Tag Archives: goals

Monday Morning Motivation – 20 Tiny thoughts crushing your biggest dreams

30 Jun

20 Tiny thoughts crushing your biggest dreams is one of the most inspirational blogposts that I’ve read recently. When I was at an Embrace Sports triathlon training camp last year, one of the thoughts that Graeme shared with me was not to allow my races be dominated by my own self-limiting beliefs. In the aforementioned blog post, March Chernoff emphasises the importance of changing your thinking to achieve the results that you want. I urge you to read the whole blogpost, but if you haven’t got time, some of the highlights include the following 10 bulletpoints (the comments are my own):

  1. “My dreams and goals can wait.”
    Why postpone your happiness until tomorrow? Will you ever achieve your goals, if you postpone them?
  2. “I don’t have time.”
    It is almost always possible to make time for the things that really matter for you, so the real question is whether you actually want to have time for something.
  3. “I’m not talented enough.”
    At some stage, I’m going to write a post about ‘Bounce’ – a book that suggests talent does not exist and that success is actually down to hard work and practise. You need to be persistent to achieve your goals.
  4.  “This problem is too big to solve.”
    Chernoff argues that you need to avoid over-thinking problems. I agree that that may be true in some circumstances; however, on other occasions, I think it may just be important to break a problem down into smaller parts.
  5. “I’m not ready yet.”
    Seize the moment as you may never get a second chance!
  6. “I knew I wasn’t good enough.”
    There may be a reason why some things don’t work. Sometimes, it is necessary to reassess your goals and decide whether you want to continue with them.
  7. “I’m a failure.”
    The more times you fail, the closer you are to success – everything takes practice.
  8.  “They have it so much easier than me.”
    Chernoff points out that everyone has battles to contend with, it’s just that some people deal with them privately.
  9. “I have nothing to be thankful for.”
    It’s important to remain positive. Be thankful for what you have and consider how much worse your situation could be.
  10. “They don’t have what it takes either.”
    Chernoff points out that it is important to encourage and support others, rather than criticising them. Cheer for people and help to empower them, as one day you may be grateful of their support.

Running on Clean

13 May

Woohoo! Nicola at Running on Clean has nominated me for the Liebster Award. Thank you, Nicola! Please check out her blog where she posts about health and fitness. Nicola is a fellow Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador and member of #TeamStellar!

Liebster Award

So, what is a Liebster Award? It is basically a form of recognition from fellow bloggers. Once you have been nominated you have to answer 10 questions from your original nominator and go on to nominate another 10 bloggers yourself.

Here are the rules:

1.) You must link back to the person who nominated you
2.) You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you
3.) You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award (with a small following)
4.) You must create 10 questions for your nominees
5.) You must go to their blogs and notify the nominees

So, here are my answers to Nicola’s questions:

