at the race venue.
  • They’re easy to adjust. Pressing the ergonomic lock button releases the laces, so you can easily make your shoes looser or tighter.
  • They’re really comfortable. As a runner who’s currently 7.5 months pregnant, I know what it’s like to have feet that swell at random. These laces are extremely comfortable and I know there’s no risk of getting hotspots and sore patches where my laces have been too tight.

This short video shoes just how easy Phoenix Fit UK elastic laces are to install:

My partner, Stu, is just a couple of weeks out from his first Ironman, so he has been looking for the perfect laces. He chose to add a pair of the laces in white to his Brooks shoes that he uses for distance running:

Close up of Phoenix fit UK elastic lace

Phoenix fit UK elastic laces in Stuart's shoes

Phoenix fit UK elastic laces in Stuart’s shoes

Since putting the laces into his shoes, Stuart has worn them for quite a few long (10 miles+) training runs. I managed to get a couple of pictures of Stu out running with those shoes on:

Stuart running 1

Stuart running 2

Stuart running

Stuart is a very different runner from me – he’s got good technique and can comfortably ‘jog’ a hilly marathon in under 3:25. I asked him what he thought of the laces, and this is how he responded:

“I think they give a more consistent tightness than standard elastic laces. I will definitely be wearing them for triathlons in future. They were quite easy to install, although I found putting the ends on quite fiddly… but that’s a one-off job, so it didn’t bother me”

Close up of Phoenix Fit UK elastic laces toggles

Close up of Phoenix Fit UK elastic laces toggles

So, what do you think? For me it’s free speed for my next triathlon 🙂



I’m hosting a Phoenix fit UK elastic laces giveaway, so please enter for a chance to get your hands on “the ultra tough elastic lace system.”

I have three pairs of laces to give away – the winners will be able to choose from the following colours (depending on availability).

colour choices

The giveaway runs from 12:00am on Monday August 8th 2016 to 12:00am on Monday August 22nd. Full terms and conditions are available at the link below:

Fat Girl to Ironman ‘Phoenix Fit UK Competition’ TERMS and CONDITIONS

No purchase necessary. Entrants muct be resident in United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The winner will be picked at random by Rafflecopter and announced on this blog by Wednesday August 24th.