  1. How did you start your fitness journey?
    That’s a tough question to answer… I had dance lessons from when I was 5 until I was 21, but I was never especially fit and healthy. I was ‘up a year’ at school, so I was a year younger (and hence smaller) than all of my classmates, so I struggled to keep up with them when it came to sports, which made me feel disheartened. When I was 20, I took up gymnastics and absolutely loved it. I used to train several times a week, including for six hours on Sundays. When I was nearly 30, I took up karate, so that I could do a sport with my husband. I also took up running to increase my fitness levels and it’s gone from there.
  2. Why did you start your blog?
    I wanted to document my five-year challenge – I intend to complete an iron-distance triathlon before I’m 40. I thought that writing down my goals in a public way may make me feel more accountable.
  3. What activities/sports are you most passionate about and what do you gain from doing them?
    I love doing yoga as it’s very calming and gives me an opportunity to relax and de-stress. I also love running, although I’m finding the pressure of competition a bit much at the moment as I’m failing to reach my own targets.
  4. Who is your fitness inspiration?
    I’m a great admirer of Paula Radcliffe and Mo Farah. I also think Chrissie Wellington is an inspirational woman.
  5. Do you meal prep? If so, when and do you have any tips?
    I tend to do all of my meal prepping in the evening. I tend to cook in bulk (curries/chillies/pasta meals that serve six), so that I don’t have to cook every evening. I know that I each much more healthily when I plan ahead. When my evening meal is cooking, I make my lunch for the next day, which is always a salad (usually with 40g smoked cheese, but sometimes with humus or chickpeas). I also try to weigh out my porridge for the following day’s breakfast.
  6. What is your go-to breakfast recipe?
    It’s always 30g oats, but with various extras. One of my current favourites is ground almonds, dried apricots and some vanilla extract. I don’t drink milk, so I always make it with water. 2 minutes in the microwave and it’s done 🙂
  7. Finish the sentence. When I’m not running I’m…
  8. Imagine this, you are on a self-directed race and get lost. You find yourself beside a lake with no one else around. What do you do?
    I rarely run with a phone, so I wouldn’t be able to call for help, so I guess it depends on how remote the location is. If I haven’t run far, I might retrace my footsteps to a place that I recognise, or if I’m feeling confident, I might run around the lake looking for signs of where I should go.
  9. List your top 2 short and long-term goals
    My top 2 short-term goals are to rest and heal my sprained wrist and shoulder and to follow the plan my coach has designed, so that I start regaining my fitness.
    My top 2 long-term goals are to complete Challenge Weymouth 70.3 and to finish an iron-distance triathlon.
  10. What do you enjoy most about blogging?
    I enjoy connecting with other people and also receiving feedback from others. I really appreciate that people are willing to spend their time reading what I’ve written. On a personal level, my blog reminds me that however slow it may seem, I am making progress towards my goal.

Here are my 10 questions:

  1. How would you summarise what your blog is about?
  2. Which of your blog posts has generated the most discussion and why?
  3. What tips would you give to anyone thinking about starting to blog?
  4. What challenges/races/events have you got lined up for 2014?
  5. What has been your greatest achievement in life?
  6. What skill do you hope to master over the next year?
  7. What is your favourite gadget and why?
  8. What’s the furthest from home you’ve travelled for a sporting event?
  9. Describe your philosophy for life in a six word sentence…
  10. What is the most important advice that you can give to readers?

…and even more importantly, here are my 10 nominated blogs:

  1.  Heather at The Tri Road
  2. Marc at Run, Hemingway, Run
  3. Danielle at Damn, Girl, That’s a lot of Fattitude!
  4. Leanne at Leanne Nalani
  5. Fat Guy 2 Tri Guy
  6. Erica at Chronicles of a SAHM
  7. Mike at Fat, Beared & Tattooed Cyclist
  8. Stephanie at My life sucks, I think I’ll become a triathlete
  9. 2 Cups ‘N Run
  10. Chris at Or Die Trying

I previously received the Liebster Award back in March – here are my answers from then: http://fatgirltoironman.co.uk/2014/03/01/liebster-award/

This might be the most exciting thing has has ever happened to me…

4 Jan

O.M.G! O.M.G! O.M.G! That was what went running through my mind when I opened up laptop this morning, but I didn’t have much time to ponder the contents of the email that I had read as I was going to parkrun. Not just any parkrun, but Eastleigh parkrun, which has returned (for three weeks only) to its birthplace at Lakeside. It’s where my love for running started back in 2010. The picture below is one of the earliest pictures that exists of me running, and it was taken there!

Eastleigh parkrun August 2010

Eastleigh parkrun August 2010

Since then, I have returned to Lakeside during training runs and for open water swimming, but I’ve not often done 5k there.

Lakeside panorama

Lakeside panorama © Emily Smith

I had been hoping that it would be a dry day, not because I’m bothered about running in the rain, but because I know how easily the course at Lakeside gets churned up – it would be a shame if it is unable to go ahead for the next three weeks. Alas, it was not to be. It had rained steadily all night and was still raining when we got up. This meant that some areas of the course were under water and it was VERY muddy and slippery!

I ran with Lynda for a few hundred metres, which was good, as it was her 50th event. Then I met up with Ellie and ran with her for a while, before doing the last lap with James. That’s what I love about parkrun – it really is a social event that encourages runners of all ages and abilities to run together. However, for many people it is a weekly chance to push themselves and this week was no exception. The Lordshill boys battled it out for the first six places. LRR marshal, Neil, managed to snap the speedy chaps part way round the lap:

Lakeside speedies

The fastest runners © Neil Garton

I didn’t want to push myself as I’m still struggling with sinusitis and I need to do a 13 mile run tomorrow, so I was happy to finish in 73rd place in 30:48. Afterwards, we went to the cafe to warm up with a cuppa. It’s been a while since I’ve had time to stop after parkrun, so I enjoyed catching up with a few other runners/triathletes.

LRRs enjoying a cuppa after parkrun

LRRs enjoying a cuppa after parkrun

I’m trying to avoid ‘junk miles’ this year, but sometimes it’s good for the soul just to get out and run with friends. I’ve signed up for Jantastic again this year, but I’m not setting myself hard targets as I don’t want to ruin my training by forcing myself to run when I don’t need or want to. I’m trying to educate myself to be a better runner and coach. One of the books that is helping me with that aim is ‘Triathlon Science‘ by Joe Friel and Jim Vance – I’ll be sharing what I learn with you. I’ve also been reading ‘The Ghost Runner‘ by Bill Jones, which was one of Stu’s Christmas gifts (he’s a fast reader, so he finished it over a week ago). It’s a really interesting biography of John Tarrant, an amazing runner from yesteryear.

So… the news you’ve all been waiting for. This is what I saw in my in-box this morning:

Congratulations! You have been selected for the SOAS Racing 2014 Brand Ambassador Team.

How exciting is that?! I applied a while ago and am absolutely ecstatic that I have been selected. It’s a brilliant opportunity for me to work with a brand whose values I identify with. I’m also looking forward to connecting with some of the other team members this year.

So what does it mean for you? Well, I am hoping to be an even more conscientious blogger, as well as being more active on Twitter. I’m also going to make an extra effort to take my camera/phone with me to events (and use it)! Oh yes, and you’re going to be seeing me wearing some awesome kit that is comfortable and attractive… and it all matches 😀

If you haven’t heard about the brand before, please visit their website: http://www.soasracing.com/ and their blog: http://soasracing.blogspot.co.uk/

“There is no off-season, there is only an IMPROVEMENT season”.

3 Jan

…or so says triathlete Courtney Pullman’s coach (http://www.powertap.com/blogs/news/8941821-an-interview-with-triathlete-courtney-pollman) which seems like a really good mantra to live by.

One of my cycling friends shared this on Facebook today and it made me laugh out loud: http://www.ilovebicycling.com/cycling-jokes-what-cyclists-say-and-what-they-mean/

I could especially relate to:

  • “Hold on, there’s something wrong with my bike.”
  • Let’s stop so I can rest

It’s the time of year when everyone seems to be reviewing the previous year and discussing their goals or resolutions. It’s been great to read about lots of other people making manageable life changes rather than trying to make such a dramatic change that they’re unlikely to still be doing things differently in a month’s time. Two people have blogged about this in a way that has resonated with me. This first is So Much Fattitude with her post on not dieting, but eating when hungry, which has been a change in attitude as a consequence of reading ‘intuitive eating’. She has blogged about it here: http://somuchfattitude.com/2014/01/03/a-separation-of-fitness-and-food/

The second post that I thought was really inspirational is on Running to her Dreams‘ blog: http://runningtoherdreams.com/2014/01/03/remember-the-why/ As well as being beautifully illustrated (as usual) with heart shapes found in nature, it includes obvious truths such as “We have 365 days a year to start something new.” and then the real kicker: “I believe by changing our mindset. By looking at every day as a chance to start over.  By looking at every day as a chance to do better. By making every single day an opportunity to get ready for “bikini season”. And remembering why we made that resolution or commitment to ourselves in the first place. We can. And we will. Become stronger, wiser and healthier than we ever dreamed we could be.” These are such powerful words – I urge you to go and read the whole post… you will come away inspired!

Despite having calibrated my goals, I’m not allowing myself to think of being imperfect as failing. Today, I was hoping to go swimming and I had written that into my training schedule. However, I’m struggling with sinusitis and after cycling home from work, I wasn’t feeling especially good. Then a phone call from a family member broke some sad news, so I decided not to go swimming. I have been repeating to myself that this is not failure. I have managed to eat healthily today (apart from a small piece of Christmas cake, which was my evening treat), so I’m not going to beat myself up about missing one work out when I needed some rest and recuperation time. Too often in the past, I have set my goals impossibly high and broken myself trying to achieve them – I do not want to end up having time off work because I’ve overdone it when I should have given myself a break.

Although I’ve already planned my main goals for 2014, I just wish there were more days in the week, as there are so many other things that I’d like to try. Until I worked at Bournemouth University, I didn’t see myself as particularly competitive, however, I now know that’s not true… but I hasten to add that I am my own harshest critic and I am usually competing against myself, rather than trying to beat other people. Anyway, Andrew Gills at Transventure has inspired me to try some non-competitive sporting activities. He’s blogged about Audax events, rogaining and adventure racing, and I want a piece of the action! Unfortunately, he’s blogging in Australia, so most of the exciting events that he has described are unlikely to feature on my race calendar in the near future, however, he has linked me up with Rosemary Byde who blogs about UK-based events on Planet Byde. This is one of the things that I love so much about the blogosphere – someone somewhere out there will share your interests! Thank you Andrew and Rosemary 🙂 This response from Rosemary has whetted my appetite: http://transtri2.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/rest-day-reflections/#comment-236

Also linking to my thoughts about being competitive, I watched this video by Tim Van Orden about ‘running naked’. (Thanks to Sandra for mentioning it in her latest post).

However, despite Tim’s wise words about the need to pay attention to one’s body, I must admit that I am enjoying being able to get some data about my swimming from my lovely new Garmin 910XT (mainly because I’m hopeless at counting how many lengths I’ve done in the pool).

I’ve also been working on my top-secret project relating to this blog and hope to be able to reveal some exciting news soon, but that’s all I’ll say about it for now!

I’ve joined runningbloggers.com to try to connect with more like-minded people and have decided to participate in their Fitness Friday link ups, where people share their latest fitness related blog posts – check it out to see if there’s anything you like:

Fitness Friday Link Up


Finally, I’d like to say welcome and thank you to all of the people who have visited my blog for the first time this week. I hope that you’ll come back again… and if you’ve got a blog of your own, please feel free to tell me about why I’d like it in the comments below 🙂

2014 goal-setting

1 Jan

It’s the start of a new year, so it’s an apposite time to review my progress and state my goals for 2014.

I’m hoping that 2014 will be the year that I achieve some elusive PBs, with a 5k PB being at the top of my wish list. Here’s how I did in 2013:

  • 5k: 25:14 (PB: 25:08)
  • 5 mile: 45:16 (PB: 43:21)
  • 10k: 52:02 (PB: 51:06)
  • 10 mile: 87:44 NEW PB!
  • Half marathon: 2:00:46 (PB: 1:52:19)
  • 20 miles: 3:27:03 (PB: 3:02:44)
  • Marathon: 4:29:33 NEW PB!

I started 2013 with a RunBritain handicap of 17.6 (from a low of 17.0); it increased to 20.2 by mid November, however, my current handicap is 19.3. I’d like to run more consistently this year, so that my handicap does not get worse.

So, although the year doesn’t feel like it was very successful, I did achieve two PBs! I also completed a duathlon, two aquathlons and two triathlons, and I ran in 57 races/events:

  • 30 x parkruns
  • 5 x CC6s
  • 9 x RR10s
  • 2 x 5 mile races
  • 3 x 10k
  • 3 x 10 mile
  • 2 x half marathon
  • 1 x 20 miles
  • 2 marathons

I’ve planned up until the end of September, so I think I’ve enough goals to keep me going for some time!


  • CC6                                                                                    05/01/14
  • Stubbington 10k                                                              19/01/14


  • CC6                                                                                     09/02/14
  • Bramley 20 mile                                                               16/02/14
  • Charlton Duathlon (Andover)                                       23/02/14


  • CC6                                                                                       02/03/14
  • Salisbury 10 mile                                                               09/03/14
  • Winchester Duathlon                                                        16/03/14
  • Eastleigh 10k                                                                      23/03/14


  • Brighton marathon                                                           06/04/14
  • Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive (58 miles)     12-13/04/14
  • Good Friday Triathlon (sprint)                                      18/04/14
  • Lymington Triathlon                                                       27/04/14


  • Pyrenees triathlon holiday                                      01-08/05/14
  • Portsmouth Duathlon (3)                                               11/05/14
  • Netley 10k                                                                         18/05/14
  • Eastleigh aquathlon                                                       29/05/14


  • Wiggle Bournemouth Sportive (48)                            07/06/14
  • D-Day 10k                                                                        08/06/14
  • Big Cove Swim                                                                22/06/14
  • Eastleigh aquathlon                                                      26/06/14
  • Eastleigh Open Water Tri                                           28/06/14


  • GU Energy Classic                                                       13/07/14
  • Big Cove Swim                                                             20/07/14
  • Thunder Run                                                          26-27/07/14
  • Eastleigh aquathlon                                                   31/06/14



  • Challenge Weymouth 70.3                                       14/09/14
  • Eastleigh aquathlon                                                   25/09/14
  • HOWSC 100                                                                28/09/14

I’ve joined a few challenges on Strava – if you also use Strava, please feel free to follow me: http://app.strava.com/athletes/3382889 I’m also hoping that I can promote healthy living more widely, so I’ve applied to become a brand ambassador for a company that means a lot to me – I’ll let you know how that turns out! I’m also going to add a couple more pages to my blog – watch out for them!

My blogging started back in February, just before my 35th birthday, as I wanted to motivate myself to achieve more in life before I turn 40. Has my blog been a success? Well, that depends on how the success of a blog is measured. For what it’s worth, my blog currently has 68 followers. It has had 5488 views and 77 comments. I’m going to be working on improving those stats in 2014, so that my blog has greater reach – I’ll also be trying to post more regularly as I know I was pretty slack in December.

My 10 most viewed posts this year were:

Home page / Archives 2,318
About 282
Should I change my name? 140
HOWSC 100 Sprint triathlon 128
Nutrition 112
Running 104
20 Types of Athletes at an Ironman or any Triathlon #try not to laugh# 101
Swimming 97
I’ve finally got my running mojo back 😀 96
Cycling 87

The posts which generated the most comments were:

Planning for 2014 10
Should I change my name? 10
Fatgirltoironman is here to stay 5
New Forest Marathon 4
Swimming, cycling and running in Cornwall 4
About 4
I chose to add some extra hills to my bike ride! 3
Embrace Sports Algarve Triathlon Holiday – Day 2 3
Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award 3
HOWSC 100 Sprint triathlon 3
Failure to plan is like planning to fail 3

Please do comment on what I write – I love reading your comments and always respond!

I thought it would be interesting to see how I’m doing with the running tips posted by Fit for 365:

  1. Plan – yep, I’m all about the planning!
  2. Be realistic – if I follow my plans, I should be able to get a PB at Brighton marathon and I should be able to complete Challenge Weymouth 70.3, although that’s still a terrifying goal
  3. Be patient – I’ve been as patient as I can be when it comes to running. I don’t think I have unrealistic expectations, but I’m desperate for a 5k PB.
  4. Gait analysis – I’ve had this done before and I’m happy with my running shoes… although I’d love another pair of Brooks Cadence.
  5. Mileage increases – I think my plan gives me a sensible schedule for increasing my mileage.
  6. Warm up and cool down – unfortunately, too often my warm up is just a jog, so I need to work on this. I also need to be really good about stretching when I’ve finished. I’m hoping that I’ll get back to yoga in 2014.
  7. Stretch – see above
  8. Rest – I’m terrible about scheduling in rest days. Maybe I really will manage this in 2014!
  9. Listen to your body – I’ve not had any specific injuries this year (thank goodness), so I don’t know how good I am at this!
  10. Never compare yourself to others – I can’t help being competitive. It’s incredibly frustrating that the women I coach are all improving faster than me, but I think that’s the problem with being a coach. I am going to step back from coaching for two months before my half iron tri as I want to give myself a fair chance.
  11. Enjoy your running – I’ll try!

What are your goals for 2014?